Sunday, 20 December 2020

Lost Secret of the Rainforest - Flight

Written by Reiko

Adam’s Journal #6: "I wish Paquita had hands! She’s comforting to have around, but she can’t really help me except for freeing me every time the goon ties me up again. But I’ve managed to find my stuff in the cabin, so now I just need to cause a distraction to get the goon out of the way. I’ve got to get out of here!"

First, an apology: I'm sorry for taking so long to get this next post out to you all. I haven't gotten sick or anything like that. There are two factors: one is that this section of the game is much trickier, with some timing puzzles, and also kind of depressing, which I'll discuss as I come to it. It was very demotivating to even open, honestly. I am hopeful that once I get past this sticking point, I'll be able to finish the rest of the game without so much difficulty.

Another factor is that the current US election has been taking up a lot of my attention in the past few weeks. This isn't a blog for politics and my personal political opinions have nothing to do with games we're playing here. So that's all I'm going to say about that except that if you are a US citizen, and you haven't been paying attention, you owe it to yourself to take a close look at what's really going on with the election.

Adam watches the goon pull vegetables to cook for his Bat Stew recipe.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming. Adam is still captured by the goon in the shady surveyor's camp, and we must find a way to sneak away and get to the City of Gold to find Forest Heart's seedling. Last time, I had managed to retrieve all the items I'd had before, plus a few more, and I had also tried to get to a tower outside the cabin, but wasn't able to do anything there before being recaptured. As my little bat friend Paquita suggested, I need to do something to create an issue for the goon that he has to deal with so that I have a chance to get away.

Thanks to Ilmari, who gave me a nudge to get me going again, I discovered that, again, there is another whole screen that I hadn't even seen, off to the right from the cabin. I think this game really needs a much more obvious way to signal exits: the only way to know that an exit exists is to mouse over the edges of the screen with the walk cursor, which changes to an arrow for exits. Any other cursor does not change. There are other games with essentially the same functionality, but perhaps the artistic design here is particularly unclear or something, or maybe they change the cursor shape regardless of cursor mode. At any rate, this is at least the second time I have initially failed to find an exit and found myself stuck as a result. The other time was right at the beginning, when I didn't find the dock screen for a while. You might say that it should have been obvious, because the goon walks off-screen, and in retrospect it is. I just didn't realize I could also go that direction when walking behind the cabin.

Oops, I guess I can't just walk up and unlock the cage.

Now that I'm there, the second camp screen provides some additional possibilities. Again there are barrels I can hide behind when I move around. A large bulldozer sits nearby. An axe sits on a stump with a pile of wood next to it. Several cages nearby hold birds, some dead. One cage is locked with a padlock. Hm, I have a key, and here's a lock. Let's see if I can unlock the cage and free whatever birds are still alive. Well, in theory, yes, but the birds are too noisy because they're hungry. I thought I was creating a distraction, but instead the birds alerted the goon, and he just recaptured me. Well, that didn't work.

Those birds are so noisy!

I restore and spend some time watching the goon as he goes back and forth and does his stuff. As long as I hide behind one of the farthest two barrels right away, or go to the second screen and stay behind the boxes, the goon doesn't notice me no matter what he's doing. First he stands at his recipe and studies it for a bit, then crouches and picks some sad vegetables. On the other screen, he chops the vegetables, then comes back and puts them in the pot over the fire. He chops wood on the other screen, then returns and builds up the fire with the wood. While he's doing that, the birds in the cage suddenly let out a loud SQUAWK, just like they did when I tried to open their cage. If I'm on the second screen at the time, I can see the goon go over and yell at the birds for a minute about eating them too. Then the cycle starts over again.

I discover that I can move while he's chopping wood and hide at the front of the foremost barrel, and he won't notice me there either. I also see a bag of grain in the foreground, near the vegetable patch. But no matter when I try, he always comes back and catches me if I try to get some of the grain. I thought maybe I could feed the birds with it somehow so they won't squawk at me, but I can't get it.

The suspenders were quite hidden in the laundry basket.

Instead I try getting to the tower again. I thought maybe I had to use the squawk somehow, but if I move then, he always catches me. I wait until he's chopping vegetables again, and then climb the tower. This time I manage to disable the alarm before it does anything. I quickly look around and pick up an odd yellow object [5] that's described as a "SPEW WhisperQuiet Crudsucker." Sounds like a sort of vacuum. I also poke around and discover I can collect a pair of purple suspenders from the laundry basket [8].

I keep thinking the goon is going to come back at any moment and find me up there, but nothing happens while I continue to poke around. Surely I don't need the goon's stinky socks or his underwear or anything. But after I disarmed the alarm, the top rung of the tower's ladder broke off, so I can't get back down the way I came. It seems like maybe I ought to be able to use the suspenders to slide along the laundry line to get back to the cabin, but I click all over it and nothing happens. I even try combining the suspenders with each other thing in my inventory as well as clicking it all over the screen, but nothing works.

Finally I somehow manage to click it somewhere I hadn't before, which is right over the alarm at the end of the laundry line, and this time Adam takes the suspenders and uses them like a bungee rope to elastically drop down to the ground again [5]. This doesn't make sense on so many levels (how do suspenders stretch to twice the height of a man, for one?), but also it required such a fiddly click to make it work. There should have been some sensible response to trying to use the suspenders on the underwear, for instance.

Must be a pretty powerful vacuum to suck up the grain from that far away.

I quickly hide in front of the barrel again, and then, when the goon is off-screen, use the crudsucker on the grain. The device silently sucks up some grain from a good distance away, allowing the action to succeed while Adam stays hidden behind the barrel. Now I need to go to the other screen, but I'm tired of waiting around for the goon to be distracted, so I let him capture me so I can go back to the cabin. I quickly set up the sheet rope again and slip off to the other screen, moving a little closer to the birds in between activities. After the birds squawk and the goon goes off to study the recipe and pick vegetables, I make another attempt at the birds.

Fly away free!

First I have to dump the grain out of the vacuum (by using the hand on it in the inventory screen) [1], and then I use the grain on the live birds' cage. Adam quickly runs over to the cage and tosses the grain in [10]. Now I can use the key on the cage to unlock it [5]. As the cage opens, Adam quickly runs behind the closest barrel to watch what happens. The birds squawk loudly as they rise into the air, which summons the goon. He screeches, "Get back in there!!! Slaughter's gonna kill me!" Yes, three exclamation points. Then he runs off, chasing the birds.

Off he runs. Good riddance!

Whew, that was exhausting. I didn't even realize how much the ominous music was affecting my mood here until it suddenly stopped after the goon ran off. This was the most depressing part of the whole game so far, The area still looks terrible, with the river all silty from the deforestation and the whole area barren and strewn with machinery. But it's actually quiet now, except for the dripping of water. Still, let's get out of here.

I first take a moment to leisurely scan the second screen and find the Bird Poaching item on the bird cages and the Oil Refining item on the oil derricks in the background [2]. I also scoop up the ax [5] on my way back to the cabin to meet up with Paquita. But it seems there's something else I have to do first. She's happy the goon is gone, but doesn't come with me still. I look around a little more to see if I can find a method of transportation. The first screen has some kind of machine, but Adam doesn't know how to use it. The second screen has that large bulldozer, but I can't even interact with it. Adam wouldn't know how to drive it anyway, and it would be too slow and destructive.

That's quite impressive construction for a kid using just a hand ax.

Finally! Away we go...

Then I notice the large log near the bird cages, and realize we now have the goon's ax. I try using the ax on the log, and Adam goes into an absolute frenzy of activity, carving out a dugout canoe from the log [5]. I had no idea he knew how to do that, but great, now we have transportation down the river. Assuming that's the right direction to go, of course. I click on it, and Adam pushes it into the river [5]. We're ready to go. I can't go anywhere without a paddle, but I do have this tennis racket...[10]

...with Slaughter chasing behind.

Adam survives by falling into a sinkhole. Not my first choice, but better than being captured again.

As I leave, dusk falls. Adam is paddling along a dirty river with a barren landscape in the background. Suddenly, Paquita warns me that I'd better paddle quickly, as Slaughter is returning! The music turns ominous again, and I try to move to the far side of the river screen as quickly as I can. (I also scan the screen for the Burnout item [1].) I move along through two or three screens of barren river, as Slaughter's ship closes in behind me. On the last screen, the canoe hits something, and Adam flies through the air into what looks like a sinkhole. Paquita follows him, saying she'll save him. Instead of drowning, Adam falls down some kind of slide into what looks like a bat cave. We have escaped again!

What a strange place to end up under the river.

There are at least five different kinds of bats hanging out in this cave. I scan the screen and find a Leaf-nosed bat, a Fishing bat, a Punk bat, a Tent bat, and a Mexican Free-tailed bat [5]. Paquita herself hangs to one side, but when I talk to her, she only says she doesn't like caves, preferring trees [1]. Some of the bats won't talk to me because they're suspicious after the burnout. The fishing bat complains that the fire cooked the fish in the rivers, making them inedible [1].

The leaf-nosed bat, with a stack of leaves next to it, "seems to be in charge," apparently. I walk up to it and ask if I can get through. The bat says, "This is a refugee camp for displaced bats," and asks for identification. It's phrased in a very human sort of way, but I guess he just wants to know what kind of bat I identify with. Umm...whatever kind Paquita is?

This bat speaks so precisely and formally, for a bat. And... are those glasses?

Lacking anything better to do, I show Forest Heart's amulet to the bat [5], who of course recognizes it. It immediately appoints me to be the one to hand out visas to the bats in the refugee camp (again, what an oddly human concept...), and if there are enough, I can keep one myself. For some reason, Adam doesn't understand, and Paquita has to explain it to him. I scoop up the nearby leaves [5] and start considering how to pass them out.

Several items automatically disappeared after I left the camp, partly to make room for the six leaves to match to bats.

I thought they were just a stack of identical leaves, but once I pick them up, I find six different kinds of leaves in my inventory, each with a classification name. I see at least six different bats in the cave, but presumably the leaf-nosed bat itself doesn't require one? I first go around and talk to the rest of the bats I hadn't spoken with yet.

A bat with a mustache. That's a new one.

The Mexican free-tailed bat had been traveling through the area when his bat motel had burned down. He doesn't like the accomodations in this cave [1]. Talking to the punk bat triggers some punk-ish music and a brief conversation about how the music was wrong when he encountered the fire [1]. The tent bat just complains about being cold and wanting a bed [1].

The tent bat is definitely white-furred.

I try first just handing a random leaf to a couple of the bats, but first the leaf-nosed bat instructs me to "interview" them first and follow proper procedure, and then they say amusing things about how it isn't the right one or doesn't describe them at all. I'd better figure out which names match which bats. We have Ectophylla alba, Tadarida chapini, Tadarida brasiliensis, Noctilio leporinus, Natalus stramineus, and Macrotus californicus. I know "alba" means white, so I try handing that one to the tiny tent bat, who is the closest to white of all the choices. It happily takes off into the inner cave with it, so that one is correct [5].

The fishing bat (who inexplicably wears a hat) is happy to move on with his leaf.

The punk bat seems to have rings and a mohawk.

None of the rest seem obvious, though, so I start looking them up. Noctilio leporinus is a bulldog or fisherman bat, so I give that leaf to the fisher bat [5]. Tadarida brasiliensis is the Mexican free-tailed bat, so that one is clear [5], but then Tadarida chapini is Chapin's free-tailed bat. I thought we only have one free-tailed bat here, unless that is supposed to be Paquita's type? No, apparently not. Macrotus californicus is a California leaf-nosed bat, but the leaf-nosed bat doesn't need one. Natalus stramineus is a Mexican funnel-eared bat, which suggests a bat that can hear well, so I try giving that to the punk bat, but that isn't right either. How odd. The punk bat happily accepts Tadarida chapini, though [5], and Paquita answers to the funnel-eared bat, which I guess matches her portrait well enough [5].

Now we can show Macrotus californicus to the leaf-nosed bat [5], which of course makes sense. He accepts it and instructs me to proceed into the next room. "Welcome to our country!" he says cheerfully, as if I've gone through customs again.

Hang like a bat, in other words.

The next room seems to contain the ruins of some kind of temple. There's an odd intermittently-glowing stone, and a carving of an animal, and a very old bat snoring in an alcove. The stone is too hot to take, though. I scan the room and find that the bat is a False Vampire Bat, and also the carved animal is a Jaguar, and other carvings are identified as a Cosmology Carving, a Stone Relief, and the Underworld [5].

When I try talking to the old bat, he complains I'm making him dizzy [1], and I should speak to him like the priests who used to be here did. I'm just standing here, so I don't know what he means, really. He acknowledges that having Forest Heart's amulet is why I was allowed to enter this place, and showing him the golden flower tells him that Forest Heart is gone, but otherwise my items don't help with him. Then I notice a stone rod extending out from the wall next to him. Apparently I must act like a bat to talk to him properly. I click on it, and Adam flips up and hangs by his legs from it [5].

No, I'm looking for the City of Gold, not for gold itself.

Now the old bat will speak with me. He identifies himself as Chiropterus Handwing, Guardian of the Temple. ("Chiropterus" is a classification for bats, after all.) Adam says he's looking for the City of Gold, but not to get gold, only to get Forest Heart's seedling. The old bat says we must pick up the Truth Stone first. It was too hot before, but now Adam can pick it up and it just feels warm [5]. Then we must summon the Black Jaguar by placing the stone in his carving. I do that, and the stone animal turns to flesh and begins speaking to me [5].

The jaguar is sadly chained to the stone, but somehow Adam's understanding of nature will help.

The jaguar says he is chained due to man's neglect of the forest, and I must remember the things that will free him, which involves answering a series of riddles by selecting from a set of ten icons of various natural items: a star, a cloud, a bird, a snake, an ant, a leaf, a flower, the moon, the sun, and a frog.

The first riddle says:
Vale of silk,
Dress of green,
Looks to the sun
And makes air clean.


Sounds like a leaf to me, but that isn't right? Strange. I get it wrong, but the game just gives me a new riddle instead.

Lovely colors that you see
Used to attract bat and bee.
They must take my gift away,
Or on this spot I'll have stay. [sic]


That sounds like a flower. This time I'm correct [1].

Wings of color,
Voice of song,
Claws of power
To this creature belong.

That's clearly a bird [1].

Misty veil of dew
Shades the light of day,
Sheds its life on the earth
And washes waste away.


That's a cloud [1].

Older than the ancient times,
Hid by light of day,
Birds that fly by their light
Plot their course and way.

Now he's talking about stars [1].

Its strength is in its jaws.
Its size is not so great.
But no creature in the forest,
Can lift its size to weight.

That's the humble ant, who can lift far more relative to its body size than nearly any other animal [1].

Green on green and within
Till later in the year.
When rainbows of colors bright
Suddenly appear.

Okay, that's definitely a leaf [1].

Slowly does it slide along
Without legs or feet.
As eyes and tongue dart about,
To find something to eat.

Snake, clearly [1]. Only a few left.

Nothing is so far away,
And yet remains so bright.
It shines forth each day
With its giving light.

That's the sun [1].

Pale face upon the earth,
A dim mirror of the sun.
For the creatures of the night
Light for work and fun.

The moon, of course [1]. And the last one:

Bulging eyes,
Inflated throats,
Fill the air
With reverberating notes.

The final icon is a frog [1]. Okay, so I have no idea what the first one meant, but apparently it didn't matter.

Remember me and this! Good advice.

As I've been answering them, pieces of the chain binding the jaguar in the image have been disappearing. With the last one, the final chain disappears, and the jaguar is free. He declares that he will give two gifts: a reminder and an item. The reminder is this: All that is Gold does not Glitter. (Although the more common version is "All that glitters is not gold," derived from a line in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, Tolkien's famous poem from The Fellowship of the Ring starts with "All that is gold does not glitter.") And the item is a feather made of pure gold, which I collect [5].

When I move on to the next screen, Paquita reappears. We're following a path down to what looks like very green, foul water, with an oddly carved boat waiting for us. Suddenly, when she nears the water, Paquita sinks to the ground, moaning that she feels terrible. I examine her, and she suggests going back and getting the old bat to help. Adam automatically flips up on the bar when I go back in, and then begs Chiropterus to help.

Very little hope... unless I go where I was going anyway.

Back out by Paquita, Chiropterus thinks she's ill from smoke, presumably from the fires in the area. He suggests I need to get to the City of Gold and find the Fountain of Youth. He hands me a bat whistle [5] and instructs me to call him to bring Paquita when I've found it. Okay, I was trying to get to the City of Gold anyway, so all the more reason to head there quickly.

Next time, we'll board yet another boat and see where the river takes us now.

Score: 664/1000
Scanned items: 57/82

Inventory: passport, Ecorder, Forest Heart amulet, carved necklace, golden blossom, Noah's wallet, photograph, customs papers, fax, death mask, heavy gold object, gold feather, bat whistle

Session Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 14 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!

5 comments:

  1. Yes, that logging camp is the worst part of the game. The bat-leaf matching also never made too much sense to me, so I just brute force it. At least the rest of the game is a bit simpler and more straightforward.

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  2. the first riddle could be flower or tree, with leaves (green dress), growing in the direction of the light (sun looking) and producing oxygen/filtering aerosols (makes clean air) - but I don't get the silken vale. shrug.

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    Replies
    1. Good point. I replayed that section and tried something else, but I can't remember which I tried, and it was still wrong. Flower seems the most likely answer, though.

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  3. The young protagonist can't figure out how to drive a digger but has no problem whittling out a stable, working canoe? The cartoon logic seems a bit thick in this one, especially the sinkhole bit. I understand this is aimed at children and I would probably not have batted an eyelid if I was any younger than 10, but the sinkhole bit feels a bit like laziness on their part for me.

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  4. I think we have our answer as to why there was never an Ecoquest 3, quality game or not, I'm not aware of any successful children's media with a depressing tone/section. Dark, yes, depressing, no.

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