Monday, 14 December 2015

Missed Classic: Dungeon Adventure - Orc heads and rat tails

By Ilmari

Looter's journal, day 2 - Ma always told me not to eat any weird mushrooms, and boy was she wrong! Never have I felt so high in my life, walking on this golden path to a wonderland with giant ants and sleeping trolls. 

Last time I had just searched the countryside thoroughly, and when the sun started to go down, I went inside the dungeon, through the mouth of an orc statue, carved on the mountain. Now, Dungeon Adventure is one of those old-fashioned games, in which you don't want to stay too long in dark caverns - you are not eaten by a grue, but killed by a ghoul, this time. Getting light was pretty easy. I had a piece of a driftwood and dungeon room had a jet of flame, so all I had to do was light the wood. Problem is that the driftwood burns only for a finite number of turns, after which it is all gone. Thus, I haven't even been able to do everything I could in one go. Either I am going to find another light source somewhere or then I shall have to time my movements really carefully.

The trouble with such almost plotless games, based on nothing else but treasure seeking, is that there's no easy way to describe what has been happening. I have therefore decided to divide my account according to different areas I've been to,

Cylindrical room and its immediate environments

Cylindrical room was the first place I found after going through the lighted entrance of the dungeon. Here I learned a useful thing. The cylindrical room is explicitly said to have exits in eight directions. While the two previous games had used only cardinal directions (and UP, DOWN, IN and OUT), this game has need also for the intermediate directions.

The room also had a red pedestal. It took me a while to understand what these pedestals were and how they were to be used, but they are rather crucial to the game, so I'll tell it all now. I've discovered seven pedestals thus far: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet and silver. With the exception of the silver, all of these are marked by colours of rainbow. The pedestals all lie within or above the dungeon, with the exception of the green pedestal, which lies in a marble tower I could see, but not reach at one point outside the dungeon (the tower doesn't contain anything else, so I'll ignore it for the rest of the post).

Corresponding to the pedestals, I've found five collars, from red to blue, With the aid of the collars, the pedestals can be used as teleports. You just need to stand on a pedestal, say the name of the pedestal where you want to transport to and wear a collar of a similar or higher colour - and higher means here lower in a rainbow, silver probably beating all other colours. Thus, wearing green collar, I could transport to red, orange, yellow or green pedestal, but not to blue, violet or silver pedestal. As far as I see, there's no necessity for using the pedestals, they just provide the player with quick pathways across the map.

Let's go through the exits of the cylindrical room one by one.

  • South: That's where I came in
  • Southwest: Apparently only archers are allowed here. Luckily, I managed to find a bow through another exit and the door let me through. The exit leads to what I call The Stoneface Area.
  • West: This is just a long room. In the one end, I found a corpse, which carried an orange collar and the bow I required for the Southwest door. In the other end, I found a strange cube that sticks with anything metal,
  • Northwest: Dead end with a strange octopus figurine.
  • North: This door is marked with an image of a pride of lions. Going through it seems to get me killed, no matter what I do.
  • Northeast: This room stayed dark, even if I was carrying the burning driftwood. I eventually had to succumb and take a hint. Apparently carrying an octopus figure was the trick.

    Right, great pun. I've never heard the phrase "many hands make light work" before this - and it is a bit unfair to use such culturally specific hints. Even more problematic is that there's no indication that this phrase has something to do with the puzzle before you've solved it. All in all, not a very good problem, but at least it rewarded me with a staff of polished bone and a yellow collar.
  • East: Immediately after the doorway, there's just an empty stable.

    You'd think the armies of Dark Lord would need bigger stables for their cavalry

    Beyond the stable was a haystack, and with the help of the magnetic cube, I managed to found a precious needle in it.
  • Southeast: This door said at first that I was not authorised to pass, but when I wore a collar, it let me through to what I call The Jelly Area.
The Jelly Area

After getting out of the cylindrical room, through the door requiring authorisation, I found a junction. The eastern path was blocked by a stone slab, but pushing some buttons let me through. In the next room, I found my path was blocked by some moss. Also, there was a rolling boulder, which wasn't obviously collecting moss. Stopping it, cleared all the moss from my pathway, which led me to a room made out of stone, which contained a sword.

These look more like ostrich eggs than rocks

If I instead chose the other available direction, northeast, I arrived at a room containing some jelly. Because the room was similarly central as the cylindrical room, I named the whole area after it. So what was there to worry about some jelly? Well, it was apparently carnivorous. Luckily, I had been carrying this corpse, which the jelly beast gladly devoured.

The most important exit from the jelly room was western, which led me to yellow pedestal and cells of the dungeon.

Cells contained some important items: a rancid potato and a cracked pot, which broke, if I happened to drop it.

Forced to scour the trashes of former inmates
At the end of the cell area, there was a cupboard containing a hollow stick, a blue collar and a jar of enchanted cold cream. The corridor then continued to The Stoneface Area.

Let's return to the jelly room. Other important exits were:

  • Southwest: A looted toolroom containing a hammer and a bag of nails.
  • East: Corridor leading to a junction guarded by a rat. This was also a place I had to take a hint. Apparently carrying the sliver of potato frightened the poor creature. I have no idea what this puzzle was all about. All I found out when googling "rat and potato" was some really gross pictures of deep fried rat, served with chips. Yuck!
  • Up: The jelly room contained chimney I could climb. There was a hot alcove, with deadly fire elementals, but wearing the enchanted cold cream made them harmless. Within the alcove I found a sun medallion.

    Down with oppressive chimneys!
  • North: A tunnel led to a cavern with some evil green toadstools and liquid slime that I could carry in my cracked pot.

    Producers sure like mushrooms.
    You'll be seeing lot of them soon.

    I could also follow steps up from this cavern, getting first to the entrance of The Mushroom Zone and then to The Aqueduct.
The Mushroom Zone

The entrance to what I call The Mushroom Zone was on a wide ledge, to the north of which was a rotten bridge I did not dare to cross. The ledge contained also some psychedelic mushrooms.

Well, why not, this is just a realistic simulation of life, what harm could eating strange mushrooms do to you? At best I might even get a funny death message. My surprise was great, when the rotting bridge was transformed into a golden bridge. And into a bridge that could hold my weight and not fall down, although it really was rotten still. Yeah, I guess there's no way to rationalise this puzzle, so let's just take it granted and move along.

On the golden pathway, I found an obligatory bridge troll that demanded one of my treasures. I gave him something to take home, which wasn't far away, just on the other side of the bridge. Unfortunately, the troll didn't want me to crash in, but commanded me to continue somewhere else.

Going somewhat deeper to this strange part of the dungeon I found another bridge, leading me finally to a fissure that was too small for me to get through. On my way back, I noticed that I kept bumping to some invisible objects. "Probably some mushrooms", I thought and tried to eat them. Surprisingly, I was right and I was also myself turned invisible.

The invisibility lasted only for few turns, but it was just enough to visit the troll's lair and get all the valuables he had taken from me. I also found a red collar and some rare spices.

He has probably taken a one mushroom too many

Between the troll lair and the sturdy bridge I found a pathway downwards. Guess what I found there!

More mushrooms!

I saw tiny footprints going north, but when I tried to follow them, some ants stopped me. Yes, they happened to be giant ants, probably looking their way to some other game. With nothing else to do, I decided to taste the mushrooms. I shrank, and all my stuff dropped. Luckily The Mushroom Zone is full of light, so I didn't need any light source.

When I now went north, the ants didn't even notice me. Going further north, I found yet another mushroom. Eating it once, returned me into my normal size, eating it twice, made me into a giant, who could easily crush the tiny ants into oblivion.

I now had the ability to change my size, and it was pretty obvious what I should so. Making myself a lilliput, I was able to enter the fissure, which previously was too tiny for me. At the other end, I found a treasure room.

If I had a "narrow crack" like that in a room, I'd think twice before holding treasures in it

Unfortunately, I didn't have enough strength to carry the chest with me. I could unbolt the door, but all the rooms beyond were dark. Fortunately, I already had a good idea, where I would find the other side. I would just have to go and eat the other mushroom, leave The Mushroom Zone and go to

The Aqueduct

The Aqueduct is pretty much what it says it is. At the other end, you can find a silver pedestal and a locked door. And it just happened to be the door I had just opened from the other direction, so I could go and pick up the treasure chest.

The Aqueduct leads also to something called the Central Dungeon, which I haven't yet mapped properly. It appears to be some sort of devilish puzzle, where you have to collect a sufficient number of jewels, before you can leave. I suppose I'll be heading there in the next post. In the meantime, let's try another direction from the Cylindrical Room.

The Stoneface Area

Going southwest from the Cylindrical Room was limited only to archers, but I got past that problem by carrying a bow with me. Immediately after the doorway I was stopped by a bunch of skeletons. This was also a puzzle where I had to carry the right item with me and this time it was the staff of polished bone. Immediately, the skeletons started speaking - or perhaps speaking is the wrong term...

Somehow the idea of skeletons waving flags just cracks me up

Waving the staff made the skeletons go away, and the dwarf was very grateful. She - yes, she is consistently referred to with a female pronoun and she has a beard. Anyway, she offered to show me a place with some valuable ore, which was hidden somewhere upwards. She then started to follow me, at least if I didn't wander very far.

The room I was in had again a number of possible exits. At one exit, I found an orange pedestal. Another exit I couldn't approach, because someone kept throwing flints at me. Luckily, I could get the flint thrower out of business with the sleep inducing wand I had found outside. Now, I could find a green collar and a chair.

Through one exit, I found a dragon, which I could kill with my sword. Both my sword and the dragon faded away after that, and I could take dragon's teeth and its golden bed. Following this tunnel, I could go to either eye socket. Yes, I was apparently now in tunnels behind the upper parts of that orc face. I guess the insistence that I should carry a bow makes now some sense - these tunnels were probably meant for archers, who could shoot all intruders from those eye sockets.

Seen through the eyes of an orc

The ear canals of the stone face were guarded by a vampire. Luckily it was scared of my crucifix. I also found nearby a cross, which was pointy enough to kill it.

The left ear was the only place I could crawl out - other openings were blocked by stones or then I just dropped to ground, if I tried to get out through them. Through the left ear I got to the cheek of the orc and then to its nose.

An earworm coming out

The nose had what appeared to be a pimple. Actually it was a house, filled with wights, which would have killed me, if I had not had the crucifix and the cross - and even then I had to fight them off each turn. In the middle of the wight house was a blue pedestal and at back wall an alcove. The alcove contained a precious trident and a coffin, which was slightly open. If I just tried to take the trident, a zombie came out of the coffin and killed me. If I had hammer and nails with me, I could shut the zombie in coffin forever.

The teleport pedestals look ridiculously small

Getting back to the face, I could climb the nose up, which led me to

The Stairs

At the bottom of the stairs there was a smooth rock dome, with a goat guarding a horn. I probably might have figured this out on my own, but I was getting a bit frustrated at one point, so I looked at the clue sheet. If I dropped a pot full of slime anywhere, the pot shattered and the place became slippery. So, when I did that here, the goat couldn't prance to me, but slipped and fell of the cliff. Examining the horn, I found out that blowing into it would scare all my enemies.

Unlike in Cirith Ungol, there were first windy stairs. At irregular intervals, I could hear boulders falling from above. Luckily, there were safe gullys, where I could wait a boulder to pass me.

When I came to the end of the winding stairs with the dwarf, she immediately saw a hidden pathway to a cave of glistering rock, in which I could find some precious ore. The cave continued to The Aqueduct.

The rocks shone with beautiful brown radiance

After the winding stairs, there were the straight stairs, and at the top of those, a gatehouse. Guards demanded a password, what could it be?

Orcs managed to pick the second worst password

After the gatehouse, I found an archway with the violet pedestal, and beyond that, a bridge leading to the Black Tower. If only the door would be open...

I don't remember any bridge from the previous game, but perhaps this is from a different angle

And that's pretty much where I am now. Major unresolved problems are:

  • Mapping the central dungeon
  • Finding another light source
  • Opening the black tower
The dungeon parts have been a bit of a letdown, because I have been forced to check on the clue sheet quite many times, and often it has been a problem in the puzzles and not in the puzzle solver. I hope the last parts of the dungeon won't be as bad.

Session time: 6 hours
Total time: 8 hours

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points:
There’s a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!


  1. Wow, a lot of common English sayings to trip up non-fluent speakers (many hands make light work, needle in a haystack, a rolling stone gathers no moss, etc).

    I think I might have mentioned this before, but I've got a code for Chronicles of Riddick from GOG that I don't want. It's going to expire in less than two days. If anyone would like it, let me know.

    1. Yeah, the puzzles have certainly taken a turn to the worse. "Needle in a haystack" is probably the most familiar saying and even that might trip someone.

    2. "Many hands make light work" doesn't even make sense even if you disregard the bad pun. An octopus doesn't have hands!

    3. Or is its whole body a single hand with eight fingers?

      Does anyone else think an octopus should be a cat with eight legs? Who named these animals anyway? I want to have serious words with the person who named the centipede.

  2. I'm glad someone is tackling these games. Man, they look more like chores than games.

    1. Well, they do have their own charm, if you just don't try to take them seriously and keep clues close to you while playing.