Saturday, 15 August 2020

Lost Secret of the Rainforest - Branches

Written by Reiko

Adam’s Journal #2: "It’s another adventure! Some otters found me and told me that Forest Heart, whoever that is, needs my help. Now I’m deep in the rainforest with a wooden amulet trying to find this Forest Heart. Those otters that pulled me here were really cute, but the monkey wasn’t so nice. I hope I meet more nice animals while I’m here!"

When I climb the huge tree, I emerge onto a screen with several brightly-colored birds, including a pair of toucans making an awful racket. I scan the screen, of course, and find out that I've encountered these seven items: Epiphyte, Toco Toucan, 3-Toed Sloth, Orchid, Scarlet Macaw, Hyacinth Macaw, Ruby Topaz Hummingbird [7]. The hummingbird is particularly tricky because it's moving around the screen and sometimes even off the screen.

Why are you sitting right by something that's burning inside your flammable nest?

I look around and finally determine that somehow there's a lit cigarette butt in the toucans' nest, which is threatening to set the entire nest on fire and cook their egg! I have to do something about it, but what? I can't pick it up with my bare hands: if I touch the nest or the egg too much, the toucan parents might reject the egg. I can't just recycle the cigarette because the recycle bag isn't really fire-resistant. I have no water. The sticky leaf isn't going to help.

I try talking to all the animals, but none of them are any help either. I talk to the toucan pair twice [3] and try to reassure them, but they're still just as alarmed, which is fair, since I haven't actually done anything yet. There's a young toucan perched nearby who seems to be a previous child of the toucan pair. He's concerned for his potential sibling [1]. A sloth hangs nearby, but doesn't say much beyond mentioning that the "yellow hats" caused the fire [1]. The hummingbird comments about how he doesn't like orchids but does like purple flowers [1]. Six macaws of two different species also sit nearby, none of which say much more than "Fire!" or "Danger!" Yet I can still talk to each one individually [6]. I suddenly also find a snake, an Emerald Tree Boa [1] wrapped around a branch near the top of the screen, who complains that I smell disgustingly human [1], even with the sticky sap on me.

Here we have a bird with PTSD.

I can't find anything here to help with the fire, so I try climbing higher. The top of the tree holds more birds. When I scan, I find these items: Hoatzin, Emergent Tree, Yellow-Ribbed Cacique, Cock-of-the-Rock, Pitcher Plant [5]. The hoatzin, a large golden-yellow bird with a tall crest on its head, speaks immediately when I appear, warning about the end of the world. All the other birds appear to dislike the hoatzin and complain about him when I talk to them [1]. When I examine him, I find that his kind usually lives by riverbanks, so he shouldn't even be there. And he's really stinky for some reason.

I talk to the hoatzin [1] and quickly find out that he lost his whole family to human machinery down by the river. The birds all call the humans "yellow hats". Meanwhile, the hoatzin rants about the sky falling and everything being consumed by machinery. I'm not sure I can do anything to help him, but I do see pitcher plants nearby, which hold water. That should help with the toucans' problem.

Sorry, you just happened to be in the wrong place!

I try interacting with the nearest pitcher plant, which causes a splash of water to pour down. I don't think it's in the right place, though, and indeed, if I go back to the previous screen, I find I've splashed the young toucan instead of the nest. Oops. But if I try to get to the other pitcher plants located over the nest, I find I'd have to go past the stinky hoatzin, which Adam refuses to do. So I do have to do something about the hoatzin before I can help the toucans, apparently.

I wander around for a while and eventually find another exit off the left side of the lower screen, along a thick bough. (I can't return to the forest floor because when I try, Adam hears the sound of some unspecified animal below and won't climb back down.) I scan the new screen and find these new items: Darter, Canopy, Liana [3]. The darter is a black bird with yellow wings and a loud call who complains that hummingbirds are lovely but dangerous [1]. I also find some purple flowers with a strong perfume, which I pick [5]. The orchids and other flowers on the other screens all had very little scent.

Aww, baby toucan!

I climb back up to the area with the hoatzin and use the flowers on myself [5]. Adam holds the flowers to his face, so now I can have him walk past the hoatzin over to the other pitcher plants and dump one down onto the nest below [5]. When I return to the nest area, the flame is out and the egg is wiggling madly. As I watch, it suddenly hatches into a baby toucan [10]! I can talk to each of the pair again as well as the baby (who just says "Chirp!") [3]. The grateful toucans tell me that I'm near the village of the Grove People. I expect I'll have to go there soon. I start talking to the other birds (and the sloth) again [7], and suddenly I hear drums, which the birds say are the drums of the Grove People.

A little maze of twisty branches, all alike.

The birds at the top of the tree don't say anything different, but for some reason I get points for speaking to them all again [3]. The darter to the left says [1] that the Grove People (or their drums, probably) say that "One From Outside is coming". I suppose that means Adam, although I don't yet know how to get there. There's a maze of tree branches and lianas in front of me, and I can't get Adam to move along it anywhere.

However, when I go back to the other screen, I realize that the snake has mysteriously disappeared. I can now move along its branch to get to a different place on the darter's screen. I watch as a bright red lizard moves along the various branches. I can't scan it, but it shows me that there's a way behind the thick trunk in one place, so that I can move Adam along its path and get to the other side of the screen to the next exit [5].

That branch is awfully narrow...

On the next screen, I think I see someone disappearing off the bottom of the screen. It looks like I'm in the trees overlooking a village area with round structures. I scan the screen and find the Village and Drums items [2]. The branch I'm on looks like it will reach the next one over, so I walk along it. Suddenly it bends under Adam's weight; he slides off it onto the branch below [5]. At the end of that branch, there's a carved drum. Adam wonders if that's the one we heard before.

Surely the ecorder is also covered in mud?

So I walk over to pick it up, but the same thing happens, and this time, after he grabs the drum [5], Adam falls off the branch, down to the ground, and lands in a pig wallow, getting covered in mud. A nearby pig (which turns out to be a peccary, a wild pig) sounds like it's laughing at me.

I scan first before I do anything else (how is the ecorder still working in all this mud?), and find just two more items: Long House and Peccary [2]. Then I look around. I fell almost right next to the large open hut I'd seen from the tree. Unfortunately, I'm quite stuck in the mud and can't get out. I find a pile of vines and fruit and broken pottery within reach, however, so I take both the fruit [5] and a vine [5].

Being dragged along the ground is the perfect way to clean off all the mud, right?

There's nothing to tie the vine to, but if I try to use it on the pig, Adam makes a lasso and tosses the end toward the pig. It's much too far away, though. So I toss some fruit toward it to get it to come closer. Then if I lasso it quickly enough, I catch it and it drags Adam out of the pig wallow [5] (and he magically ends up looking completely normal in the process, rather than covered in mud).

Adam doesn't know what plants are being cultivated here, but that drum stand looks useful.

Now I appear to have a choice. A path winds off into the forest, and the clearing with the longhouse stretches off to the right. I decide to go right first. On the new screen, I scan for Weaving and Agriculture [2]. A woven cloth is stretched over a frame inside the house, and next to it there's a plot of tended plants. A drum sits on a stand next to the house. Adam won't do anything with the weaving or the plants, though, so I continue on to the right.

On the next screen I find the smaller hut near the waterfall, as well as the Paint, Thatching and Shaman's Stool items [3]. A long, sturdy vine hangs near the stream, which Adam can use to swing across [1]. The Paint item referred to a bush full of bright red berries. I can get there by swinging across the stream and climbing up and over, but when I try to pick them, I'm told they aren't ripe yet. I swing back across [1] and check out the hut instead.

That spider thing does not want me in the hut.

It's too dark inside to see what's in there, and when Adam tries to go in, some kind of huge spider or something appears at the top of the doorway, startling Adam and preventing any entry. I guess this isn't where I'm supposed to be yet. I return the way I came and take the other path instead, which leads to the base of an enormous tree. I find no new items to scan on this screen, but I see what looks like a large opening in one side of the tree.

Vines block the opening into the tree.

Close-up on the drum set.

I walk in [1] and get an inset view where Adam can walk back and forth. The opening is covered with vines, and nearby there's a drum stand with room for two drums, although only one is currently placed. I place the one he's carrying onto the stand [5] and get a close-up view of the stand with both drums. Together, the two drums have five different tones available, which can form melodies when put together. I don't know what the correct melody is, though. I don't remember exactly what the drum sounded like before.

I look around a little more and determine that there are actually three openings into the tree [2], all covered with dense vines, but only the first holds the drums. Not knowing what to do, I go back to the longhouse screen and finally remember the other drum stand over there. I realize that Adam seems to have taken the drum with him when I left the tree, so now I place it on this stand [5] and try playing it there [1].

Matching the shapes on the drum to the melody.

This time the stand shows me the melody to play. I try following the melody exactly as shown [5]. Nothing happens there except that I'm told I did it right. Now I need to play it over by the tree (screenshots help a lot here...). The drum is still placed when I go back, but that seems to be a minor bug, as I can also take it [1]. I think the intent was that I should take it when I want to move it between stands, but it seems to work either way.

We meet at last

Anyway, I go to the tree's stand and play the melody again [10]. The tree stirs and pulls back its vines from the opening. I walk inside and discover a huge open area with paths winding through. A soft feminine voice says, "Welcome, child." (This line is voiced but not the rest.) This must be Forest Heart. She continues, "It is I who sent for you. Come closer that I may speak to you from my heart. Indeed, the Grove People call me Forest Heart." On this screen, the only thing I find to scan is the Seed Pods item [1], which is in an inaccessible area, so I can't get them yet. I also see a bark cup off the path on the other side of the screen.

The explanation for the scene in the opening sequence.

I walk along the path and find a sort of branch-formed seat at the end. I sit on it [5] and immediately Forest Heart speaks to me again. She is the huge tree all around me, but she is dying and needs me to find a seedling so that the forest will still have a guardian after she's gone. She had one, but it didn't survive a recent earthquake. Now we get the explanation for the little intro scene with the bats and the flattened seedling. She drops a small branch on the path as a gift for us in our quest, which I take, of course [5]. After I go back out, I also try the other two entrances, which now open for me. They lead to the side areas where I can pick up the seed pods [5] and the bark cup [5].

Now we really have our main quest, with nearly a third of the points collected. This section was more fun than the previous one, with more interesting puzzles and interactions, but I'm still struggling a bit with the way exits aren't shown on-screen unless I move the cursor to the edge of the screen while in movement or hand mode. If I'm in object or eye mode, the exit arrows won't appear, and the graphics are lush enough that it's really easy on some screens to overlook a possible exit.

Now that I have all these new items, I can probably do more in the village, so next time I'll go back there and see what else I can find.

Score: 284/1000
Scanned items: 36/82
Inventory: passport, Ecorder, Forest Heart amulet, leaf with sticky sap, branch, seed pods, bark cup

Session Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 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. that first screen of the game is where my copy crashed constantly. I hate that screen. I will try to play this game again soon though, because this has been on my backlist for more than 20 years now

    1. Did you tried the game using scummvv? I played using it some months ago and it runs perfectly

  2. The music in this section is much nicer than the...ahem..."music" the previous sections.

  3. And in a forest full of trees your gift is...a branch. I feel that was a bit cheap, but who are we to argue the wisdom of the old tree which puts all her faith in a single sapling that doesn't even survive a minor tremor? I am guessing we will find out the earthquake was man-made later on in the game in any case but I feel she should not have gambled so much on such a vulnerable sapling, it could just as easily have been crushed by an errant falling branch.

    1. Ha, true! I also wonder why she doesn't know where additional daughter sprouts might be, or why she can't make more. Why just one?