Thursday, 25 October 2018

Spellcasting 301 - Won!

By Deimar

Ernie Eaglebeak's Journal #5: And so, once again I have saved the day. From my old nemesis/stepfather Joey Rottenwood. Again. And almost got to meet Lola, my long lost love. Again. I am beginning to note a pattern here. We even managed to win the contest by quite a margin in the end. And I say we, because my brothers really came through in the end. I really hope we can get another Spring Break like this next year.

I am a bit disappointed with the final stretch of this game. It seemed to me like there is a lot of time between some of the contests that serve little to no purpose. I reckon that might be because I reloaded a lot during the first stages of the game so I could do as much as possible. However, each contest should open new opportunities, new places to explore before the next one. It was not the case, and at this point you just have to wait from an event to the next one as there is nothing to explore or to open up.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Last time we left with Ernie just leaving the Sheriff office through digging a tunnel after having been incarcerated for freeing a raging bull on the city. I really hope you are up to date and that phrase made sense. So let’s start with...

Murder at the dance floor

The next event in the schedule is an off-tournament night out with the boys at the dance club. When we arrive there at the designated time, our brothers are already waiting for us, ready to pick some girls. Or try at least. Wanting to feel like belonging to the group, I tried my luck by following the club rule: hitting a woman with a foam club to ask her to dance. I was as successful as my brothers but it was at that time that our rivals, the GLYs arrived to the party.

I think the real draw of the game is seeing the next title card
Of course, that produced a confrontation between them and us. Which gets way worse when Vince appears with some brew and clumsily throws it over the Yus. Bulldozer, the one that did the weight-lifting contest and lost to Ralph, then decides that he is going to attack the one who beat him at the contest with a lead pipe. Lucky for Ralph, we just got the right spell for that, turning his weapon into a baguette. In the meantime, Ralph gets his own weapon. A banana skin. Double lucky for him, as the mutated version of the same spell transforms it into a blade.

I like how he doesn’t even notice he is no longer carrying a pipe. Hardest baguette ever.

Bulldozer ends up with a gigantic headache, and miraculously not being stabbed, but that doesn’t stop the other GLYs. Quite the opposite, a giant brawl starts with the whole club being ransacked. Ernie decides it is his time to shine and give a speech that would pass the test of time. But the Yus are not very impressed and throw him around the club just to end up at the feet of none other than Lola Tigerbelly, Ernie’s old neighbour and life-long love.

Do you know any normal girl, Ernie?

After greetings, she offers help with Ernie’s new black eye if he visits her room, 1812 at the Coral Reefer. After she leaves, another known girl enters the club: our beloved judge, who of course makes the brawl into another contest. Seeing as bulldozer got wrecked, she awards us with 125 points to the Yus’ meager 50. For style at receiving a hit I guess.

But it is not all good news, as the club gets completely destroyed and there is a Sheriff around who just happens to love blaming us for anything that ends up in the destruction of a location. He is not wrong, but I doubt he has any evidence of that. Maybe the baguette/pipe and the sword/banana skin I was carrying around but who could say that was related? In any case, we are thrown into the local jail again. Although I suspected I could get out of the prison by eating the slimfish, seeing as it is 10.05 pm when you are thrown there, I thought it was just easier to spend the night.

Ba ba ba barbara ann

We wake up outside the cell the next morning and ready for the next contest. Body surfing!

It has been a long time since one of these had anything to do with the chapter

Freddy was going to be the real star of this contest but as soon as we approach the plaza we are told by one of the Pharts that he is completely wasted in his room and no one can wake him up. But you know what? I have an appointment with my life-long love so Fred can sleep with the fishes for all I care.

And so, I rushed to Lola’s room, my heart in my hand, a smile in my face and my hopes up high only to find and empty room with her gown. There is a tiny drop of blood there, but I don’t know if this means that Ernie dropped some blood there during the brawl or that something happened to Lola. In any case, nothing to see here. Cruel game, man.

But of course, Fred IS in his room. Very cruel indeed.

Going back to the real problem, nothing seemed to work with Freddy, until I saw the water jug in my inventory and remembered that the water from the Stream of Consciousness gives quite a boost. A quick run to the stream and back and Freddy is up and ready to surf again. And he does great. Even better than the Yus. But unfortunately, Gary, our other surfer, doesn’t do as good. Wait, what? Nobody told me about a second surfer! I thought this was another easy contest! Stop playing with me, game!!

 Come on! You are not even going to give us a cool image of surfing!

I didn’t spend too much finding the solution however. One of the things I tried way earlier in previous sessions was to surf in the beach. Don’t ask, I reached a very low point. That gave me the idea of trying to enter the contest myself before Gary had the chance. And that worked spectacularly, beating the Yus by 600 to 500. However, I was not satisfied, as I suspected there was a reason for my impressive victory. A quick test showed me that the medallion I rescued from the bottom of the sea was the reason I won the contest. Why a medallion that protects you from anything in the realm of Neptune helps you win a surf contest is a mystery to me but there you go. Another one in the bag. And I didn’t even end up in prison!

Bronze cheer

I guess any beach related image will go with a tan contest...
Next one up the schedule is the tan contest and in this one I didn’t even hesitate. I knew that the tan lotion tubes needed to be submerged into the lemon juice in the blue mansion to make the tan last longer. And then you have to apply each lotion to a different brother. One. By. One. Why do you hate your players, game?

In any case, a few minutes after applying the tan, every Phart becomes the color of bronze. But not the sick greenish that we all have seen in bronze statues exposed to the weather. The black one that seems to be the natural colour of bronze. All but Sid, that rejects the tan lotion because of skin conditions. I tried to uppssy him as that was the only thing I could think of that would make him less pale but that didn’t work. The judge even calls on him, but seeing as the rest of us have an awesome tan, we win the contest by 1050 to 800.

At least in the surf contest the developers bothered to draw something
in the waves. Here is the same image as usual for this location

I tried some more things to get Sid to be on par, but in the end I decided to not bother anymore. You see, at this point the game starts to feel less polished. As if this was rushed and the developers were not able of putting more effort into it. I don’t know if I can explain it, but the lack of new things to do between contests, the fact that there are no new images to show and that the puzzles start to feel way easier than they should be, leaves you with the feeling that the game wants you to finish already. Which is a pity, because I really liked how the first chapters are tied and how new areas open as the game advances. Here? I only got a peanut butter bottle that somehow someone forgot at the beach. Next!

Blowing and sucking

Next contest was going to be a volleyball game the next morning, so I had half a day to get on with my exploring. There was little to explore or solve at this point, only the squid and the jellyfish left. And having a look at my inventory I decided to spend the day trying to get pass the squid. And that led me nowhere.

Couldn’t you find a picture of a girl playing volley ball?

So, the volley ball contest. I will just say that we got a spell that inflates and another that deflates things, say “300 to 100” and leave this image here:

For five points. Five points doing that. Do you know fun, game?

Wreck it Ernie

The last contest in the tournament, finally I might add, is a secret. But the designers decided to be magnanimous and have Ollie say that he heard it is going to be a human pyramid contest instead of having me wait till the event, see what it is and prepare accordingly restoring a previous save.
Being a human pyramid contest, the Pharts decide to practice their skill at the arena two hours before the event. Having nothing to do, I just went directly there and waited for them. They give Ernie a whistle and everytime he blows it, they form the pyramid. OK, seems easy enough. But of course when the real event comes it has nothing to do with human pyramids. It has to do with destroying the city. Yep, the last contest wants to see who is capable of making more of a fuss of the city.

At this point, I think they could be reusing these and I wouldn’t even notice

One would think that after having destroyed the pool, the hotel lobby, the dance club and having been arrested thrice already this one wouldn’t even be in doubt but none of that seems to count. Conveniently, someone running out of the aquarium drops a key, so I have a feeling that is the target. The key allows us to break into the basement of the aquarium, containing a GESSIBUB (simplification) spell box, a multi-feature lantern and some very strong, massive columns supporting all the weight of the building.

I like the hint, but this is going way too far

UPPSSY to the rescue. UPPSSY, the real MVP. UPPSSY, the clue that tells you that the developers are not even trying, as there are way too many things that are solved by casting it. But in any case, UPPSSY is the solution, as the columns become weak and start to crumble, giving you just enough time to get out of the building. The second time at least, because the first one I messed up by locking the door to the basement before going down.

And so lots of fishes lost their lives for the sake of a great spring break.
Your sacrifice will be remembered. Or not, beer doesn’t help with that

That doesn’t immediately end the contest, although I fail to see how that could be topped. Seeing as the game gives you like two hours of in-game time until it ends, I started to contemplate my future. That is, the new interesting thing in my possession left in the aftermath of the aquarium destruction. A little squid that was screaming at me “please give me back to my mom so you can get along with exploring the mine”.

In the end, the judge gives 1250 points to us and 1200 to them. How on earth is that a fair score? I destroyed a whole building and spread water all across the city!!. In any case, the final score is 5000 to 4025, but she deems that too little of a difference, so she adds a new event to the contest. Lady, you playing with me?

Bulls, why did it have to be bulls?The judge proceeds to tell the story of how every 89 years a giant bull comes from the mountains at the north and rampages through the town.

I am pretty sure she is making this stuff up as she speaks

I am almost 100% sure the developers wanted nothing to do with this game anymore, as this comes almost completely out of the blue, but OK, we will play along. She wants to give 2500 points to the team that manages to kill the beast and bring its head along. And the list of animals tortured in this game keeps on growing.

Enjoy the last title card. It was beautiful while it lasted

So I got thrown in prison again. I don’t know why it took almost two hours to catch me but OK. The slimfish did the trick as I suspected, but in hindsight I could just as easily have waited until the next morning, as the judge gives two days to complete the task. In any case, I traveled north and along the way I met the Pharts that decided to start following me as their best option to find the bull. At least they recognized my contribution to the cause. And their lack of. Once in the mine, I gave the squid to its mother, allowing me to keep going east and find the lost city of Sitnalta.

I really like my mazes having a single picture to represent
all the screens. The most boring and bland picture imaginable

If you recall our visit to Mer City, Sitnalta is its lost sister city. And if we put each one of the four seahorses of the apocalypse in their rightful place, the throne of the city will be restored to his former glory. After that recap and a quick reload to get the seahorses I tackled the Sitnalta maze, a 7x5 grid with 7 special locations. Special as in that they have something overlaid over the grey picture you see above, not that they bothered too much with graphics at this point.

The solution is exactly the scroll we found in the mermaid chamber, so the labyrinth isn’t that much of a challenge either. Out of the 7 locations, the map shows the way going through four of them: a garden with flowers, a wood, a statue and a pot at the end of the rainbow. Each of these locations has something containing water where you can put a seahorse, and the puzzle consists in putting the right seahorse at the right location. For example, the gold seahorse must be put at the pot while the fuzzy-feathered seahorse must be put in a bird nest on the branches of the trees in the wood. I had some doubts about about the other two, but the description of the soggy seahorse says it looks like soup, and the statue is holding a tureen. The only problem is that the statue is way too big to climb on it. I couldn’t see how to reach the tureen, but after looking at my inventory and realizing that the Pharts must have been there for a reason, blowing the whistle and climbing over the human pyramid did the trick.

And so, with the four seahorses in their place and following the directions in the scroll I reached the throne. Which is the same grey picture... with a throne. A grey throne, mind you. Sitting on it makes the floor fall and engulf us, separating us from our friends. Which they must have felt quite fortunate about, because at the bottom of the chasm the Porkturingam Bull is ready to make us wish for some more laxative.

Why can’t we be friends?

While the bull gives some leeway to fight him before finally ending Ernie’s life I soon realized that the solution probably would involve the spell OKEEDOKEEYO (docility) which I found at the entrance to Sitnalta. But it is a level 6 spell and I was still missing a seal to promote to that level. Time to reload. I have said that UPPSSY is probably the most used spell in the game but I was forgetting the mighty RESTORE (time travel), which is an absolute beast.

The only place with still something interesting left was the jellyfish over a chest at the bottom of the cliffs. I had no ideas on how to get rid of it but seeing as the game has a tendency for animal cruelty I was expecting something nasty. However, as I entered the location, the jellyfish reacted to the peanut butter jar. As in afraid of it.

I tried to open the jar, to give it to the jellyfish and even to cover Ernie with peanut butter but none of that worked. I had no idea why a jellyfish should be afraid of peanut butter but I suspected this must be a thing in the United States, and so I went to look up in Google. Apparently, there is some cultural thing relating to peanut butter and jellyfish sandwich to the point that some scientists have been trying to create the real deal. I don’t know what that is about and I hope one of you can clarify this for us, which I think might include all non-United-States citizens. In any case, with that clue at hand, I tried to go back to the stash and make a peanut butter sandwich but I was told I was missing an ingredient. I went back to the jellyfish with the bread and the peanut butter and as soon as I entered the jellyfish left fearing she would become a sandwich.

This, the stud part, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow… Somehow I don’t think
the developers had non-American audiences in mind when they made the game..

Inside the chest? A loose seal. I ran back to the guild to get to level 6 and back to the lost city, the seahorses and the bull. Charming it works like… well… like a charm, and the bull becomes docile. Then the judge suddenly appears but not to crown us as the winners of the contest, but to reveal herself as… Joey Rottenwood, Ernie’s evil nemesis. I am going to apologize in advance because it is probably not suited for modern sensibilities, but being quite old I have to link to this. Also I just failed my bet on him being the sheriff.

Are you sure you are not Joey disguised as the Sheriff disguised as Joey disguised as The Judge?

His plans in previous games were flimsy at best, but in this one it is completely ridiculous. I know I am judging a comedy on logic but… but… He did all of this to get access to the mighty beast (which doesn’t seem that mighty by the way) and free it on Sorcerer-U. I think there are better ways of making Ernie do that other than organizing a twelve contest tournament in a remote island. Probably showing Ernie a photo of Lola would have sufficed.

In any case, Joey held Ernie at gunpoint while laughing about his evil plan and after quite a few reloads I managed to use the only spell resting still unused in my arsenal to amplify the bull’s whimpers. That made his mother appear. His gargantuan nine-headed mother. Which proceeded to eat Joey alive. But he is so rotten that she gets a reaction to him, spits him, one of her heads falls off, she gets diarrhea all over Joey, and finally runs away. Don’t question it, we are almost there.

This is a sad note to end this trilogy to be honest

And with that we end the game. There is a party at the beach to celebrate our triumph over the beast, Joey and the GLYs that ends up in disaster when Sid discovers that a Porkturingam bull’s head explodes after being separated from his body. And Ernie ends up without the love of his life, with his nemesis running away preparing for a vengeance that will never come. At least we got a perfect score of 7500. Yay us!!

And a lousy end game screen!!

Final remarks

Did you think you were going to avoid this? No chance!! I just realized while writing this that I am an idiot. If you get out of prison after the club incident, you can meet Lola at her room. And she gives you a mudpack. Does that mean there is an alternate ending? I don’t know, but I’ll try to check before the final rating post. In the meantime…

Enjoy!! Sadly you can’t “score” with her

  • 1514 pieces of gold
  • Aster
  • Baguette
  • Bathing suit (worn)
  • Blue jeans (no use)
  • Boot (no use)
  • Bread 
  • Broken eggshell 
  • Cloak (no use)
  • Confirmation Letter (no use)
  • Couch
  • Deflated pool float (no use)
  • Glasses (worn) 
  • Greasy food (no use)
  • Instruction Sheet (no use)
  • Left-handed ratchet
  • Medallion (worn)
  • Miner’s torch
  • Multi-feature lantern (useless)
  • Nose shield (no use)
  • Numbered key 
  • Package of breadsticks
  • Plate of magic mushrooms (no use)
  • Roc Caller 
  • Rust Spray (no use)
  • Scroll
  • Short straw 
  • Shovel
  • Spare tie (no use)
  • Spell book
  • Sword
  • Text book (no use)
  • Treatise
  • Water jug

Level 1 spells
BIP (produces soft music)BIM (produce soft mucous)
FOY (create daiquiris)VOY (create dungarees)
Level 2 spells
FRIMP (levitation)FRUMP (legislation)
SPUNJ (enlarge tree root)SPURJ (enlarge wee fruit)
Level 3 spells
RATANT (spell mutation)RATTAN (shell mutation)
PEAWEE (regression)POWWO (digression)
UPPSSY (spell of opposites)DOWNSY (spell of opossums)
Level 4 spells
KITCHEMY (lead to bread)BOTCHEMY (peel to steel)
GESSIBUB (simplification)DESSIBUB (amplification)
Level 5 spells
HISINFISA (deflation)HUFINPUFA (inflation)
HUFINPUFA (inflation)
HISINFISA (deflation)
Level 6 spells
OKEEDOKEEYO (docility)

Score: YUs - 4025, Pharts - 7500 (beat it cow-wizards!!)

Session Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 19 hours


  1. I like how he doesn’t even notice he is no longer carrying a pipe. Hardest baguette ever.

    Nowhere near as hard as the one in Zak McKraken, which breaks the concrete sidewalk...

    I had no idea why a jellyfish should be afraid of peanut butter but I suspected this must be a thing in the United States

    You're reading too much into this. It's just a play on the classic "Peanut Butter & Jelly" sandwich, most likely. A PB&J sandwich is a simple, traditional classic you might send your child to school with for her lunch. A dependable, cheap sandwich that is enjoyed by many.
    (Except nowadays you probably wouldn't make it for her, because half of her classmates will have a peanut allergy and the school has banned it...)

    1. I have tried peanut butter only once in my life in a banana, chocolate and peanut butter smoothie (don't judge me, if they are selling it someone is buying) and I have to say I ended up throwing the smoothie away (and mainly due to the peanut butter taste). I wonder how it is such a popular sandwich. And I love peanuts.

      In any case, I would say this is a puzzle containing some moon logic...

  2. I had no idea why a jellyfish should be afraid of peanut butter but I suspected this must be a thing in the United States, and so I went to look up in Google. Apparently, there is some cultural thing relating to peanut butter and jellyfish sandwich to the point that some scientists have been trying to create the real deal.

    I tried to find what you were talking about here but the closest I got was that some people at the Dallas Zoo had fed peanut butter to moon jellies in their aquarium. I agree with Michael - "peanut butter and jellyfish" is probably just a joke on peanut butter and jelly (jelly here meaning a fruit jam, not a gelatin dessert or a kind of candy). "Peanut butter and jellyfish" is the kind of thing that might get used as a punchline in a kids' joke (like, "What lives underwater and loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?...A peanut butter and jelly fish").

    1. Why did they go and ruin a perfectly good PB&J with banana? ew.

      (I know I'm in the minority on bananas.)

    2. Banana's are the only enjoyed by people on television, where it serves to make them look like healthy go-getters. The rest of us have been duped into thinking they are edible in this way and some people are still under that illusion.

      I was also under the impression that they were referring to jelly (or jello as they are intent to call it) for a very long time, and simply could not figure how they managed to get that on a sandwich.

    3. Bananas are best at an ice cream parlor, split in half lengthwise with three scoops of ice cream wedged between with various toppings. I only shared that link because of the cute sandwiches :) A PB&J only requires 3 ingredients to be delicious.

    4. @ShaddamIVth at least here in the US, Jello is the most popular brand of the gelatin desert that some overseas readers refer to as jelly. It's become one of those brand names synonymous with the product, such as people refer to bandages as "Band-Aids" and facial tissues as "Kleenex".

    5. Not really liking any jam on my sandwich and thoroughly disliking peanut butter in anything, I've never really understood the appeal of PB & J. I guess it's just those flavour combinations like the traditionally American pancakes-eggs-bacon-syrup-mix that I won't just ever learn to enjoy.

    6. @Lisa Yes, that story about the biologist feeding peanut butter to some jellyfish was the one I was referring to

    7. @Michael oh my word we DO live and learn! I know about Hoover and Band-aid being brand names (over here the round Weber charcoal grills are simply Webers, no matter what else they make) but just assumed that Jello was the generic name for jelly.

    8. @Shaddam Over here, Hoover and Weber are well-known brands, but not used interchangeably with the generic items. I think the most-used term for a charcoal (or gas) grill would just be Bar-B-Que, or BBQ.
      For vacuum cleaners, the heavy duty wet/dry ones are almost always referred to by the brand ShopVac, regardless of their maker as well.

  3. If you cast RATTAN on OKEEDOKEEYO does it lead to anything obviously interesting?

    1. Nope. There is a little piece of dialogue at the mage's guild saying RATANT doesn't work with level 6 or higher spells. It simply says it doesn't work :(