Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Amazon - Fight or Flight

Jason Roberts Journal Entry 1: My brother is missing so I've decided to trick my workmates in order to get what I need to follow him to the jungle. I've already deceived Darlene Fitch and Male Guard, and tricked Female Guard by proxy. Now I need to try to deceive the librarian - but first, I have to deal with a heavy metal monster.

Chapter 3

Despite Chapter 2's cliffhanger of the robot telling me I'll be terminated, at the start of this chapter the robot simply paces back and forth, not bothering Jason at all. Looking at B.O.B. Tells me that he's waiting for his replacement to arrive so he can finish his shift!

I can't get past him while he's pacing around so I have to get rid of him somehow. I check my inventory to see if there's anything I can use on B.O.B. I figure maybe I can open him up and reprogram him, so I try my crowbar.

A flaw? Isn't his purpose to protect the secrets of this vault?

I go outside and notice the trash can the bear was rummaging through earlier. Remembering that this location seems to have taken inspiration from Looney Tunes, I take the garbage can and go back to the vault.

Hopefully the evil commies don't hire Oscar the Grouch or America's secrets are compromised.

Thinking I'm the robot to relieve him from his shift, B.O.B. leaves. I take the garbage can off my head and use the large red lever to open the vault, which contains a simple set of drawers. The game tells me that nothing in any of the other drawers interests me, but the drawer I need is locked. I use Darlene's crowbar to break the drawer open and take its contents.

Why didn't Allen's message mention I'd need a way to open his drawer without the key – lucky I stole the contents of Darlene's car trunk for no sensible reason!

While inside I also check out the item on the right.

I originally thought this was a reference to the Mystery Science Theater movie, but then I realised this game came out four years earlier, so it's a This Island Earth reference instead.

Finding nothing else of use in the vault, I go back into the office corridor I notice that the library window is now open and the librarian is there. I talk to her.

And if your ears weren't attached you'd also lose your glasses because they'd fall off!

I ask if I can use the microfilm machine, but she gets suspicious

Seriously? If I go back outside the guards are still in the bushes and the vault is still open – where did that report come from?

Anyway, this is the wrong solution as she calls security on me and I go to jail. But she did give me a clue when she told me that once she left her headlights on and had to leave her station to turn them off.

So I go to the carpark and use my coathanger on her car door. I'm not sure if young people of this generation would even know that that's how people broke into cars in the past so this puzzle might be a bit harder for people much younger than me.

I turn on her lights, then go back inside and tell Miss Morton her lights are on. She leaves her post immediately, giving me time to look at my microfilm.

The microfilm tells a story about the ancient “Eyes of the Jaguar” which are huge emeralds given by Montezuma to Cortez in 1519.

Wait, there's eight of them - how many eyes do jaguar's have?

The emeralds were stolen by Cortez's general, Valesquez, who got lost in the Amazon Basin. A Dr. Stronheim has recently found inscriptions that he believes reveal the fate of Valesquez and the emeralds. But the microfilm doesn't tell us anything about where Stronheim might believe the emeralds to be, so I don't know why this information is so important. Maybe I'll need to look for Stronheim at some point.

I was stuck for a while at this point. I'd guessed that I'd need to open Allen's safe before I could leave to meet him in South America, but didn't find a safe either in his office or the vault. I re-read all the information I'd gotten from his letter and other papers in his office, and he definitely mentioned a safe but gave no indication of where it was.

Eventually I had an idea that should have been obvious – maybe it was a wall safe behind a painting or something. I went back to Allen's office and moved his dartboard. The safe was behind the dartboard – don't I feel stupid! So what's the vitally important item in Allen's safe?

Well, I suppose that's important but I was expecting something more plot critical.

Now that I'm rich in both cash and information, I drive to the airport and am presented with another cutscene.

Sanchez is upset that the package wasn't found when his people ransacked my apartment. How a dodgy cop from a different country so quickly organised a ransacking of Jason's apartment isn't explained but now I have a bad guy to hate.

If movies have taught me anything, it's never to trust a South American cop!

Chapter 4

I see my plane fly over various cities before I arrive at Cuzco Airfield. Outside the building I take a Jerrycan full of water. The description says that the inside is encrusted with lime, which may be a flavour detail but I suspect will become useful at some point.

I go inside and get a ridiculous amount of information on people I expect to never see again.

Thanks for that information, game. Are you throwing all this at me so I don't know what info is important?

Now that I have Allen's money in my inventory, I bribe the ticket seller rather than trying to talk my way through the dialogue. He tells me to go to the bar and give the bartender a card, which he gives me. I have no idea why, but I do as he says to see what happens. After giving him the card, the bartender tells me to talk to the pilots. I talk to them and they tell me about a different pilot who can take me to my destination.

The Hangover Part IV.

The guy, Tony Martin, offers me a ride for $150 and I take him up on the offer. I fall asleep in his cargo plane. When I awaken, I look at a few things in the cargo hold with me before the cockpit door opens and Tony points a gun at me and tells me to jump out of the door. That doesn't seem like a good idea, but I don't get time to react as the chapter ends.

This was a really short chapter and I suspect I might have missed picking something up or doing something at Cuzco. Am I dead-ended? Ah, why bother thinking about that, I'll just keep playing and see what happens.

Chapter 5

But if I jump out of the door as instructed, don't the documents I have go plummeting to the ground with me?

The chapter starts with Martin repeating his threat from the end of the last chapter. I offer him double his fee, but he figures my death will get him more than enough money. If I try to jump out of the door I can't get there before Martin panics.

But... I was trying to jump out of the door as you commanded, idiot!

Rather than jump out of the door, I notice a chicken pen next to me and open it.

Cluck-cluck, mother...

Expecting to have to land the plane myself now that my pilot is dead, I attempt to open the cockpit door, but I can't as Martin's parting gunshot jammed the locking mechanism. After trying a few other things, I die...

... and become The Toxic Avenger!

Now, the obvious item to use in the plane's cargo hold is a parachute. I must have skimmed the description when I saw it (I was under time pressure knowing I'd die if I took too long – I don't have time to read everything) so I didn't notice it was only a 'cargo chute without a harness.' I took the chute and used it, thinking it would save me from a 200 MPH death.

Well, I slowed myself by 60MPH. That's an improvement at least!

I can also jump out without a parachute if I'm so inclined.

This game is obsessed with giving a numerical value to my death.

At this point I was stuck again. I didn't know what to do and wondered if I'd dead-ended myself. I reloaded back to Chapter 4 which I breezed through by having the clever? idea of bribing people early on.

I found something that might be useful outside Cuzco airport, so I took it.

I've seen the word 'lose' misspelled so much on the internet that I've started to read 'loose' as 'lose' – damn you, bad internet spellers! I've sunk to your level!

I find nothing else useful to do in Chapter 4, or early on in Chapter 5, apart from upsetting people, so I keep playing until I'm back on the plane, after seeing Tony Martin chicken out of the door.

This guy does not respond well to conversation options that don't involve me giving him money.

Back in the plane, I try using my new bicycle pump on the items in the area, but no luck. Thinking further about the cargo chute and the jammed cockpit door, I have an idea.

Okay, now I can see why the parachute didn't hold my weight.

I enter the cockpit and after experimenting with a few of the controls, manage the right combination:
  1. Pull back on the yoke to point the plane up 
  2. pull back on the throttle to slow down 
  3. move the flap lever to slow down further 

My plane ends up landing upside down in the water.

Tom Hanks will be playing Jason Roberts in an upcoming movie!

Managing to survive unscathed (I must have had my seatbelt on and assumed the crash position) I end up inside the upside down plane.

I'm upset that I can't take the parachute or its cord because it's stuck on the handle. I know from watching the Discovery Channel that I can survive in a remote jungle as long as I have an unlimited supply of parachute cord and a willingness to drink my own urine!

As the plane's quickly filling with water and I haven't been able to interact with anything on the plane I decide to swim to shore.

Good to know that whatever animal eats me, they always leave my eyeballs intact.

If I take too long to do things, the plane sinks and I get eaten by piranha anyway, so I have to work fast! Thinking that my seat cushion can be used as a flotation device in the event of a water landing, I attempt to take it.

You lied to me, cabin staff. You lied to me!

I was once again stuck for a while on this section. I love a puzzle that I have to solve quickly or keep seeing a death scene and waiting a minute or two until I can reload my game <sarcasm detected>. 

Many piranha meals later, I notice something very subtle. See if you pick it up quicker than I did.

Clicking on almost everything in the plane gives me this description. I can't move or take any of these items.

But one item in the plane has exactly the same description but is called BOX instead of CARGO. This item can be interacted with.
I'm pretty sure I'm almost standing inside the box I need to get closer to right now.

A few more piranha deaths later, I find the right spot to interact, toss the box aside and find a box inside it labelled “RAFT” - I wonder what's inside!

I open the interior box and try to move the raft.

Okay, so I'll use the pump with it.


Okay, first I need to PICK UP the raft, then I can use it with the pump in my inventory.

Jason paddles the inflated raft to shore, then walks through the forest for a while towards a nearby catholic cross that was visible across the jungle. 

As I arrive at the small village/outpost, I'm greeted by a large scarred man who gruffly tells me to get away from here.

I claim this small South American village in the name of the Sontaran Empire!

And this seems like a good cliffhanger to stop on. Despite my annoyance at having to solve puzzles in a limited amount of time, I'm enjoying the game. The ability to finish Chapter 4 without the bike pump (and probably without the jerrycan) concerns me that I can be easily dead-ended, but I'm betting on someone letting me know using ROT13'ed clues if that happens - or at least hoping.

I like the short somewhat self-contained chapters - it really emphasises the story moving ahead at breakneck speed.

So tune in next time to see how I deal with El Loco and whatever trouble I get myself into afterward!

Session time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Total time: 3 hours 20 minutes
Inventory: Compass, Map, Jerrycan, Jason's Car Keys
Workmates Deceived: Darlene, Male Guard, Miss Morton


  1. "The ability to finish Chapter 4 without the bike pump (and probably without the jerrycan) concerns me that I can be easily dead-ended, but I'm betting on someone letting me know using ROT13'ed clues if that happens - or at least hoping."

    Well, I'm not one to dash a person's hopes...

    1. Lbh zvffrq n xrl vgrz sebz na rneyvre puncgre.
    2. Fcrpvsvpnyyl, nabgure vgrz va puncgre sbhe.
    3. Vg'f bhgfvqr gur nvecbeg.
    4. Vg'f abg vzzrqvngryl ivfvoyr.
    5. Lbh arrq gb bcra be zbir fbzrguvat (juvpu vf va cynva fvtug) gb erirny gur vgrz.
    6. Bcra gur gehpx qbbe.

    1. Thanks. And... if it's something I missed during a timed sequence I'm going to be sad!

  2. I originally thought this was a reference to the Mystery Science Theater movie

    Who doesn't have an Interociter?

    Wait, there's eight of them - how many eyes do jaguar's have?

    Spider-jaguars? Who knows what goes on in the Amazon.

    1. Spider-jaguars! And I thought we had dangerous animals in Australia!

    2. Oh I'm sure if the spider-jaguar came to Australia there would still be something that preyed on it like the elephant wasp or something.

  3. Yea, this post is a good example, why I don't really like this game. I don't know which is worse: the timed scenes or the "acting" skills of the guy playing Colonel Sanchez.

    1. Maybe when they were casting the South American actors they may have just asked around the office if anyone could do a Speedy Gonzales impression.

    2. My first thought on your hate of the timed scenes was "Though not ideal, I'm finding the timed scenes bearable in this game".

      My current thoughts on the subject as I try to get past the start of Chapter 7 is, "These timed scenes are the worst thing ever to grace my computer"

    3. My sympathies are with you, TBD! I wait anxiously to hear what you'll think of Chapter 8, with its scene that will reawaken some bad memories in anyone who has played the beginning of Countdown.

  4. Alex Romanov here,

    uh oh, you should read this (no direct solution):

    lbh zvffrq fbzrguvat vzcbegnag va puncgre 4

    1. My keen sense of observation has me guessing that your and Voltgloss' hints have something to do with Chapter 4 :)

      If only my keen sense of observation actually found what I needed when I was IN that chapter.