Sunday 4 November 2012

Game 25: Codename: ICEMAN - Resuscitation / Fornication

So, I decided if I was really going to give this game a fair go, I was going to have suck it up and start over again. Readers kept suggesting that I might be able to complete the game from the position I was in at the end of my last post, but there were just too many unknowns, and I was struggling to figure out what the hell was going on. It took me a total of two hours to play through the early parts of the game over again, but a lot of that was spent trying to solve puzzles that I'd simply missed altogether on my first play through. I don’t want to get too caught up in covering ground I’ve previously described, but I think it’s important that I cover the new stuff in some fashion, starting with...

Hey...these guys weren't here before!

...the volleyball match. I’ll say straight up that it’s unlikely I would ever have found this section of the game if it wasn’t for Jarikith’s comment about it (in ROT13 I’ll add). You start the game sitting in a beach chair, with a shirt hanging over the back of it. You can’t enter the hotel behind you without putting that shirt on, and I struggle to see why anyone would stand up, leave the shirt where it is, and decide to ignore the hotel and wander up the beach. If you come across the volleyball net with your shirt off, there are two girls and a guy playing. If you’ve got the shirt on, they’re simply not there. Maybe it’s just the way I play adventure games, but I would put that shirt on and enter the hotel 99 times out of 100!

Oh of course! Everyone knows that volleyball matches are invisible to anyone wearing a shirt.

I’ve been whinging about how stingy the game is when it comes to handing out points, but the volleyball game dished out no less than 16! A few I gained from playing the game (which I had no control over), but the majority were earned by resuscitating one of the girls who drowned trying to retrieve the ball from the water. This involved nothing more than following the exact CPR steps outlined in the manual, and while I originally thought the girl must be Stacy (and perhaps that rescuing her might be the trigger to her having sex later), it turned out to have absolutely no bearing on the rest of the game whatsoever. She drowned, I resuscitated her, she thanked me and walked away.

I fail to see the point of a puzzle that spells out the solution to the player while having absolutely no bearing on the rest of the game.

My main reason for restarting was to try to get the girl in the bar to have sex with me. While I had a brief crack at it during my first play through, and had even managed to dance with her, everything I’d tried had failed and eventually resulted in her slapping me and walking out. I’d assumed at the time that the creators were making the game seem like a Leisure Suit Larry game, and then letting you know in no uncertain terms that Codename: ICEMAN wasn’t going to contain the same juvenile titillations. I’d also had absolutely no motives to flirt and bed women in this game, so once I was called upon to leave the island and help defend my country, I quickly forgot about the brunette and moved on. It came as quite a surprise to me to find out that I was supposed to have slept with her, and that not doing so had made me miss out on valuable information and items, not to mention points.

You mean apart from the one I'm standing directly in front of?

Entering the bar with the knowledge that I could score with Stacy didn’t make things any easier. You might recall that I’d tried sitting at the table several times on my first play through, but had never managed to do it. This time I walked straight for the chair and typed “sit”. “You’ll have to find a seat” was the response, despite the fact I was standing right in front of one. I then stood right next to Stacy and typed “sit”. She responded with “aren’t you at least going to buy me a drink first”. So the whole reason I hadn’t been able to solve this “puzzle” the first time round was because the game made me type “sit” in a completely inappropriate place. Anyway, typing “buy girl drink” resulted in us sharing a bottle of champagne (while I was still standing up mind you). I then typed “sit” again and she requested a dance first, which was a request I knew I could fulfil.

The game has no problem with me trying to sit on Stacy though.

Once the dance was over, I stood right next to her again and typed “sit” a third time. This caused me to finally sit down in the chair across from her, at which point she rather bluntly came out with “would like to come back to my place”. You can compare Codename: ICEMAN to James Bond if you so choose, but the infamous British spy still has to seduce women with witty dialogue and sexy suggestiveness before they start taking their clothes off. All Johnny Westland has to do is buy a girl a drink and dance with her, not uttering a single word in the process. It seems Stacy is pretty damn easy to please!

Sierra: Teaching young men that the best way to get laid is to keep their mouth closed.

Despite how slutty Stacy seemed, I wasn’t going to deny the girl, so answered in the affirmative. We then appeared outside her hut, where the obvious thing to do was to “kiss” her. After a couple of kisses, she asked me inside, which I once again agreed to.  I then sat next to her on the bed, and nothing happened. Kissing her again caused her to tell me that “this vacation has been beautiful for me except for one thing! I lost an earring today that is very important to me!” Then nothing happened again. I don’t know if there’s any other way to get the action on, but I was forced to type “kiss” about five times before finally the screen went black and fireworks appeared. “The excitement and romance of the evening will be forever emblazoned on your memory!”

Johnny! You could score here, just don't say anything!

So...I’d scored with Stacy! For what purpose? Obviously the earring was going to play a role somehow. When I woke up, Stacy was gone, but there was a note saying “Thanks for making my vacation so wonderful. You were sleeping so peacefully I just couldn’t bring myself to wake you. I have urgent business to tend to and must leave. I wish you the best and hope we meet again soon.” I searched the hut thoroughly, but couldn’t uncover anything of interest. Stacy had mentioned she’d had the earring when she left the hut, and had noticed it was gone when she arrived at the hotel, so it must be somewhere in between. I left the hut to go hunting.

What? No breakfast!?

It took me about twenty seconds to find the earring, but I feel like there was some luck involved. Typing “look” and “look around” didn’t result in anything useful, but while I was walking along I thought I saw something shimmer briefly. It was so brief that I actually thought I’d imagined it, but I walked over to the spot and typed “look”. “In the sand a slight glimmer catches your eye”, which of course was the earring. Did anyone have any trouble finding the earring, despite knowing its general whereabouts? Looking at the earring revealed that “the top of the earring can be opened”, so that’s exactly what I did. Inside was a tiny roll of microfilm! It must be seriously small to fit inside an earring! What was I going to do with it? I’d always expected whatever I found on the island to assist me in cracking the CIA codes, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how the microfilm was going to help!

Announcing that something is highly unlikely doesn't make it any more likely.

I left Tahiti with 51 points, which is 36 points more than I left with the first time around. From there I travelled to the Pentagon for my orders (where this time I got my ID card back from the guard), and then boarded the USS Blackhawk just as before. Once through the first submarine navigation section, Captain Hawkins and I moved into his quarters to retrieve the briefcase containing further orders. This time I was determined to figure out how to access the second compartment, which in turn I assumed would help me crack the CIA codes. I tried using every item I had on the briefcase until the captain said “John, you can fool around with that extra compartment some other time. We need to get this sub moving!”

John, you can open the second compartment later. Now let me lock this briefcase away where you can never touch it again.

That can only mean one thing really. I need to crack into the safe somehow to retrieve it later, but that doesn’t seem like a very honest thing for a second in command Navy officer to do. I tried asking the captain about the safe and even asked him directly for the code, but all I got in response was “you’ve left me responseless” and “you can’t do that”. Strangely, when I typed “look at captain”, the response was “he doesn’t look well”. At one point while I was asking him about the safe, I actually got “I’m sorry Commander, but the Captain is under medication and sleeping. The amount of pain he was experiencing from the head injury made it necessary to sedate him”. WTF? What head injury? This part of the game is clearly bugged and I had a bad feeling my reasons for not solving it were more to do with parser issues than anything else! I had to accept that the CIA code / briefcase compartment puzzle was going to remain unsolved for me, so I moved on.

What? Uummm...captain...did you hear that voice?

I decoded the Washington codes, then made my way downstairs, determined to beat the crusty old man at dice and win the rum bottle, his money, and the device, all without restoring three times. Surprisingly, I didn’t have to restore even once this time around! I took Charles’ advice and sped the game up (don’t ask me why I didn’t think of that before), meaning I didn’t have to spend so long watching the tedious animations. I definitely had more luck this time around, but I also think I genuinely got better at the game. The key is to always go for triples. So if I had two 5’s and two 6’s after my first roll, I would keep the 6’s and roll the other three dice again (did I get it right this time The Mad Gamer?). If things didn’t go my way as "boss", I would pull out rather than gamble. Eventually I won everything on offer, and left the table.

He doesn't seem that fussed about losing pretty much everything he owns.

This finally brings me back to the stage of the game I was at prior to restarting. I’ve actually ventured quite a bit further, and even written a post for it, but needed to get all of the above in the clear before continuing. I’m pretty disappointed that I still haven’t managed to crack the CIA codes through logic (only through spoiler), and have no idea how to open the safe and retrieve the briefcase to then get into the second compartment. I haven’t yet read any further hints or spoilers, as I want to make sure I don’t read anything unrelated that might assist me going forward. I have to say that playing through the starting sections of the game again has only reaffirmed my feelings toward it. Codename: ICEMAN is certainly an ambitious game, but it’s also a very poorly designed one, with numerous parser and puzzle flaws, not to mention tediously repetitious sections. The second half will have to be pretty damn gripping to make up for it.

Hmmmm...did that old guy just walk under the stairs and then disappear? I wonder if there's something under there!

Session Time: 2 hours 00 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 30 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. Alright, I think it's time for a little game!

    I'll start by offering 20 CAPs to anyone that can translate all of the below adventure game titles. The CAPs offer may change dependent on how challenging these turn out to be. I really don't know if they're too easy or too hard!

    1. Underneath a Metal Atmosphere
    2. I Contain No Oral Cavity and I Have an Obligation to Yell
    3. The Most Time Consuming Expedition
    4. Dim Kernel
    5. The Rather Dark Reflective Surface
    6. Motionless Organic Existence
    7. Sharp Object Sprinter
    8. Coming Into View
    9. Complete Suffocation
    10. Upcoming Hostilities

    1. I think I've got the three first:

      1) Orarngu n fgrry fxl
      2) V unir ab zbhgu naq V zhfg fpernz
      3) Gur ybatrfg wbhearl

    2. Indeed you have. I did start with some easy ones though. ;)

      I do find much amusement in number 2. Immature I know!

      Actually, now that I look at it. The list could easily make up the track titles of one of my metal albums. Complete Suffocation? Upcoming Hostilities? Motionless Organic Existence? Metal!!! ;)

    3. Taking a chance on the next three then:

      4) Qnex Frrq
      5) Gur Oynpx Zveebe
      6) Fgvyy Yvsr

    4. Well it seems I should have read more comments before posting!

    5. Okay. I'm sure others have gotten all the answers so no CAPS for me, but I like quiz games so I'm going to guess anyway.

      Orarngu n Fgrry Fxl
      V unir ab zbhgu naq V zhfg fpernz
      Gur Ybatrfg Wbhearl
      Gur Oynpx Zveebe
      Fgvyy Yvsr
      Oynqr Ehaare
      Gbgny Oernguyrffarff???
      Shgher Jne

    6. 7 out of 10 is pretty damn good TBD!

      Never heard of a game called Total Breathlessness though. ;)

  2. Hmmm, too slow for the first three :( but here's my remainder

    7) Oynqr Ehaare
    9) Shyy Guebggyr

    1. Yes and yes! Well done on number 9! I thought that might be a toughy.

  3. Mmmh can't figure out 8) and 10). After fighting the C:I parser in the last few days my brain cells are still recharging.

    Good for you, getting through the dice game in one try! I got a good chuckle out of the phantom paramedic voice. I think it's the room that's bugged/haunted. I went back later in the game and I still got the "not enough memory" error message when I tried to access the inventory.

    There may be more points to be earned at the island. Like you, I missed the volleyball game entirely. It's not that I went into the hotel immediately - it's just that I went exploring with my shirt on! Watch out for those UV, people!
    But then there's more to be done with the blonde at the bar. I actually managed to get her drunk in my game, and she had to be helped out. A completely unnecessary segment as most of the actions at the island seem to be, though it did reinforce the Larryesque atmosphere.

  4. I think number 8 is the hardest to figure out, but it's a well known game. Number 10 is not a widely known game, but it's on the list.

    1. Is number 8 Ybbz? I'm not sure of the precise meaning of the word, and it does feel more like a partial match.

    2. Yes it is! It's a rather specific definition of the word I know.

      Well done unimural.

    3. Wow, I'd never get even close. I'll give unimural half (rounded up) of my winnings on this contest just for finding the solution to that one. :)

  5. 10 is probably Shgher Jnef, still working on 8.

  6. I only know one of these as a movie, not an adventure game. I'm looking forward to that one now!

    1. I take it you mean number 7? I don't think you'll be disappointed Canageek. It's very faithful to the movie.

  7. So that's all ten solved?

    Ilmari got 3.
    Lars-Erik got 4.
    nhil got 2.
    unimural got 1.

    I'll figure out CAP distribution later on.

    1. You could always multiply how many they each got by 2 as their reward, since there are 10 solutions that'll always lead you to the original 20 CAPs.

    2. No, I think that the people who got the harder ones deserve more per answer. Harder ones meaning here, whichever took the longest to solve.

    3. Yes, I definitely won't deserve 6 points for this :) Three, at most.

  8. Not sure I warranted a shout-out in the post, as I don't recall making any comment about the dice game. You're probably thinking of "The Mad Gamer" who grammar nazi'ed you on the proper pluralization of die/dice.

    1. Sorry Mooki, you're quite right! I meant to check whether it was you that grammar nazi'd me, but forgot. I'll correct it now.

  9. Shame that you went through all that trouble of restarting and were still let down by the parser! If you still want to see what you missed in the safe, here's an advice that Jarikith gave to Charles in an earlier comment thread:

    "The game seems to require knowing, for no precisely logical reason, that you'll know you should do specific things during certain times that aren't otherwise explicitly laid out for you. With regards to the briefcase being locked away forever Charles the game expects that: Jura gur Pncgnva svefg ergevrirf gur gur oevrspnfr sebz gur fnsr naq lbh obgu bcra vg gung lbh gura nfx uvz sbe gur pbzovangvba gb obgu, fvapr nf gur rkrphgvir bssvpre lbh'ir tbg gur evtug gb unir gung vasbezngvba juvpu vf arire fgngrq naljurer va gur znahny, lbh'er whfg rkcrpgrq gb fbzrubj xabj gung 'jryy bs pbhefr gur Pncgnva jvyy whfg tvir zr gur pbzovangvba gb gur fnsr va uvf cevingr dhnegref vs bayl V nfx!'. Don't have a save that far back? Don't want to suffer through Boss Dice again just to crack that briefcase? Read on for the spoiler if you want: Gur pbzovangvba vf abg enaqbz sbe gur fnsr vg'f Gjb Guerr Sbhe Sbhe Rvtug Rvtug Mreb Guerr naq gur unys bs gur oevrspnfr pbqr lbh qba'g unir vf Frira Fvk Gjb sbyybjrq ol gur cneg lbh nyernql xabj bs Bar Guerr Sbhe."

    1. I should probably add that so far I haven't had to refer to whatever the briefcase contains OR to the CIA messages. I haven't read Jarikith's hints yet (although I probably will if I can't get out of my current predicament) but I'd be surprised if breaking into the compartment is anything more than another optional activity.

    2. Based on what I've seen, the game is very linear, moreso than it appears to be. The mandatory path is strictly limited; any detour is met with a Restore/Restart message. OTOH, those scenes or events you can actually miss seem to be optional. Or maybe this is just wishful thinking on my part.

    3. @Charles: Is your predicament still the znyshapgvbavat qvire or is it something new?

    4. I keep getting the feeling we should find Trickster a copy of a US military manual on submarine protocols.

  10. @Ilmari: I've moved forward, but just an inch. Here's another limerick for you :-)
    Nsgre fgehttyvat sbe frrzvatyl qnlf
    Lbh thlf urycrq zr gb svaq gur evtug cuenfr
    Ohg vg jnf nyy sbe anhtug
    Sbe gur qvire qbrf fdhng
    Nf V fjvz guebhtu guvf jngrel znmr

    1. If the problem is what I think it is, this might help you:

      Vs gur ceboyrz vf whfg anivtngvba,
      Gur fbyhgvba vf gevnathyngvba,
      Ynaqznexf ner bs nffvfgnapr,
      Svaq bhg natyrf naq qvfgnapr,
      Qvivat jba'g or gevohyngvba

    2. My problem is actually getting qvfgnapr data. I can get natyr qngn gb jung ybbxf yvxr n pvgl naq na bvy cyngsbez va gur qvfgnapr (hfvat gur fpbcr) ohg ab lneqntr jungfbrire. Maybe I did miss something somewhere after all...

    3. @Charles my gentle nudge in the proper direction: Gurer ner gjb crbcyr nyjnlf ba gur oevqtr. Gur svefg bcrengrf gur enqvb, gur frpbaq bcrengrf...?

    4. @Jarikith I tried talking to that guy, but got nowhere... now I'm thinking I'll have to hit the precise wording again. Thanks!

    5. @Charles: One possibility is "Trg qvfgnapr gb K".

    6. @Ilmari: So I use your hint (thanks) and get one of the pieces of the puzzle. The other one eludes me. It seems I can't find out the qvfgnapr gb gur bvy cyngsbez V frr ba gur fpbcr, and I'm about to give up. Then...

      V rknzvar gur qvire sbe gur hzcgrragu gvzr juvyr fjvzzvat nvzyrffyl naq gel YBBX GNETRG. Gb zl nfgbavfuzrag gur tnzr erfcbaqf jvgu "Bvy Evt: kkk urnqvat kkk lneqf". Fb gung'f jung gur cyngsbez vf pnyyrq! Onpx gb trg gur vasb sebz gur fbanezna. Vg'f gbb onq V tbg vg lrg ntnva sebz gnxvat nqinagntr bs n syhxr va gur tnzr, ohg V ungr gung V xabj rknpgyl jung gb qb (perngr n qvirefvba va gur bvy evt gb ragre gur uneobe havzcrqrq) ohg gur cnefre trgf va zl jnl ntnva naq ntnva. V fcrag gbb zhpu gvzr jvgu guvf. Abj gb svther bhg ubj gb npghnyyl trg gurer...

    7. Glad to be of assistance. I have to say I didn't remember the game had so many bugs - I did stumble to some, but you and Trick appear to find them around every other corner. Hopefully the ending goes without any further problems, at least it is packed with action.

    8. I realize this was years ago, and I could leave this comment on almost any post, but I wonder if there are other people besides me reading through these posts exclusively on their phones? If I was on my computer I'd probably be deciphering all this ROT13, but I read this blog for a few minutes on my phone from my bed each night before going to sleep, and trying to decipher everything on my phone is more trouble than it's worth. I'm really curious about what everyone is saying, but...well, I guess not curious enough.^_^;

    9. I don't know whether you can use a Javascript bookmarklet on your phone's browser, but this works in Safari on my iPad: link to Google doc I have a bookmark in the favorites bar whose "URL" is that snippet of code. On a desktop browser it actually functions two ways: if you highlight some text on a page and then click the bookmarklet, it will translate it through ROT13; or if you click it without having selected any text, it will pop up a box prompting you to enter some text for it to convert. That second function doesn't work in iOS Safari (YMMV on another browser), but if I want to encode something I can just type it out in whatever comment box, highlight it, and run the bookmarklet in situ.

  11. Since everyone here is a gamer I thought I'd tell you about a charity by gamers I just donated too.

    Desert Bus for Hope starts in 10 days, and I just donated money on behalf of my brother, who has cancer. I wrote about why here: and would encourage everyone to read it and have a look at the charity.

    Thank you.

  12. Sorry to hear about your brother, Canageek.
    I have a very close friend who went through something similar last year, had a 3-inch tumor removed from his skull. Terrifying times. He pushed through though, decided to fix his life; changed his habits, gained a different outlook -- he's now a changed person even when he's not yet out of hot water. Often I find myself thinking that even if I have more time ahead than him (and who can say for certain?) he's probably enjoying the day more than I am.

    Here's hoping for a successful treatment and a speedy recovery for your brother. Waiting while he gets there sucks, but what you're doing now -keeping close- is probably all you can do and I'm sure it helps a lot.

  13. I remember seeing ICEMAN for sale in a store in the mall when I was a young lad. My family really enjoyed the King's Quest series, and I saw this and thought "wow, it's King's Quest for JAMES BOND!" I have a memory of the back cover of the game including a screenshot with a command like "take microfilm from earring" entered into the parser, I imagine that would have been a bit of a starting hint on the game.

    I think I ended up getting NES Shadowgate that day, which I probably enjoyed more than I would have ICEMAN. The submarine stuff sounds horrible!