Sunday, 1 November 2020

Lost Secret of the Rainforest - Escape

Written by Reiko

Adam’s Journal #5: "I’ve been kidnapped! This nasty goon tied me up in a hut in the middle of nowhere, and that awful surveyor is going to be back later to deal with me. I’ve got to get out of here! I’m glad I’ve made friends with that little bat, Paquita. I’m sure together we can figure something out."

Last time, the tribe came together in a ceremony to remember their origins and that of Forest Heart so that Adam could go there to find a new seedling. But then someone connected with the shady surveyor set fire to the great tree and captured both Adam and his new bat friend, Paquita. Now we're unbound but need to find a way out of the camp so we can continue the quest.
Unexpectedly garish.

There's nothing useful in the first room where Adam had been tied up, so I cautiously go through the doorway and find myself in a bedroom decorated with all sorts of trophies, including a jaguar-skin rug, a stuffed gorilla hand, a zebra-skin covering on a box, a footstool made from an elephant foot, and a whole dolphin belonging to a rare species mounted on the wall. Not to mention bunny slippers apparently made from real bunnies. The pillow on the bed is monogrammed with MAS, which is consistent with the Mr. Slaughter named earlier, who is the surveyor himself. (I find out later that his first name is Maxim. No idea what the A stands for.)

I take a closer look at the zebra skin and find that it covers a "footlocker" which opens [3] to reveal a tennis racket, which I take [2]. (I don't know why I need it yet, but if nothing else, Adam could maybe hit the goon over the head with it if he had to.) The slippers and gorilla hand don't seem useful, though. The hand is sitting on top of an industrial safe, but I don't know the combination.
Official orders from the parent company.
In the far corner I find a computer and fax machine. A fax has just arrived. I take it [2] and read it to discover that the Cibola Development company is instructing Mr. Slaughter not to proceed with development, given a previous report of a native population in the area. Naturally, he seems to be ignoring this directive. Probably he can't ignore it for too much longer, since the final sentence reads: "If we do not hear from you in 24 hrs., CONSIDER YOURSELF FIRED!" Pretty direct. On the other hand, if I take this fax with me, he may never see it.

I try using the fax machine, but Adam doesn't remember the fax number for the Ecology Network office, which might have been able to help him. Guess we're not getting any help from anyone except Paquita (who has quietly followed Adam into the room and waits, hanging upside down from a corner, to see what he'll do next). Instead, I try to see what I can do with the jaguar-skin rug. Adam pulls it aside [2] to reveal a broken floorboard. I can then pull out the entire floorboard [10] to reveal a hole down to the ground. We seem to be in a raised hut of some sort.
Seems like an uncomfortable place to keep your organizer.
Before I try jumping down there, I examine the bed more closely. I can pull off the first sheet [2] and then strip the cot down to the frame by pulling off the bottom sheet [5]. This reveals a digital organizer, also labeled with "MAS", which I take [2]. Now I've got five items in inventory: a tennis racket with a purple cover, two red silk sheets, a fax, and Slaughter's organizer. I turn on the organizer and start looking through it.
This contact list is just silly. Genghis Khan?
There are five buttons at the bottom: a telephone button with (fake) phone numbers for people like Saddam Hussein; a plane button with information on flights, a birthday cake button with birthdays for Hitler and Stalin and the like, a key button that asks for a password, and a CE button that clears the screen, like on a calculator. Well, it's certainly obvious that this guy is meant to be evil.
You don't have to rub it in...
Again, I don't know the password though. I try a few things, but it just gives me a gloating message when I get it wrong. Well, never mind that for now, I guess. What happens if I try to escape?
Whoops. Did he hear me open the door?

First I walk out the front door of the hut. The goon is doing something (presumably sharpening those knives or whatever) near a campfire with a pot over it. A laundry line is hung overhead with a single pair of polka-dot shorts on it. The whole area around the camp has been cleared, so it will be difficult to get away from the area without being seen. Unfortunately, the goon sees me immediately.
Even the bat recognizes that the goon is stupid.
He takes me back inside the hut and ties me to the chair again. Somehow he thinks that will be more effective than the first time, even though he doesn't even bother to latch Paquita's cage, so the bat is able to fly out as soon as he's gone and free me again.

When I go into the other room, I find that some things have been reset, but others haven't. The jaguar skin is back over the hole, and the footlocker is closed. But the goon seems not to have noticed that I completely stripped his boss's bed and am carrying around those bright red sheets, plus the boss's organizer and tennis racket! I still have everything I was carrying from the room before I walked out the door. Adam could maybe stuff sheets under his shirt or something, but where could he possibly hide a racket?? (Ahh, adventure game logic.)
Perfect. As long as the goon doesn't notice the rope dangling from the hole, that is.
I uncover the hole again and this time try to go through it, but Adam doesn't want to jump down because the floor of the hut is too high off the ground. Well, fortunately, Slaughter has provided us with some nice silk sheets to use. It took me a while to figure out what to do, because using the sheets on the hole did nothing. Finally I was poking around in inventory and tried using one sheet on the other one [5]. That turned them into a silk rope (somehow...). Not the most sensible way to arrange that action, but I got the job done. Now I can use the rope on the hole [5] to set up my escape.

To see what would happen, I climb down through the hole [2], after Paquita warns me again about the goon, and I watch for a minute as the goon does a little dance while he works, for some reason. Maybe it's like singing when you're alone. He just wanted to try out his moves, I guess. When I can move again, I look around and realize I can hide behind an oil barrel so that Gonzales doesn't see me by the hut. There are actually four scattered strategically around the screen leading up to the foreground area where the goon is working on his dish.
I'm hiding behind the third barrel.
I can move up to the third barrel quickly, but if I cross his line of sight by moving to the fourth one, he catches me. (Paquita then suggests I need to cause a problem to distract the goon.) However, if I wait at the third one for a bit, he starts pulling vegetables from a tiny ragged garden for a bit and then wanders off the screen to the right. At that point I can move to the fourth barrel or climb the tower to the left without being caught.

However, I still don't have my stuff and I didn't open the safe in the hut yet, so I had to have missed something there. I restore back and poke around some more. I look at everything again and this time notice that there's something inside the jaws of the jaguar rug. But how to get it out? Clicking on the rug again only indicates I'm not going to move it again. I try using every object all over the rug. Nothing. In desperation, I start clicking the hand icon all over it randomly, and suddenly Adam leans down, pulls on some part of it (it looks like a leg) [5], and the head opens its eyes and spits out whatever it's holding.
Why is this rug moving on its own like that? It's dead!
Okay, this is weird for multiple reasons. First I'm going to complain that this is poor game design. First I looked at the rug, noticed that it was movable, and moved it to reveal a hidden hole. Great. Then I looked at it and saw the same description as before, and thought its purpose was done. No, it's not until you look specifically at the head that Adam sees there's something there. To be fair, this interaction, including releasing the paper by pulling on the tail (it's much clearer what part Adam is pulling on when the rug is still laid out flat rather than dragged aside), is possible to do before pulling the rug aside.

But who would click specifically on the tail to interact with the rug instead of clicking the body? There's no reason to ever try that specifically. There's nothing that suggests that's going to do anything different, and in fact the default message after moving it dissuades the player from trying to interact with it further. ("No point in moving the rug again.") Personally, I would have hidden the paper in the lining of the footlocker, findable after removing the tennis racket, or something like that.

This is also weird because the head literally spits out the paper ("Ptui!"), and the eyes shine green for a moment. There's something strange going on in this hut with the animal trophies. Every time I open the zebra-skin footlocker, the bunny slippers under the bed hop around for a minute. I have no idea what that's supposed to mean. Adam seems to have some kind of magical way to talk to animals, but is that extending to temporarily animating their dead trophies as well? Animal necromancer? Ugh, I hope not.
I never would have guessed that, but it's appropriate.
Anyway, I grab the paper and read the note on it, which contains a single word: RETHGUALS (which is Slaughter backwards). Sounds like a password! I turn on the organizer and enter it on the key screen. It beeps approvingly and shows me a code: 582.
The safe is full of interesting objects.
Ah, now we can get into the safe. I enter the code [10] and the door opens to reveal... all my stuff! Plus a couple other interesting things. I try taking Adam's backpack, and he grabs everything in the safe automatically [2].

Now I look through my inventory to examine the new things. Intriguingly, we've got what looks like a very valuable death mask of a young girl. There's a "bulge" behind one eye, so I click on it to reveal a round object made of gold [5]. It looks sort of like a large coin, but it's described as heavy, so I'm not quite sure what it is.
My newly augmented inventory.
I'm also somewhat alarmed to find Noah's wallet (Adam's father, remember) and a photograph of Adam's family. That shady guy that stole the suitcase at the beginning of the game must also have been working for Slaughter. I also have a small key and a sheet of paper described as "Customs papers for the transport of 'souvenirs.'" Probably those souvenirs are the animal trophies but could also include that death mask treasure.

Now that I have my stuff back, I can scan the room. I can find "Endangered Species" on any of the animal trophies and "Insectivore Bat" for Paquita [2]. I check the other room with the chair and the cage, but there's nothing there. Now I'm ready to actually get out of here. We haven’t escaped yet, but we have everything we need to do it, so next time I’ll try to dodge the goon (and probably get tied up again a lot) and see if I can get away.

Score: 508/1000
Scanned items: 44/82

Inventory: passport, Ecorder, Forest Heart amulet, carved necklace, golden blossom, Noah's wallet, photograph, customs papers, fax, death mask, password note, gold object, small key, tennis racket, organizer

Session Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 10 hours

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!

3 comments:

  1. I am guessing the goon not taking your stuff is just to avoid having to repeat all the actions. It's not very realistic but I think as a gameplay mechanic it does help. It would have been more sensible to have the pc look out the door and rather refuse to go out with the goon guarding the door though.

    The overly evil villian is a bit much but very standard for 90's kids' bad guys.

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  2. Maybe his middle name is Amon? As in Maxim Amon Slaughter? Its a fairly labored pun, but that's business as usual with a last name like Slaughter.
    Is his name MAS or MSS? Assuming that MSS item is supposed to belong to him?
    The tiger puzzle feels like a similar one in Gobliins 2, except that game told you what was what, so you knew to click it. I don't know why you'd rip that off and forgot the one element that made it work.

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    Replies
    1. Or maybe Al, as in MaximAl Slaughter.

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