Sunday, 15 January 2017

Gateway - Shield Generators

Written by Reiko

Broadhead Journal #5: "It’s not just about risking my life to find cool stuff anymore. Now I have a real mission. I have to go to four more places. If I fail, we might all be doomed. Why me?? Well, at least the first one was easy."

As with Part 1, we start in our quarters, and the message light is blinking. I don't have any other leads, so I put my card in and retrieve the message. An unknown sender instructs me to meet him discreetly in the tanning room of the Pedroza lounge, accessible from the bar. Intriguing. I suppose there might be some concern for one's safety with an instruction like that normally, but in a game like this, there's no reason not to go.

The stakes are raised...

The man waiting for me reveals himself to be an aide to the president of the station, and he's got a secret mission for me that has an insanely huge completion bonus. That's just exactly what I need, right? Apparently the Aleph 4 device has revealed an upcoming catastrophe, but I'll need to go meet the prospector handlers to find out more details. This is a typical conversation where the character has a lot to say, but he won't give much of an answer to anything I try to ask. I just have to wait several times to get all the information he's able to give before he leaves [25].

The Heechee were also frightened of the Assassins and didn't want to deal with them.

I go over to the administrative offices, and the receptionist immediately takes me into the conference room. Worden gives me a non-interactive infodump about the mission [10], which I'll summarize. The Aleph 4 device was a computer called the Savant which not only taught scientists the Heechee language and some technology, but delivered a warning about a hostile race called the Assassins which destroy civilizations once they reach a certain technology threshold. They detect the use of technology using a station called the Watchtower. Planets the Assassins attack are utterly destroyed. Fortunately, the Heechee built a cloaking device to hide the evidence of technological radiation and protect themselves from the Assassins, but they never activated it. The mission is to go to four planets with shield generators and activate them. Simple, right?

This place looks pretty abandoned, if not destroyed.

I go to the hangar and travel to the first shield generator planet. I arrive on a landing pad. There's a round metal disk nearby with a cracked prism and a bright cube of some kind. I take them and then go into the dwelling, which appears to be abandoned.

A Heechee home?

One wall holds a transparent cabinet with a clear prism and a dark cube, plus some controls. The cabinet holds an oval depression and a black pyramid. Yay, another alien device to fiddle with. Except I can't find anything in particular to do with it other than take the corresponding prism and cube.

Oooh, technomagical teleportation. The Heechee are awesome.

So instead I go out and fiddle with the metal disk. It suggests I could stand on it. Some kind of transporter, maybe. I try swapping the cubes first, but that doesn't do anything, so I suspect the cracked prism and the dark cubes are non-functional. I insert the clear prism and the bright cube while standing on the disk...and it takes me somewhere else [7]!

Pretty colors...

I go up a stairway into a temple of some kind. There's a dais surrounded by a force field, and murals on the walls. Plus the walls are full of small insects. Very strange. One mural shows a man doing something with an insect, so I try capturing one [7]. The force field still zaps me, so I'm not sure what to do with it next.

I go through the other doorway and find myself in a multicolored room with each compass direction corresponding to one of the colors of the standard ROYGBIV rainbow (except the door I entered through), but scrambled. I go through the direction corresponding to red and find a very similar room, but with the colors scrambled a different way.

A simple color maze.

I continue through the rainbow in order and finally find myself in a room with the colors in order, plus a metal tripod [14]. But I missed something; I don't have the right thing for this yet. I find it interesting that there are so many color-based puzzles in this game, although they're generally knowledge-based rather than visual. Good thing this isn't a CRPG.

I return to the landing area and move the clear prism and the bright cube to the transparent cabinet in order to open it [7]. I can't immediately move the black pyramid, but there is an oval depression next to it. I try putting the beetle there and am rewarded with a click [7]. Now I can take the pyramid [7].

It's odd that the pyramid needs to be placed on the stand
pointing up rather than fitting into it point down.

I move the cube and prism back to the disk [7]. For some reason, this time I get points when I put the bright cube in the socket when I didn't before. Maybe because I'm doing it with the pyramid in hand? Anyway, now I can go back to the temple, thread my way through the color maze again, and put the pyramid on the tripod [19]. The room reacts slightly, but I don't find out what that did until I return to the temple. I find it interesting that the game automatically returns me to the temple without going back through the maze once I've placed the pyramid, but the first time I did that, I had to retrace my steps.

The force field controls are barely visible in the picture.

The force field is now gone. The control panel is accessible, with a power knob (square or oval), lever (gray or blue) and activation button. The actual activation is as simple as the talking heads claimed it would be. Turn the knob, pull the lever, and press the button.

The force field is complete.

A pretty animation plays, showing the shield activating, and it's done [25]. Yay! One of four activated, no problem. I drop the extra items back in the landing area and return to the station, acquiring a bonus of $5 million for the first activation.

This isn't the half of it.

However, the second shield generator is located in a very dangerous jungle with many deadly creatures. I poke around a little, but I don't get very far. I think I need a weapon to deal with one of the creatures, so I move on. Next time I'll deal with the third shield generator instead.

Score: 435 of 1600
Balance: $6,541,450
Status: Orion Program (green badge)
Missions: 8
Shield Generators: 1 of 4

Session Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 5 hours 30 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 just heard that Bob Bates is going to release a new text adventure in the vein of the old Infocom and Legend games, but text-only:

    1. I am a bit skeptical whether this will have that much commercial appeal - Bob Bates wasn't that big name. As for the game itself, the setting sounds intriguing and it might be used for something original, but I suspect it will just devolve into yet another light fantasy comedy.