Friday, 4 November 2016

Hugo III - Welcome to the Jungle

By Deimar

Hugo Journal Entry #1: "So much for going home. Penelope and I just got stranded somewhere in a jungle. No idea where, as there are no jungles between England and the US. That storm must have really messed with our plane instruments, so we could be anywhere in South America, Asia or even another planet. Penelope says it wouldn’t be the first time one of us is in another planet actually. In any case, we are now in the middle of nowhere. Penelope has gone exploring while I change into my jungle suit. Yes, I don’t know why I was wearing a jungle suit. A present from uncle Horace? Wait… is that Penelope shouting? I guess I will check as soon as I’m finished with my change of clothes and writing this diary"

So, when we first take control of Hugo we have Penelope poisoned lying on the ground and a native telling me to go to the left as there is not much time left and that I have to find some magic water in a secret garden behind a waterfall. Sounds interesting, too bad I am not one to hurry and that there was something fishy with the urgency, so I decided to exit the screen to the right to find the place where the plane crashed. Sadly, I was unable to find anything there even after looking into the plane. Feeling a bit more foolish, I decided to take the girl’s advice and go left.


Yes. That is in fact a bare breast. Not so kid friendly after all.


After walking one screen with nothing else but trees I reached a bridge across a chasm over a stream. And here we can already see the usual quirks that characterize a Hugo game. The first one is that the bridge can’t be crossed because Hugo is afraid it won’t support his weight. The second is that you can actually walk behind and in front of the bridge. And I dare you to tell me if you would have guessed so looking at the screenshot. At this point I was starting to feel shivers down my spine remembering the infamous bridge in Hugo 2. After trying to walk over the bridge carefully, jumping and even going back to see if I had already missed something I stumbled upon the solution. You see, if you type “look at plants” in any screen you get a very sarcastic message saying that there are a lot of vines, plants and the like in every screen in the game. Although I think it is kind of unintuitive using things that are described as basically just decoration, I tried to emulate Tarzan and cross the chasm using the vines and the game asked me what would I use them on. So I started trying to use the vines I couldn’t take on the bridge changing verbs until I tried “tie vines to bridge” and it worked. I guess it is not that bad for Hugo standards. And you can’t die, so that’s a plus.

Well, at least it doesn’t seem like there is an easy way of avoiding crossing the bridge this time

After crossing the bridge, it collapses down to the stream, leaving Hugo locked on that side of the jungle. It is not a very big jungle, but it has its charm. The jungle is composed by about 8 screens that are interconnected forming a circumference. The first screen after the bridge is a crossroad with the upper left part of the circumference. It is mostly empty, but for a scroll from an old man looking for his crystal ball, apparently containing a lot of power, that he lost near a big boulder next to the road. Quite specific for having lost it. Going clockwise from this screen takes you to a river full of piranhas. Surprisingly, you can’t die there. In fact, I am very surprised by the small amount of deaths you can suffer in this game.


Tis but a scratch!

Going the other way around you get to see the rest of the jungle. First a few screens with nothing to see. One jungle screen with lots of trees and a small golden bell. A waterfall which must be the one the native girl mentioned that can’t be crossed. If you look in this screen you get a strange message regarding the stream producing the waterfall being next to the elephant. Next is a cave guarded by a spirit. There was nothing I could do here, but trying to banish the spirit told me that I was missing some ingredients. Something to remember.


Haven’t we met this ghost before? I can’t quite put my finger on it…

Next we get to the infamous boulder. I tried looking for the magic crystal ball with no luck at all. Even after trying to dig around the boulder. Moving on I got to a village, probably home to the girl helping Penelope. I have to say this is by far the prettiest Hugo game, even if most of it are jungle screens full of trees. The village really seems alive. First you get to see it from a distance and when you enter it there are a lot of people doing things. The don’t interact that much with you, but it is refreshing to see all the effort put into making the game more interesting that empty screens with a single object in them. Well, yes, that is still a problem in this game, but at least it doesn’t hurt my eyes. If we discount Hugo’s bright yellow trousers and hat.


This could be straight out of Tintin in the Congo

Some natives are preparing their meal, while there are others at the back playing with blowpipes and you can even see the witch doctor through his hut’s window. One of them even starts following you and force feeding you some exposition. She, subtle as a battering ram, says that Hugo shouldn’t go into the witch doctor’s hut, that they are fed up with the taste of their food and that usually strangers give them something in exchange for a present. If that was not subtle enough, the guys with the blowpipes just straight tell you that you should give them something in exchange for one blowpipe. I tried giving them the bell and the scroll but to no effect. Going into the witch doctor’s hut leads to a dead end, as he traps you in a wooden cell he has in his hut and there was nothing I could do to escape. I did notice that there was a rat, a cage and a golden candle I could interact with as soon as I was able to get off the jail.


The witch doctor is fully committed to his role as the only cannibal in the tribe.
He has everything he needs: a cell, a giant pot…

Following the road across the jungle I got to a screen with the infamous elephant. Infamous because even the look command states that the author is fully aware that there are no elephants in the Amazon and that this one must have escaped from a zoo. The next screen takes us to the other side of the river full of piranhas, closing the circumference. It was at this screen that I realized two things. The first one is that this must be the stream that leads to the waterfall. The second one is that I could try to cross the river swinging from vine to vine as I tried in the bridge before. And this time it worked. You don’t get anything but for a few points and tones (almost the only sound up till now) and a way to get all the way around to the beginning.

At this point I was kind of lost at what to do. I didn’t think I had missed anything but didn’t have any puzzle I felt I could tackle at the moment. As I had dedicated some time already to beat the ghost and escape from the witch doctor’s hut I decided to try and find the ball next to the boulder. After having tried some verbs like push, dig, look around and the like, I noticed that you could go behind it. That didn’t do the trick however gave me the idea to type “look behind the boulder”. I think I would have preferred for it to be hidden behind the boulder and that you could only take it after going behind.


I don’t think you could have missed anything that big, even if it is behind a boulder…

Looking at the ball just said it was cloudy, and trying to scry has no effect either, so I started going around trying to give/use the ball on everything with no luck. I discovered you can drop objects, and that they appear in the screen, which is a nice touch. However, that didn’t solve the problem. I was starting to feel a bit uneasy, as I had very few items and I was not seeing how any of them could help me solve the puzzles in front of me. I was getting so desperate that I even read the manual again, even considering it is a word document with barely 7 pages, none of the them especially useful. So I returned my focus to the objects in my inventory and it just dawned on me that maybe “cloudy”  meant the crystal ball was simply dirty. I acknowledge that maybe it is more obvious for a native speaker, but when I read cloudy referring to a crystal ball I just assumed it was showing... well… clouds. To be honest, I am not even sure it does make reference to it being dirty. But I tried cleaning the ball and it showed Hugo getting into a plane. I just spent several seconds changing between feeling foolish for not having tried “get into the plane” and kind of proud for having discovered what I think is the in-game hint system. Which meant I had even less useful items in my possession. Lucky I was dead-ended and had to restart again? Let’s see in the next episode!

Session Time: 1 hours 43 minutes
Total Time: 1 hours 43 minutes

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!

4 comments:

  1. Interesting. So far, this seems to be a significant cut above both of its predecessors. (Not that they set the bar very high.)

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  2. So that's what the crystal ball was for! I wondered what purpose it had...

    That said, I've played the game already, but I had to look up for a walkthrough for one obtuse puzzle (jub ba Rnegu hfrf gur jbeq RSSVTL?). Beside that one puzzle and the tendency to put some items to places where you can't really see them (like behind the boulder), the game was a lot more tolerable than Hugo I or II. Heck, there was no maze, no difficult bridges to cross and not even an unfair trivia question! The puzzle with the ryrcunag was even a bit innovative.

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  3. Having multiple screens with very little interactivity isn't necessarily a bad thing (LOOM being a great example of that sort of minimalism), but here it does seem like a bit of a waste. Still, it's a big improvement over the previous games.

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  4. I would have thought that a bare breast is kid friendly on account of, you know, its purpose being feeding them.

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