Saturday, 24 January 2015

Game 47: Spellcasting 101: Sorcerers Get All the Girls - The Impossible Isle of Putrescent Puns

Written by Aperama

Ernie Eaglebeak's Journal #3: So, my quest to both reclaim my lost Lola and find out what my mother meant has started.. strangely. Spellcasting U has been completely trashed! The last thing I got out of Professor Peelerofsmallfigs was so cryptic – how could it have been the ones who write the horrible university newspaper that were guilty of everything? Either way, nobody's really talking. The University is just about empty. I managed to learn some spells from the simulation chair.. maybe it's stopped by the person who ran the simulation normally. Heck, I wasn't even sure it was safe to be in there, I was just so lost! I've got Tickingclock's magical surfboard, have managed to make a whale land in the middle of the busted up Batguano Court.. and after looking around a bit, I ended up at the Island of Lost Soles! It's not as fun here as it was cracked up to be in the booklet.. I've mostly just been spending time finding people and saving them with my KABBUL spell. I'm really glad I climbed up that bust! Now, is this set of trees a STAN or a CLYDE...

The continuation of our cliffhanger from last post...

It's difficult to say whether this past hour and a bit playing Spellcasting was actually.. pleasant. I only really had one thing in mind for this play post – getting the surfboard in Tickingclock's room which he'd insisted was so 'magical'. Everything else was due to be a mystery, as far as I was concerned – that wouldn't have been so bad were it not for the fact that there was no more clear goal ahead of us. Sure, the 'end aim' of reclaiming the Sorcerer's MacGuffin looms overhead, along with perhaps 'saving Professor Tickingclock' or 'finding out what the mysterious talisman that Ernie's mother gave to him is'. After a fair bit of trial and error, I ended up finding what I can only presume was our intended destination for the next section of the game – and that has taken the game to a mixture of frustration and minimal laughter. Anyhow.. back to the story!

Aw, she really had a moustache?
If I'd known that, I might not have.. rearranged furniture with her!

After assuring myself that we couldn't revive Professor Peelerofsmallfigs with a 'KABBUL', I slipped around Sorcerer's University. Some rooms looked very similar (the dock, the entry hall, the arena, the maze, the professor's office and Ernie's room look literally identical) but the dormitories, both fraternities and Batguano Court all had evidence of the chaos caused by the ruckus that clearly took place while we were unconscious. Still, I had one clear aim, and sure enough, a DISPAR took the surfboard off of the wall for us, dropping a BLUBBA spell box out from behind it ('summon a whale'). I immediately thought that we'd be riding a whale about the place when I saw this – but every time I summon him near water, 'the great blast of air summoned as the sperm whale drops from the sky throws my spellbook out of my hands'. And when I summon him elsewhere..

Fun fact: outdoor whale summoning far funnier than indoor whale self-splatting.
 Don't try this at home, kids

About ten minutes of frustrated searching was in my future, however, as after realising that the whale was doing nothing for me, I started searching elsewhere. The simulation chair had the exact same puzzle to get through, though regardless of where we 'fail' it (even as the simulation last ended, one more turn leads a 'beast' to come in and savage us no matter what we do) it appears to leave us with the three spells from inside the simulation still in our spellbook. (A recap: ZEM, 'increased fighting ability'', 'GUB', 'disease plants', and 'VAI', 'healthy plants') Unfortunately, none of them really help us out of our situation. After looking at the talisman (a largely featureless rock) and then the surfboard a touch more closely, I realised that I'd been holding our escape mechanism from the University since the start of the post. It took a little to realise that I had to actually float it in water to use it as a transportation device. The surfboard has two dials – one that goes from '1 to 15' and the other that has 'the names of many creatures – specifically, the ones you'll find along the side of the map you'll find in your game package' (or in the introductory post written on here for the game). Clue taken! My first few destinations were given 'cautionary warnings' or were 'too far for the surfboard' – and after being mauled, sent to Dragon Tending Guild and cleaned up by a barge, I ended up picking the random island that sits in the middle of the land mass for kicks.

I actually selected this as a joke, game...

But there again, choosing jokes is probably the right decision in this game

The Island of Lost Soles, indeed. I actually feel a little ripped off – I really meant this as a joke! However, it's good to see that they at least acknowledge the double meaning. Instead of spamming you all with pictures of it, I'll just include the transcript from the sign found on the beach of the island: "Welcome to the Island of Lost Soles (Population 80)." Below, someone has scrawled, "Listen to our story, O Traveller, and then help us if you can: We were always content being the Island of Lost Soles, until by and by, some grew tired of the constant splinters and blisters, and summoned a famous cobbler from a distant land, Waldo Bootlacer. He performed remarkably, and for the first time in anyone's memory, we had Soles. Unfortunately, due to a bank error, our check to Bootlacer bounced. Thinking that he was being cheated, he contracted the evil warlock, Lars Stormkiller, to enact revenge upon us. Stormkiller cast a horrible spell, which has transformed us from the Island of Lost Soles to the Island of Lost Souls... at least, until some kind-hearted sorcerer arrives to restore us. The spell has entrapped us, one by one, in non-human forms. Only I, Blaise, Mayor of the Island, remain human, and even now I feel a f"

I understood the puzzle at first, but my mind skipped a beat

I took my usual stance of 'pick everything up first, consider it later'. The island is fairly small – there's a forest to the northeast (which in the picture of the opening screen looks like it should be northwest given the directional compass supposedly works in conjunction with the pictures ingame), a small fishing hole/brook to the southeast, and to the east is a suburban home filled with all of the sorts of things that a normal suburban home has – a doorbell, a gym, a car full of men, a 'handtruck' (I'd have called it a trolley), a kitchen, stuffed animals ad nauseum.. well, perhaps not 'all' of the things. It's almost difficult to admit how long it took me to realise exactly what was being asked of me, but instead of 'KABBUL BLAISE' being the first thing that I did when I made my way onto the opening screen, instead, it took until here for my brain to kick into gear..

This is where I cracked my knuckles and got ready for what was to come..

As I say – embarrassing. After 'BLAISE' put out the fire when he was KABBUL-ed, it soon brought out a pair of things that were no longer on fire, for instance – a 'lot'.. I just began throwing out random 'CHAR' names in truth – 'CHARLIE' (a charred lea) and 'CHARLOTTE' both gave me a point a piece, along with a bee (BEA) who was hovering over the top of the fire. It seemed straight forward enough, so I just began randomly running around. Some of them I didn't even get – I just typed out names that seemed to make sense and came up with a favorable response.

A CAR full of MEN, a 'device to (JACK) up a car'..

I'm not proud of myself, but I'm willing to say that I didn't put too much thought into things at first. Realising that the 'nymphs' that came up every now and then were actually giving clues, I went back through my script-log to come up with a few extra names that it was trying to insist on. A WALDO in the kitchen screen, for instance, I may well not have gotten if a nymph hadn't come up with “Have you seen Waldo? No? Okay, I'll keep looking.” Trial and error will more than likely be enough to make our way through here if the clues keep up.

After picking up everything not bolted down, my inventory bloated a little

I'd probably technically be able to fire through all of the assorted puns that flew past. The 'nest full of ornamental vases' being ERNEST. The more obvious ones – 'BROOKE' being the brook/small stream of water. If there's one design choice I can really complain about here, it has to be that in its desperate attempt to make things less obvious for the puns being made, the game chooses very wishy-washy language. It'd be quite difficult for a non-English speaker to make it through this one. (Hell, I didn't even understand a couple. I've never heard of a lime RICKY, which I fluked while throwing random names into the parser preceded by 'KABBUL', and 'NICHOLAS' as an 'accounting statement'? I'm still not even sure what the joke is there.) To use 'a man's silk neck ornament' is one thing – to use the description of 'if you've seen one man's silk neck ornament, you've seen them all' is another.. even if it's quite obvious that it's a TY. My assorted journeys throughout the Isle led me to receive an upgrade to Level 4 – it seems to be related to points (which I'm receiving one of per solved pun.)

And here's where I found myself desperately wishing for more characters in a save file

My brain was beginning to melt at this point. Bad puns, some of which I couldn't really make heads nor tails of (a PAT of butter I've heard of.. but not very often) led me to just desperately want to stop. I was nearly crying. And not in a good way. I'll list all that I've found as of posting - BILL PATTY BARB ROBIN WALDO TEDDY BUCK BLAISE BROOKE BEA STU PEG TOM ROD CHIP TY FRANK BUNNY ADAM BO JACK NICHOLAS JIM BELLE DOLLY BERNIE KERMIT CARMEN CHARLIE CHARLOTTE ERNEST PAT WILBUR WILTON WILLIAM WILLIE WILBUR WILMA WILTON WILHELM WILL SHERRY PENNY JULES and RICKY. The clues left over that I have yet to find are GABBY LULU NOEL BLAIR and WINNIE. I might like some hints as far as the salamander and bristly pad in my inventory – I literally don't know what a 'bristly pad' is. A scourer? Looking at the item gives a result of 'once you've seen one bristly pad you've seen them all'...

My inventory!

A salamander
A bristly pad
A surfboard of ocean crossing power
An ancient map (also found in my game box™)
A talisman
A popular book
Seemingly useless: president's house key, scribbled note, registration form, pack of cigarettes
A cloak (I'm dressed, yay!)
A spellbook with BIP (romantic music), VAI (healthy plants), GUB (diseased plants), ZEM (increase fighting ability), SKONN (increase bust size), FRIMP (levitation), DISPAR (remove magic protection) KABBUL (restore lost souls) and BLUBBA (summon a whale)

Session Time: 1 hour 30 min
Total Time: 4 hours

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There’s 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'd not mind a clue or two regarding salamanders (Lizzy isn't the answer!) or a bristly pad (A sponge? What the hell!)


  1. I feel for you. This is by far the worst part of the game, like a bad joke that’s been repeated too many times. When I played the game for the first time, I didn’t even try finding the solution to all puns, but just listened to the fairies and KABBULLed the names in every room.

    Explanation of the account statement: I think if you read the statement, it says that the account was 1 000 000 last year, but now only 999 999,95 - so a NICKLE LESS.

    Bristly pad:
    Hint 1: Lbh ner cebonoyl univat gebhoyrf, orpnhfr lbh cvpxrq vg hc. Vg'f snveyl rnfl va gur pbagrkg jurer gur cnq jnf ng svefg.
    Hint 2: Vg vf qrfpevorq nf n erpgnathyne oevfgyl cnq, fvggvat whfg va sebag bs n qbbe, fb vg'f boivbhfyl n qbbe-
    Spoiler: ZNGG

    Hint 1: Lbh fubhyq guvax bs n cnegvphyne fcrpvrf bs fnynznaqre.
    Hint 2: Vg'f n arjg.
    Hint 3: Naq vg'f nccneragyl Fpnaqvanivna, orpnhfr vgf anzr vf…
    Spoiler: XAHGR

    1. Agreed. I hated this part of the game. I was in it for the T&A and this entire island is just a boner-killer. At least it came in early in the game and not later.

      Apparently, no one told Legend that Punny does not equal Funny.

    2. I guess it's the Island of People with No Arms and No Legs? As in, "What do you call a guy with no arms and no legs..."
      - in a swimming pool? BOB
      - mounted on a wall? ART
      - (the other most common example is apparently the answer to "Bristly Pad" so I guess I won't say it)

    3. My assumptions for the ones you said you're missing:

      Fbzrguvat gung gnyxf, fhpu nf n cneebg be gryrcubar.

      Znlor n fvta gung vf zvffvat n yrggre, fhpu nf n fjvzzvat cbb.

      N ubefr, tvqqlhc.

    4. Those are the ones he found, actually.

    5. Just for the record, Ilmari - I only needed the first hint in each case (though that was because KNUTE popped up as a fairy just as I was peeking around the isle.)

    6. I would've guessed LIZ for the salamander, but that's me and my long history with The Magic School Bus. You know, I think I remember people complaining about these puzzles way back at the beginning of the blog...was that here, or am I thinking of someone complaining about them on another blog? Canageek, can you jog my memory?

  2. Oh wow, those pun puzzles look painful. Now I'm glad I've not played the game, they'd been ten times worse for a non-native such as myself.