Sunday, 2 August 2020

Lost Secret of the Rainforest - Abducted!

Written by Reiko

Adam’s Journal #1: "We’re finally here in Peru! I’m so excited to be able to help my dad with his project of setting up sustainable industries for the native peoples here. I wonder what kinds of animals I’ll get to see while we’re here? The rainforest is full of so much variety. I can’t wait to get started!"

This guy's totally shady.

Adam and his father Noah have just landed in Peru, but of course we have to go through customs before we can start exploring. In the introduction, I forgot to mention that the shady surveyor's character has a couple of actual voiced lines, which is an interesting contrast to most of the other dialogue, which is only text. He says, "This place is a sewer" and, after bumping into our ride, "Watch the suit!" before brushing himself off and stalking away to the right.

When it's Adam's turn, I open the passport in his inventory and show it to the customs officer [10 points], who stamps it, waves Adam through, and then promptly puts his head down on his desk and appears to take a nap. Nobody else is waiting in the customs line, after all.

Our ride is waiting for us.

Nearby, there's a native holding a sign saying Noah and Adam Greene, so he's clearly waiting for us. I talk to him [1] and he introduces himself to us as Nicanor, from the Ecology Emergency Network, the organization that Noah is working with. He says there's a problem with the supplies, and takes out a list, while Noah goes over to check what's there. This leaves Adam at loose ends.

I look around and find two women supposedly selling fruit pops at a stand nearby, but they say they're on break and rudely shoo Adam away. I can't go into the town yet, either, because Noah will call Adam back, but there's really nothing else in the area to do. It takes me an embarrassingly long time to realize that there's an exit off the right side of the screen (where the shady surveyor disappeared earlier).

In the second area, a grungy dock, after Adam walks in, I overhear a conversation between the shady surveyor and another guy, Gonzales. The surveyor orders him to get "the stuff" loaded so they can get out of there. Then he disappears onto the ship moored at the dock. There's also an old guy fishing on another pier near where I entered, and two other guys having a hushed conversation behind some crates. I also see a run-down warehouse and a large pile of logs from the rainforest, along with a flatbed truck loaded with more logs. I can't seem to get close enough to talk to the guy fishing, even though he doesn't appear to be all that far away.

Right, "fresh off the boat" is exactly what we don't want to be.

If I walk into the area far enough, another guy appears from the same direction I came from, and accosts me, carrying a bird on his arm. He offers to sell me the bird if I give him the money I have. Adam asks how much, and the guy asks how much money he has. Adam wisely says, "I don't think I should tell you that." The guy just shrugs and says I should give him the money I have if I want to buy the bird.

I have the option to refuse, but I decide to go ahead with it, and give the man my money [5]. When the man hands over the bird, Adam immediately releases it, telling it to fly home. The man is aghast, but Adam reminds him that he sold the bird. The man shrugs and wanders off, and that seems to be the end of it. Probably I will encounter the bird at some point later, though, and it will be grateful that Adam freed it.

Who's "Mr. Slaughter"? No one I want to meet!

I then discover almost by accident that I can climb up on the crates and eavesdrop on the nearby conversation. One guy seems to be trying to recruit the other one for Cibola, the company that the shady surveyor mentioned. They mentioned someone they call "Senor Slaughter," which may well refer to the surveyor guy himself.

The nearby ship, which reads "Cibol" (Cibola) has an arm with a rope net that is periodically raised and lowered. I can make Adam walk over onto the net, which causes him to get caught in it when it's raised next. The guy loading the ship gets us out, but tells us to beat it, or we'll get sent to "Mr. Slaughter". Guess he's the one to watch out for.

Here's a way to stuff educational content onto the screen without lecturing.

I don't see anything else to do here, so I go back to the original screen. Noah calls Adam over and says he found something mailed to him. I open the package [5] and find some kind of handheld computer which Noah explains is an environmental scanner prototype. It's called an Ecorder, and Adam's supposed to test it out. Noah suggests there's something about the launch I should scan. As part of his explanation, he already scanned the nearby canoe, so I'm not sure what he means by "launch".

Picking up someone else's garbage. It won’t be the last time.

I also notice another shady guy lurking by the now-abandoned fruit pop stall, but I can do nothing with him. So I return to the dock to see if there's anything I can scan there, and find a tourist taking pictures. Even though he doesn't answer when I try talking to him [1], I get a point for some reason. Then I notice that he's dropped something. I try to pick it up, but Adam says he doesn't want that garbage, and I should bag it instead. I use the recycle icon on it [5] to get rid of it.

I go into the ecorder to see what all it does. The previously-scanned item was Town Runoff, about the garbage from the town that ends up in the rivers. I also try playing the "test myself" game, which randomly shows pictures from the database along with two choices. I get most of them right even though I haven't seen any of them in the game yet, and I get a bunch of points [46] when I finish the game.

I go back and forth again, and realize I can use a plank walkway to get to the end of the little pier where the man is fishing. I talk to him [1], and he talks briefly about how he doesn't like the way the fish look, and how there used to be so many more fish in the river years ago, before all the people came.

The scanned result of the ship's leak.

Finally I realize "launch" means the ship moored at the dock. The ecorder lights up when I move it over a hole with liquid spewing out of it, and records the "River Traffic" item [10]. Looks like the ship has a fuel leak, which is also contributing to river pollution.

I knew that other guy was shady too.

When I return to see if Noah and Nicanor are ready to go to town yet, suddenly the shady guy that had been lurking nearby runs over, grabs Noah's suitcase, and runs off toward town. Uh-oh, he's a thief!

Noah decides he's going to have to go to the embassy to get a passport, so Nicanor takes him there, leaving Adam to watch the supplies. (How old is he again?) Adam is tired from the trip, so he gets into the nearby canoe and falls asleep.

Adam's not being a very good guard for the supplies...

Suddenly, things get weird. Two creatures that look like otters, who address each other as Orpheus and Morpheus, appear in the water. One chews through the rope holding the canoe, and while Adam sleeps, together they push the boat away from the dock, along the river, and into the rainforest. Apparently Adam sleeps all night, since the screen darkens and then brightens again. At one point, a monkey appears and peers at the canoe with the sleeping child, then wanders off again. Finally, Adam wakes up, and the animals begin to address him directly.

Animals seem to know that Adam will help them.

Morpheus says that the Forest Heart needs help from a human child, and he looked like a good one, so they picked him. Orpheus has a gift to give us, but he's shy and needs persuading, so Adam needs to do something to coax him out.

First I scan the screen and find the Understory, Littering, Forest Floor, Stilt Root, and River Otter items [5]. So I was right about the creatures being otters. Then I talk to Orpheus [1]. Adam apologizes for being loud, and Orpheus swims a bit closer. I talk to him again [1], and Adam reassures him that he won't hurt him or anything.

The amulet brought by the otter.

Then Orpheus swims right up to the side of the canoe and waits for me to take the necklace around his neck, which I do [5]. It's a beautifully carved amulet, which the otters inform me is Forest Heart's amulet, and Adam needs to journey to her village to find out more. The otters disappear into the water after pushing the canoe the rest of the way over to solid land.

Now what? Well, the Littering item was clearly because there's quite a lot of junk scattered around. I trash five items [5] and also find a sticky leaf to take [5].

That's all for that screen, so I move to the right and immediately encounter the monkey I saw earlier, who accuses me of cutting down trees. Adam assures him that he's by himself and hasn't done anything to the trees, and asks about those who have. The monkey calls them yellow hats and says they turned his home and food into smoke. Then he angrily stalks away. Apparently the logging operation that generated all those logs I saw earlier has done some significant damage to the forest.

As hostile as this sounds, I'm glad the monkey didn't do anything to Adam while he was sleeping.

New scanned items: Buttress, Cecropia Tree, Logging [3]. The tree that fills most of the screen is huge, with twisty roots. Nearby there's a recent campfire still leaking smoke, with a small stump and a chopped up log. The huge tree looks very climbable, but insects swarm Adam when I make an attempt. I use the sticky, sap-covered leaf on Adam [5], which causes him to rub the sap all over himself, commenting that it's stinky, so the bugs should leave him alone. Now I can have him climb the tree to another screen above.

Next time we'll find out what's up there and how that gets us closer to the Forest Heart. Adam seems very calm at having woken up in a different place than he went to sleep in, and at basically having been abducted by otters and left to his own devices deep in the rainforest with no supplies. Maybe he figures he can always get animals to help him if he needs something. It wouldn’t be so easy for the rest of us.

Score: 121/1000
Scanned items: 10/82
Inventory: passport, Ecorder, Forest Heart amulet, leaf with sticky sap

Session Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 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 didn't meet the guy with the bird. I hope that's optional.
    The last picture is misaligned I think.
    So, uh, yeah, I'm secretly an otter. Didn't actually know that was in this game. I did know that there's a Myst-clone with my name...probably because its in a stack of games I have on my computer table. Greek god of dreams, not very deeply known to this day. The Morpheus and Orpheus pun was also used in the comic book The Sandman, where Orpheus is Morpheus's son, and I'm sure other people before them noticed this pun. I wouldn't place money on the developers having read it though.
    The problem with media about saving the rainforest or whatever is that the villains are all stupid. Not evil, just stupid. Case in point, evil local. His boat has a huge leak and doesn't care. His boat is probably leaking a gallon of gasoline (or diesel) a second. This isn't some oil executive not giving a crap about it, this is the guy who's bottom line is being affected, not to mention his movement. Real life ecological issues have more to do with the locals being able to eat, not be enslaved, or having money.
    Also, all the non-music background sounds are terrible. Tip the oil barrel over into the river, its better this way.
    Most of the game so far seems rather...uninteresting. Things just seem to happen and we mostly don't have control over them.

    1. Haha yeah, I forgot you use the name Morpheus!

      I agree, it's really not smart of the guy to ignore that leak.

      What do you mean by misaligned?

    2. The picture was misaligned (that is, the picture was on the left side of the page and caption on the right side), but I fixed the problem, when I noticed it.

    3. You fixed it so quickly I never saw it! Thanks. :)

    4. If I (or anyone) mention a misalignment in the comments, and you fix it, say something so we don't sound insane.

  2. Yeah, Noah leaving Adam alone in a pier in a foreign country they just arrived... doesn't seem like good parenting at all....

  3. I seem to remember there were a lot of points you could easily miss in this game if you weren't thorough with the ecorder, although a few places where you could get a second chance at scanning items in.

    1. Yup, that's definitely true.

    2. First thing I'm doing on any new screen is scanning with the ecorder. :)