Thursday, 11 March 2021

Eric the Unready - The Gods Must be Crazy

Written by TBD 

I'm back

Hi all! I'm back after an unannounced and unexpected hiatus!

Sorry for disappearing for so long. Coronavirus, blah blah, lockdown, blah blah, too busy, blah blah, also lazy, blah blah.

Seeing as it's been a while (to say the least), I'll give a little recap of this mission so far... 
Eric the Unready is trying to find the Crowbar of Armageddon from the Mountain of the Gods.

He's already passed a horny unicorn and a room full of virgin sacrifices while deliberately becoming one of the virgin sacrifices himself. Now he finds himself near the Mountain of the Gods, atop which lies the needed Crowbar of Armageddon, glinting in the distance. There is no visible way to scale the mountain. 
Eric The Unready: Journal Entry #6: I've forgotten what I was doing. It should have been only seconds but feels like months. Something about a Crowbar I think...

We'll start with a map of the area and I'll talk about each section in turn.


I briefly touched on a few of the areas in this section in the last post but I'll mention them again here for completeness.

Promontory


The promontory is the location of the God of Short Term memory, who continually digs and covers a 
hole.
The God of Short Term Memory introduces himself with a different name each time I do anything.

There's nothing useful I can do here but we'll revisit later.

Looking at the mountain shows something metal glinting at the top - obviously the item I'm here for.

Windy Cave


No, this is not a cave of windy passages, all alike. It's a cave full of wind. 

The God of the North Wind angrily wanders around the cave trying to keep warm. He's angry with Morty, agent of the gods, for giving him such a bad job. 

I have my dragon from the previous mission, which acts as a lighter, so I try to heat the poor God up, but that just gets me to die by choking on a pine cone months later (This is a weird game, just run with it.) 
Eating roots and berries reminds me of an old joke about a koala that eats roots and leaves.
The first time I visit this God he gives me a note for Morty, who works in the Palace of the Gods. I take the note and go to the palace.
 

Lobby


The lobby of the Palace of the Gods contains Clio, Receptionist of the Gods and a trophy case. 

Clio's constantly getting calls. Of course, because we're playing Eric the Unready, all the calls are jokes. This was one of my favourites.

I suddenly want to get a bunch of gamblers together to pray on long shots. We'll be rich! 
There are a few potentially useful items in the trophy case but Clio won't let us take them.

Among the items in the trophy case is a plaque containing a Letterman reference. 

Office


I show my note from the God of the North Wind to Clio. A quick intercom conversation later and I'm now allowed into the office to see the Agent of the Gods, Morty. 
I give the God of the North Wind's note to Morty. Morty calls Clio in to rend a reply offering a different job. He tosses me a wooden token and I get 5 points!
Before Clio leaves, Morty gives her some woad for her make-up kit. Woad is a type of blue dye used inaccurately in the movie Braveheart. 
This picture makes historians cry
After another turn or so, I'm sent back to the lobby with nothing to show for it.

I can't take Clio's woad, or any of the stuff in the lobby without her zapping me with lightning, so I leave the office for the Agora. 

As I leave, a messenger pigeon drops a note on the ground. When I take the note, I can't read it, but I can tell it's for Morty. This tells me that I'll need to get back into Morty's office for something else, so I do. 

Again, I have a few turns but can't seem to do anything of use in Morty's office. The same thing with the pigeon happens again if I leave, so this time I try something else.

When Clio comes into the office to prepare Morty's response to the next god's request, I leave and am now in the unguarded lobby. 

I take the woad before Clio returns, then repeat the whole process and take the costume in the trophy case. 
A Blues Brothers reference (I think)

Apart from the woad and the costume, I can't seem to take anything else, but the passenger pigeon still appears. There may be something else to do in the office or reception, but I ignore it for now and wander elsewhere. 

Library


The library contains, you guessed it, the Librarian of the Gods.
I'm fairly confident that any hard of hearing librarian hearing someone say brooks would automatically assume they were talking about books, but it's an old comedy trope so we'll go with it.
 I talk to the librarian, getting a plethora of misheard responses. Eventually Emily the librarian gives me a note from which I can order books written specifically for mortals (The people in the palace really like to rub in that they're gods and I'm not)
My reading list – let's see what I end up with... 
You can see where this is going so I'll give you an example.
Whoever was in charge of writing these jokes really must have given their brain a workout – some are particularly clever, like this response to “Scaling Mount Spa”.
 I go through every book in the list, partly because I was trying to guess the book she'll bring (I never predicted correctly) but mostly because I was certain one of the books would be needed to solve a puzzle.

Asking for Setting up Sodom/Gomorrah gives me the (totally not what I ordered) book that I needed, Getting Up Spa From Agora: Climbing the Mountain.
Why would I debate with myself. I need the glinting item on top of the mountain so of course I want to continue reading.
I keep reading, hoping to get the answer but being sure there'd be more to the puzzle. After a few pages of preamble I find the actual ritual I need. 
Of course it does...

I recalled she had told me I can only have the book for 10 minutes, so I tried a few things in order to skip the preamble, turning pages, going straight to chapter 1, trying to read the book three times in a single command. 
I didn't think that would make me read faster, but I had to try. 
 I thought of replacing the book with something in my inventory to trick her (Maybe she's slightly blind too?) but she wanted none of my inventory items – I thought the newspaper might trick her. I tried taking the book out of the book jacket, but that didn't work.

Scriptorium


I give up and continue exploring. It isn't long before I find the answer to the library book puzzle. To the south is a Scriptorium where scribes will copy books. 
I love the way Richard talks.
I go back to the library and borrow the ritual book, immediately coming back to get the scribes to work before it disappears. 

I kind of want Richard to come with me on the rest of my adventures
After the scribes have completed their copy, the original copy of the book disappears, but I now have my copy and can read in peace so I don't care. Just to rub it in to me, NOW the game lets me skip straight to the ritual to get the golden steps to appear. 


I noticed that 'Turn around' and 'Squawk' have now appeared near the top of my verb menu. 
Though I'm a fan of the way Richard talks, I'm still not going to turn down a dialogue option making fun of him.
And one more before we leave Richard the scribe forever.
Speaking to Richard made me a little disappointed this game doesn't have voice acting. A good comedic actor could have done wonders with this dialogue. Then again, a bad voice actor could have ruined it so maybe I should be happy.

Now I had a very specific plan the get to the top of the mountain.
  1. Wear the Sacred Costume of Og and cover my cheeks with woad.
  2. Stand on the Holy Egg of Oblivion in the Agora.
  3. Eat a slimewig
  4. Turn around twice (in case the God wasn't watching the first time)
  5. Squawk like a chicken
Simple. Though I have none of the needed items yet.
 

Lounge


The Lounge of the Gods contains a nectar machine and a nectar machine repairgod.

I try without any luck to get the repairgod to repair the nectar machine... 
Nectar of the Gods is not something I need for the ritual, but because I'm in an adventure game, I'm sure the nectar will be needed to get one of the items.
Looks like he won't repair the machine until it's time.

Remembering that I got a wooden token from Morty in exchange for giving him the letter, I try to use my token on the machine. Failing that, I try to give the token to the repairgod so he knows I want some nectar. 
Ah. The repairgod said he'd repair the machine when he got around to it. And the token had TUIT written on it so it was a round TUIT.
Wait. What? I can't imagine I'd ever have solved that puzzle properly. I only used the token in this room because I thought the machine might take tokens instead of coins. 
 
Yeah. Sorry, but that's a puzzle that only makes sense after you accidentally solve it – to anyone who solved that by working out that the token would get the repairgod to fix the machine because he'll fix the machine when he gets around to it and the token is a round TUIT and even though it isn't even spelt the same that will make him start his job... my hat is off to you.

Anyway, the repairgod had given me a coin to test the machine out. I do so, get my nectar... and the machine immediately breaks again. Bad luck to the next customer, but I don't care because I now have a bottle of nectar. 

Laboratory


In the laboratory is a machine that lets me summon some godly plagues.
One of the plagues is a plague of slimewigs – they quickly leave but as one of the slimewigs is slower than the others, and I need one of the creatures for my ritual, I take it.

The other items in the display case are also biblical references – apart from the burning bush we have a rock for beating larger adversaries, sandals with compressed air in them for walking on water, and a trumpet with wall-shattering vibration resonance. 
Of all the plagues, it's a plague of coat hangers that finally ends my life 

Glade


I also find a glade, where the Goddess of Beauty resides.

She's laying naked in a natural pool, across from which is a key.
No idea what the key opens yet, but I want it - it's so shiny!
 I try giving the goddess some of my stuff, like the costume to get her to come out of the water, or an apple in case this is some kind of Garden of Eden reference. She's not interested in any of my stuff and won't let me through the water to get the key, so I go north.

Promontory (again)


I go the the God of Short Term Memory who has a bottle opener tied around his neck, hoping he can open the bottle of nectar for me. He opens it, but he just takes a sip and gives it back to me closed so it's not overly helpful.

At this point I had to reload an earlier save because the evil Sir Pectoral's thugs arrived (somehow?) and killed me. 
Before reloading too far I tried going to a few places to see if any of the gods would protect me. It seems Gods don't care about Eric the Unready because no location seems safe. I reload to a much earlier save and rush through the puzzles I've solved so far. 

Being killed by thugs may have been a blessing in disguise because this time when I gave the god my nectar I took notice of something I'd glossed over the first time. His response is “Thanks, but I can only have one sip. It makes me pee.” 

I immediately give him the nectar again. He takes another sip, and then rushes off to go to the bathroom.

Now that I'm alone I can see what was in his hole. 
So now Eric's an expert on egg legends, apparently
At this point, I was stuck for a while. I'd recently solved a puzzle by accident and couldn't think of any way to go ahead.

After getting a little frustrated I went against normal policy and looked up a walkthrough. Apologies but after trying everything I could think of, because it had already been so long since I played I couldn't help myself. If anyone put a bet on me being stuck here you won - congratulations.

The solution turned out to involve the bulletin board. One of the messages is more than just a joke
Plenty of jokes about gods here...
... but this joke is more important than it seems.
Okay. I need to get a cake. Why would I need a cake? Let's find out.

I go to the place I'd expect to find a phone. Clio at reception has a headset and is constantly talking to people on it (obviously with many more God jokes.)

To make matters a little confusing, using the noun 'phone' or 'telephone' or even 'headset' tells me I can't use that word in the game.

After an embarrassingly long time I noticed that the verb “Call” appears high up in the verb list. So, there's no phone and Clio doesn't leave the headset when I get her to go into Morty's office but somehow simply typing “Call 1-800-Dominus” works.
Are Clio and I using the same phone? The game already told me there were no phones here but now there seems to be two of them. CALL 1-800-shenanigans!

I wait in the lobby for a few turns and a delivery boy arrives with a cake...
… just in time for the thugs to arrive and kill me
 A reload and redoing of puzzles later...

The God of the North Wind had earlier mentioned that it was his birthday today so I take my new cake to him, pull my dragon's tail to create fire and burn the cake's candles.
When I go back south, I notice that the god's breath has frozen the lake. With the lake and Goddess gone I can now easily grab the key. 
Now, I have the key but have no idea what it opens. 

Agora

I think I have what I need to complete the ritual, so I go to the Agora, wear the costume and woad I got from the lobby and stand on my Egg Of Oblivion.

Like this, but on my butt
Following the ritual, I eat my slimewig.
Sounds delicious
 Finally, I turn around twice and squawk like a chicken.

And nothing happens... 
So this guy must be the god of why weren't you here an hour ago!
I follow the yellow brick stair, surprised I didn't get a Wizard of Oz joke. It did give me a Led Zeppelin joke though.

At the top of the stairs is a large cork with the Crowbar of the Apocalypse secured by a locked golden strap. I do the obvious and use my golden key on the golden strap.

I land with a splash in the Swamp of Perdition, and am rewarded with the next Meanwhile cutscene.
I'll admit it – after not playing for months I'd completely forgotten who this is
 The cutscene just shows Princess Lorealle's future husband enjoying his party.

And next time, which I promise will be much closer to a week from now than 8 months, we'll see where these obviously Star Trek inspired characters take me.


Session time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Total time:10 hours 30 minutes
Score: 625 out of 1000, in 1632 turns
Inventory: backpack, Crowbar of the Apocalypse, Crescent Wrench of Armageddon, Pitchfork of Damocles, Steak of Eternity, apple, newspaper, a dragon, some berries

10 comments:

  1. Welcome back! Coronavirus-related work and stress sucks and I hope you and your family remain sane and healthy.

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  2. Welcome back TBD!

    I solved the Round Tuit puzzle the same way that you did, i.e. at random; and was stuck at the bulletin board for a long time, so I definitely can relate!

    If that is any indication, you shouldn't have much trouble from here onwards, since it was smooth sailing until the end for me from now on (I even managed to get the last lousy point to get to 1001).

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    Replies
    1. >was stuck at the bulletin board

      Just like TBD I had to look up the solution online, the only one I had to - darn puzzle was too obscure with the bulletin and the phone that I don't think even shows up on the list of interactable objects.

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  3. The captain's "log" is one of the best so far. The anachronistic "modern" Gods offices does fall very flat though. I know this game plays for cheap laughs but that is just a tad too cheap for my taste.

    I suppose the thugs showing up to kill you may also be a way to remind you of your main quest. If you are able to forget about the main antagonist it does go to show how far the story has drifted from the plot.

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  4. Wow, I really forget that this game was being played. Glad to have you back TBD

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  5. According to the Digital Antiquarian, the copyist monk Richard is supposed to be a reference to SNL character The Richmeister: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1Fk_mDem4o

    Being able to call 1-800-Dominus isn't unprecedented; there was an ox-cart driven by a two-headed oaf earlier in the game who almost ran you over. You saw a sign on the cart's back saying "How's my driving? Call 1-800-PISS-OFF". The obvious thing for the player to do is immediately attempt that exact command. It's a kind of metagame thing, where some in-game meta-representation of the player's spirit can make angry phone calls with a metaphone regardless of where you are.

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  6. Thanks for the welcoming comments, all. It's good to be writing again.

    And I'm glad I'm not the only one who was stumped by that puzzle.

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  7. "Eating roots and berries reminds me of an old joke about a koala that eats roots and leaves."

    I believe you're thinking about the wrong kind of bear - Wasn't the joke about a cowboy Panda, who eats(,) shoots and leaves?

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  8. I find it a tad odd that you used separate visits to steal the woad and costume, instead of just typing "get woad and costume".

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