Tuesday 25 February 2014

Game 41: Les Manley 1 - Hypersensitive Carnies

Les Manley Journal Entry 3: "These circus folk sure are needy, but none of them seem all that keen to help each other out. I checked out another section of New York today, but I really couldn't see how spending time there might help me find The King. This might be harder than I thought! Hey, why isn't this Test-O-Strength working anyway? Maybe I can fix it. I'll just NO....AAAAAAAaaaaggghh........."

I'm considering leaping off a great height myself at this point!

I was determined to prove all of you wrong and get through Les Manley unassisted, but it’s clear that’s not going to happen. The combination of unclear motivations / objectives and horrendous parser technology is leaving me frustrated and disillusioned. Unless I have a eureka moment while typing up this post, it will finish with a request for assistance, but let’s go back to where things were left at the end of my last post. I’d just gained a bit of information from Alona the airhead circus assistant. When I’d asked about Frederick Von Leepov, she’d responded with "Vot hes doink? Vy he not climb ladder?”. I examined the ladder, but couldn’t find out anything useful. Frederick couldn’t speak English either, so I couldn’t ask him what the problem was. Eventually I tried climbing the ladder myself, and was told “You’re not that daring. Besides, there’s something strange about the rungs.” I typed “look at rungs” and got “They look OK. I wonder how they feel?”. This game really likes to make the player work overly hard for everything!!! I typed “feel rungs” and was informed that “they feel a little slippery”. So, after all that I’d figured out that Fred wouldn’t climb the ladder because the rungs were too slippery, but what could I do about that? Of course!!!! Luigi’s rosin was the answer! I must have to get the rosin off him and give it to Fred!

So...rungs...how does it make you feel to be walked all over all the time?

I made my way back to Luigi, but couldn’t think of anything to try. He wasn’t just going to hand it over, and since I had nothing to make him feel stronger or more good looking (which I assume is what I need to do), I would have to ignore the lead for now. I still hadn’t explored the northern part of the circus, and doing so revealed one final location of interest. There I found Helmut, “The World’s Smallest Man”! Talking to Helmut revealed that he too was feeling sorry for himself: “I’ve been feeling a little small lately. Seems like there’s no future for a guy of my stature. Nothing to look forward to. The same old routine day after day.” Great! Another guy with insecurity issues! I started asking him about all the other circus inhabitants. Luigi: “He’s no rocket scientist but he’s good at what he does. I wish I was good for something.” Zarmooska: “She’s really deep.” He wouldn’t say anything about Fred or Alona, but when I asked about The King I got “Let’s go find THE KING!” I had to wonder whether Helmut really did want to come with me, so I tried to pick him up. “Why should he go with you? You’ve never done anything for him.” OK. So I need to somehow make Luigi and Helmut feel worthwhile, with the end result being that I might get the rosin off Luigi to give to Fred, and possibly be able to pick up Helmut and take him with me.

I thought I could only "use" things in one of those Half Dome games!?

Are you kidding me? You could break into anywhere!

I made my way around the circus, asking everyone about Helmut. Zarmooska: “Ah yes, all we ladies of the circus know him well. He’s such a handy fellow to have around.” Luigi: “He’s-a my leettle-a buddy. But my eyes aren’t-a so guud these-a days. Is he still-a depressed? He keeps-a complaining that he has-a no future here. Nothing to look-a forward to. No-a reason to plan ahead-a. No-a dreams for his-a future.”Alona: “Oooooh, that Helmut! Oh..I mean…Vot hes doink? I vant him see me tonight.” This last one was particularly interesting. Not only did it seem Alona was faking her accent, but it also looked like she was genuinely interested in spending some time with the little guy. Perhaps I could talk to Helmut about Alona to show him he still had a nice future? I went back to Helmut and typed “tell helmut about alona”. The message I got back was simply “Helmut says nothing”, as it was for every other variation I could think of. Damn it! I thought I was onto something there. I’d exhausted all my options in the circus, so it was time to go somewhere else. I’d never turned right after leaving the Station WILL office, so I made my way back past the bus station and onto the screen beyond. There I found a parked bus with “NEW JERSEY” on the destination screen. I couldn’t find anything to do with the bus (when I tried to get on I was informed that I get bus sick) or anything else on the screen, so continued to the east.

The ladies really do find little Helmut to be very useful! What are they suggesting?

Another screen with nothing to do...apparently.

To the east was a house with a fire hydrant and a couple of trash cans outside. I failed to find anything to do with the hydrant or the cans, so I walked up to the door and looked at it. “Looks like there is a peephole in the door.” I looked at the peephole and found that “there’s someone peeping back at you”! I knocked, and someone came to the door and spoke through it. “If you’re who I hope you are…prove it, or get lost.” I wracked my brain to think of who they might hope I am, or what that person might say or do to prove it, but came up with nothing. I tried a few random things that were never going to work before walking away and continuing east. The next screen contained a barrier which I was unable to pass. I couldn’t find anything that I could do there; meaning my excursion east of the station had achieved absolutely nothing. It was at this point that I decided to go back to the station and see if I could find anything I’d missed the first time around. I made my way straight to the water fountain, now that I knew what Americans call bubblers, and tried filling my thermos with water. “Gee…I’m glad I remembered that I almost forgot to fill me thermos today!” Wow! I achieved something in Les Manley! (10 points) Unfortunately, I had no need for water, and I’d spend the next hour wandering around aimlessly trying things with no success.


At least it's only a literal dead end!

One thing I realised I hadn’t done was ask Luigi, Helmut and Angelina about Alona and Fred. Doing this produced some results, but nothing that helped me make any progress. When I asked Luigi about Fred, he said “He’s-a high-a flyin’-a no guud-a bambino. I don’t-a know what-a my Angelina sees in him. He’s-a too nervous for this-a kind-a work.” So Angelina was into Fred! When I asked her about him, she replied: “He doesn’t speak any English…but who cares?” Otherwise their responses seemed uninteresting. I got the idea in my head that perhaps I was supposed to ask Zarmooska something about Helmut’s future, since he kept banging on about having no future. I tried asking her various questions and even taking her crystal ball, but got nowhere. The final thing I should mention before requesting assistance is that I figured out what the Test-O-Strength guy was all about. Whenever I looked at the thing he was hitting, the game made a point of telling me not to get too close. I decided to do it anyway (what did I have to lose!?) and the result was startling to say the least!!! When I stood on the platform, instead of the man hitting me with the hammer, him hitting it somehow launched me high into the sky! I didn’t die though. Oh no. I flew all the way from New York to frickin’ Las Vegas!!!!!!!! My crash landing was epic, forming a body shaped crater in the Earth, but I was miraculously unharmed. Seriously?!

And you thought the Italian racial stereotype in Police Quest was bad!

They're my legs leaving the screen!

I couldn't help but notice there are three locations on the map. My geography isn't up to knowing where the third one is though. Texas?

This sounds like great news right? You’re finally getting somewhere Tricky, right?! Well..no. As soon as I got there, a message popped up saying: “You seem to have come through that experience fine. Unfortunately, not everything you’ll need was with you.” In other words, I’d just dead-ended myself. At least now I knew how to get to Las Vegas when I needed to, but there seemed little point exploring the environment when clearly I wasn’t going to be able to complete the game. This is where I currently am. I’ve not figured out how to get the keys off my boss’ desk. I figure I need to distract him, but couldn’t figure out how. I assume I will then be able to use the keys to open the locked door nearby. I have no idea what use Dave the guard has. I figure I need Luigi’s rosin for Fred to be able to climb the ladder, and I also have a suspicion that I might be able to put Helmut through the peephole in the door to the east of the station if I can manage to take him with me. Perhaps helping Luigi will allow me to help Fred, which in turn will allow me to help Helmut? If this is the case, then everything seems to be linked to making Luigi feel good about himself, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how to do that. So…HELP!!!!!!!

Uh huh! Not to mention completely suicidal!

All this fun awaits me!

Session Time: 2 hours 00 minutes
Total Time: 3 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 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 particular post, I have made a request for assistance! Thanks!


  1. Ooo-kay.. *cracks fingers*

    Clue: Lbh unq gung cresbeznapr erivrj hc, qvqa'g lbh?
    Clue 2: Lbhe obff qbrfa'g frrz yvxr ur'f gbb uneq n jbexre. Qrsvavgryl unf n tbbq ybbxvat frpergnel, gubhtu..
    Spoiler: Nfx lbhe obff sbe n envfr/erivrj. Teno gur xrlf jura uvf rlrf cbc bhg bs uvf urnq.

    Clue: Gurer'f n zna gung ybirf uvf fyrrc.
    Clue 2: Vs bayl lbh pbhyq frr jul ur jnf fb vagrag gb trg gurer?
    Spoiler (BIG): JNGPU be YBBX ng Qnir'f qernz. Gura.. gnxr vg. Lrf, frevbhfyl. Gnxr uvf qernz.

    Clue: Yhvtv vf n yvggyr inva, va gehgu.
    Clue 2: Ubj qbrf ur funcr hc ntnvafg uvf cbfgre?
    Spoiler: Trg uvz fbzr jnk sebz gur sbeghar gryyre gb znxr uvf zbhfgnpur cvpgher cresrpg, cha ragveryl vagraqrq.

    Clue: Vs V bayl unq n qernz...
    Clue 2: Uryzhg whfg arrqf fbzrguvat gb nfcver gbjneqf.
    Spoiler: Tvir Uryzhg Qnir'f qernz. Ur'yy or lbhe sevraq!

    You caught me just before bed. Hope this all helps, Trick (and I'll tell you, you might want to keep track of what clues you peek at - there just might be some bets on the line.)

    1. There's still one point missing:

      Mme. Zarmooska:
      Hint: Jung qvq Yhvtv jnea lbh abg gb qb?
      Spoiler: Qb gur irel bccbfvgr... gbhpu Zzr. Mnezbbfxn.
      Hint 2: Abj gung lbh ner nybar, lbh zvtug jnag gb purpx ure fghss.
      Spoiler 2: Rfcrpvnyyl gung yvmneq.

    2. I figured he would probably have to backtrack that one, so just answered what he'd asked about actively.

    3. No hints beforehand Ilmari. It's no fun unless he finds it out the hard way.

    4. Jryy, Gevpx jvyy ng yrnfg unir gb svther bhg gur chmmyr qrfpevorq va zl Fcbvyre 1 gb tb guebhtu Yhvtv, orpnhfr Mnezbbfxn jba'g yrg lbh gnxr gur pnaqyr jnk, juvyr fur'f nebhaq gurer.

      Naq nf sbe Fcbvyre 2... xabjvat Gevpx, ur'yy fgvyy ernq nf yvggyr nf ur pna, fb gurer'f fgvyy n tbbq punapr ur'yy unir gb cynl gur tnzr gb vgf ovggre raq jvgubhg gur bar pehpvny vgrz.

    5. Vg jbhyq or rkgen rcvp vs gur erfheerpgvba pneq jbhyq or obgu bar bs gur svefg guvatf ur urneq nobhg naq gur ynfg bar ur svaqf, uvf cynlguebhtu pbzvat shyy pvepyr.

      Shegurezber, V'q ernyyl jnag gb frr uvf ernpgvba gb fhqqrayl snvyvat gur raqvat. Vg'f nyzbfg yvxr gur jubyr tnzr vf nyy ohvyqvat hc gb gung ynfg zbzrag, n svany fperj-lbh nsgre oeniryl tbvat guebhtu gubfr bgure punyyratrf. Vg'f bar bs gur srj Xnvmb gencf va nqiragher tnzvat (lbh gubhtug lbh jba ohg trg n Tnzr Bire vafgrnq).

    6. Gur bayl ceboyrz vf gung gur ybtvp bs gur tnzr vf fb syvzfl gung vf abg rivqrag gung lbh ner arne gur raqvat, orsber lbh npghnyyl fghzoyr ba vg. Jul fubhyq Yrf gel jvaavat Ryivf ybbx-n-yvxr pbagrfg? Ubj pbzr erfheerpgvba nsgre orvat genzcyrq gb qrngu ol Ryivf-snaf jbhyq gnxr uvz nal pybfre gb Ryivf?

    7. Cyhf, Gevpx jvyy xabj ur'f zvffvat fbzrguvat, vs ur qbrfa'g svaq gur erfheerpgvba pneq, orpnhfr gur tnzr jvyy gryy uvz fb.

    8. Boivbhfyl ur'q xabj ur'f pybfr gb gur raq orpnhfr gur fpber nccebnprf gur znkvzhz. Abeznyyl gung jbhyq or whfg n zvyq va-tnzr fcbvyre, ohg urer vg vf na npg bs zrepl sebz gur qrirybcref. Lbh'er evtug nobhg gur tnzr gryyvat vs lbh zvffrq fbzrguvat, gubhtu. Vg'f cbffvoyr Gevpxfgre qbrfa'g rira jnag gb pbagvahr hagvy ur'f fher ur unf rirelguvat ur arrqf.

    9. That's a good point actually. I was never informed that I was missing something when I left New York without the card. It did so for other items, but not the card.

  2. Maybe you should see how far you can get first. It's not until near the end when you learn what you were supposed to be doing all along.

    Incidentally, that map screen reminds me a lot of that Nuclear War game for the Amiga, with the art style and Les flying like a missile and all.

    1. Nuclear War! Oh, the memories...

    2. I recall playing Nuclear War and loving it! It's amazing to think that I used to try my hand at everything I could get my hands on, no matter the genre. Obviously I only play adventure games now, but even this blog I rarely strayed from RPGs and first person shooters.

      On the Amiga, I played everything!!!!

  3. I simply cannot believe how bad this game is! It's impossible to apply logic to pretty much anything! I don't know how I'm going to get through it.

    To think I'll probably have to pay out heaps of CAPs to Aperama, even though it's entirely his fault that I have to play this sad excuse for a game!

    1. I think Aperama’s original sales pitch for backing up this game was that it would be excellent for ”gaming the system” and gaining some CAPs ;)

    2. It's called smart investing!

    3. Sounds like he knew what he was doing. I'm glad this was included though as comparison to other adventure games. I hope I guessed low enough.

    4. Oh, it was shameless indeed. :) The positive is that this really is among the worst I'm aware of, as most other games with terrible puzzles, cough, Gabriel Knight 3, cough, at least have the common decency to have only one or two of them.

    5. This one is quite harmless apart from the puzzles. Art style and music are decent enough. I wonder if it's possible to give a negative rating for puzzles to outweigh the other categories, so the game would get a rating it truly deserves?

      Some of the other upcoming games with plenty of opportunities for bets are Operation Stealth/The Stealth Affair, and Curse of Enchantia. Especially Curse of Enchantia. Sooner or later we should study them in preparation for betting the worst puzzles...

    6. If after this anyone starts a conversation how awful Sierra games were with their instadeaths and crazy puzzles, I'll just link back to this conversation.

    7. Gasp, Curse of Enchantia. Did that make the list by its own merits, or was it again the handiwork of some shady "angel investor"...?

    8. Charles: No, Curse of Enchantia is still borderline.

      Laukku: If you really want some betting points, why don't you check the next Accolade game, Altered Destiny. That's coming up really soon.

    9. It doesn't come until 1992 and is currently listed as borderline, but has a Wikipedia article and 25 DOS ratings so it should be automatically accepted now.

    10. Let me tell you a story Ilmari.

      A few years ago there was this steakhouse I sometimes ate at. The steaks were juicy and tender, the potatoes crisp and the wine flowing. One dark winter evening I sat down and ordered my steak just the way I like it, garlic roasted over the fire. When it arrived, it smelled great and looked fantastic as usual.

      Once I tried to actually eat it though, the truth roared its ugly head. It was bone dry and so hard I almost could believe it was the last bit of the cow cooked with the intent of killing the next cow with. Disappointed, I attracted the attention of the waiter and complained that my usually fantastic steak was cooked like shit.

      His face souring, he grabbed my plate in a huff and stormed back into the kitchen, his nose pointed straight up like a flagpole. A few minutes later, he came back with a new plate for me. On it was a huge, steaming, stinking, 2 kilo pile of dog droppings. They must have emptied at least four adult rottweilers to get that much poop in one place.

      Disbelieving, I asked what the meaning of this was. The waiter answered plainly, "This is what cooked shit looks like". He looked at me, confirming that I had understood the point, and left again, taking the turd tower with him. A few minutes later my old plate came back, with the same dry steak I got the first time, except now all the food was cold after being left on the counter for so long.

      Tears streaming down my face from gratitude, I relished the taste of cold, dry cardboard, and ate every bit of food.

      From then on, every time they serve me my steak cooked like shit, I eat all of it and tip them just that little bit extra, knowing that I had no right to complain because the alternative is a plate full of ass biscuits.

      The end.

      You better keep that link handy Ilmari. Having one game made from pure 100% weapons grade toilet submarines does not mean I won't complain about dead ends in other games. :p

    11. I think I'd go to another restaurant. Maybe Thai... mmmm...

    12. Lars-Erik: Great compraison! (darn it's difficlut to wirte, when lauhging) Rest assured, my tongue was firmly in cheek, when I wrote my comment, but I think I still might whisper "Restaurant", whenever I see you complaining of dead ends ;)

    13. Lars-Erik: Were they then shut down by the health department? Really they should have been!

    14. I believe the restaurant started to package its invention in a cardboard box and sell it in Finland as a delicacy :P


    15. Ilmari: It's like speed limits. You know you're going to get fined if they catch you, but sometimes you just have to push a bit extra on the accelerator.
      xyzzysqrl: In my imagination they're still stuck trying to get through this game, and have no time for petty sanitary violations.
      Ilmari again: Oh wow. Neighboring countries, and I've never even seen that thing. That's...amazing.

  4. Ok, I finally managed to gather enough stamina to complete this worthless parody of a game. I still had to check out a walkthrough, just to trg bhg bs Ynf Irtnf (vf GUHZO ernyyl n ireo?), but after that I remembered all (too) well. Trick will have a long and hard road ahead of him, facing it for the first time.

    1. Oddly enough, thumb really can be used as a verb. It can be used in one of two ways.

      The more correct way is to 'thumb' through a pile of papers/books/other stacked objects that can be identified on sight. It's a quick way of checking through a list of business cards, for example, for the exact one you need.

      The second, more slang-y way is to 'thumb' a ride, that is hail a taxi, or a friend in their car as they pass you by extending your thumb and waving your arm at them

      Not ROT13'd because I'm likely the only person who'll ever know of the existence of this comment ;-)

    2. Ah, but you underestimate the power of feeds and news readers. ;-)

      "We watch. And we are always there."

  5. Argh! You figured out how to to get to Vegas so early in the game?! Stupid steaming pile of turd they call a game!

  6. Unrelated to this game, but I'm finding this Tex Murphy: Tesla Effect news (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBVg_UGFlPM&feature=youtu.be) to be bloody exciting!

    Really looking forward to getting my hands on this game when it comes out.

    1. It's my most anticipated Kickstarter. And my most anticipated game of 2014.
      If you haven't already, check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsNjLXglMq8 as well. ;)

      Looking forward to seeing the FMV quality as well, releasing it in 2K is a chance to take when superimposing video on top of CGI.

  7. New GOG weekend promo sale is all about adventure games. Tex Murphys, Simon the Sorcerors, just to name 2 series.

  8. I think Trickster's reaction to this game is somewhat similar to Alex's reaction to Outlast (He is the one near the right side of the gif): http://i.imgur.com/Ks3OSwF.gif