Sunday, 7 August 2016

EcoQuest - Seaweed and Oracle

Written by Reiko

Adam Greene Journal #2: "I thought I'd never see Delphineus again after I opened the gate, but he's back and now I get to help him with his quest! His city is SO COOL! But it's all full of garbage and oil that people have dumped. I've cleaned up some of it, but there's only so much I can do by myself. I also got to meet the Oracle, who told me a prophecy of a boy who's going to save the kingdom. Is that me? Either way, I'm gonna try!"

Days later, Adam is hanging out in the pool room again when Delphineus shows up again! He says things are worse and King Cetus is still missing. He wishes Adam could see his city, so Adam pluckily volunteers to join Delphineus.

Good thing we've got great diving equipment, then!

Actually, the first time I played this scene, I hadn't gotten the equipment earlier, and Delphineus says there's no way Adam could survive with him, and if he wants to come, he'd have to get prepared. I restored back and found the equipment before pulling the lever, and the second time Adam volunteers that he's checked out on all the new diving equipment, so Delphineus doesn't have any complaints. So all I have to do is put on the equipment [5], and then we head out into the ocean.

The game makes a comment that Adam empties his pockets before we leave. Apparently this means I lose the dolphin certificate and membership cards and the frisbee, but I keep the experimental fertilizer. Also in inventory now are oxygen tanks and one of the special transmitters.

Yuck! Can't swim through that.

I swim forward and on the next screen encounter a cruise ship. When I swim closer, I find that the ship is dumping its bilge, which includes all sorts of trash. Before I can deal with the trash, a boy standing on deck loses his grip on some balloons, which Delphineus comments could drift hundreds of miles before sinking. (Ecological messages +2) I click my trash bag on the bilge junk and collect a recyclable jar [2] which goes into inventory. I continue clearing as much trash as I can [5] so we can keep swimming. We can't go forward because the bilge current itself is dangerous, so we have to swim to the left.

On the next screen, we see an island in the distance, but it's not important, as Delphineus says it's time to dive. I put on the oxygen tank and we start descending. Almost immediately the dolphin complains the garbage he swam through is interfering with his sonar-based direction sense, and he needs help navigating through the maze of seaweed that separates his kingdom from the open ocean.

Navigating in this was just trial and error.

The seaweed is visually confusing, but it's not much of a maze. From the first screen, I traveled down but didn't make any more progress, so I went back up and then went right instead. From there I was able to travel two screens down and then I was free of the seaweed [15].

Pretty, but even here there's some human trash visible.

I get a brief glimpse of a sunken city from a distance, and then we swim right down onto a submerged street. Delphineus takes off for the Fish Apartments after suggesting I should visit the Oracle. I take a look around and find quite a lot of human trash that's ended up down here. I trash a TV, a shopping cart (collapsible, but still), a teddy bear, a desk chair, a radio, a tricycle, a pipe, and a collapsed beach ball (Ecological message +1). I don't know how I'm managing to tote all this junk around with me, but whatever. When I trash the last item on the screen, I get a message about having finished cleaning up the place [10].

Adam’s such a good helper.

I also pick up a wire cage [2], which Adam appears to stuff into his swim trunks. Okay then. I then examine a bronze statue of Poseidon with a trident that looks like it might be useful, but I can't get it yet. The description suggests another object might be used later to acquire it, because there's a bronze servant as part of the statue that appears to be holding something but there's no object in his hands. I move on into the ruined temple of Poseidon.

This is a pretty weak excuse for a fifteen-puzzle.

I examine a pedestal with a conch shell on top and a relief of a man blowing into a conch shell. I can take the shell [2]. The back wall has a picture of three large eyes, which all seem to need to be pressed simultaneously somehow (I'm guessing the trident will be useful here), while the side wall holds a 4x3 sliding tile puzzle. Good thing I practiced recently in Dr. Brain's castle! Actually, for some reason, there's a HELP button at the bottom that will switch a piece into the right place for you. I test that out just to see, and it will, by repeated clicks, solve the whole puzzle for you, and points are still awarded. That's really lame. I restore and solve the puzzle properly [15].

A poetic prophecy, even. How very classic.

I swim back out to the street and put the conch shell in the servant's hands [10]. Somehow he "comes to life" and blows the shell, which causes Poseidon to release the trident [5]. Now I can go back in and use the trident on the eyes [10], which opens a panel to reveal the Oracle, a beautiful golden fish who talks in riddles. She reveals a prophecy of a boy destined to save the kingdom (of course) and sets me three riddles whose answers can be found in the mosaic I fixed.

Cetus, of course, as the city's protector.

Creepy. We don't find out right away what this is.

The first one asks whose "march of progress dooms us all" and of course the answer is Man [5]. The second one asks who "feels the hook's pain but cannot cry" so the answer is Fish [5]. The last asks what "reaches out to those in need" and the answer is Love [5]. The third one was trickier as the heart was split across tiles; I initially thought I'd checked every tile for possible answers (other wrong answers present in the mosaic include Dog and Frond) and didn't find it at first. Each riddle correctly answered results in a vision that reveals a small piece of the situation.

The third riddle: love.

A clue about what happened to Cetus.

According to the visions, King Cetus once protected the kingdom, but has been caught by a human trap and can't protect the kingdom from a poison infecting the seas. Once I've answered all three riddles correctly, the Oracle asks me to help others nearby and obtain a Sign of Trust, and then she will give me the rest of the prophecy that will show me how to save the kingdom. Standard quest format, really.

The first part of the quest: help everyone else first.

When I swim back out to the street, Delphineus comes back and suggests I talk to the mayor and the "guardian of the greens," whoever that is, and then wanders off again. So that's my next subquest. Of course I have to spend time wandering around helping everyone else before I can complete the main quest.

I'm up to 216 points now (out of 725), and next time we'll deal with a cranky crab and a large lobster.

Inventory: fertilizer solution, steel cage, trident, glass jar, transmitter
Ecological messages: 3 (6 total)

Session Time: 1 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 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. Interesting. So is that a (technical) dead end if you go to Delphineus without diving gear? As in, you get a "try again" screen?Just a rarity in edutainment titles, is all.

    1. No, it's not. You just have to find and pick up the diving gear at that point before you can leave. I ended up playing the opening section twice because my screenshots were saved at the wrong size initially, so I checked to see whether the diving equipment was available before freeing Delphinus.

  2. I've never before heard the term fifteen puzzle. I called those kind of puzzles 'tile puzzles' until you (and google) enlightened me, so thanks!

    1. But because I'm pedantic I'm calling it an eleven-puzzle!

    2. Ha. You're right, the fifteen-puzzle is really the 4x4 version.