Saturday, 3 October 2015

Spellcasting 201: WON!

Written by Aperama

Ernie Eaglebeak's Journal #5
“Saved the world. Again. Well, probably.”

Ernie Eaglebeak's Journal #5 – Addendum
“So maybe I should give a little more info. Eve left me to go to Housewife U. I mean, dynamite girl and all, but really would have cramped my style. Hu Delta Phart accepted me in after I mooned the Queen of Balmoral. She didn't mind or anything – I even got her infamous Bubblewand for showing her a good time after she got me out of jail. I figured I'd take the last piece of the Appliance down before having an easy night – I was fairly sure we HDP pledges had all won our way in as I saw Sid freshly welding together the door to Gramma Eta Pi and had already heard of Gary parachuting into the middle of the funeral of Otto – were I writing this yesterday, I'd be saying I wish I coulda been there. So I attach the Bubblewand.. and there's Chris Cowpatty and Professor Hiddenmolar standing in front of me. Only it's not Hiddenmolar – it's Joey Rottenwood! Bastard was trying his best to make his way back into taking charge of Sorcerer U again, shut the entire campus down. Thankfully, I still had a few tricks up my sleeve. Rottenwood removed the Bubblewand, but he also set the Appliance so I could assume the identity of Professor Moldybreadcrust, not resetting it. Arrogant bastard! UGUGOOWAH served me well as I slipped through the sewers underneath the lab in Ivorytower and quickly made my way up to the Trustees Room while the Appliance was still taking effect. When I was confronted with Otto Tickingclock's perfectly preserved body, I thought of what the Bubblewand left as an imprint when I attached it the first time – 'necromancy'. I loaded Otto onto the pastry cart, pinched the Bubblewand back from Rottenwood on the way, DEPLUMITed my way back down to the Appliance.. bam. Instant Dean. Now this time, we've got to keep Rottenwood GONE! Oh, and Chris Cowpatty got dumped by HDP. Bonus!”

Step 1: Find my way off campus!

I'm pretty well glad to have reached another WON! post at this point – there was more than a little bit of maze-running tedium involved until I realised the value of one or two of my spells. I guessed wrong in a couple of areas which really slowed me up – but I have to say that when reading things as they're meant to play out, the gameplay is extremely solid. The lack of a visual medium has really bitten this game in the butt once or twice, particularly with the non-scrollable parser. By just adding in a scroll bar the game would be so much better! I mean, having to re-read scripts of text files to realise that you've hit 'enter' once too many times and lost entire lines of exposition is really kinda annoying (I missed a key item by hitting 'enter' one too many times in my first encounter with the Queen of Balmoral). I'd painted myself up against a wall a bit elsewhere – somehow, my Simpleberry Bush from a few play posts ago had ended up at the ends of the sewers, and the game won't let you fabricate a second one. (I actually thought it was necessary to have the Space Quest 2-reminiscent 'hell hound whistle' work). The problem is that without it, I can't get past the guard at Tappa Kegga Bru.. which is the easiest way back to the processing plant to get the bush. Also, the 'locator goggles' disappear and land back in the TKB square as soon as you enter the room.. argh. Thankfully, the game actually depends upon later access to the sewers between the DEPLUMIT spell (descending) and UGUGOOWAH (constipation – it stops the 'active nodes' from swirling you around), so I was able to retrieve it for its actual use later on. Anyway. On with the plot!

Sid really gets all of the fun assignments

First, the news. Funeral dressing tips? Not so interesting. Brokenlinks leaves the race? Okay, that's a little moreso. Turns out that a group of hellhounds attacked his wife late Thursday evening. A filler story about the opening game of the Pokkaball season comes on in 'sports', but the 'editorial' seems awfully biased, stating that Moldybreadcrust seems a poor choice for Dean 'as he's so good at his present job' leaving Hiddenmolar as the only contender. I also made a note that I found a mortar chisel in Hiddenmolar's desk last play post? Today, a 'hellhound whistle' – I kicked myself as soon as I realised that it was clear that he was knocking out the other candidates for the race to become Dean. My assignment for the day led to leaving S-U for the day, with Eve having left a note stating that she's going to Housewife U to be a better match for me. Hooray! In the other consistently changing section for the day, the power du jour is 'identity assumption'. I would love it if this one came with a manual, because the only way I managed to work it out was by blind messing around. Thankfully, G-7 (on dials that go from A-L and 1-12), conveniently hit when you turn each dial by one notch, creates a fuzzy imprint of the cafeteria worker from S-U – who is allowed to go and come as he pleases. (Is there some trick to this, or did I hit on the right method of 'random is best'?) A quick jaunt down and lo and behold.. we're in Balmoral City!

The writing in this game really can always make you laugh

Balmoral City is really quite small – at least, the areas that the game will allow us to visit. There's the outskirts, the marketplace (where the townsfolk talk about pushing in to be able to get a chance to get tickets to the royal parade we've got to attend), the jail, the palace grounds (inaccessible without a ticket) and a small shrine to Saint (or is it a god?) Balmoral, the namesake of the town. And finally.. the tavern, where Ernie's old fling Lola Tigerbelly resides as the local barmaid. She barely remembers Ernie, but hasn't changed at all since the previous game (save the fact that her hair is now a touch more voluminous), only really caring about money and shopping. And she has a ticket to the parade! I worked out pretty quickly that we might be able to steal a few coins from the shrine area, but couldn't work out how to do it until just 'casting all of my spells' – DEPLUMITing underneath the fountain and finding the royal treasury of Balmoral along with a KWELP spell box - summoning someone using their likeness (e.g. a statue or what have you). So naturally, we use our Leisure Suit Larry-esque adventure gamer pockets, pick up the majority of the treasury and take it back to Lola who immediately decides it's time for a shopping spree, leaving us with one muddy coin from our haul and the tickets to the royal parade.

I had only just complained the other day about them not explaining what happened to Lola...

This game has had virtually nothing to say every time I ask people about other people or things. I'm sure they realised that by this point

The worst thing about Ernie having adventure game pockets is that he's only wearing a cloak and glasses – how many pockets can you fit in a cloak? Yeah, I know. Magic.

With our tickets available, I thought about how we'd be escaping town almost immediately – and I have to say that it wasn't at all what I'd expected. Instead of a chase scene, upon mooning Queen Libido of Balmoral, we're immediately arrested with a gallows being built up for our immediate execution in an hour and a half. Yikes! The prison cell has a minimum of amenities, with a sink and a nasty bed – strangely, the sink has both a cold and a hot water tap, but the hot water tap is busted. (A prison with running hot water for individual cells!) The moment I saw this, I just knew that they really wanted to make a plumbing simulator instead of the game they ended up with – I'm surprised that there were no puzzles that involved turning pipes until they all linked together to the end. As it seemed so outlandish, I realised I'd need to use the hot water somehow. It turns out that the KWELP spell only works with clear images, as I had to clean up the coin with Queen Libido's image on it to summon her into my jail cell.. turns out that she actually quite enjoyed the view of Ernie's behind, and immediately saw him free of our cell to give the first well-reasoned finding of a Sorcerer's Appliance piece in the Bubblewand of Balmoral. Pinching it from her royal quarters, she even gives a clue that the day actually ends Friday (I tried going to sleep without attaching the last piece and got an end-game where Chris Cowpatty came at me with a katana in my first attempt at ending this post!)

I'm not sure what I'm more offended by – that this is the highest point scoring action in the game, or that we're not even given a chance to run

Don't listen to her, Ernie! She's only interested in you because she thinks you're a plumber! (Wait, when did she change out of her red from the parade?)

Yes, I really ignored the 'endgame to complete' bit in favor of some sleep

Which is a happy thing, because I love the 'series of hi-res EGA pictures' line

The sixth and final Attachment to the Sorcerer's Appliance gives it a new power – 'necromancy'. See, Hiddenmolar (Rottenwood)'s plan is to work with Chris Cowpatty in getting rid of Ernie. In truth, he wants to do far worse (disbanding Spellcasting U once receiving the Dean's Presidential Orb of Power) – but Cowpatty is just seeing the chance to get rid of who he sees as an enormous twerp. Makes sense, I suppose, even though the hatred remains completely unexplained. Rottenwood does the typical Bond villain thing and leaves Ernie locked in a room with several means of escaping and all of his powers intact save taking away the Bubblewand of Balmoral from the Appliance (why he wants to stop Ernie from reviving the dead is somewhat beyond me – assuredly removing all of them would make more sense). He knows how to use the 'identity assumption' attachment far better than I, emerging as Professor Moldybreadcrust with the plan of removing 'himself' (Moldybreadcrust) from the Dean race and winning by default... thankfully, he leaves the Appliance set to the same so that I can jump in straight after him and emerge as Moldybreadcrust also. The lab room has a manhole, but traipsing through the sewers would simply take too long – thankfully, as I mentioned earlier, the UGUGOOWAH spell allows one to exit down in the Student Union pub in two turns instead of spending literal hours in the dark (unless you had the firefly freshly hatched and handy) and gives plenty of time to work out how to defeat Rottenwood. It has to be done fairly quickly – no more key to the Appliance room means that whatever is to be done with the power, it has to be done before the effect from the Appliance moulding Ernie's flesh into Moldybreadcrust's wears off.

No, Mr. Eaglebeak, I expect you to die!

'Ugugoowah' – say that five times fast

I'd been staring at the new addition of the 'trustees room' and the dumbwaiter setup for quite a while, with the pastry cart/dumbwaiter setup always seeming a touch strange to me as Ernie wouldn't fit on it (I was expecting to have to hide in it to sneak in). Besides, pastry? All I could ever get out of the cafeteria was terrible casserole! Whilst still pretending to be Professor Moldybreadcrust, though, the cart can be wheeled up past the trustees mid-deliberation in order to allow Ernie a chance to be by the still-lifeless corpse of Dean Tickingclock. There are two issues – one, the trustees room (and the room holding the Presidential Orb of Power which Hiddenmolar is after so fervently) is guarded against magic.. and two, regular students aren't meant to be inside it anyhow. Thankfully, the Simpleberry Shrub along with the bedsheet from our room solves this issue when Ernie's power runs out just on entering the room. I was still puzzling as to how exactly we were going to get the Bubblewand of Balmoral back from Rottenwood who was still in the Trustee's room, clasping his hands together (the body is clearly the answer – you can't interact with the Trustees even transformed and the Dean's Orb just shocks you).. until I tried taking it from him. 'You pickpocket the Bubblewand of Balmoral from Joey Rottenwood'. O-kay then! DEPLUMITing both the cart and myself out of the dumbwaiter room, then down into the Appliance room (DEPLUMIT allows you to go straight through solid floors, which I really wish I'd realised earlier than the fountain in Balmoral), it's just a quick reattachment of the Bubblewand and a lever pulled.. and Spellcasting 201 is ka-put!






Session Time: 1 hour 30 mins
Total Time: 9 hours

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: You can spoil the game all you want, now. I mean, if you think you can, go for it! I'd be very impressed. Thanks!

6 comments:

  1. Congratulations for passing yet another game!

    "(Is there some trick to this, or did I hit on the right method of 'random is best'?"

    The alphabets and the numbers represent positions on the university map (check out the sewer maps to see what I mean). The trick is to find a spot with some non-student so that you can take his appearance. There are several possibilities.

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    1. Ah, of course! I feel ashamed that the overlay of 'A-L, 1-12' didn't click in my head. I probably would have worked it out if randomly going up by sequences of one in each side hadn't worked out. Bizarre that B-2 didn't turn me into Hillary Tickingclock, then.

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  2. Looks like some fans have put together a live-action "Monkey Island" short film:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LYWL8V_qNo&feature=youtu.be

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    1. Interesting. Not very good but I love the effort and obvious love that went into it.

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  3. Y'know, I was wondering previously when I was playing this game... why do all my pledge assignments sound so mundane and easily achievable (made tougher only through Cowpatty's meddling) but the other pledges' tasks sound so darn daunting but fun?

    What's worse, they all did it anyway and with seemingly relative ease too. Makes me feel bloody inept. Anyway, can't wait for Spring Break!

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