Thursday, 6 February 2014

Game 40: Future Wars - The Grate Escape

Hero Journal Entry 4: "What have I got myself into now!? After being captured and imprisoned on a Crughon ship, which I managed to escape through a combination of genius and luck (more of the latter really), I was then moments from being executed by the very council I'd been trying to find. Thankfully Lo'Ann came to save me, but there was very little opportunity to celebrate as we were soon afterwards travelling back into prehistoric times to find the third Crughon bomb. As soon as we arrived it became apparent that we were too late, as the Crughons had already activated the bomb. Somehow Lo'Ann and I managed to take out the congregating army and their leader in a shootout, but my new friend was seriously wounded in the action. I've sent her home to get her wounds treated, and am now facing the prospect of finding and detonating the bomb all by myself! I guess I'll save Earth or die. Perhaps both!"

Aaahhh...finally I can get some shut eye

My last post finished with me boarding a shuttle on my way to meet with The Council. I’d had a bad feeling that I was facing a dead end though, since I’d failed to do anything with the newspaper rack before boarding the train. This gut feeling turned out to be correct, but I won’t spoil the fun for those of you that haven’t played the game. Let’s play it out the way I experienced it. The shuttle took off and an announcement was made to inform myself and the other passenger that we would reach PARIS IV in exactly half an hour. For a while there I wondered whether I was going to have to sit through the entire thirty minutes, but then suddenly something rather dramatic occurred. A Crughon ship dropped down from above, situating itself on top of the shuttle I was in. My character froze while the other passenger opened the cabin door and jumped out! Two Crughons hopped down into the cabin and pointed rifles directly at me. “DON’T MAKE A MOVE, EARTHLING! ONE MOVE AND YOU’RE DEAD!” Rather unheroically, my character fainted at the sight of the aliens and awoke in a small prison. I immediately set about trying to find a way out, discovering an air duct on the wall that was covered by a metal grille. Looking at my inventory, I wondered whether the gas capsule would be the solution to this situation.

Oh come on! Can't I have a moment's peace?

The size of this frame makes me feel claustrophobic, let alone the prison cell.

I tried using the capsule on the air duct, but was informed that I would have to remove the grille first. could I remove the grill? I tried using the key on it, and was actually surprised when it worked! “OK! You use the key to remove the screws that hold the grille in place. The grille is now removed.” Awesome! I once again tried using the gas capsule on the air duct and that also appeared to be successful! “So, you pull the cartridge open and throw it into the duct. A greenish gas begins to escape from it." Unfortunately, the gas drifted back into the room and suffocated me, meaning I had to restore and figure out a way to stop that from happening. I wasn’t even certain why I might want to put the gas capsule into the duct, but then when has this game ever had puzzles with real motivation?! I tried a few things, but as time went on, I started to think about that newspaper in the rack. Could it be that I was supposed to use the newspaper to cover the duct after throwing the capsule in? The more I thought about it, the more certain I was that it was so. I restored my game back to the train station, and instead of hopping on the train, spent some time trying to figure out what I was supposed to do with the rack.

Finally our hero had simply had enough! No longer would he battle against obstacle after obstacle without proper motivation!

Did you really have to make the coin slot accurately proportional to the rest of the environment?

It didn’t take me long to realise that I hadn’t pixel hunted as carefully as I should have the first time I tried. I guess I was distracted by the train constantly arriving and departing, particularly as I wasn’t able to do anything while it was in the process of doing so. This time I found not only a tiny coin slot towards the top, but I also discovered a coin collector at the bottom. Examining the collector revealed a coin that said “1 ecu” on the reverse! I picked it up and eagerly put it into the coin slot. “Nothing happens! Maybe you didn’t put it in properly...” Well that was surprising! I knew that the cubicles in the toilets at the next stop required 1 ecu to enter, so perhaps I was supposed to go there? Maybe the coin was all I needed and not the newspaper? I thought I would try putting the coin in one more time to make sure, and this time it worked!!! I now had a newspaper! I made my way back to the prison and this time after using the capsule on the air duct, I used the newspaper on it. “A good idea. You use the newspaper to block the duct, so that the gas cannot drift back into the room.” Eventually, in what is a very unlikely turn of events, there was a click as the door to my cell opened. I walked out to find myself in a room filled with dead Crughons! Clearly the gas had flowed through into this room from the duct, and then one of the aliens had fallen onto the cell release button.

Caption contest

Haha! My plan to open the door by randomly putting gas in this duct has worked perfectly!

Actually they are still in uniform motion, but let's not be picky.

This solution was completely ridiculous of course, but I was just happy to be out of there. I was about to start investigating the room when an announcement was made. “CROUTONS! THIS IS THE CAPTAIN OF THE EARTHSHIP ANDROS II. IT IS USELESS TO RESIST! WE ARE HOLDING YOU IN OUR TRACTION BEAM!” As if my release wasn’t miraculous enough, now the ship I was on was being boarded by my people the moment I was free. I watched the two ships landing back on Earth, and then found myself standing in front of The Council for judgement. A man spoke to the President: “Sir, here is the Crughon prisoner whom we detained. He was carrying documents on him which came from Crughon headquarters.” Clearly he was talking about the documents I’d picked up way back when I was in my boss’ office. I argued that I was an Earthling, but the President wouldn’t have any of it. “SHUT-UP, CROUTON! You’ll speak when you’re asked to!! Carry on, Captain.” The captain went on to inform the President that they’d conducted a DNA test, and while the result was negative, the fact that my genetic code wasn’t in their database meant I had to be a Crughon spy. Things were not looking good for me, and they were about to get much worse when the President expressed his views on my role in events. He blamed me for the air raids that killed thousands in PARIS II and PARIS VII before asking for the jury’s verdict. It was guilty of course, and I was sentenced to death!

Here we find a male of the spaceship species, having impressed the female through numerous acts of superior maneuverability, claiming its prize.

Can I at least have a lawyer?!

Before I knew it I was facing the firing squad, my hands locked behind my back. I figured one of two things was going to happen. I was going to be shot and forced to avoid this situation somehow, or Lo’Ann was going to save me in the nick of time. Just as the guns were pointing at me and the Captain’s arm was raised and ready to command my death, a voice was heard shouting “STOP! STOP!” Lo’Ann ran into the room with a written order from The Council to stop the execution. I faced up to The Council once again, but this time they were extremely apologetic for their actions against me. The President then went on to explain the history of the war between humans and Crughons, although I don’t believe he told me anything I didn’t already know. Century long battle, space colonies wiped out, forced back to Earth, built SDI shield to defend people, years of peace, Crughons hatching a plan to go back in time and plant bombs in the locations where the SDI’s three poles would eventually be placed. At the end of this long-winded story, the next part of my journey was revealed. While Lo’Ann, her father and I had stopped the bomb from being set in the middle ages, The Council was unable to find the second bomb which they believe was planted in my time. It was this bomb that destroyed pole 3 and gave The Crughons the opportunity to attack.

"I ... am ... a ... man!"

This is one of those moments where sorry doesn't quite do the job!

And they say chivalry is dead!

The third bomb was still out there somewhere in space and time, and the documents I’d had on me apparently revealed its location. The Council announced that Lo’Ann had already volunteered for the mission to go back in time and destroy it, at which point my character eagerly volunteered also. With this decided we made our way to the Chronoporters and prepared to time travel. This preparation included me being given a crash course in hypno-education. I sat in a small alcove in the room and a machine was attached to my head. My brain was barraged with information and I was taught everything I needed to know about the mission in mere moments. When it was over, my character apparently knew lots of new stuff, but I didn’t. I assumed this newly gained knowledge would be passed on to me at appropriate times. Lo’Ann and I readied ourselves, at which point she informed me we were about to go back to the Cretaceous period, which is about 65 million years ago!!! In two flashes of light, we were gone, reappearing in some sort of cave system. Lo’Ann was standing on the cave floor while I was on a higher level. I climbed down to meet her, and she handed me a compressed airgun. Clearly she expected a fight, and after we walked to the left off the screen, we soon found ourselves in the thick of one!

It's gonna happen! It's gonna happen!!!

Hang on a second! Is this Total Recall? That would seriously explain a lot!

The first time is always a bit surprising!

We stood overlooking a vast area where Crughons ran around in front of one of their ships. Lo’Ann was in a panic. “THE CRUGHONS! We’re too late. The Scorzuum has been activated!” My hypno-educated brain started to come to the fore, informing me that Scorzuum was the delayed-action bomb that the Crughons planted. “Once the timer has been started, there’s no way of stopping it!” Thankfully Lo’Ann had a plan: “We’ve somehow got to smuggle ourselves onboard the Crughon shuttle! It’s our last chance! We must get the bomb to go off in THIS era, but to do that we have to gain access to the master computer inside the Crughon space fortress!” This sounded difficult, and it was made even more difficult when our presence was detected and the Crughons began firing at us! I was now required to shoot the Crughons by moving the cursor over them and pressing the left mouse button. They swarmed from the left and the right, and the ones positioned at the front of the charge were highlighted in red and marked as dangerous. These highlighted Crughons were the ones I had to focus on, as failing to kill them quickly resulted in me being obliterated. I died many, many times until I finally got used to things. The real aim was to kill the leader as he swept across the sky on his platform, but it wasn’t easy to even attempt that as failing to concentrate on the front line for long meant a game over screen. Eventually I cleaned up enough running aliens fast enough to be able to target and kill the leader, and then take out the remainders.

I think you might have been excused for including some really nasty expletives there Lo'Ann.

Well that's one way to explain the controls!

My celebration was short-lived however, as moments after victory, a lone Crughon appeared on a platform and shot Lo’Ann! I took him out and then checked out my friend’s health. She was alive, but I was told that to save her life I would need to send her back into the future for medical attention. Examining her uncovered a little box of invisibility pills. There was only one pill left, and the box informed me that it would last for only one minute. I was going to have to make good use of it! I also found the pendant I’d given to her previously, and figured it might help me get Lo’Ann back to her time. I used it on her and then heard a voice inside my head! “Albert II. Mental Programming system... Awaiting your orders, sir.”  My character asked Albert II who he was, to which he responded: “I’m Albert II! At least, that’s what Lo’Ann calls me. My real name is AX401ML367 II, which I admit is not quite as easy to remember. I’m a mental interface, part of CHRONOSYS, the master computer of the time travelling system.” I asked Albert if he could move Lo’Ann to the year 4315 for urgent medical treatment, and thankfully he replied in the affirmative. He couldn’t however take both of us, since the “positronic charge shows a serious loss in power”. That was fine by me, as I still had a mission to complete. Lo’Ann was whisked away to safety, while I watched my character slowly make his way toward the ship. It seemed likely that the end of Future Wars was now approaching. Join me in a few days to see how it all plays out!

If you've ruined my chance of getting laid, I swear I'll revive you just so I can kill you again!

I'd prefer it if you'd let me decide how excited I am.

Session Time: 0 hours 45 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 45 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!


  1. Caption contest : Maybe you should practice a bit on your own before you meet another coin slot?

    1. "[insert sexual reference]"

    2. "... You dirty, dirty boy."

    3. "...or the disk in drive A: is corrupted. Abort, Retry, Fail?"

    4. Round peg, square hole, how do you do it wrong?

  2. >We must get the bomb to go off in THIS era

    Isn't it painfully obvious what a huge bomb exploding 65 million years ago is building up to?

    1. More to the point, how do you set a 65-million-year timer?

    2. Answer 1: Very carefully.
      Answer 2: Scientific notation.
      Answer 3: With a keypad.
      Answer 4: With a logarithmic dial.