Penelope Journal Entry #21: Dear diary: I still don’t know where Hugo is nor Horace’s murderer nor what I’m doing walking this endless garden. Getting past the killer bees was dangerous enough but now I have had to fight a snake and a dalek. Satisfy the needs of a dog and a genie and play a game of “whodunnit”. And I have no clue of why anything is happening. If only I could know what Hugo has been doing by merely thinking about him…
Last time we have just past the bees just because it was the only place we could go. Which seems to be the motivation for all the actions Penelope does in the game. In any case, in the new screen we see an old face. The guy in the boat from Hugo’s House of Horrors. Yeah, the one who tends to ask about the name of the dog of a semi-famous TV star from the 60’s. THAT guy. And he starts to question Penelope. Again. I hope he dies a painful de… oh. Ok. Apparently David Gray also got wind of the hate this character produced and just made Penelope hit him with his own wand in what is a genuine funny moment. My faith in humanity is restored. However, the rest of the screen is completely devoid of any interaction and you have nothing to do but to choose one of the two exits that doesn’t involve killer bees.
|Admit it. All of you not so secretly wanted to do this.|
I took the south exit to a well which can be climbed down but that takes us to a dead end as the cave below is blocked by debris. Going back to the old man’s screen I took the east exit. Immediately after entering the screen a snake starts going towards you. I left the screen in a hurry, typed “shoot gun at snake” and went back to get sued once more by PETA. But no. That didn’t work. Somehow Penelope got to miss a snake bigger than her. And the snake bit her. Unexpectedly, that didn’t kill me although it poisoned me. I drank the liquid in the SERUM bottle as an antidote and that seemed to work. Which tell that either mr. Gray or me don’t know the meaning of the word serum.
|I have had it with this m********** snakes in this m************ game!|
The screen allowed two more exits to the east. I took the bottom one which brought me to the exit of uncle Horace’s mansion. Which just seems like a public park entrance. In any case I could see a phone booth and the street. I entered the booth and Penelope automatically called the police. An officer called Higgins (maybe a reference to Mary Higgins Clark, a mystery novel writer?) told me that he was too busy to solve a murder, probably Manchester United was playing, and that he would go to the mansion at 6 P.M. Yeah, right. Like this game allows me to keep track of time.
|A usual English street. Now with even less people.|
Exiting the screen from any direction let me to another street screen with even less to do. Well, it has something. A graffiti with a telephone number written. I ran back to the booth and called the number. The doctor answered. Doctor who?. Exactly!
|Ah. The times where copyright infringement wasn’t that viciously persecuted. |
Those were the times…
Yep. Ripped off directly of Inspector Spacetime. Dalek shouting “Exterminate, Exterminate” included. But at least I got to satisfy my homicidal tendencies blowing the head of the dalek with my gun. It is not an axe but I’m not complaining. The doctah gave me a sonic screwdriver and send me back to the street. Well. That was intense. With nothing else to do I went back to the snake crossroad and took the upper exit.
The new location was mainly a dog house with no exit. The dog offered some interaction although nothing worked. Not even petting him. I haven’t complained about the parser but let me do it here. Most of the items in the screen are not described in any way. If you type “Look” in any screen you get a general description and sometimes a list of the items in the room. However, this doesn’t work all the time. For example, you are not told that there is a cabinet in the kitchen. In this case, there were some sticks in the floor just in front of the dog house. I suspected as much, but couldn’t remember what the english word for “stick” was. So I spent some time trying to light what seemed like a camp fire until I looked up the word in a dictionary. This is just to say that I am very glad of leaving parsers behind and getting to interface that tell you what items can be interacted with. Even if they lead to pixel hunting. With the stick in my power, I just threw it and the dog left the dog house to allow me to get some dynamite. Mining time. Dwarf style.
|He’s not very dangerous. |
I wouldn’t be either having a house that is more than twice the needed size.
The dynamite allowed me to clean the cave below the wheel which put me in a four way crossroad. I feared another maze. I started with the room to the left which contained an arabic lamp. Aladdin style. I tried rubbing it but it didn’t work. I went back to the crossroad and then took the right exit this time and that took me to the bottom of a stair that went up to a trap door. The trap door was too heavy for Penelope and although I tried knocking and shouting no one opened for me. This seemed like a perfect opportunity for the sonic screwdriver but it let me down. Rubbing the lamp worked this time however and a genie appeared before me. A distant cousin of the guard in the first game I guess. He told me that he could help me escape but only if I paid him in bananas. I had a feeling about what lied in the north exit of the crossroad…
|If he sings “Friend like me” all is forgiven|
And surprising nobody, there was a banana in the last room of the caves. Behind a chasm. Great. Trying to jump over the river in the bridge screen had let me know that there is no jumping in this game. I was stuck. How can I possibly cross a chasm with the items I had at that moment? Was I dead ended? Well, lucky for me, I wasn’t. I noticed that some rocks were hiding the bottom of the chasm and remembering a particularly obnoxious puzzle in the first game trying to get out of the house basement by using a hidden pathway behind some rocks. I tried going to the bottom of the screen and Penelope was hidden behind the rocks. I tried passing by the chasm and… voilah!. Bananas!
|Note to game designers: Don’t do this|
The genie opened the trap door and I climbed up to a room with a mouse hole and a safe. The mouse hole was insensitive to my meddling but the safe surrendered to my sonic screwdriver. Inside, I found the will of poor uncle Horace. The magnifier glass allow me to read the fine print and I learned that Hugo was the only beneficiary. It seems like we are finally going to the murder mystery part of the game.
|My boyfriend is gonna be rich. The horror, indeed…|
I left the room and appeared in a hall with a lot of doors. The left one led me to the starting room. The one with the stairs and the door to Hugo and Penelope’s room. I used the door at the back of this room to access yet another hall with three closed doors. The first one was locked, but the second one was Auntie Hester’s room. She invited me to a drink, so she must be the Ethel of this game. I saw a paper on the table and when I tried to take it, the game told me that she wouldn’t allow it. So I accepted her invitation and she started preparing the drinks. I tried to take the paper while she was distracted but I was told it would be better to read them. Sadly, I didn’t have enough time. After reloading I managed to read the letter which was a life insurance document for uncle Horace.
|If you are anything like Ethel, don’t get close to any window|
|I have to admit I chuckled a little|
The next room was cousin Harry’s. He has a something about being the phantom of the Opera. With a huge organ included. I told him about his father’s murder and he started laughing like a maniac. Ok, nothing to do here…
|He is a maniac. Maaaniac on the floor.|
There were still some doors left in the hall where the door to the safe room was. I went back there and took the one at the back. The maiden was there in what appeared to be a dining room. She hid something in the cabinet behind her when she saw me enter and blocked the way. I couldn’t make her move so I left the room via the door on the left.
|She seems so innocent and not murderous in any way|
The kitchen again. But now it has a cook inside. With the description especially noting that the knife she was using was covered in blood. Red herrings, come at me!. But for the most part this room is also completely useless. Although I have to say it is a nice touch to reuse locations.
I tried the other door in the parlor and ended up in a room with a cat and… erm… something made out of stone? I’ve finished the game and I still don’t know what that is or how can I interact with it. The cat was more friendly although he was sleeping. I have to note here that there has been two things I have tried through the game in almost every room. The first one is ringing the bell. Which doesn’t do anything but in this room. It makes the maid come because she thinks uncle Horace is calling. I tried in other rooms but this was the only one that made the maid leave her outpost. The other is giving the catnip to things. Well, I haven’t tried to spam this. I tried to give the catnip to the dog and the message shown talked about a cat. It was confusing at the time and I even thought it was a joke or something. But it was clear now what to do. The only problem was how to do it. I tried tying the bell with the catnip, giving the bell, giving the catnip, using the catnip on the bell, etc… The only option was “rub catnip on bell”, and then giving the bell. I think it might be way too specific.
|So… any clue about what is this?|
With the maid out of the way I was able to get what she had hidden. An old photo album with pictures of Hugo as a child. There is one photo of Hugo with a young girl of the same age standing in front of a huge pointed tower and something about the girl strikes familiar. I’m guessing if it was a photo of Penelope she would recognize herself so I intended to show the album to every female in the game. And I couldn’t. I don’t know if there is a verb other than speak, talk, ask or show that works, but none of those got me anything. Lucky for me, the end game advanced quickly.
When I left the parlor I saw a police officer going into a room. I suspected that would be the end of the game so first I tried to show the album around with no success. Then I followed him. The room was full with all the characters in the game. Even the ****** snake. Everyone but Hugo and uncle Horace. Higgins presented himself and asked me the question: Who dunnit? And to be honest I had no idea who might have done it or how could I possibly have known. So I answered that Hester did and then Harry started to laugh and told me I had no idea. He started explaining the situation while Penelope decided to ignore him and started to wonder where Hugo had been during all of this.
|WHO dunnit. He. Did you catch that? Is it funny yet?|
He was in the laundry room, of course. Locked in more specifically. There was a newspaper with half the crossword solved and a pencil in the room. Looking through the keyhole of the only door in the room revealed the key was still inside. I slid the paper under the door and push the key with the pencil. When I left the room, I was greeted by uncle Horace who asked Hugo for help. He was rehearsing a mystery play in which he played the victim and Harry the murderer but they needed Hugo to play the investigator.
And that’s how the game ends. I guess. I mean, I ended up with 344 out of 350 points so it may be right, but somehow I feel like this is incomplete. I tried reloading and saying different names in the “whodunnit” part but I always get the same result. Maybe I’m giving the game too much credit by thinking it can’t end in such a random way that still leaves unanswered where Hugo and Horace have been during the whole game but… well… Any of you knows if there is another ending?