Sunday, 9 August 2015

Timequest - Completing Missions

Written by Reiko

Temporal Corps Private Journal #11: Finally I am making a lot of progress. One thing leads to another and I am able to wrap up several of the missions. Vettenmyer, I’m on your trail!

I poke at some of the earlier times a bit, but I suspect I am missing at least one thing from the 1940 time periods, plus I think I remember a bit of how the 1940 mission goes, so I will tackle that next and then work my way back again. In 1940, Rome and Dover are linked in a plot to speed up the Nazi attack on Dunkirk. I must make Hitler think that Churchill is willing to surrender so that the Nazis wait long enough for Dunkirk to be evacuated.

In Dover, I arrive at 5:45 pm, just before a 6:00 broadcast is scheduled from Churchill. I look around a little and find nobody in the bedrooms upstairs, but soon Churchill himself arrives. (Why he would be doing this broadcast from Dover and not from London I'm not sure.) I have a few minutes to chat with him, mostly getting iconic statements in response.

Churchill is very adamant in his refusal to surrender.

At six he lights a cigar with a lighter he leaves on the table (but doesn't let me take), stuffs it in his mouth, and begins speaking, asserting that he will never surrender. After a few minutes, it's over. The failed future is one where the Nazis massacre the Allied army at Dunkirk and conquer Europe.

Nazi tanks dominate the world in fire.

That sets the stage for what we need to do. I restore and go to Rome, arriving at 5 pm. At the Palazzo Venezia, I find some graffiti on the wall. I am surprised to see it's another message from Vettenmyer: "This is the last message I will leave in the nineteen hundreds." I hadn't seen any messages in any other mission time periods before, plus it's still in modern English. I suppose it's vague enough that Italians wouldn't think much of it even if they understood it.

Inside the Palazzo there's a museum about Napoleon on the first floor, although it doesn't hold anything relevant to the 1798 mission. The second floor has Hitler and Mussolini by a radio, waiting to hear what Churchill has to say. I wait around, pretending to clean the room, and eventually Hitler says that the code word is 'cigar'.

I immediately go to Dover at this point. I know Churchill has a cigar, so I just need to get him to mention it. When he's on air, I try to take the cigar from him, sparking an angry response that does indeed include the word, which gets me five points. He immediately addresses Hitler, retracting any intention of surrender despite having said the code word. After the broadcast is over and he leaves, I pocket the lighter.

What a smackdown this is! Of course, if I play it right, Hitler never hears this.

When I return to Rome, everything is just as I left it, with the leaders waiting by the radio. I pretend to clean some more and wait for the broadcast to start. I hear it just as it was in Dover, with Churchill's firm introduction and his outburst about the cigar. If I do nothing further, though, Hitler hears Churchill's retraction and believes him, leading to the same failed outcome.

Let’s not hear what else he has to say.

Instead, if I pull on the radio wire, I can surreptitiously turn it off while pretending to dust it, so that Hitler and Mussolini don't hear Churchill retract the code word. This gets me thirty points, and I've completed the mission. Mussolini removes the transponder bracelet, and they wander off.

I’m not sure why Mussolini was wearing the bracelet instead of Hitler.

Now that I have light, I can do a couple of things. I return to Rome in 452 AD, where Pope Leo will try to convince Attila to leave Rome alone. I follow Leo to Ravenna, just like before, and this time when Attila says he doesn't believe in the power of Leo's God, I light the Chinese firework mask with the lighter, right in his tent. Wow is that effective. I didn't make an animated GIF of it, but the mask glows and twinkles and shocks Attila to his core. Leo thanks me and gives me an ancient parchment, and I get 30 more points for finishing this mission.

Sparkly! Clarke’s third law in action, more or less, where a miracle is essentially magic.

The parchment is an original of Plutarch's Lives. Undoubtedly immensely valuable, but I don't see the relevance immediately. I wonder if the ancient philosopher I met might be interested, but he's not. I go around offering it to various people I haven’t helped yet and eventually get to the sailor in Dover who has a Spanish helmet. He said he wanted something "really special" for it, and the parchment seems to be what he wants. This exchange gets me five points.

That gets me thinking. A Spanish helmet from the late 1500s is probably indistinguishable from one from the early 1500s, at least to an Aztec. What if it's enough of an identifying factor for Cortez? I jump back to Mexico in 44 BC, pull on the Queztlcoatl costume again, and give the helmet to the Toltec, which gets me ten points. I think that's a sign that I'm on the right track.

Why is a helmet a “strange device?” Did the Aztecs not have helmets?

I jump forward to 1519 to see what Montezuma does. The mural has been changed to reflect the helmet as the symbol, and when the messenger returns, he reports that Cortez does bear a helmet. Montezuma accepts this, removes his time transponder bracelet, and walks out, and I get thirty more points for the mission. I’m on a roll now.

Let's see about the Baghdad mission again. The sultan is concerned that his vizier is plotting against him, and I need to find out which of the women in the harem is being unfaithful. Of course those two problems have to be related. I saw before that the vizier enjoys figs, and there happens to be a bowl of them in the harem. I also found that it's possible to borrow and wear one of the veils belonging to the women when they go for their bath. I wear the green veil (Jamila's) and slip out past the eunuch to rejoin the sultan and vizier in the main palace area. I offer the vizier a fig, and he whispers to me, "Tonight. Same time. Your room."

How convenient that the veil makes everyone indistinguishable.

Does that mean that the vizier is actually screwing all the women in the harem? No, I just got lucky. Just to check, I restore and try it with several of the other veils, and he just declines the fig. I don't see any way except guessing to find out which wife is the correct one. Is it significant that Jamila was the one massaging my hands earlier?

Anyway, I leave the veil in Jamila's room and return to the center area to wait until the wives return to their rooms. If I then return to Jamila's room and wait, after a few minutes I hear a rustling behind the wall, but Jamila starts coughing and the rustling stops, which means I fail the mission again.

So it'd be nice to have Jamila be unconscious or otherwise occupied so she doesn't signal the vizier that she isn't alone. The Molotov cocktail contains ether and a handkerchief which is usually sufficient to render someone unconscious; the trick is administering it. If I pour the ether on anything other than the handkerchief, it just evaporates uselessly. But Jamila is too alert for me simply to apply the drugged handkerchief to her. I tried applying the ether to her veil so that she'd fall unconscious once she changed for bed, but it doesn't work in a hilarious way. The game literally lets me shove the veil into the bottle with the ether, but somehow the veil is completely unaffected. I can even leave the bottle with the veil stuffed inside in Jamila's room, and when I return, she's wearing the veil and the bottle still contains ether (although it does slowly evaporate from the open bottle eventually).

Hiding under the bed in a very green room.

Okay, new plan. Instead of messing with the veil and the ether, I simply hide under the bed and wait. Jamila returns, puts on the veil, and retires, not realizing I'm there. After a few minutes, the vizier enters the room and removes his garish clothes and slippers to spend time with Jamila. Suddenly we hear the sultan entering the main room, which causes the vizier to grab his clothes and bolt, leaving one slipper behind. I grab the slipper before the sultan comes in. When he hauls me out from under the bed, I hand him the slipper. The sultan realizes at once what had happened and arrests the vizier, giving me the vizier's turban with a ruby as a reward. Plus I'm still holding the slipper after all that. I get thirty points for completing this mission.

It’s kind of ironic the sultan offers me the ruby in particular, as it’s worthless glass.

I remembered that I also wanted light to explore the pyramid, so I return to Egypt in 1215 AD, when the inside of the pyramid can be reached. At the bottom of a descending passage, I find a stone panel that opens the way into a hidden passageway blocked by a blade trap, with five animal tiles that can be pressed. I get ten points just for finding this place. Unfortunately, I don't know the correct order of the tiles yet, so I'll have to return here later.

Now I can see inside the pyramid, not that there’s much to see.

Next time we'll deal with more royalty as we start the Charlemagne mission. There are four more missions done, with two to go, and I’ve collected over half the available points.

Loose ends remaining:
  • the philosopher in 1361 BC Rome
  • the Tower of Babel password in 1361 BC Baghdad
  • King Tut's royal gift in 1361 BC Cairo
  • the barbarian army in 44 BC Peking
  • Charlemagne's coronation mission in 800 AD Rome
  • Pyramid exploration in 1215 AD Cairo
  • Napoleon's invasion mission in 1798 AD (Rome/Dover/Cairo)
  • meeting the emperor in 1798 AD Peking

Mission status and score so far.

Session Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 19 hours 0 minutes

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've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!


  1. I have to say, I quite like the puzzles in this game, even if there is sometimes a bit of trial-and-error required. It's a credit to the developers that they could make so many intertwined puzzle threads.

  2. I am pretty sure the sailor in Dover is meant to be William Shakespeare (at least that's what the manual suggests). That makes giving him Plutarch's Lives more meaningful, since Shakespeare used Lives as inspiration in many of his plays, such as Julius Caesar.

    1. Yes, you're right. I didn't know that when I played this section though.

  3. This seems like a really cool game, but a lot of work. The historian in me mostly approved! Can't wait to see you finish the loose ends.

  4. There is a Petition out there to ask the Odd Gentlemen, the ones behind the new Kings Quest game, to take over the Space Quest series. It has no signatures, no any real chance of succeeding, but it seems that the new Kings Quest game is winning some fans.

    Sign it, if you like:

    1. Can't say I liked the look of the KQ game at all. Looks like the worst sort of Telltale game, of which I am definitely not a fan, but others do enjoy a lot.

    2. If I had any time to play games right now, I would be playing Questprobe #3.

      But if I had any more time than that, I would be playing this game because I really hope that they do a good job with it. I might snag it and play it on my vacation.

    3. My first reaction to this is, just let them finish King's Quest and see how the full game turns out first - they've only got, what, 1/5 of the game out so far. Way too early to label them the perfect XXXX Quest developers.

      Hell, if Spaceventure turns out well, Activision might even ask that team to continue Space Quest.

  5. Adventure Soft sale on GOG.

    Simon the Sorcerer 1-3, Waxworks, Personal Nightmare, Feeble Files - only 83 cents each - I personally recommend Simon the Sorcerer 1-2 and don't recommend Personal Nightmare (Annoying dead-ends and timed puzzles from memory) but haven't played the others (and now suddenly own them all by adding Feeble Files to my collection)

  6. At least TimeQuest did have something correct this time. Yeah, Aztecs have no helmets but they do have headdresses. Living in forests require them to have all senses unhindered. Helms affect both hearing and sight.