What ever you do Laura...don't go into the attic!
OK everyone...gather around! We’ve all had a chance to rest our feet and have a bite to eat. I’m sure you’ll all agree that the first floor of Colonel Henri’s mansion was breathtaking, but there is still much to take in on this vast estate. We’re shortly going to head downstairs to see the ground floor, but first we’re going to pop upstairs to visit the room of Henri’s maid, Fifi. Alright, I’m not going to continue on in that fashion, but I am going to complete my tour of the house before discussing my thoughts about Act I. Upstairs were two doors, although the one that led to the attic was locked from the other side. The other one led to Fifi’s bedroom, which contained a couple of interesting things. Firstly, there was a Victrola (record player) in the corner, but I wasn’t able to use it in any way. Secondly, there was a walk-in change room off to the right hand side. Some of Fifi’s clothes were on the floor in there, but I wasn’t able to search them, get them or wear them. With nothing else to try, I made my way down two flights of stairs to the ground floor.
It's interesting to control a character who won't even touch a record player because it doesn't belong to her. Huge contrast to the likes of Tex Murphy!
My map of the ground floor
THE GROUND FLOOR
As with the first floor, the ground floor’s main hallway was split into two sections, but this time I started in the south section. There was a suit of armor to one side, and the description made a point of stating that “although it’s well-polished, all of its joints are completely rusted.” I wasn’t able to interact with it or the large battle axe it was holding, so I decided to check out one of the two doorways I could access. Entering the left room, I found myself in the billiards room. Interestingly, the progress clock appeared and ticked over to 7:30. This meant something important was happening, so I prepared to pay attention. Rudy and Gloria were in the room and appeared to be mid-conversation. Gloria: “Uncle Henri’s a strange old coot, he...” Rudy: “Quiet. We’re not alone anymore.” Hmmm...obviously my presence had disturbed them. Perhaps I was supposed to look on from a hidden room again? I looked at the picture of a woman on the wall, hoping to find some holes I could spy through again. “You see a picture of a lovely dark-haired girl above the player piano. Strange... her eyes have a haunted, hollow look to them.” Awesome! I checked out the rest of the room while I was there though, yet only discovered that I could play some music by winding up the piano.
Damn! That would have made for a pretty different game!
Never mind me...no really, carry on...
I figured I would probably need to restore at some point anyway to catch Rudy and Gloria’s conversation, so I waltzed into the second room off the southern part of the hallway. This time it led to the parlor, and once again the clock ticked over, reaching 7:45. Gertie and Clarence were in room, and my presence was once again a problem. Gertie: “...that old biddy! She’s half-sloshed most of the time and...” Clarence: “Shhh. Here’s that young friend of Lillian’s.” It probably goes without saying that the woman in the picture on the wall had the same hollow look in her eyes as the rest of them, so this was another conversation I was supposed to be looking on from a hidden location. Exploring the parlor revealed a door leading outside, a model of a horse on the table, a bottle of cognac on the bar, and a colourful parrot on a perch in the corner. I knew that the bird was called Polly from the manual, and I assumed he would tell me something useful at some point in the game. I couldn’t get anything out of him at this stage though, nor could I do anything with the horse or the bottle. I therefore restored my game back to 7:15, and made my way up to the northern part of the ground floor hallway.
Does no-one else notice all the eyes are cut out of the paintings?
There was a grandfather clock against the left wall and a large mirror on the right, both of which seemed like they could possibly be hiding secret rooms. I immediately found my thinking was correct, as typing “move clock” caused Laura to shift it enough to walk into another hidden room where I could look through the eyes of paintings. I looked through the southern painting, knowing that I would see Rudy and Gloria’s conversation. Rudy was talking to his sister about Henri’s money, predicting that he must have at least a couple million saved up. His biggest concern seemed to be that Fifi might be getting a fair portion of the cash, and Gloria had no doubts that the maid was trying to get her hands on it. “Why, she practically has him wound around her little finger. Dahling, it’s disgusting!” The conversation continued with Gloria telling Rudy that she was going to divorce Clarence, as she had “a new beau, a director, no less”. As if this bit of info wasn’t juicy enough, Gloria finished by raising her concern that Wilbur might tell people about the “little medical problem” she had. “It could ruin my career if it got out! I’ve got to talk to him.” I didn’t know how any of this information was going to be useful yet, but there was another conversation I was interested in hearing before I gave it much thought.
What's behind the rocket clock today?
She's getting a lot more than that!
As expected, I was able to move the mirror in the hallway and step through into a fourth (and I assumed final) hidden room. Here I looked in on Gertie and Clarence in the parlor, where they too had a rant about other guests. Clarence had apparently offered a fair amount of money for Ethel’s property on the river, but she refused to sell. Gertie doubted its value but Clarence seemed certain that he could make a lot of money out of the land. He then offended his mother in law by telling her that she’d “probably go and blab everything to Ethel”, which clearly didn’t impress her. Gertie: “I wouldn’t sell you any land, either! You’re no better than a low-down snake-in-the-grass! I don’t know what my daughter sees in you! I KNOW about your little racehorse scam. If you don’t watch your P’s and Q’s I’m gonna tell him all about it!” She then stormed out, ending the conversation. Wow! This whole family really has a lot of skeletons in the closet, and I was uncovering a lot of them in quick succession. It was now 7:45, and I still had a door on either side of the hallway to check out. I started with the left one...
But oh my Clarence, that is one fine smoke ring!
...and found myself in the library, where Wilbur sat in a chair reading a book. Gloria walked in at the same time as me, approaching Wilbur to demand he not spill the beans regarding her medical condition, before leaving. Apart from Wilbur, there wasn’t much of interest in the room, although I noticed the elevator shaft I’d seen in Henri’s room also appeared here. I passed through the room into another beyond it, which turned out to be the colonel’s study. Fifi was rushing around cleaning everything, and paid little attention to me snooping around. The room description made a point of mentioning the small glass case on the desk and the two large cabinets at the back, so I figured they must be important. The glass case contained a little, silver derringer, but unfortunately it was locked. I tried to break it, but was told it “would look suspicious if the derringer were to suddenly disappear”. Both cabinets were unlocked, and contained various weapons including rifles, a pearl-handled dagger, a mace, and an Australian boomerang! Any attempts to pick up any of them were thwarted by Laura claiming she wouldn’t know how to use them. It was becoming pretty obvious that I was going to be solving the puzzles in this game using brains and not brawn! Despite there being another door leading outside from the room, it was time to check out the last part of the house.
From some of the closeups of Gloria, I have to wonder if this little "medical condition" involves a sex change
Oh come on! Just point and shoot! How hard can it be?
The doorway to the right off the hallway took me to the dining room, which itself had another doorway continuing off to the right. I couldn’t find anything at all to do in the dining room (apart from kill myself again by entering the chute below the light on the wall), so I made my way through the doorway into the kitchen. Celie was in the kitchen washing dishes, and Beauregard the dog was lying on the floor near the warm stove. It’s here that I picked up my first item, after well over an hour of play! When I opened the icebox, a message popped up saying “Aha! A leftover soup bone! As it might come in handy, you grab it and take it with you.” OK, so a bone didn’t seem like a critical item for completing the game, but it was a start! The most obvious thing to do with a bone was to give it to Beauregard, so I did. “You give the bone to Beauregard who eagerly begins to gnaw on it.” Nothing else happened. So I finally got my hands on an item and then it was gone about ten seconds later, with no apparent reward. Was I not supposed to give him the bone? Had I dead ended myself and should restore immediately? Does The Colonel’s Bequest even have dead ends?! I tried to take it back, but Beauregard wouldn’t let me.
The game's first real tragedy!
OK, so I held up my end of the bargain! Now which of the family members is a murderer Beauregard?!
There was a door heading out of the kitchen into the outside world, but since I’d now covered every room in the house and come across every character in some fashion, it was time to take stock of everything I’d seen and try to figure out what I was meant to be doing and what questions I should be asking. After a little bit of experimentation, I soon realised that it didn’t particularly matter what order I spied on the four conversations, meaning they didn’t absolutely occur at the times I first came across them. I thought it would be a good idea to start up another worksheet and mark down the location of each character’s whereabouts at each fifteen minute interval. This involved a fair bit of restoring, but I soon knew where everyone was located at 7:00, 7:15 and 7:30. While attempting to find where everyone was at 7:45, I stumbled across a very important event! After Gertie and Clarence had finished their aggressive discussion in the parlor, Gertie had made her way up to the first floor and gone to bed. When I walked in to find her fast asleep, the clock appeared on screen and ticked over to 8:00. Not only that, but the words “Act II” also appeared, so something must have just happened!
Hmmmm...it hardly seemed important that the old woman was snoring away
Was I supposed to have viewed something from a hidden room? It didn’t seem likely as I didn’t appear to have interrupted anything. I walked back out of the room, and was surprised to find an item sitting on the floor in the hallway. It was a handkerchief, which I picked up. Typing “look at handkerchief” merely displayed an image of it, so I wasn’t able to get any specific detail about it. Who left it there and what were they up to? I walked back into Gertie’s room and lo and behold, she wasn’t there anymore! “Did something happen in here?! A small table is lying on its side near a wide open window! Is that cigar smoke you smell?” I looked out the open window: “Looking downward you think you see something, but can’t make out any details.” It seemed pretty obvious what was going to be down there, but I would have to go outside to be certain. You’ll have to join me for Act II to find out what was there, as I want to spend the last part of this post putting my thoughts down on what I see as happening during Act I. I’ve collected quite a few puzzle pieces so far, but need to devote some time to putting it all together.
Oooohhhh, an item!!!! A precious, precious item!
I don't know...is it?!
- Lillian goes to the bathroom to wash up before coming back to the guest room for a chat with Ethel. Ethel bad mouths Gertie, claiming she doesn’t deserve any of Henri’s money, and wishes to talk to Henri about the situation. Neither of them appears to leave the room.
- Henri and Fifi are smooching in Henri’s room before the colonel sends the maid away. Henri appears to stay in his room for the remainder of the hour, but Fifi goes to the study and cleans furiously.
- In the parlor, Clarence tells Gertie about his plans to get Ethel's land. Gertie is disgusted by Clarence's attitude and tells him she doesn't know what her daughter Gloria sees in him. She then tells him she knows about his racehorse scam and threatens to tell "him" all about it (which I assume is Henri). Gertie leaves the room and goes to bed, where she is attacked and thrown out of the window a short time later. Clarence doesn’t appear to have left the parlor throughout.
- Jeeves is wandering around offering drinks, although it’s difficult to track his movements the whole time.
- Celie is in the kitchen washing dishes for what appears to be the entire hour.
- Rudy and Gloria are in the billiards room, talking about how Henri never spent any of his money on the estate. They question Fifi's motives, and then Gloria admits she is going to break up with Clarence. Gloria then talks about a “medical condition” she had, and suggests she is going to demand Dr. Wilbur not tell anyone about it or risk ruining her career! Rudy leaves the room and heads up to his bedroom, while Gloria goes off to talk to the doctor before lounging in the billiard room listening to music.
- Wilbur is in the library reading books until Gloria comes in and demands he not tell anyone about her medical condition. He appears to remain there for the whole hour.
I knew that chandelier was trouble!!! It randomly fell on my head!
So who had a motive to kill Gertie, if indeed that is what has happened? Well Clarence sure did, as Gertie threatened to reveal his racehorse secret, but Ethel also had a few nasty words to say about Gertie, so she too needs to be watched. The cigar smoke suggests either Clarence or Henri's involvement, as they seem to be smoking them the majority of the time. Then again, the most obvious suspects can normally be ruled out in stories like this, so if anything it's unlikely to be any of those family members. Time will tell...
Session Time: 1 hour 00 minutesTotal Time: 2 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 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!