Friday, 5 October 2012

Game 24: Chamber of the Sci-Mutant Priestess - Hangman

Raven Journal Entry 3: “I have found all five skulls and now become a Divo! It was a very close call, as the allotted time very nearly ran out before I could achieve my task. The fourth skull was quite easy to find, being hidden in a platform beneath an imprisoned (and not very friendly) aspirant. The final skull however caused me a lot of trouble, and I’m still not really sure how it was that I came upon it. I hope whatever awaits me in The Concourse and beyond will trouble me less so I can be reunited with Sci Fi and cause some trouble for Zorq and his Protozorqs while I’m at it.”

Things got strange during the last session, and they don't get any less stange during this one.

So where were we at the end of last post? Oh that’s right! I’d just collected the third skull from within the statue in the room called In the Scorpion’s Presence, and I only needed two more skulls to become a Divo and therefore gain entrance to some place called the Concourse. I’d gained the three skulls from the rooms called The Twins, De Profundis and In the Scorpion’s Presence, leaving only The Wall and The Noose to go. I knew that the item that would be useful in The Wall was a dagger, but I didn’t have it! I walked around until I found another aspirant, but unlike last time I found one, this guy was not interested in trading items. I decided to visit The Noose next, hoping that I would find a dagger along with the fourth skull.

Obscurity: Where I found the third skull within the scorpion statue.

On entering The Noose, I found myself completely in the dark, with someone warning me to move quickly or be caught. Rather than stumble around blindly, I made use of my Solar Eyes sci power and was rewarded with complete vision of the room. It’s a lucky thing too, as there was a large hole in the middle of the room that I likely would have fallen down if I’d rushed ahead in the dark. That immediately made me wonder about the man I could see on the platform ahead of me. He did indeed appear to be restrained and in a precarious position, but it seemed that the guy had no care for my safety. I tried out yet another sci power at this point, which was Know Mind, and found my intuition was correct when I read his thoughts. “That warpy has to die!”

Did you just call me a warpy??? No-one calls me a warpy!!!!

Knowing that the prisoner wasn’t trustworthy was nice and all, but it didn’t make my purpose in the room any clearer. There was a lever next to the platform, but I wasn’t able to reach it. Gauss also made reference to it, saying “wodda bout the leave uh?”, but how could I get there? It was time to turn to my sci powers once again, this time utilising Sticky Fingers to make my way up to the platform. I saved my game here as I was pretty uncertain as to whether I should pull the lever or not. I tried letting the aspirant go free, but as expected he attacked and killed me. I restored and pulled the lever, feeling only a little bit of shame when the guy died hanging by the neck as the platform fell away. Apparently I didn’t fall when the platform did, so I can only imagine my Sticky Fingers power was still in effect.

Well that's a first! An adventure game where violently hanging a fellow competitor reaps rewards.

I pixel hunted a little on the platform and found that I could interact with the ropes. I untied the top rope and watched as the dead aspirant fell into the pit. I then collected one of the hanging ropes, while the other slipped out of my grasp. I’d started this particular play through with the rope, but had earlier traded mine away for the fly. Ropes weren’t the only thing I discovered on the platform though. There was a hollow in the corner, within which I found the fourth skull! Hmmmm...could it be possible that within each of the rooms is not only a skull, but also one of the items of assistance? Is it possible that all the rooms can be beaten without one of the items? I still wasn’t sure, but with only one more skull to find, I quickly departed The Noose, intending to head straight for The Wall.

From within the hinge of a folding platform???

On exiting The Noose, I came face to face with an aspirant intent on killing me and taking my skulls. I used my Extreme Violence sci power to take him down, and then searched his body, finding a lamp. A lamp!? That must be the fifth item, yet I was never given a lamp when starting the game. It’s probably safe to assume that the lamp would be useful for The Noose, as the room is pitch black when you arrive, but completely unnecessary given the Solar Eyes sci power. I knew that the item that would assist in The Wall was the dagger, so I thought I would wander around The Ring attacking or trading with any aspirant I came across until I got it. It worked, and I soon made my way to The Wall with three skulls (remember that I started again after finding the first one in The Twins), the lamp, the rope, and the dagger in my possession.

Once murder had been so rewarding the first time around, it made sense to continue down that path

The Wall is rather odd really. It’s basically a long room with two small doors to either side and large exits at both ends. The doors at the end lead back to The Ring and to The Master’s Orbit respectively, but the two doors on either side lead to two passageways, both being called The Infidel’s Tomb. Pressing any of the three arrows on the ground (which are labelled Zone 1, 2 and 3) causes a sliding wall to move across the room, eventually coming together to form “The Wall”. I soon figured out that entering either of The Infidel’s Tomb passageways while the wall is open resulted in me simply passing through the tomb with nothing of interest to work with on the way. However, if I managed to make the sliding wall complete while the lit arrow was in Zone 2, the wall would remain in place and I would be confronted by something interesting when entering either door.

The Wall and The Twins took by far the most time to figure out, and I'm not even sure I did figure them out in the end.

In front of me was part of the wall, with a sculpted warrior on either side of it depending on which door I took. Both knights had slots in them, which was clearly where I was supposed to insert the dagger. I eagerly put the dagger into the slot and was killed when the wall flipped up, crushing me in the process. Thankfully I’d saved on arrival to The Wall, and was able to restore and try again. This time I spoke to Gauss first, who responded with “Wunstep ata time then blade” (One step at a time then blade). It was only then that I noticed a small step at the bottom of the wall, which I was able to step up onto. Then when I put the dagger in the slot, I was flipped over with the wall and found myself on the other side.

Siiiilent Kniiiiight....Hoooooollly Kniiiiight....

OK, so now I was on the other side of the wall, which is exactly where I would have been if I’d just walked through the passageway without closing the wall first. Confused, I collected the dagger and continued on down the passage and back out into The Ring. I went back and entered The Wall again, only this time I took the other doorway, placing the dagger into the slot of the second warrior. This time when the wall flipped I found myself in a section I’d never seen before! Just like other parts of the game so far, I don’t claim to understand what happened or how I got where I was, but my intuition and problem solving had somehow got me where I needed to go. Unfortunately, despite being very careful with the amount of time I was using up (I’d been restoring and doing things quicker each time I figured out puzzles), the end of my hour was approaching. I was going to need to get a move on!

...and miraculously land somewhere that wasn't actually behind the wall in the first place.

Within this little nook was an engraving exactly the same as the one I found in In the Scorpion’s Presence. I still didn’t know what it meant, so I focussed on the deep cavity on the floor. It was filled with “yukky water”, but that didn’t stop me putting my hand in and finding...the fifth and final skull! I’d finally solved The Five Ordeals and was on my way to becoming a Divo. Before that could happen though, I needed to get the fifth skull from The Twins, and to do that I was going to need the goblet. I exited The Wall and circled The Ring until I found and killed an aspirant who had the goblet on his person, then sped over to The Twins and retrieved the fifth skull with a couple of minutes up my sleeve. Now to get back to The Master’s Orbit!

What could it be? Oh the suspense!!!

I have the feeling I missed some information earlier in the game, as it was at this point that I had a bit of a “facepalm” moment. It turns out that there is a trader in The Master’s Orbit, which is not only the character I needed to give the skulls to, but also someone I could attempt to trade items with throughout the game. That being said, I would only have been able to trade an item once per skull, which makes sense given that each item leads to a skull. The success of such trades seems either random, extremely difficult, or beyond my understanding (perhaps all three). Every time i gave him a skull I was given the chance to trade one of my items for one of my choice from the machine behind him. I then watched as what I assume was a robot placed my item under one of three cups and moved them around rapidly. I had to watch carefully and tell him which one the item was under when he stopped. I was crap at this!

I would, but I...just don't feel like it right now.

I tried four times to guess correctly and failed on each occasion. I’m not even certain whether it’s actually possible to deduce where the item is by watching, as the clunky movement animation doesn’t act in a realistic manner. I didn’t actually need any more items and had little time remaining, so I gave up on trading and simply gave all five skulls to the protozorq dude. My reward was a visit by The Master of Ordeals, who spouted some nonsense about a priestess, who will tonight be “inseminized”, before giving me the egg that will apparently “open the secret of my Divo destiny!” I took the egg and with literally seconds to spare, took the passage to The Concourse, showing the egg as passage on the way.

Yes, I will carry the message! Um...what's the message again?

All up, passing The Five Ordeals took me close to four hours, but there’s no way it would have taken me that long had I not been preparing to blog about it. I was often writing while playing, as there were so many options I needed to communicate, and taking close to 200 screenshots on the way, all of which caused me to run out of time and have to restart. I reckon playing through the ordeals from start to finish would take under ten minutes now that I know what to do, but I'm going to put my playtime down as three hours so far. Am I looking forward to seeing what happens next in Chamber of the Sci Mutant Priestess? Not particularly. I think the sheer strangeness of it all distances me from the subject matter, and while some of the puzzles are satisfying, others are baffling or just not critical for success in any way. I shall press on nonetheless, and report back as soon as I’m able. I have to finish at least one Exxos game!

The Concourse: I'm almost dreading what awaits me there.

Session Time: 1 hours 00 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 00 minutes

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've written a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before 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. Activision Greats promo on GOG: 31 titles (lots of Sierra adventures among them!) 60% off!

    1. That's a massive sale right there! Gabriel Knight, Quest for Glory, King's Quest, Space Quest, Police's all there!

  2. Spycraft: The Great Game is also now on GOG. Anyone played it?

    1. I refuse to play a game that's so insecure about itself that it tries to convince you how good it is with its title ;)

    2. Wow, blast from the past! A colleague of my dad's gave him (and thus me) Spycraft... it came on, I think, 4 CDs. But the first (install) disc was too badly scratched in transit to be usable, so all I could do was read the manual :/ I may get it just to complete a past wrong!

  3. Curse you all, I'm never going to regain those caps at this rate. I'm tempted to activate my old program to check the GoG site for updates every hour. You know what? I'm going to do that!

  4. Prices too good to pass up. I'll take the 60% off option now instead of banking on a free copy of Quest for Glory and then having to pay full price.

    Picking up 10 other games as well. I'm even getting Gabriel Knight. I heard it was good, and I'll get to play along with Trickster in a few years.

    1. Yep. I snagged QfG as well.. too good to pass up in the hope of maybe guessing right. :P Also grabbed Torin's Passage which I've never played aside from the vaguely remembered demo and the Betrayal at Krondor/Betrayal in Antara pack (Played both but don't have BaK on CD) and Return to Krondor (Never Played).

    2. I got the Krondor games as well. Also picked up the Zork series and Arcanum. More games to play along with Trickster or CRPG Addict once they get that far.

  5. Well fine. Everyone missed a new first-person, point and click adventure game on GoG: Post Mortem.

    1. No, someone already mentioned that a couple of posts back. Hmmm...let me see..oh it was you! ;)

    2. C'mon Canageek, surely you don't need the CAPs *that* badly? ;-)

    3. Oopps. Was just on the GoG site and saw it, checked the most recent post and didn't see anything on it. I thought it was newer then it was.

  6. Wall was the toughest of the rooms to crack, and at the end I just tried everything I could. Unlike you, I always chose the same door and just pressed the mouse around the room after getting through the knight. In most of the places where I pressed a place called "passage" took me back to the Ring, but in one place it took me to the room with the skull - it seems like the developers made two hotspots with the same name and very close to one another just to confuse the player.

    Ah, you finally found the two other ways to get items! I had find out the trader in my first attempt to play the game, and I stopped playing when I lost my precious item after choosing the wrong goblet. This time I saved always just before making a trade, which made the whole thing quite easy. BTW, could the trader be the changer mentioned in manual where you were supposed to take the skulls? I suspect no one checked whether the translations of the manual and the game used the same terms.

    I found out the more brutal way to stock on items only in my second play attempt. Did you notice there's a way to kill without using SCI powers? I'll give you a hint: Ubj jbhyq n guvrs qb vg?

    I'd say the rest of the game is pretty straightforward. We'll probably be seeing Won!-post soon.

  7. Just finished reading through your blog, really enjoyed it! Games like Chamber of Sci-Mutant Priestess that are not too well known have been my favorite to read about. I have played very few adventure games so its interesting to learn more about them. Keep up the great work!

    1. Thanks Pacpix! Happy to have you on board!

  8. Can you use Know Mind to cheat at the trader's shell game?