Saturday 12 December 2015

Martian Memorandum - WON!

Tex Murphy Journal Entry #6: I did it! I solved the case and topped it off with a hot dog and beer at Weenie World. Now to go home and collect my fee. Oh, and I also found a Martian Memorandum, but that is neither important, nor was it vital to solving my case – honestly, I'm not sure why I bothered mentioning it...

When we last met our intrepid hero, he'd just spoken with local religious leader and all-around-nice-girl Deacon Hawke. She'd given us the address the the Martian colony that had been massacred by the Stanton Expedition. So that's where I headed next.

This game is insistent on making me sad about this place. It's working :(

There is a monument that mentions that 228 people were killed there.

I find a glass tube of HCL2 acid, and take it.

Remembering my failure at the junkyard, I walk to the right and get to see more of the wreckage.

I move the remains of a heat seeking missile and find a box.

I try to take what's in the box (which I assume is ammo for my gun.)

Okay, not ammo for my gun

Leaving with my tuning fork and a newfound hate of my recently deceased client, I now visit Michelle Bloodworth, whose address I had gotten from Larry and Darrell Hammond.

Caption contest time!

So Nathan may have been Alexander's killer.

Apart from telling me that Nathan probably killed Marshall Alexander, she also tells me a bit about the Oracle Stone. It was discovered by the colonists in a a protective mechanism that one day “popped out” of the ground. The stone is said to have magical powers that could make thoughts and dreams come true.

I wonder if Nathan used the stone to create his wife.

Michelle believes that the man who hired Nathan wants him dead because he knows too much. She asked me to convince him to turn himself over to the cops and gave me the address to a remote outpost he's been working at.

She told me that apparently Nathan's plan wasn't to kill Alexander, but to lure him to the trainyard with a promise to sell the stone back to him. When Alexander realised it was a trap, he struggled to get away so Nathan cut his throat with an old broken bottle. Then because he's part cherokee, he cut Alexander's ears off as part of an ancient ritual to remind Alexander that in the nexxt world he had no pity. He wrote a curse on the side of the train in Alexander's blood, condemning him in the next world.

This all sounds like a load of rubbish to me. Lure him to the trainyard for what purpose? And if you 'accidentally' kill someone, you don't cut off their ears and write a curse with their own blood. She also told me that while doing the 'shifty-eyes' thing. And can I ignore that the first thing she told me about Nathan was that he "told me he was going to kill Marshall Alexander"?

I go to Nathan's outpost near the Marinaris Valley and find that something is seriously wrong.

I take some nonspecific “tools” from outside a shed and move the pipe off Nathan. When I try to talk to Nathan he mumbles something about a trap. I open the shed door and take a rebreather, which might be useful if I go in the water or perhaps space or just walking through a cloud of poison gas - all things I wouldn't be surprised to do in the near future.

I open the footlocker to the right and take the contents – a Martian Interlock Access Card. Taking the card triggers the trap Nathan was mumbling about.


The explosions continue as I search the rest of the area.

In the now accessible door, I find a personal jetpack with a missing ignitor.

Dear whoever set a trap that resulted in your enemy getting a free jetpack: you fail at trap-setting my friend.

Not having an ignitor doesn't bother me as I feel the campfire at the bottom left would work to ignite a jetpack. I try USEing the jet pack with the fire and it works! I fly up through the sky. I can control my horizontal movement, but I don't think it makes any difference. Soon, I reach the sky, where the game points out I was lucky I picked up the rebreather because now I can survive the long walk back to a base.

Lucky? We adventure gamers call that skill!

Of course, this lets me know about another possible death so I reload to try a few more things.

Firstly, I deliberately stand in a place which often explodes.

Then I try to ignite my jetpack without picking up the rebreather.

I also try to pick up Nathan and carry him with me, but can't, so he's doomed to die alone and in pain. This game is turning really dark as we approach the endpoint.

I go straight back to Michelle to give her the bad news, but I can't give her any, I can only ask the same questions as before. Oh well, she might be happier not knowing about Nathan's horrible demise.

Looking at my list of topics I notice that I don't know much about Cooper Bradbury so I decide to ask everyone on Mars until someone tells me something useful about him, starting with Brad Ericson.

My first guess turns out correct. Brad Ericson knows where he is and gives me an address.

Cooper is a mutant who hates that people like Alexander and Percival control Mars. He wants to control Mars himself.

He claims he has no idea where Alexis is, but I don't trust him

He gives me the address of Thomas Dangerfield, but tells me there's an ancient martian interlocking mechanism that no one can get into without a specific device. I picked up a MARTIAN INTERLOCK CARD at Nathan's outpost, so I'm going to ignore Cooper's warnings and go to find Dangerfield next anyway.

Quaid! Start the reactor!

He ends our discussion by pleasantly telling me I won't get off Mars alive if I don't give the Oracle Stone to him after I found it.

I go to the coordinates Cooper gave me, which takes me to a large cavern near the power plant. I follow steps down until I find myself in a narrow corridor...

I don't seem to be able to do anything in this corridor except move to the right. I do so, for about three screens, and I eventually find a door. The door has a small hole in it that's made to accept an interlock card. I wonder if anything in my inventory might help me open this door.

Well, that was easy.

The door opens and I enter. I then feel that isn't the right thing to do.

Well. I momentarily wonder if I needed to do something in the long cavern that I didn't notice, or somewhere else in Mars perhaps. Maybe I needed to prop the door open with something. I decide to ignore that idea for now and focus on what's happening in this room.

A woman is sitting on the edge of the bed. Inexplicably, she immediately gets up and sits down at the other end of the bed

Like all detectives, no matter what direction he comes from, Tex always enters a room facing left

Could she be...

Yes, it is. I've solved my case!

I've solved my case. I was disappointed that Alexis isn't a voiced character - I would have thought she would be, being the subject of my case for the whole game. I use my usual tactic of asking about everyone from the top of my list to the bottom.

As a trained expert in reading emotions, I deduce that she is sad.

And, after asking everyone about everything all game, I've finally found someone on Mars who knows about the people on Earth. Captain Jocques will be disappointed that only one person on Mars knows who the hell he is.

She basically tells me everything I've already been told but with her own personal twist on the details.  She does know a lot about Dangerfield though, seeing as she'd been captured by him.

She tells me that Thomas Dangerfield told her how he used Rick to seduce her and trick her into stealing the Oracle Stone.

Dangerfield has also built a machine that will magnify the power of the stone to an incredible level.

She also told me that Johnny Fedora had tried to blackmail Alexander so he had him killed.

Finally, she insults me.

Well, maybe when you saw the door open you could have mentioned that it automatically closes and locks us in but you were too comfy sitting on your bed to help

Even though I feel I may be dead-ended, I search the room.

I find and open the vent to the left, but it's too small to climb through. The door won't open. When I look at the clothes...

The chromium rod seems like an unnecessary bit of information to impart if it was just there to hold the clothes.

I take the chromium rod.

With the clothes out of the way, I walk towards the closet, wondering if it will take me to Narnia or perhaps another part of this secret base, and see something I didn't notice before. There's a large light-coloured patch next to the door, that had previously been mostly covered by my body. LOOKing at it showed that it was cement. When I try to MOVE it I'm told I need some kind of tool. I have an item in my inventory called TOOLS, but when I try to USE them on the cement, the game tells me to “Try Something Else”

I tried USEing my new rod, and was told I had to get closer. I did so, and USEd my rod again. After removing the concrete I found...

What is this? Pass the parcel?

I use everything in my inventory, partly because I don't remember what most of my items are because they have generic names, and in doing so find that the HCL2 is acid. The acid burns through the metal, exposing a button.

NOTE: I know I only found the HCL2 earlier this post, but that actual game play was a few days before I played this bit and I'd forgotten what it was.

I pressed the now exposed button and...

Well, at least he knows he's a cliché. “Allow me to fill you in on the details of my great conspiracy” indeed.

Here's a summary of the convoluted details of his plan.

Eight years ago he saw a picture of Marshall Alexander and recognised Collier Stanton's eyes - the eyes of the man who'd left him for dead so long ago. He found Alexander's security too good to exact revenge, but eventually devised a plan.

He hired Rick Logan to seduce Alexis and convince her to steal the stone. Then, using Johnny Fedora and Nathan Bloodworth he lured Alexander away from his protection. Bloodworth executed Stanton/Alexander, and with his debt finally paid, Dangerfield went for the Oracle Stone. Logan had tried to sell the stone himself so Dangerfield killed Logan. Then he found Alexis and the Stone on Mars and had them brought to him.

It seems he had been studying the Oracle Stone and ancient Martian cultures for years and found that the Oracle Stone acts as a conductor between solid matter and the electro-magnetic impulses of the brain – or in layman's terms, it makes dreams come true.

He'd constructed a machine to magnify the impulses of his brain in preparation for his eventual possession of the stone.

I don't know who to trust between Michelle Bloodworth or Thomas Dangerfield about Nathan Bloodworth's real motivation, but Nathan's dead anyway so it's not really an issue for me anymore.

After he finishes telling me his evil plans he goes into his control room and I can control Tex.

I talk to Alexis (who finally talks with a real voice) who tells me to do something.

It's about time someone else did the thinking for a change so I chose Response 2.

She has no solutions. It's like she thinks I'm the protagonist in a game or something.

She didn't see a solution so my only choices are either fatalistic or ill-time pickup line.

Seeing as Alexis was determined not to help us think our way out of this, I LOOKed around the room.

The box we're in in controlled by a mesh of lasers. I can see the control panel for our cage at the bottom left outside the crazy scientist's room, so I try to USE my items by throwing them at the panel. Tex just gives me a generic response about not being able to do it so that didn't help. I can see the Oracle Stone in some kind of chamber to the right, and an obvious escape route via the speeder further to the right., but first need to find a way out of the cage.

As I'm trying things, the doctor keeps thinking. True to the Stone's reputation, everything he thinks of appears on the pad.

Is THAT what you think of when you have people captured? Get your mind back on the job, Dangerfield!

This guy really has a problem focussing on his work. If I was his boss, I'd fire him first chance I got.

Well this has been an interesting insight into the mind of Doctor Thomas Dangerfield, the only member of the Stanton Expedition sane enough to NOT want to massacre hundreds of people. I'd hate to see the minds of the other members of the Expedition.

The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force

I try again, and this time try to search more quickly.

I first try a few more options while talking to Alexis, and can get her to do a little dance to distract Dangerfield. This seems to give me infinite time to search the room and try things.

During my more relaxed searching, I discover a grey bolt at the top of my cage. I GET it.

When I try to USE the bolt on the control panel I get a different response than I get with any other object. This time I get “The panel is too far away for you to hit by throwing the bolt.”

After making no further progress, I try other things while TALKing to Alexis, this time using my MSDOS system of choosing each series of responses in turn.

Apart from her dancing distraction, I can also get her to attempt to distract him by pretending to be sick, but that doesn't work. He won't get distracted by dying women, only dancing women!

One conversation sequence that seems to make no sense but ended up being the only way to get the item I needed was...

  • Alexis: Do something, Tex!
  • Tex: I'm thinking.
  • Alexis: Well think faster.
  • Tex: I'm afraid we're doomed.
  • Alexis: Some hero you are.
  • Tex: Wait a second have you got anything with elastic in it?
  • Alexis: Yes I do.

The ONLY way to get the “Have you got any elastic” line is to say you're doomed as opposed to the clearly smarter option of “Try distracting him!” which gets her to dance.

I was actually stuck for a while wondering how to throw something at the panel until I went back to trying EVERY option when talking to her and was a little disappointed at the way to get there.

Anyway, I took the bra and USEd it with the control panel, which automatically includes using the BOLT.

Here's the sequence.

Tex: Frankly, I'm surprised that worked. I was just looking for an excuse to get you to take your bra off.

Now that I was out of the cage, I USEd my tuning fork on the chamber the Oracle Stone is in and took the stone.

As soon as I get the stone, Thomas Dangerfield heads toward the door of his chamber, but before he can get there I GOTO the speeder, grabbing Alexis on the way.

And thus I won the game.

But before getting to the finale I'd better try for another death. If I take too long to get to the speeder, this happens...

He pulls out a weapon and lets me have it. So, you're telling me I have his weapon now, right?

I also try to leave without taking the stone but Tex refuses to do that.

Anyway, getting back to our successful completion of the game...

Alexis and I leave, and the base blows up, because... well because that's what always happens when heroes leave bad guy's bases.

We take the stone to Deacon Hawke, who turns out to be a super-alien or mystical being or Ancient Martian or something, because she disappears telling me that maybe someday humans will be ready for the Oracle Stone, but not today.

Tex: That was the same thing I was told when the old Chinese man took my Mogwai back.

Ignoring Deacon's final spelling mistake to humanity (Reverence life?), I took the future richest person on two planets out for a hot dog and a beer.
  • Tex: I hope she's paying. I have to get back to Earth before I can collect my fee.
And so Martian Memorandum ends. It was a complicated story of intrigue, murder and a Memorandum that was inconsequential to the plot.

Here's the finale in all its glory, set to the most annoying endgame music in history...

And for my next trick, I make this priceless artifact disappear. Just... turn around...

Deaths: 4 (21 total) - Fiery explosion death, breathing the Martian atmosphere death, Dangerfield's Dangerous Dreams Death, Dangerfield giving me no respect death.

Inventory: A mouthful of beer and a belly full of some kind of pork-like product

Screenshots taken: 2,518

Session time: 1 hour 16 minutes
Total time: 9 hours 14 minutes

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There's a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. But who really cares about rules when we've finished the game. Spoil away!


  1. Great work TBD! I couldn't find the way to get out of the box at the end, so I finally just looked up a walkthrough.

    I wonder if the creators got the idea of Oracle Stone making thoughts into reality from Forbidden Planet? That movie has pretty similar climax, where monsters of subconscious mind get a life of their own.

    1. I'm going to guess it was the pixel-hunty bolt that caused you problems.

      You could be right about Forbidden Planet.

      The oppressed mutants on Mars reminded me of Total Recall, but I don't think they got the idea from that movie as they already had the mutants in Mean Streets.

    2. I have to admit I couldn't even get the bra from Alexis without any assistance (then again, I didn't even speak to her that much, since that didn't seem so important at the moment - I was pretty much convinced that I was missing some crucial item from earlier in the game).

    3. I was able to get out of the box by myself, but I couldn't grab the stone. If you click directly on the stone for Use Tuning Fork, it doesn't work. You have to use the tuning fork on the invisible glass box that is above/below the stone. Lame puzzle IMO.

      I can see what you mean about forgetting what the HCL2 was - I had the same problem of taking a break for a couple days and then forgetting what the Big Dick Card was. I imagine most adults would recognize HCl as an acid, but HCL2 doesn't even really make sense chemically...I wonder if they were trying to be Futuristic and High Tech, or if that was just another typo.

    4. Some better fail messages would have helped at some points of the game. Like "you can't get to the stone unless you get through the chamber first" in that case.

      There were things in inventory I assumed they summarised so they'd fit on one line but "HCL2 ACID" would easily have fit.

  2. Caption contest: 'Anything you can do? Yeah, shave next time you crossdress for a computer game!'

    I think this end piece would have made a great end for Operation Stealth - it's a real 'Bond gets out of trouble' moment. This after the Indiana Jones/Pitfall section in the jungle, and the 'hard bitten PI work' that started - I don't know if I'm alone here, but this game sorta feels like it's a few concepts that were created by disparate people and were then all merged together for the sake of a cohesive game than an intentional, plotted out thing. Just me? Maybe.

    1. Nice.

      I'm pretty sure with their future games they wrote the story first (while thinking about gameplay possibilities, obviously), then added extra puzzles to fit in, but I found much less info about the making of this game.

      I'm guessing they did it on purpose. Even the future games which were much more obviously planned in advance there were always talky/investigatey bits at the start, actiony bits in the midgame, and tense finale.

    2. I'm eagerly waiting what the verdict on Amazon: Guardians of the Eden will be. It's definitely an experience not to be recommended with "clever" puzzles, "deep and thoughtful" plot, "acting" of "first class" and "fun" action scenes.

  3. Caption Contest: After the massacre, Michelle tries very hard to repopulate Mars by him/herself.

  4. Wow. Reading about this game makes me feel like I'm in an . . . altered state!

    Caption contest? What are you trying to say, TBD? Are you being transphobic? Do I have to call the Internet humor/privilege police to come shut this place down and get you re-educated? Sheesh!

    . . .

    Oh, alright, here goes: When Mattel's marketing department succumbs to the zeitgeist of the day.

  5. Caption contest:
    Yet another typo - elsewhere the game refers to this character as Michael.

  6. Really annoying: HCl2 isn't a thing. HCl is a real and rather powerful acid, however.

    Hydrogen has one electron, chlorine is short one electron, so they make HCl. If another chlorine comes along, it can't steal another electron from hydrogen, as hydrogen doesn't have a second one to steal, not even in a lower valance state, as its the first element on the table.

    1. Well, it seems you can't expect proper understanding of even basic chemistry from game developers. I guess they thought it would be twice as effective as HCl...