I've checked my version and I'm definitely playing 2.0. I can't imagine how bad 1.0 was!
There have been some tough games on the list so far that I’ve really had to slog my way through, but nothing comes close to Les Manley! This game is utterly brutal, and the vast majority of puzzles are impossible to solve through logic. I will try not to revert to swear words and curses over the course of this post, but I apologise if I fail to stay in check. It has becomes clear that Aperama only added the game to the list so that he could bet against me and make stacks of CAPs. It really does look like he’s pulled off a most lucrative heist! Before I get on with the show, I want to mention that I fear things will get even worse for me if I can’t overcome a technical issue that is stopping me from restoring all but my latest save. If I use the F7 key to restore the latest save, all is good, but if I restore a previous save game I’m finding that I can’t type anything. I have had a couple random successes, but for the most part the problem is consistent. I’ve checked what version I’m playing and the answer is 2.0, which is the same version companions are playing, so I’m not really sure why it’s happening for me. I plan to play around a bit before my next session, as it’s a certainty that I’m going to get caught out by it at some point and have to restart.
OK, how do I get those keys?!
Right, let’s do this. My last post finished with a big fat request for assistance. Unsurprisingly it was Aperama that responded, a mere 17 minutes after my request, including no less than four encrypted solutions for me. They were labelled Keys, Guard, Rosin and Helmut, and for all the vitriolic hatred I have towards the young wrestler (no, not really), I must commend Aperama for including two clues and a spoiler for each solution. I decided to start with the first one on the list, as I was genuinely interested to find out how I could possibly take the keys from my boss without him noticing. I also hoped that using the key to open the locked door in the office might lead to an item that would start a roll towards other successes. How naïve I was!!! The first clue for Keys was “You had that performance review up, didn’t you?” What??? I couldn’t recall reading anything about getting a performance review, either in the game or the manual. Why would I even think of that? Wondering whether Aperama was actually pulling my leg, I made my way to the boss and asked him for a raise. His response was unsurprisingly “Who the hell are you?”. When Les explained who he was and that he’d been an employee for two years, Mr Burnbaum ended up calling in Stella along with my personnel file. I wasn’t at all sure what good asking for a raise would do until the boss turned his head to check out Stella’s ass. I quickly swiped the keys as he did!
It does look like a fine ass, if a little pixelated for my liking.
Well, at least I only needed one clue on that first one. I rushed to the locked door and used the master keys on it, entering the previously unvisited equipment room. Inside I found some shelves, a desk, and a toolkit sitting on the floor. I could find absolutely nothing in, on, or under the desk or the shelves, but in the toolkit I discovered a reporter’s ID. I thought about all the unsolved puzzles I was facing, and the only one that I thought the ID might be useful for was the locked house to the east. I made my way there and when the occupant responded to my knocking with “If you’re who I hope you are…prove it, or get lost”, I typed “show id”. For once my instinct was right! “Oh! You must be the reporter that I’ve been expecting. Come on in!” I entered the home of a woman named Bobbi. It was very clear that she was an enormous fan of The King, as there were pictures of him all over the wall. Bobbi was sitting on the couch waiting for me, so I walked over and talked to her. Les thanked her for letting him in, to which she responded: “No need to be so formal, honey. Just call me Bobbi. Besides, I’m sooo glad the press finally sent someone over to talk to me. Just relax. Make yourself comfortable. Besides...You’re kind of cute. Oh, yes. About the scarf. You can see how much it means to me. Now...let’s begin.”
Les does deserve a pay rise for having the neatest equipment room in the world!
Could it be that I've found The King?
Nope. Just his biggest, creepy fan!
I’d wondered what the item in the glass cabinet was, and clearly it was the item that Bobbi expected me to ask her questions about. I obliged, and she explained its importance: “THE KING gave it to me at his last concert. It has magical healing powers, as I’m sure you’re aware.” That was all she had to say, so I tried to think like a journalist and follow her lead. The concert: “It was the single most important event in my life”. The King: “I’ll bet you didn’t know that THE KING loved to snack on peanut butter and banana sandwiches.” Magical powers: “I’m healthy...so it must work.” I took a look at the scarf at this point and was shown an image of it and a description: “The sweat stains are still visible.” What the hell was I supposed to be doing here? Surely I couldn’t just take the scarf. I typed “ask for scarf”, to which Bobbi said “Slow down there, honey. Let’s get to know each other.” Did that mean that she would be happy to give it to me once we’d “got to know each other”? What did she consider getting to know each other anyway? I sat down next to her and tried a few things that I’d rather not repeat here, you know, to see what would happen. Thankfully I didn’t seem to be able to seduce the creepy fan! To my horror, when I tried to stand back up I got a message saying “The lady doesn’t seem like she wants you to go.” I wasn’t able to leave!
I'd do absolutely anything for that scarf, although I have no idea why.
Oh God! What's my escape plan here!?
I took stock of the situation, but it was really difficult to figure out what to do when I had no real motivation. The very fact that I was shown an image of the scarf made it very likely that I would need to possess it somehow, but how? Bobbi wanted to get to know me, but my attempts to touch, kiss etc. her all failed. I asked some really random questions that I thought two people getting to know each other might ask, but felt like I was trying to find a needle in a haystack. In the end I typed “leave” just to see what would happen and found myself outside her house! I immediately tried knocking again, but was told Bobbi was not interested anymore. Had I just dead ended myself? Would I be able to get back in later somehow? Had I already found out what I needed to know? Maybe all I needed to know was that The King liked peanut butter and banana sandwiches. After all, I had a jar of peanut butter in my inventory! I decided the safest thing to do was to restore my game and act like I’d never used the ID to enter her home. However, since I’d gained no other leads from Aperama’s first piece of assistance, I was going to have to check out the second. It was labelled Guard, so I made my way back to the station lobby in preparation. Clue 1: “There’s a man that loves his sleep.” Yeah...and?!
Whatever I need to do with Bobbi, I've got one chance and once chance only to do it.
The first clue hadn’t given me any ideas, so I decoded Clue 2: “If only you could see why he was so intent to get there.” Huh? Get where? Asleep?! Was I supposed to see what he was dreaming about somehow? Surely not...that’s ridiculous! I know it occurred in Larry 2, but it just happened. I didn't have to try doing it! I typed “look at dream” anyway, to rule it out. “WARNING! The following dream sequence may contain some material deemed unsuitable for all family members. As viewing said sequence is not necessary for successful completion of game, parental guidance is suggested.” I now had the option to click “Show Me” and watch Dave’s dream or “Don’t Show Me” and skip it. Being a grown adult, I chose “Show Me” and watched as various objects appeared in a bubble above Dave’s head. 1. A fisherman 2. A chicken 3. A banana split 4. A car 5. An ice-cream 6. A pleasant looking island 7. Some money 8. A train entering a tunnel 9. A hot dog 10. A woman’s lips sucking on a straw 11. A blonde submerged in water 12. A naked brunette with large breasts 13. A picture of Larry Laffer crossed out!!! 14. A censored image of a man and a woman having sex 15. A ruler within inverted commas. What the hell was I supposed to make of all that?! Clearly Dave was very interested in food and women, but what was the ruler all about? Was it making some sort of suggestion about the size of Dave’s manhood? How was this going to help me with my current situation(s)?
Nothing unusual about the dream. Other than the fact I can see it!!!
After a small amount of thought (putting any real effort in seemed to me to be a waste of time), I decided to read Aperama’s spoiler. After all, I’d already read the clues for this puzzle, so any bet was already lost. Spoiler: “WATCH or LOOK at Dave's dream. Then.. take it. Yes, seriously. Take his dream.” Hang on...did Aperama just tell me that I need to...”take” Dave’s dream? Mwahahahahaa..cough... Drool began leaking out of the corner of my mouth as I felt my mind rapidly getting stupider for having played this insanely stupid excuse for a game. I have to take his dream!? I typed “take dream” and received the following reply: “I can’t imagine what you want with someone else’s dream, but it’s yours now.” I accessed my inventory, just to prove to myself that the above had really just taken place. “You have a thermos, a free ticket, a master key, a reporter’s ID, a lunch bag and a dream.” Apart from becoming a leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, I had to wonder what possible use the dream might have. I typed “look at dream”, expecting to be shown the same images I’d seen earlier. Instead I was shown an image of the ruler with the description “A dream of size”. Hang on! Helmut has an issue with his size. Could the dream be for him? The more I thought about it, the more I was certain it was. I have to say though that I can’t imagine another puzzle topping this one for 1990. I hereby award the Lament Configuration TAG (Most Ridiculous Puzzle) for 1990 to Les Manley!
I'm actually concerned about anyone that didn't require assistance to finish this game!
I took my hard-earned “dream of size” to Helmut and showed it to him. “Gee…I wish I had a dream.” I gave it to him: “Yay!!! Now I’ve got something to look forward to!” Yay indeed. Helmut and I were now good friends, so I tried picking him up. It worked, and I could now see Helmut in my inventory! I’d originally thought I might need to use Helmut to get into Bobbi’s house, but now I knew that wasn’t the case. What could I do with the little guy? I’d not managed to cheer up Luigi yet, and therefore hadn’t got my hands on the rosin for Fred, but I couldn’t see how Helmut could help with that matter. The women had shown a real interest in Helmut though, including Alona and Zarmooska. Alona had said “Vot hes doink? I vant him see me tonight.”, so perhaps taking him to her was the answer. I visited both Alona and Zarmooska, but neither seemed interested in Helmut now that I had him. Surely getting the rosin was my next task, but how? I made my way back to Luigi and tried to figure out what it was I was supposed to be doing. As usual, I couldn’t figure it out. Damn it, I was going to have to look at another one of Aperama’s hints! This game makes me feel really stupid! Aperama’s third spoiler was labelled Rosin, and since that was what I wanted, I decoded the first clue. “Luigi is a little vain, in truth.” I already knew that, so I decoded Clue 2: “How does he shape up against his poster?” What, the huge cardboard cut-out? I’d tried looking at that previously but hadn’t had any luck!
Glad someone does.
I typed “look at poster”, even though I recalled trying that before, but got “I don’t see the poster here”! I tried “picture” instead, since I’d not tried that previously, and it worked. Here was a puzzle that I might have actually solved myself if not for the damn parser! Anyway, the message I got back was “There seems to be a difference between Luigi and his picture.” It didn’t tell me what that difference was of course, so I typed “look at difference”. “The mustache seems a little different. Why not ask him about it?” I did that, and Luigi explained that “It’s-a not as-a stiff as when I was-a young-a boy, like-a yourself.” OK. Did I have anything in my inventory that could help with this situation? Well, I had some peanut butter, and while I wouldn’t normally consider it to be a valid solution for this problem, nothing would surprise me in this game. I tried it but was told it was best to leave it in the jar. Think Tricky! What would someone use in the real world to shape and stiffen a moustache? Well, they’d use wax, but I didn’t have any. Had I seen any in the game? Well, yes actually! There were candles in Madame Zarmooska’s caravan! Surely that was the answer! I headed over there and looked at the wax. “It’s what candles are made of.” I tried to get some, only to be informed that “You can’t take the wax.” Damn it! So much for logic!
Um...yeah...happens to the best of us!
Well, there goes that idea!!
I tried talking to Zarmooska about the wax, telling her about Luigi, asking for the wax, and everything I could think of, but clearly the wax wasn’t the answer. Yet again I was out of ideas and would have to look at Aperama’s spoiler for getting the rosin. Spoiler: “Get him some wax from the fortune teller to make his moustache picture perfect, pun entirely intended.” What the!!! I really thought I’d tried everything I could to get that wax, but the parser had given me no impression whatsoever that it was possible. Should I be trying to get the candle instead of the wax? Nope. Should I be using another one of my items on the wax? Nope. Should I be punching Zarmooska in the face and laughing hysterically? Nope! I’d noticed that Ilmari had added another spoiler after Aperama’s called “Zarmooska”. I had to assume he’d done that because there was no way I was going to figure this out without it. Ilmari had left two hints and two spoilers, so I decoded the first hint: “What did Luigi warn you not to do?” Well, he’d warned me not to touch his daughter Angelina (aka Madame Zarmooska). Surely Ilmari wasn’t telling me that the solution was in fact to touch her!? What would that achieve and why would I try that? I typed “touch angelina” and was stunned when she said “Too bad I’m only a dream” and disappeared!!!!!
What? Someone please tell me this whole game is nothing more than a dream!
How could I not have figured this out on my own! Of course Angelina isn't real! Hang on...what?!?!
Just in case you weren’t really paying attention when you read what I just said, I’ll repeat it. I touched Madame Zarmooska, for no real reason other than her father told me not to do it, and she simply disappeared into thin air! With the coast now clear, I once again tried to take the wax. “Now you’re left with a situation you’re familiar with. White sticky stuff all over your hands.” I can’t tell you how pissed off I was about this. While Zarmooska was there, I was repeatedly told that I could not take the wax. Any game designer that isn’t in league with Satan would have at least put something like “You can’t take the wax while Madame Zarmooska is watching” or something similar. Even if they had of, the solution was so far from obvious that I still could only have stumbled upon it by chance. Anyway, now I had the wax, so I raced back to Luigi and gave it to him. “Ahhh..thank-a-you my sonny boy. Just-a what I been lookin-a for. Now I can-a get on with-a my show!” He stood up and began flexing his muscles, newly stiff moustache adorning his smiling face. I was now able to pick up (aka steal) his rosin, which I knew would be helpful in achieving something with Frederick Von Leepov. That’s assuming that the parser doesn’t smack me in the face again. Les Manley is going to take a long time to finish at this rate, and it’s a dead set certainty I’ll be asking for assistance again soon enough!
Remember kids, it's fine to steal things from people you've just helped.
Session Time: 1 hour 00 minutes
Total Time: 4 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 instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!