Where we left off: It's always important to be Karmically clean
At the end of last post, I was just about to switch back to Melissa and Leslie on Mars, confident that I now knew how to open one of the doors that had previously barred my way. I did exactly that, and it wasn’t long before I had Melissa and Leslie pressing the 3 – 1 – 2 combination on the door with the buttons on it. The door opened, leaving me with a real sense of satisfaction! The chamber inside was massive! I walked the length of it to see what there was to look at before trying anything in particular, and found three “massive doors” and two “huge statues”. It struck me immediately that the two statues were of the same being as the statue I’d found previously in Mexico City.
"Should we be doing this? I think someone's watching us!"
Hmmmm...I've seen that statue before!
With that done, it was time to focus on the doors. Each of them had a face on it, and they also had a pedestal just to the left of them. Further investigations made me aware that two out of the three pedestals had blue crystal spheres at their peak, whereas the other one didn’t. That had to mean something! I positioned myself in front of the first door and tried to get the blue crystal, only to be told I couldn’t reach it. I placed the ladder in front of it and tried again. Touching it caused a wacky electronic tune to play, which in turn caused the door to open. Another small but significant victory! I walked inside to find myself in complete darkness.
Herenow noizbop! It's waycool earstuff!
I remembered that Melissa had a flashlight in her inventory, which I’d found in the hostel locker, so I moved her into the dark room and switched it on. It allowed me to see, but I had to move the light around the room to get a full picture of my surroundings. It soon became very apparent that I was in yet another maze, and I can’t say I was very happy about it. Given the darkness, and that there was no real sense of space apart from estimations, I once again struggled to form a map. As soon as I was able to map out the square perimeter, I was much more confident. I’m very glad I managed to do it this time, as unlike every other maze I’ve made it through in Zak McKracken so far, this one had two rooms of interest!
Maybe if I close my eyes, the maze won't be there anymore!
At least I assume they’re both of interest. The first one I came across had a large machine in it (which scaredy-cat Melissa wouldn’t go near, so I had to get Leslie), with levers that control temperature and air pressure. If I switched both levers to the up position, the machine whirred into action, and I was informed that “the temperature is quite nice, and the air pressure is comfortable.” I had no idea why I might have done this, or whether or not there was any reason I might want to make things cold or uncomfortable, so I decided to leave it with both switched on. Actually, while I’m writing this post, I’ve suddenly realised that the whole purpose of the machine is to make the great chamber have breathable air! I can’t believe that didn’t cross my mind earlier!
Only martian technology could create an air conditioner that was just the right temperature
The second room of interest was a room with a large map. The map had five yellow markers on it, but I didn’t seem to be able to interact with it in any way. I didn’t recognise the landmass either, but that’s likely to be my geographical retardation coming to the fore once again. The carving just to the right of the map sure looked familiar though! It was the sphinx, and just below it was the symbol I needed to progress in Egypt. Happy days! Figuring out how to get into the chamber on Mars had resulted in me discovering both symbols, which was exactly what I was hoping would come to pass. I couldn’t make my map make exact structural sense, but I was fairly happy that I’d found what I needed to find. I moved onto door number two!
Oh God! Please don't make this a geography test!
This was the door where the pedestal didn’t have a blue crystal atop it, which meant I wasn’t going to be able to open the door the way I had with the first one. When I’d used the crystal to open the first door, the game had made a real point of describing the “music” that had been emitted at the time, making me think this could finally be the puzzle that required recording with the boom box. I took both Leslie and Melissa to the first pedestal, and then set the boom box to record in Melissa’s possession while Leslie used the crystal. I then took the boom box to the empty pedestal, played back the recording, and watched the door open with a smug grin on my face. Puzzle solved, but I really hoped there wasn’t another maze awaiting me inside!
Yeah you love this shit don't ya!
While it initially looked like there would be another maze, I was delighted to find that the second door led to a single pitch black hall which in turn led onto a chamber. In the chamber was another statue, with this one having a small ankh sitting above its right hand. Unlike the crystals, I simply walked up to the statue and picked up the ankh, which came as a bit of a surprise. There was nothing else in the chamber, so I walked out the way I entered and moved onto door number three. I played the recorded tune again to open this door as well, but looking at my screenshots, there’s every chance I would have just been able to use the ladder and the crystal. Either way, I soon found myself in yet another dark hallway followed by yet another chamber. This one was far more interesting though!
You're just going to let me walk up and take it? What's the catch here?!
Within it was some sort of machine that kind of looked like the chair containing the dead alien in the original Alien movie! In front of it was a glass tube that looked capable of holding a man, and on the wall were two keys of differing sizes. Between me and all of the above was a dividing wall, but just next to the wall was a panel with the shape of an ankh on it. Well, I just so happened to have an ankh, so I used it on the panel and the wall moved aside. A little bit of pixel hunting revealed a small button on the back of the machine and after pressing it, I realised it wasn’t a chair at all. It was a projector! An image of an alien (the same alien from my dream) appeared in the tube, and this is what he had to say:
What this room needs is a really oversized key...oh look!
“Greetings! Our race departed this dimension fifty millennia ago. We, the Skolarians, were your guardians. We knew of the corrupt Caponians and took steps to protect you. They will subvert the Earth with their deadly machines. We sent you dreams to lead you here. You must construct our device to neutralize the Caponian menace. Use these keys to obtain the Power Crystal. Hurry, before they stop you.” Right, so the device that Annie and I are trying to piece together will somehow stop the Caponians from making all of humanity stupider. I take it the power crystal is the third crystal I need, and I also assume that it will be found somewhere in the pyramid on Mars. I grabbed the two keys, hoping that one of them would open the pyramid door, but the larger one crumbled at my touch!
So...you left fifty millenia ago...but before you did, you built a machine that would communicate with beings that hadn't even been created yet...on another planet altogether. I see!
Damn it! I knew instinctually that the big key was going to be the one I needed to open the pyramid door, and a quick visit to the pyramid confirmed that to be the case. I had no choice but to take the small key and move Melissa and Leslie back to the hostel while I used Zak and Annie to collect the second piece of the yellow crystal from Mexico City, and then draw the second symbol in Egypt to enter the Sphinx. At least, that’s what I was going to do before I checked the comments on my last post. A reader, who will go unnamed as they’ve already received suitable punishment for their indiscretion, had left me a little message that I’m certain hadn’t intended to be a spoiler...but it was!
Great...an oversized keyhole!
I won’t repeat exactly what was said, but it was basically along the lines of “So the Guru taught you that you need to be in contact with the Earth for the blue crystal to work. Are you sure he didn’t teach you anything else?” Well, I just had to know what that comment meant, so I restored back to Nepal and went through the whole scene over again. After informing me that he would teach me about the crystal’s use, he casually said “It will put you into a state of deep rapport with any animal. Simply focus...” I’d initially thought this was just the Guru talking spiritual enlightenment nonsense before getting down to the real teaching, but now I realised this was the actual purpose of the crystal!
It appears I wasn't very good at the focussing bit
I have no idea whether I would have figured this out for myself. I’d like to think that I might have paid the Guru another visit later on while trying to take the most monetarily efficient path around the world landmarks, but I guess we’ll never know. Either way, after trying the blue crystal on the yak outside the Guru’s temple, I found I was able to take control of him for a short period. I expect I might have had control for longer, but using the crystal still invited the attention of the Caponians, and one of them would come for me not long after its use. The only action I had available to me while controlling the yak was to “chew”, but I knew of another animal elsewhere that would be the most likely target for such an ability. The bird in Peru!
So it was that my sixth Zak McKracken session came to an end. This game has some serious volume! I may have only been playing it for eight hours, but I’ve hardly been stuck at all. It’s been eight hours of solid adventure gaming, and I’ve still got numerous ideas about what I can try next. I can go to Peru and take control of the bird, I can go to Mexico City to get the second piece of the yellow crystal and then try to find out how to join them together, or I can go straight to Egypt to enter the Sphinx and beyond. Hmmm...I just now had a thought that maybe the pyramid in Egypt that appears empty is where I come out from my trip into the Sphinx. At least that would explain why it appears entirely useless at this point. Even if I do get really stuck, I can always re-read the National Inquisitor articles to see if there are any clues. Exciting times!
Time to go back to Earth, at least for a while
Session Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours 00 minutes
Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've recently written 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!