Sunday, 17 January 2021

Lost Secret of the Rainforest - Golden City

Written by Reiko

Adam’s Journal #7: "I knew a lot of kinds of bats existed, but before recently, I had never seen so many different kinds in one place before! I’m glad I could help them a little, but now I have to help Paquita too. The Fountain of Youth is the only thing that can heal her. Good thing it’s supposed to be in the City of Gold where I was going anyway."

Last time I was all set to board another boat to take us down the polluted river to travel toward the City of Gold. There we can find the seedling for Forest Heart and the Fountain of Youth to cure Paquita. Of course, it's not going to be quite that simple.

Poor Paquita.
The opening at the end of the river tunnel happens to be filled with bats, which I didn't notice before. I can't talk to them or touch them, but if I use the whistle that Chiropterus just gave me, the bats all fly away [5]. Now I can proceed.
Who's throwing that fruit at me?
Adam stands in the boat and uses the long paddle to maneuver his way along. The next screen shows a partly-submerged forest with trees bearing clusters of large fruit that look somewhat like coconuts, but aren't. As Adam paddles, something starts throwing the fruit at him. The first few miss, but then one hits the boat dead-on, sinking it and stranding Adam in the water. Whoops.

I take the opportunity to scan the screen, finding two items: Igapo and Cannonball Fruit [2]. Clearly the latter is the fruit that was the cause of my current predicament. Curious, I check the first to find that it is a Brazilian word used for this sort of forest that is inundated by fresh water for several months out of the year.

I find nothing else to do here, so I start swimming. With water in all directions, this time I remember to carefully check the borders of the screen for exits. It seems I could go either east or south, so I try east first. I find another flooded forest screen, but this one also holds a large rock with a reddish howler monkey stranded on it. When I appear, he moans, "Woe is me! I'm eagle fodder!" A bit dramatic, aren't we?
This monkey has an interesting vocabulary, self-identifying as "succulent."
First, I scan the screen to find both the Howler Monkey and Piranha items [2]. Wait, there's a piranha there? I peer more closely at the area of the rock. Looks like it's just the teeth. Whew. But why are there piranha teeth on the rock?

I talk to the monkey [1] to find out what's going on. He doesn't explain about the piranha teeth (I never do find out why they're there), but he says he was looking for food when the waters rose, stranding him out here. I guess he can't swim. Plus this is the hunting range of the empress eagle, who likes eating monkeys. He really does seem to be in a pickle. He seems mostly resigned to this fate, but asks me to bring him something to eat before he perishes. (Again, dramatic.) I don't have anything on me, and the only fruit I've seen around here has been the cannonball fruit, if those are even edible.
Climbing up to get the bananas.
I go back to the previous screen and try going south next. This flooded forest has some large lily pads, a tree with bunches of what look like ripe red bananas, and a conveniently located vine hanging down nearby. I can't scan the fruit or the vine, but the lily pads scan as the Victoria Lily [1]. Nothing stops me from climbing up the vine and taking some of the fruit [5]. Adam must be an excellent climber to be able to climb up the vine with two solid gold objects in his pockets, not to mention climbing back down again with the fruit.
Yes, you asked for some food...
When I take the fruit back over to the monkey and toss it to him [5], he seems pleased, catching it neatly and eating it. Finally he calms down and stops pacing back and forth on his rock. He sits quietly on top and waits to see what else I might do. If I talk to him again, he just says he needs a way out. I'm not sure how to use them, but the only other new thing in the area is that patch of lily pads.

I go back over there and pull on the lily pads, but they have a thick stem and don't come free. I can't do anything further with the vine or the fruit, as Adam complains that all the swimming makes him too tired to climb again. (How about all that gold weighing him down!) I have nothing sharp that might be useful to cut the stems on the lily pads. I need those piranha teeth, but I can't seem to get up on the rock or around to the right place to get them: it just says I can't reach.
It didn't look like the teeth were all that far away from the front edge of that rock...
Finally I try just clicking the hand icon on the rock, and that does the trick. The monkey says, "I guess you can climb up." I assume if I'd tried that before feeding him, he wouldn't have let me up. Now I'm actually standing on the rock with him, and now I can reach the teeth [5].
I bet you could too.
With the teeth, it's simple to go cut the stem on the lily pad [5] and get onto it [5]. Adam floats along on the lily pad, paddling with his hands, which looks like fun, and possibly easier than swimming. I paddle back over to the monkey and click on the rock again to get off the lily pad and give it to him [10]. He happily paddles away on it.
I thought it was monkeys that were succulent. He said so himself.
Now that we are on the rock again, suddenly the eagle swoops down and carries Adam off to her nest. It happens so suddenly that I can't even get a screenshot of it. But immediately she recognizes that he is no monkey. "Impostor! YOU are not OUR dinner." Ha. "We do not eat humans!" Well, that's a relief.
Adam sensibly refuses to jump out of the nest.
Then she commands us to depart her nest at once. I'd be happy to oblige her, but this is a rather unfair dictate, considering she's the one who brought us here, and anyway we're quite high up in one of the huge trees. Getting out of here might not exactly be a simple task. I first scan her (Harpy Eagle) [1], and then nervously look down at the water quite far below. No way can we jump from here.
Your ancestor was made of gold?
With nothing better to do, I decide to see if anything I'm carrying might be useful. The golden feather immediately triggers a positive response [10]: the eagle calls it a sign, and says, "We are yours to command." Well, in that case, can you take me to the City of Gold? Yes, she can and will. Perfect.
Flying in the claws of a great eagle would be amazing but scary.

A helicopter would be much more comfortable...but not with Slaughter on board!
We get a little cutscene of the eagle carrying Adam through the sky. Unfortunately, as she starts to disappear into the distance, a helicopter bearing the name Cibola appears, seems to hesitate, then follows the eagle. Uh-oh, Slaughter is on our trail again. That can't be good.
Great scenic overlook.
The eagle drops us off on a rock overlooking the ruined city, just as we saw it in the vision at the tree. I'm not sure how we'll get down there, but at least we can see where we're going finally. This area is full of trash somehow. There's also an intriguingly carved rock on one side and a bright flower on the other. In the background, I can see a lake with a small island in the middle, behind the city. I scan and find four items: Seat of the Inca (the carved rock), Passion Flower (the bright flower), Philodendron (the dark leaf plant), and Pre-Incan Ruins (the ruined city) [4].

We haven't used the recycling feature since nearly the very beginning of the game, but here we can recycle six bits of trash [6], one of which reveals a modern magnifying glass with the initials M.S. I take the magnifying glass [10], but I have to wonder how something of Slaughter's ended up here. I suppose that means that all of this trash came from his camp, but it probably washed up here somehow without his knowing.
Aha, the amulet was actually a map this whole time.
I can use the magnifying glass on objects to sometimes get more information about them, although this often doesn't give anything useful (the flowers and plants just say "chlorophyll" which is hardly new information). However, if I go into the inventory and use the magnifying glass on the amulet [5], I get a close-up screen where I can move the glass over the image and study it quite realistically. The carving is quite detailed, looking something like a map of a maze. The passageways of the city look rather maze-like even from here, so this could be useful later.

I notice that the edge of one rock has a golden mask embedded in it, and next to it, a deep gash. Possibly someone already gouged out a different golden piece at some point. I can't take the flower or the golden mask, so I try pushing on the rock that's balanced on the edge. Well, that's what I intended, but Adam actually walks over and climbs up on top of it, which causes it to tilt to one side. The corner he's sitting on tilts down, revealing a stairway under the other side. Aha, there's our way down, if we can keep the rock out of the way.
Gold really is heavy.
I have a heavy coin of gold, which I place on the rock instead, tilting it somewhat [3], but not far enough to get through. Then I notice that the gouged hole in the rock is the same shape as the mask of the girl that I found in Slaughter's room. I try putting the mask in the hole [5], and it fits! A panel opens to reveal some golden disks, which I can take [3]. They look like more of the same golden coins, which I can place on the rock [2] to tilt it the rest of the way [5].

If the facts that Slaughter had the mask and his magnifying glass was lost here are meant to imply that he was actually here at some point, how did he not find the golden coins or the way down to the city? It seems like an odd coincidence if someone else pried out the mask and he acquired it somehow, and then his magnifying glass also somehow ended up here. If just putting the mask back in its hole revealed the coins, then surely they should have been visible before whoever took the mask did so? This scenario seems inconsistent one way or the other.
Was there something dangerous at the center of this maze? ...is it still there?

There we go, the map on the amulet matches the maze.
At any rate, now the way is clear. Adam can descend the stairs to reach the ruined city itself. Now that we're closer, I can see that the passageways do in fact line up with the markings on the amulet. With the amulet as a guide, it's easy to see which way I need to go to circle around and get to the intact room at the top. The main choice is really right at the beginning of the maze, and the rest is straightforward to thread [15].

Next time, we'll find out what's at the heart of the city!

Score: 784/1000
Scanned items: 65/82

Inventory: passport, Ecorder, Forest Heart amulet, golden blossom, carved necklace, Noah's wallet, photograph, customs papers, fax, bat whistle

Session Time: 1.5 hours
Total Time: 15.5 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!

4 comments:

  1. I really love the art design of this game. Everything else aside, Sierra had mastered the watercolor-style art by this point.

    I also took advantage of the MLK day holiday to finally finish Bureaucracy. I have one post drafted and one more to get to the end that is started. I hope we'll be able to close out on that soon so I can begin Space Quest V!

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    1. Yeah, this is solidly in the era of Sierra's best VGA background art. Although it's interesting you call it 'watercolor'. I used to think (having seen some of the background plates from KQV) that they were painted in gouache, but chatting with Douglas Herring at an after-party at PAX a couple years ago, it seems they had some variety of poster paint they were using that you can't even obtain anymore!

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  2. So the eagle just flies you to the city...did thay presage the "Gandalf wanted to fly to Mordor" argument by more than 20 years?!? OK I doubt that, but it is fun to think about it.

    The cartoon logic remains a theme throughout the game, the mask and coin conundrum is a good example of something you shouldn't think too hard about in a children's game. I fully expect Slaughter to be in the centre of that maze or waiting for you to come out with the amulet, I won't even cry spoiler alert so obvious it is.

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    1. I think they decided the game was long enough and couldn't think of a better way to get Adam to the city once he lost his boat. Besides, flying on an eagle is cool. :D

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