Saturday, 23 January 2021

Lost Secret of the Rainforest - Homeward Bound (Won!)

Written by Reiko

Adam’s Journal #8: "What a ride! I’ve finally made it to the City of Gold, but I never dreamed I would be flown there by a giant eagle! At first I thought I was going to be the eagle’s dinner, but then she turned out to be really nice. Now we’re so close to finding Forest Heart’s seedling. I can’t wait!"

We've made it to the heart of the City of Gold, a small stone room at the top of the maze. Inside, the far wall displays a curious grid of nine squares carved with some shapes that look rather jumbled. Another panel on the wall nearby crudely depicts a king and a serpent, guarding the way. On the grid, I can press any of the squares to change which of three choices is displayed. One choice is blank with a solid red border, another has part of an image with a double orange border, and the third has part of a different image with a red zigzag border. The center square doesn't have a border, but one choice is clearly blank, so it's easy to match the other two in the same order to complete each image.
The orange image, complete. A king playing the flute?
The red zigzag image, complete. A king wearing gold dust?

When I complete the orange image [5], a small recess opens in the wall, revealing a set of bone panpipes, which I can take [5]. When I complete the red zigzag image [5], the recess rotates and reveals a golden crown and a golden pot full of gold dust. I click and automatically take both items at once [10]. Am I meant to be a snake charmer? Well, not here, apparently, since it's "not the right time to play the pipes."
Good thing, since Adam isn't fully grown yet.
I poke around a little, then notice some odd holes in the wall. I click on them, and Adam uses them as handholds to climb part way up the wall [2]. I can't do much while I'm hanging from the wall, but now I'm high enough to push the snake's tail [3], which causes the wall behind it to open, revealing another exit. I almost forget to scan the room, which has one item: Ritual of El Dorado [1].

According to Wikipedia, the term El Dorado, which in modern times is generally associated with the idea of a legendary South American city of gold, actually came from a Spanish legend of a tribal chief who would cover his body in gold dust. Well, I've got the gold dust, and we're in the City of Gold, so it all fits. (El Dorado will come up again if we get to Legacy of Time, the third Journeyman Project game.)
A turtle takes me for a ride.
Now we're behind the city, on the edge of the lake, with the island in front of us. It looks like we have stepping stones over to a large sculpted stone off to one side. I don't see anything to scan on this screen, or anything to pick up, so I carefully start navigating Adam from stone to stone. Once, I have trouble because one thing I thought was a stone was actually the back of a turtle. The turtle takes Adam for a bit of a ride before dumping him in the water, but he can easily climb back out to an earlier stone, so this isn't really a big problem. I avoid that "stone" the next time and reach the sculpted stone without further incident [5].

Then I try to walk closer to the stone, and suddenly a huge golden sea serpent appears! I try playing the panpipes, which the serpent seems to enjoy, but it doesn't do anything else. I try talking to it, but I guess it gets tired of waiting, because it picks Adam up and tosses him back to the shore. Drat. Maybe I'll save once I get to the stone again, just because it's quite slow to navigate over there.
The golden serpent seems to recognize the crown.
While I'm there, I discover that I can wear the crown, but if I move anywhere, I automatically take it off again. I step toward the stone to summon the serpent again, and this time I put on the crown before I play the pipes. The serpent greets me, fooled by the crown, and this time the pipes cause it to lay its head down to take a nap, satisfied by Adam's performance [15]. I click on it, initially expecting to ride on it, before I realized it was asleep, but Adam just dives into the water past it and swims over to the island [5]. I knew that island was going to be important.

On the island, we have a small jungle clearing with some stonework I can scan: a Stela, and a Fountain [2]. Vines hang from a branch nearby. One stela is carved with the face of a woman, and the other with the face of a girl, the same face that was on the golden mask. The girl's stela holds a stone cup, which Adam can take [5]. A shelf by the fountain holds seeds, but Adam won't take any, saying he doesn't know which is the right one. Hm, I thought we were after a small seedling, not just a seed. I try using the magnifying glass on them, but that doesn't tell me anything.
Even the flowers talk in the City of Gold...
I walk over and look at the fountain, but suddenly the vines reach out and grab me and lift me up! Adam quite reasonably says, "Hey!" Then the plants start talking to him. They say they haven't met any nice humans recently and want proof that I mean no harm. Well, the amulet worked on everything else, so I show it again [1], and the plants are more than satisfied. The vine-arms drop me, and the plants say it's now time to release the secrets of the City of Gold. As soon as I do that, though, Slaughter's going to show up and try to steal everything for his own gain, of course. I haven't forgotten that he's after us still.

I poke at the fountain again, and this time the plants don't stop me. Adam turns a small pillar set into the top [10], which causes water to come out and fill the fountain's basin. Then I flail around for a while, not seeing the next step. Nothing else is very interactive at this point.

The newest items I have are the pot of gold dust and the stone cup, but the pot doesn't seem to do anything yet, and trying to place the cup anywhere just gives the response, "it doesn't fit there." Well, that implies that it does fit somewhere. I poke around some more and finally discover that I can put the stone cup into a small hollow near the top of the fountain [5]. That was really hard to see. But now the water is flowing over the stone shelf, soaking the seeds.
A truly nature-oriented perspective, that plants are more valuable than gold.
I'm again not sure what comes next, but I try talking to the two orchids again, one wound around each of the stone statues. They have a few things to say about the people who used to live here: they were clever with making things out of gold, but their gold was almost all stolen from them. The orchid then says that the true treasure of the island is the seeds of the plants that live here. Uh, did I ruin the treasure by soaking them all then? Perhaps they will sprout and then I can find the right one that will grow into Forest Heart's seedling?

As an aside, the writers seem to have forgotten about the magnifying glass at this point: I can't find a single thing on this screen that responds to it, not even the plants that are all around. On the screen where I found it, all the plants had the magnified description of "Chlorophyll." Which is relevant, at least. But everything on this screen just says the magnifying glass reveals nothing.

I talked to the orchids again, and one outright says that this fountain is the Fountain of Youth, and it will revitalize the world or some such. The other one says that to awaken the seeds is my task. But if this is the Fountain of Youth, why can't I call the bats to bring Paquita? Using the whistle just gives a response that it's not time yet. And the seeds still don't do anything.
Now we know the right seed, because it's the only one that magically sprouts.
Well, again it's a matter of putting the right thing in exactly the right spot. I had been trying to put Forest Heart's blossom in the fountain, but it kept just saying "Be more specific." I thought it had something to do with the seeds, but no, I had to put the blossom in the stone cup [5]. Golden dust from the blossom flows with the water down to the seeds and causes the seedling to sprout [15]. That's the "true gold!" Adam exclaims. I take the seedling from the inset close-up on the seeds [20]. If I look at it, I find that the leaf is the same shape as Forest Heart's.
At least he didn't tie me up this time.
...and right on cue, here comes the helicopter, landing on the island's beach. Slaughter comes striding up the path, demanding Adam give him the treasure. Adam won't give him anything, so Slaughter starts digging a deep hole, looking for it. Adam sits up on top of the smaller stela, watching this. I still have the pot of gold dust, which would lure Slaughter out of the hole, except I can't reach him from up on the statue.

So I jump down and use the pot on him, causing him to climb out and demand it from me. I use it on him again, and instead of handing it over, Adam blows the dust into his eyes. Temporarily blinded, Slaughter stumbles over toward the fountain, and when he's close enough, the vines reach out and grab him just like they had grabbed Adam before [10]. Trussed up and quite stuck, Slaughter resorts to trying to claim it was all just a joke, and demands Adam free him. Adam, quite sensibly, refuses, saying Slaughter can just stay right there for a few hours, and he'll be back later with his father and the police.
Slaughter has been neutralized, and here come the bats.
Now that Slaughter isn't a danger, is it time to call the bats yet? Yes, now it works. I use the whistle [5], and shortly Chiropterus and Paquita appear. I just have to use the fountain, and Adam carefully gives some of the water to Paquita [15]. She is soon well and flying around energetically like usual. There's an amusing exchange where Paquita is so happy to be alive that she declares she could kiss Adam, who begs her not to. Paquita cheerfully says that Adam saved her life, so she will do what he wants...and then swoops down and gives him a bat kiss anyway, much to his annoyance. Adam has to return, but for some reason, Paquita won't return with him yet.
Flying with the eagle still looks uncomfortable. In the background, the serpent snoozes.
As Adam starts walking back down the path, Slaughter begs him not to leave him there "with nature." Ha, sounds like the perfect punishment for this guy. Once Adam gets back to the beach, the giant eagle returns and carries him back to the native village. A place in the dead hollow of Forest Heart has been prepared for the seedling, and Sinchi and the boy Taquia wait to help Adam plant it. A few other villagers observe.
Planting the seedling with Taquia.
The sunshine helps the seedling grow immediately.
I place the seedling in the prepared place [25], and the two boys help pat the earth down around it. Then the sunshine shines through the branches, and the seedling immediately appears to grow taller. Sinchi happily announces, "Forest Heart begins again!"
If they've been so isolated, how has Adam even been talking
to them? Surely their language isn't a common one.

A short time later, everyone else is gone, and the seedling has become a sapling, already taller than Adam. Sinchi listens as Adam says he has to go find his father now. Sinchi agrees that the tribe can't continue to stay isolated, and Adam assures him that his father can help protect the village and Forest Heart. But he's worried about Paquita. Sinchi urges him to blow the whistle and call her again.
Paquita's baby!
I blow the whistle [5] and soon Paquita appears, settling gently onto the sapling. She joyfully announces she has a surprise for Adam under her wing. I look at her [10] to reveal an inset close-up of Paquita showing Adam her baby. Aww, that's great! No wonder she couldn't really help me all that much.
Now that looks like a much more comfortable
way to ride a giant eagle. Gandalf would be proud.
Adam wishes he could stay to watch the baby grow up, but he's got to find his dad, and with that, the game ends with a shot of Adam riding the great eagle to search from high above the forest, with the bats waving goodbye from a branch. Credits roll.

Score: 973/1000

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

Time: +1 hour
Total Time: 16.5 hours

Scanned Items: 68/82
Animals: 25/26 (missing: Leaf-cutting Ant)
Plants: 17/18 (missing: Bromeliad)
Eco-Threats: 8/11 (missing: Clear Cutting, Silt Runoff, Poor Soil)
Indigenous People: 12/17 (missing: Initiation, Masks, Rattle, Shaman, Charm)
Ancient Cultures: 8/10 (missing: Labyrinth, Pipes)

Well, clearly I didn’t get all of the points. Even if I’d found all of the scanned items (12 items missing), I would still be missing 15 points from something. I’m a little puzzled how I managed to miss scanning that many items, actually. I was expecting to miss a few, but that’s more than I thought.

One place I apparently missed was inside the shaman's hut. I'm pretty sure the rest of the items in the "Indigenous People" category are there. And I didn't think to scan the labyrinth screen or the pipes in the ritual room before taking them. I don't have any idea where the leaf-cutting ant and bromeliad were, but I must have missed yet another screen somewhere for that.

I assume the eco-threats are probably somewhere around the Cibola camp, and looking back at my notes, I find that I probably didn't scan the first camp screen, although I definitely scanned inside the hut and on the second camp screen. That was the worst part of the whole game, though, and the time pressure and tendency to get captured made it very difficult to find a moment to remember to scan.

There are also a number of times when optional dialog grants points, so I easily could have missed some of those. I’m also curious if there are any alternate solutions that give an extra 5 or 10 points for an optional action. Let me know in the comments if there’s anything else that I managed to miss, and next time we’ll take a look at the rating.

8 comments:

  1. Congratulations on winning. :D Getting all possible things scanned is really hard, somehow... The final puzzle is a bit fiddly, but at least it's all on one screen. I still like this a bit more than the first game. Perhaps it's just because rainforest fauna looks cuddlier than sea creatures...

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    1. Thanks. The puzzle with the fountain was a bit fiddly, yeah, but after that it was all smooth sailing to the end.

      I won't say anything about my preference yet, since that will be explored in the rating post.

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  2. There are a LOT of things to scan. I haven't played this game in quite some years, but I don't think I've ever managed a perfect run. My own work-in-progress walkthrough has a frustrated note about how it only scores 988 points and I'm not sure what I could have missed. ("Did I miss the tourist's paper still, even tho I wrote it? What was this business about talking to a boa?")

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    1. I remember talking to the boa, but what's this about the tourist's paper?

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    2. You did it - it was back near the beginning of the game, where on the pier screen in Iquitos a guy with a camera dropped a piece of paper and you picked it up and trashed it. (See this post from August: "So I return to the dock to see if there's anything I can scan there, and find a tourist taking pictures.")

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    3. Oh, you're right. I misunderstood.

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    4. They were just my own notes to myself after the last time I played through.

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  3. Great work Reiko! Although the graphics are gorgeous and the settings more interesting, i think the first game of the series is funnier than this one and better overall. Anyone agree?

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