Sunday 5 February 2023

Day of the Tentacle - Obvious Solutions and Waiting Around

 Written by Morpheus Kitami

Right, the future. The grand philosophical musings of Tim Schaffer and Dave Grossman on the direction our country will take in the future if we elect a tentacle president. Can't help but feel like that's a silly thing to base your musings on. People are pets of the tentacles...and not in the direction some of us were expecting. People performing in silly talent shows with bizarre criteria for victory. And Elvis museums. Eh, not the worst the future could be.

Also befitting the future, I've switched back to the MT-32. I was already done with the last entry by the time I was convinced to change my mind. I'm going to get a better idea of the sound of this game than anyone back in the day did.

You ever get the feeling that someone's run out of good ideas?

I guess my first course of action after attempting to murder everyone and everything is to talk to my compatriots in jail. The old man is Zed Edison and because Laverne confused him for Dr. Fred, he helpfully tells us that Fred is not a very beloved man today. In the future, man is the servant and pet of the tentacles, and people are stuck in degrading talent competitions where they're put in ugly costumes and perform ridiculous talent acts. Yeah, what a dark and depressing future which bares absolutely no resemblance to anything you could watch on TV today. No siree...

I can't talk to Zed's wife and that leaves the guard. I'm really liking Laverne's way of talking to people. I'm given two options to get Laverne out of here. Firstly, I try saying she doesn't feel well. This results in Laverne being taken to a Who of course, sees right through Laverne's attempts, or questionable sanity, but also doesn't really care and just walks off to see the human show. Leaving me alone in steal medicine! MUAHAHA! No, all I can do is steal a tentacle medical chart from here.

I'm trying not to just endlessly repeat the jokes the game has, but I'm really wishing I used a tentacle PETA joke last time, because one of the doctor's licenses says he can kill humans. Ah...

Humanity has certainly gone downhill in the past few centuries...

Outside is the much hyped up human talent show. Well, at least cartoonists can make slightly more depressing shows than reality can. For now. If I try going anywhere, Laverne gets nabbed by a tentacle guard and says "IF ONLY I HAD A TENTACLE DISGUISE" as subtly as someone driving a semi truck through your living room at 3:30 AM.

The other choice is to say Laverne needs to go to the bathroom. This is one crappy kennel if it doesn't have a toilet. It doesn't, so it is, and the tentacle says we're a human and its silly for humans to go to the bathroom. So now Laverne is outside...and can reach the Chron-a-John. Fat lot of good that does me. Looking at my items list, nothing helps me. Nothing at all. I do note from looking around that I can see Dr. Fred's old lab...and that means I have to plug the Chron-a-John into there somehow, this is another puzzle, and then drown the hamster to power it. Sigh...

Looking over the items Hoagie and Bernard have, I don't see anything that seems helpful in this situation. I'm going to bore the guard to death with the textbook...or something. Or I could put the disappearing ink on the cards, ticking off Laverne's cellmates for no reason, possibly getting myself a deck of cards for no reason. Or trick the tentacle into smoking the exploding cigar. None of which actually offers me any kind of solution. Hoagie's stuff is straight up out.

It does occur to me that the Tentacle anatomy chart could be used as the flag design...and that's true. Sigh...we're starting off this entry being annoying, I see. That doesn't actually help me though, at least for now. The flag design in the future, I guess, changes to that of a tentacle. Not sure why the tentacles had the original flag design here, but whatever. I guess I need to find something else in the past/present before I can make any real progress in the future.

So I think about the things I've seen and what might genuinely help. I think it might be a good idea to wash the car in the present, only I can't send the bucket through time. Ah...small inanimate objects. Wait, doesn't that mean I don't have to drown the hamster? Hmm. I try a bit of using random things with random things, given that I don't have any idea what to do next. At least B-man's stuff in the present. The flyer sounds like something useless, let's try using it around in the past.

Funnily enough, Washington didn't have much to do with the constitution, preferring to let people like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson on it, but there's no cherry tree puzzle with them

This turns out to be a decent idea, because I can put it in the suggestion box. George says every man should have a vacuum cleaner in his home. This shows a change in the future and a vacuum cleaner is added to the house. But that still doesn't fix anything for me now. Since I had the thought, I might as well try the dime with Franklin's kite.

In response to some of the dumber things Dr. Fred has done. Who would indeed?

This is apparently a very annoying task to perform, because trying to use the dime with the kite before it goes in the air causes Hoagie to drop the kite like a little girl. I can't even use it in the inventory or the pocket directly. I guess this isn't the answer. Oh, well, it was a vain hope anyway.

I'm getting really stuck here, so I start dumping B-man's stuff into the toilet so Laverne can take it. I don't know why Laverne might need the textbook, either of the two fluid things or the light + cigar combo, but you never know. None of this stuff works in the cell, so I convince the guard to let Laverne into the medical office again. Sure am glad there's no limit on that. And the doctor is still gone, and I can't use it on the human anatomy chart, so its all been pointless and I haven't a clue how to progress...

...he says before walking out and into the door that previously led to the convention hall. Where the tentacle guard doesn't yell at me. Huzzah! To the kitchen. This time we have a microwave, some kind of weird device and a recyclotron. The microwave might be used later, but I note that the settings it has "cook", "jet defrost" and "mutilate beyond recognition" are fairly appropriate jokes considering how awful microwaves can be. Or American microwaves if for some strange reason microwaves are vastly different in different lands. I presume the recyclotron is going to be needed to remake something into something more useful later.

The weird device I'm not sure about, its a monitor with a bunch of buttons whose purpose isn't clear right now and probably need some kind of notes to allow me to figure it out.

Finally, the laundry room is the same, except its in worse condition and has absolutely nothing. I can also climb up the chimney for no present benefit, as I can't get the flag which is now a tentacle, nor can I use the pulley that's up there or enter the windows. The pole the flag is on apparently can't be raised or lowered now because the crank is missing.

I don't think that's proper Greek, oh, like anyone here knew Greek

I get a meanwhile on the way back down where who I presume is Purple Tentacle is talking to a green tentacle soldier about human sympathizers and then a plan before the scene trails off. Interesting, I guess that means I'm not entirely in a bad way here.

The actual last thing I can interact with right now is a blue tentacle. How shocking! He's apparently a tentacle fashion designer, and thinks Laverne is quite ugly, insulting her. I can try to enter Laverne into the competition, but should I do so he says that humans can't do anything. Right, well, let's see around time some more.

While wandering around back in colonial times, I check Red's lab again. Oh, ho! A left-handed hammer! I know what this is for. To the twin Edisons! I pick up the right handed hammer at the most opportune time and switch it with the left handed one...and after a short cutscene, the statue in the present changes which hand is holding a sword. Huh. This seems like it wasn't really helpful. Although I'm sure at some point the distinction is probably going to solve a puzzle.

I move some stuff around to Hoagie now, figuring that if nothing else, I'll get a few yucks out of peoples reactions to the disappearing ink and B-man's textbook. I've been glossing over it, but people tend to have amusing reactions to getting either of these items used on them. What I wasn't expecting was to be able to use the cigar on George Washington. AHA! To get his dentures. Only his dentures completely disappear after the explosion. Now I have to find the dentures somehow.

He actually says that, I'm impressed

Well, it turns out I really did have to bring Washington the horse's teeth, because the textbook actually works on the horse! The horse nods off, puts his dentures in his little cup, and then falls asleep. I can take it and bring it to Washington...only for him to say he can't wear them. Drat. Now what? I step away for a while. I often do that, but this turns out a bit differently.

I know I need to find a costume to sneak past the various tentacle guards. I know that the flag is a tentacle design, and I assumed at some point that I needed purple paint, but given that there's a blue one, I don't foresee this being a problem. Ergo, I just need to find a way to get the flag. But how? I don't know why I'm trying to build up tension, you all know I need to just pick up the crank in the present then drop it in the toilet. Sigh...more walking around. From where I was, I have to get Laverne back to the kennel, talk to Tentacle Guy again, go back to the Chron-a-John, have B-man walk through the convention hall up to the roof, then back down. Finally, Laverne has to talk to Tentacle guy twice, go back upstairs and then I can figure out if my idea is right. I feel like a game with brutal dead ends would usually have less busywork than this...

Now...does it work? Yes, and I didn't even need to use the red paint. Wow. Now the whole future is my oyster. The tentacles all think tentacle Laverne is a cutie, which makes things very easy. Now I need to find a human to enter into the pet show for some reason. I presume...Guess I'll get Zed to do it, but right now I want to see what's going on in the rest of the house.

I feel like this date for the past raises a lot of questions that the game obviously doesn't want to answer

The second floor now contains museum artifacts. A room done up to look like one out of colonial times, containing the unopened time capsule. A little while later I figured that the can opener can be used here, netting me vinegar. Now I only need gold. Room number two contains the mummy and some very Elvis-inspired stuff. Yeah, I can see people thinking we all loved the guy considering how often his devotees were depicted in fiction around this time. Seriously, we used to love the guy. We in the sense of "Americans", I couldn't care less. I get a pair of roller skates here for some reason. On a later trip I pick up an extension cord, which was a bit hidden.

Room number three has Purple Tentacle...didn't expect him here. Even he's fooled. He's working on a shrink ray, because even though he's conquered the Earth, he still wants humans out of his sight. I'm guessing I'll need to get it sooner or later. And that's actually all I can do here. The final room upstairs is just an area where the prizes for the human contest are. Including a reservation at a fancy restaurant. Guess I'm going to have to win that for some reason.

Now, let's talk to that guard and the pet humans. The guard is some kind of super tracker and is supposed to be guarding the grandfather clock. Which means I can't enter it, so I have to distract him. He keeps mentioning the show and the reservation prize. I suspect this is supposed to be another subtle clue. The pet humans, well, two can't be talked to, and the other one looks like the game's George Washington. He's very spoiled and is surefire to win the contest. I guess I need to trip him up somehow. The categories, if I remember, are best hair, best teeth...and something else. I'll figure it out then. Unfortunately, I can't get any of the Edisons to become pets, because the tentacle guard won't let me and I can't enter the jail now.

While going to the Chron-a-John during this time, I notice that there's now a cat outside. Clearly where I need to use the cat toy, but that still leaves me with the question of how to get it.

At this point, I come back and forth throughout the game not making much progress. Every time I try to use an item on something it fails or I'm apparently on the wrong track. I'm clearly still missing something in the past or present, because nothing I seem to try in the future works. But eventually I make progress on two fronts I really wouldn't have considered.

In the past, I just sort of stumble upon the idea to use one mattress on the other mattress. After trying to pick it up. I don't like this puzzle. I feel like its only luck you would ever figure this one out. Its the only time you move a bed. But at least it gives me a funny cutscene and I can get the cat toy now. Fat lot of good it does me, the cat in the future isn't fazed by it at all.

In the present, I eventually hit on the idea of putting the hamster in the icebox. Sigh...In the future Laverne defrosts the frozen hamster in the microwave, with an obvious tongue-in-cheek gag about the hamster from last time. I wonder if someone actually did that because of the original? You know, who wasn't a psychopath...Anyway, he's not much help until I can enter the basement, and I still need to warm/dry him through non-lethal methods. But that still doesn't help me...then it hits me. What if I give the scapel to someone else?

I guess we know who microwaved the hamster last time

Like Bernard? Who has a hatred of a certain bouncy clown? I also try the mouse toy on the sentient teeth, also in vain. I have a new item now, with which I can annoy everyone with, or not because as of now its completely useless. I also search through the rooms more thoroughly to mixed success. I find one of those bed shaking things in the room with the sleeping dude, and a dime moves him, but I need the other one. Somehow I can't use the scalpel on the gummed dime. I can see a mousehole in the middle room and last room, but nothing I have helps. I also pick up a video tape in Green Tentacle's room, not that it's very helpful until I can get rid of Edna. Or even if I can get rid of Edna.

It's at this point I notice that talking to Dead Ted feels like a subtle hint system. "Where can I get gold?", "How can I get a human?", "Where can I get a hat?"...wait, hat? Like the one Ned and Jed have? I guess that's what I need for the time capsule, but getting it is a bigger question. Plus now that Ned and Jed have changed places I can't do anything here, even what I did previously. Okay, let's think about what I can do and how I can possibly get it done. I need something to distract the model, giving me a chance to steal the hat. I think...the teeth that keep moving around in the present. That's the only thing left that could work.

Okay do I deal with the teeth then? Hmm...I've got nothing. Something that can be thrown on top of it, but I've seen nothing like that. Violence doesn't work and neither does anything else. Back to the drawing board.

Then we have the future. My real roadblock is not being able to convince Zed I'm friendly and to enter the human contest. I can't talk to him and I can't hand anything to him. The guard implies I can bribe him whenever I try giving him something, but nothing I have seems to work. Also, while examining the right-handed hammer as Laverne there's a serious case of off-voice acting. Laverne suddenly switches to a more breathy femme fatale light kind of voice. As I'm giving the rest of the items to Laverne, I realize something regarding the stamp. I've been holding onto it with the impression that I need it as a stamp...but why couldn't I give it to Jefferson? Because I can't. Sigh...

Pretty sure this guy would run away if he thought you puked on him

Right, well, I'm out of ideas. So I just walk around for the umpteenth time. I eventually find another thing I was missing. By complete chance. I make my way to the tentacles room again, and push the speaker over, not really expecting anything to happen. I was more seeing what I could give to Green Tentacle, nothing, apparently. At first I think I can now cut the wires to the speaker, but then I remember what happened when I used it before. AHA! Now I have the fake barf and I can annoy many people. Or not. ARGH! "That's one of the FEW places fake barf isn't useful." We're already into what Heroes of Might and Magic would call a lot, buddy boy! I have tried using this fake barf with such vigor and gusto you'd swear I had picked up the fake stomach flu from the fake buffet.

It takes me a good long time to finally come up with what I have to do next. A long, long time. A long amount of time moving items between different people. And then finally reading the tiny bit of the manual where the game mentions "oh, by the way, you can use items on the icons of the other characters". That isn't annoying at all...But it's while moving the name tag around time, I realize what the answer to it is.

Who said that the contestants had to be alive? Like a dog entering a football game, nobody said they couldn't, so they can. And so, I place the tag on Dead Cousin Ted, then put the roller skates on him, since obviously that's how I have to move him, and with a crash into the other contestants. Now the human show can begin.

What a charming and very much not creepy group of people

Right away I know part of what to do. Give the mummy the teeth. Now what? Well, he needs hair, so I guess the spaghetti works. The voice box is probably needed in case he needs to say something in response to something. Obviously, I need to get rid of Harold somehow...maybe the fake barf. Laverne drops it, Harold sees it and says he's going to be sick...and then doctor tentacle walks in and Harold is history. Now I can win.

Because of Lucasarts "you can't ever lose" policy, this works weird. I have to walk up to the judges, a large group of tentacles in which only three ever talk, ask them to judge whatever category, and they do so. Ted wins the teeth competition...somehow, and the laugh competition by being the only one who laughs. The hair competition though, that doesn't work. I'd have thought 2 out of 3 would work in my favor but apparently I need to come back later.

Right, another long session of being able to do nothing...and then I walk into the kitchen again. There are certain rooms I've been ignoring on the basis that they aren't very important yet. You know, the laundromat because I have nothing that would work there, certain rooms on the second floor because there's nothing left to be done or nothing I can do yet...and it's in the kitchen that I realize I missed the fork. I wondered where that went. And I realize what I'm supposed to do with it. On the hair.

From my nightmares to yours

With that done, Ted wins the show, he gets the prize and the dinner for two at Club Tentacle. Laverne has a tearful goodbye with Ted, calling him the best Edison. Well, he's certainly caused the least amount of trouble so far. I give the ticket to the tentacle guard, and now I can let the Edisons free...they're too afraid of the guy with the net. Maybe Ted is the best Edison. I need to get rid of the tracker somehow, so the Edisons will escape so I can get rid of the tracker so I can reach the basement. There's nothing I can do, really, to ruin their day either.

Okay, let's try to connect the threads I have left and how they might be solved.

Here in the future there are a lot of things around that seem like red herrings or are completely useless. The recyclotron has accepted nothing, and the other thing in that room is useless barring some discovery in the basement. There are a lot of named things in the two rooms on the second floor, but none that I can do anything with as of yet. I don't know what the game expects me to do with the cat either.

The game implies I can move the birdbath Dead Ted is holding, and I'm guessing I should use the crowbar to do so. I need to get the crowbar off the obvious criminal somehow. Violence isn't an option and giving him a better tool isn't either. So...I guess I need to solve his problem by getting the car open. keys? They're either lost, in the vent in the convention hall, the mouse holes, or they're in the room with the guy I have to move to get the sweater. I'm discounting that it's the Edisons because I would have found them in that case.

I think it's pretty clear what I have to do with the sweater. I need to get the other dime, put the sleeping dude off the bed, take the sweater, find a quarter then put it in the dryer...for some reason. Maybe even dunk it in the Chron-a-John like the spaghetti had to be. The problem the heck do I get that dime? It's just not funny anymore trying to get it out. B-man won't try cutting it free with the scalpel because he's afraid he'll cut himself. I can understand that, but at the same time if you point the thing away from you the worst you'll actually accomplish is damaging the floor. BLARG!

Presumably, I have to use the VHS tape I have in the VCR to get the combination to the safe...but whatever I do, I cannot get Edna gone. I have no idea how to do this, beyond vague hints relating to screwing around with the two sculptors in the past. You'd think I could use the ink on her posters or something, but no. I figure that once I can get into the safe, I can use the correctional fluid and the stamp with whatever I find in there to mail the contract, get the Edisons their millions of dollars, and then get the diamond. I note from screwing around that I have to mail it in the past.

There are also various places the game sees fit as important I haven't quite figured out anything about. The aforementioned mouse holes in two rooms on the second floor; A bell in the lobby; A vent in the convention hall; The river the waste was in; A bed in the attic that is the only thing in all two rooms there. I've tried some stuff over the course of the game and nothing does anything.

I have vague ideas of events in the past. I know that the golden quill is the only thing gold I've seen. Hancock mentions that he has a coat. I figure that whenever I finally find the item that Jefferson wants to replace the log, Hancock will let me take his coat. Then I can use that coat on the walking teeth in the present...for some reason. I don't know what use that would be just yet. There's also the matter of Washington's teeth, where did they go? I presume there was a reason for me to do that. Further, I can't find anything to do with the canary/smoke alarm in the convention hall, or the mirror in Franklin's room.

Finally, the three items I have that I haven't identified a possible use for yet, the funnel, the hammer and the mouse toy. Well, when I say I haven't, I have, it's just that when I tried using them I couldn't. I don't have anything that needs a funnel's actual use, but I did try giving it to the sculptors as a hat replacement. Didn't work, obviously. The hammer doesn't work on anything that it could obviously work on. And I can't use the mouse toy on the mouseholes so I have no idea left. The manual hints that items can be combined, but I don't see any options here.

This isn't a request for assistance because by the time you've read this I will have won the game. I won the game by the time you saw the third entry. Do my thoughts on possible solutions match the real ones? Find out next time on The Adventurer Guild Z Episode 1452 "Morpheus Was Wrong About Everything!". Anything could happen!

At this point I'm not entirely certain who holds what. Just know that someone holds everything here.

Bernard's inventory: Textbook, correctional fluid, bank book, disappearing ink, funnel, coffee, decaf, stamp, lighter, right handed hammer, VHS tape
Hoagie's inventory: Can opener, brush, bucket with soapy water,
Laverne's inventory: Scalpel, red paint, cold wet hamster, mouse toy

This Session: 3 hours 00 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 45 minutes

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!


  1. The mattress puzzle is one of a few cases of the LucasArts interface revealing its limits - with a parser you'd just type "switch mattresses" (Or was it beds that are switched?). IIRC typically, when using a non-taken item on something, the protagonist complains he or she's not holding the item. Still, a less flawed design instance IMO than The Secret of Monkey Island's "hfr zntarg" command behaving inconsistently depending on the room you're in.

    1. Yeah, this was one that frustrated me and I mentioned it in ROT13 in the comments of an earlier post - I knew what I wanted to do but the interface effectively got in my way. As you mentioned, text parsers (when done right) weren't susceptible to this particular quirk, but what I think Sierra actually did better than Lucasarts at this stage of the point and click era was true multiple solution design. King's Quest 6 is an example of a game that can be completed through vastly differing branches based on items found/used and people met. Interestingly, I felt this mild sense of anxiety playing through DOTT that if I hadn't found a particular item or exhausted every conversation tree, I'd be stuck no matter how long I tried x with y. Morpheus here is actually facing this due to missing gur punggrevat grrgu.

      Anyhoo, I digress. The mattress situation didn't need a deep, branching story arc, but had the designers also allowed Hoagie to pull mattress 1 and 2 onto the floor and then use mattress 1 on empty bed 2 (or vice versa), that would have been far more consistent with the UI execution in other Lucasarts games (including DOTT to that point). As it stood, the fact Hoagie says "Where would I move it?" when selecting Pull on the mattress could be construed as a hint, or as I did, flippant dismissal of the concept that moving the mattress was part of the solution.

      Ultimately, I enjoyed it more than I was annoyed by it... but I can sense frustration in Morpheus' review here which echoed much of my sentiment.

    2. While the issue with the interface does make sense in retrospect, that using the mattress gives you an item cursor is a clue that something is unusual about it. Its just that unless you're trying to exhaust every joke in the game by having Hoagie use all the beds or trying everything on everything it seems like a hard idea for someone to come to.

      Although pulling it does seem like it could also help, since the game doesn't quite have enough sarcastic remarks like that to automatically assume the game is mocking you.

    3. Ahhh, see, having played through Sam and Max quite recently, I assume every response is mocking me sarcastically :)

    4. Self-correction: the command in The Secret of Monkey Island was more like "hfr pbzcnff" (my mind had went straight to the item's function rather than description when writing the comment, but perhaps you got what I meant).

    5. Speaking of "a game that can be completed through vastly differing branches": Maniac Mansion does that, and I'm a bit disappointed that its sequel DOTT is much less flexible in design.

    6. Not that LucasArts was strapped for cash, but this is about where you see the industry as a whole give up on this concept. When talkies became popular, it became too expensive to design multiple paths and solutions for many of the developers. Fate of Atlantis was probably the last Lucas game to truly embrace the concept, but a lot of the art and vocals were repeated in some ways in the three paths.

    7. I was reflecting upon this last night, and what I resolved to was that with Fate of Atlantis, even though there are 3 story arcs, they come about as an explicit sliding door decision early in the game - once you're on those paths, like DOTT, Lucasarts expects you to do everything in a particular way to progress each story arc. If I think of the contemporary Sierra games, there were three things they did (not always, but often enough) that would have made some great Lucasarts games, perfect:

      * Multiple solutions to the same puzzle: I'm not just talking different parser, or UI variations, but where you can take a completely different approach or use an alternate item to achieve the desired outcome. The most obvious example that springs to mind is getting the ring out of the nest in QFG.

      * Optional/imperfect solutions to puzzles: This may be relic of Sierra's scoring era, but the fact you can get to the end of a game by missing items, puzzles and/or entire story arcs removes some of the linearity aspect to their games, increases replayability and, let's be honest, is more reflective of reality. Dagger of Amon Ra is a classic (if extreme) case here.

      * Outcomes based on implicit decisions/performance: PQ3 and Longbow have very defined decision points which influence the story, but also a number of things you can do or not do along the way which cause other events to happen (or not), culminating in alternate endings.

      The contemporary Sierra games I was thinking of that I recall demonstrating one or more of these include:

      - Gabriel Knight
      - Quest for Glory 4
      - Dagger of Amon Ra
      - King's Quest 6 and 7
      - Police Quest 3
      - Conquests of the Longbow

      Don't get me wrong - the anxiety of wondering if I've done everything right was nothing compared to the anxiety of death around every corner, and maybe that's why I hold GK1 in such high esteem... it was a balance of what Sierra did well without insta-death around every turn.

      Just some musings - I appreciate the two companies had different styles, but as @Radiant points out, the original Maniac Mansion did it, and many cite the alternate solutions as one of the games' finest attributes.

      What could have been!

    8. To be fair, most Sierra games don't have multiple solutions to puzzles. Aside from your list, the other QFG games, and (surprisingly) KQ1 and 2, everything in Sierra's vast catalog has fixed puzzles. On the Lucas side, The Last Crusade does have a lot of alternative solutions and paths.

      The straightforward reason for this is likely that designing puzzles with multiple meaningful solutions is *much* more work for the programmer. But it does make gameplay far more interesting.

    9. Last Crusade is criminally underrated!

    10. @Radiant more have multiple solutions than you think, but not for many puzzles. For example, with multiple solutions:
      LSL1: getting past the pimp
      LSL2: things you could stuff your outfit with, eating choices for the lifeboat
      LSL3: getting into Chip & Dale's club, either with or without your tips.

      @PsOmA the clinical definition of insanity is repeating something over and over and expecting different results. Continuing to repeat that fallacy isn't changing any minds, but instead making us worry about your well-being.

    11. I'm not a well man... now, ask me about Loom!

    12. As for other alternate solutions, don't forget the multiple ways to defeat the orat in SQ1, and terminator character in SQ3.

    13. I left out from LSL2 the different ways to gain traction on the icy volcano steps. And there's a couple of puzzles in Colonel's Bequest that can be handled differently.

    14. At this point we should make a distinction between games where one or two puzzles have an alternative item that has the same effect (e.g. using either soap or money to pad your bra), and games where many puzzles can be approached in radically different ways (e.g. The Last Crusade). SQ1 and LSL2 are in a completely different ballpark than QFG1 here.

    15. Yeah, there's a definite distinction, and significant amount of delta in design/programming effort to execute the latter. My original point though was DOTT could have benefitted from the (relatively easier) former as each puzzle otherwise needs to be executed exactly as intended, with the exact inventory items present to progress. One example could have been gur punggrevat grrgu pbhyq unir orra hfrq sbe obgu Trbetr Jnfuvatgba naq gur ornhgl pbagrfg - znlor ol hfvat gur thz ba gur grrgu gb fgbc gurz punggrevat. "Bu ab, gur thz'f pnhtug hc va gur punggrevat zrpunavfz!". It didn't, and I get that, and it doesn't need defending... it's still a great game. I'm just musing (and maybe defending Sierra a little because they get a lot of hate in the puzzle design department).

    16. I'd say SQ1 is not as simple as just a change between alternative items: va bar fgengrtl lbh n) xvyy obgu Beng naq fcvqre qebvq ol yhevat gur ynggre gb gur svefg bar'f ynve, juvyr va gur bgure fgengrtl lbh o) qrfgebl gur fcvqre qebvq jvgu n ovt ebpx naq gur Beng jvgu gur obggyr bs pbzcerffrq jngre. Also, SQ1 has another puzzle with two alternative solutions: in the Sarien ship, you can get to the room with the washing machine by two different routes.

      Since we are listing all the alternative puzzles in early Sierra games, I'd also point that SQ2 has three possible ways to get to the space ship without the guard shooting you: 1) pnershyyl jnyxvat gb gur ryringbe jura gur thneq vf abg ybbxvat naq hfvat n xrlpneq gb bcra gur ryringbe, 2) guebjvat n ebpx gb sbby gur thneq gb pbzr bhg naq yrnivat gur ryringbe bcra (fgvyy erdhverf pnershy jnyxvat), naq 3) fyvatfubgvat gur ebpx gb xabpx bhg gur thneq (erdhverf gur xrlpneq).

      As for some more meatier use of alternative puzzles in Sierra adventure, there's Gold Rush with its three different routes from the East Coast to the West Coast and Black Cauldron that even has slightly different endings, depending on how you've solved the puzzles.

    17. Black Cauldron is a great example of a game that offers multiple approaches to almost every puzzle and that has a lot of replayability as the result... and SQ1 and SQ2 are REALLY not.

      And back to the context of this game: Maniac Mansion is ALSO great example of a game that offers multiple approaches which result in a lot of replayability... and DOTT is really not. So it is disappointing (to me) that DOTT is a big step backwards in this area compared to its predecessor (and for that matter, to Crusade and Atlantis).

    18. Well, that brings up the conversation of what your goal is. The puzzle examples from SQ2 and LSL2 and others might not offer much in the way of replayability, except for the perfectionists that wanted the top scores. The multiple paths in a game like Fate or Gold Rush offered replayability, but in the case of Fate, it wasn't obvious to a lot of players. As I recall, the comment section on the review here has a lot of people stating that they never realized there were even multiple paths, they saw it on the box but didn't catch on in the game, so they never had that push to replay.

      But on your other point, Maniac Mansion did offer that replay with the different characters, but I know I enjoyed the story in DOTT better, so I've replayed that one more over the years anyways. I wonder how many are like me in that regard.

    19. Looking back at the whole message thread, I think we've been discussing of two slightly different questions.

      The first one, where the whole discussion started, was the question whether a game allows for a variety of game play, so that the player can be assured that they will have the means to solve a puzzle, no matter the items they've collected, the rooms they've visited etc. This is where the alternative solutions are important, even the more minimal cases (for instance, you don't have to find soap in LSL2, since you can solve the same puzzle by other means).

      Then there is the other question about replayability, which surfaced later on this thread. Here, I'd say, alternative solutions as such add almost nothing to the table, but the question is more about the variety of content it's possible to discover (new pieces of dialogue, new animations, new rooms, different endings etc.). Even in games like Maniac Mansion and QFG1, the replayability is not due to there being alternative solutions, but more because of the difference in the challenge, when choosing characters with different skill sets, who cannot solve the same puzzles by the same means. (And both games also have extra content, discoverable only by certain characters.)

  2. I wish the thing about dropping items on the other characters' portraits had been made explicit within the game (or if it was, I missed it) because I didn't know it either until I was well into the game, and had to be told this was possible by a friend who was watching me stream.

    The mattress thing is one of the frustrations some of us were discussing in ROT13. "Where would I put it?" is an unhelpful failure message and led me to believe it simply wasn't possible to move the mattresses at all. Normally you can't use an object with another without one of them first being in your inventory, so I'm not sure how they expected players to try use x with y without being able to pick up a mattress. So I spent a while thinking I had to slow down the cat somehow, or catch it once I had attracted it to the bed, rather than just put the object of interest further away.

    Getting the chattering teeth is a tricky one. I had to look it up because I had failed to visualize something properly.

    The fork in the hair was one of the cases where I thought more than one object could possibly work if I was trying to style "hair", and that the game should have given me better feedback on the wrong ones: namely, the brush and the flagpole crank (my thought being, as in fact the solution is, to wind it up into a kind of beehive).

    The uncooked spaghetti turning soggy by sending it through the Chronojohn made me kinda mad like the mattresses. Nothing else, like the various paper items, gets wet when you send it through. Why would I think that the spaghetti would?

    I tried the scalpel on the gum too and really felt like that should have worked. Finding a quarter is yet another case where I think there are multiple logical possibilities and if they didn't want to program them all as viable, then at least they should have given better feedback.

    1. Oh man, I had no idea about dropping items on the player icons - I was playing the remastered version, so didn't think for a second to consult the manual. I was doing everything one by one through the chron-o-john each time. As you mention @Lisa, something a bit more explicit like a not-unprecedented break in the 4th wall would have been nice after the 10th item I flushed - maybe Hoagie turning to the camera and saying "Like, this is fun and all, but I think I might be able to send things to Laverne just by using her picture down there". Doh!

    2. The fact that I put up with it though says something about the quality of the rest of the game. There would have been a CRT through the window if this were required in Blue Force :P

    3. Its always fun playing a game and then seeing some small line in the manual which completely alters what the gameplay experience is supposed to be like. I feel like at this point that's a pretty common experience for me...

      While I expressed my thoughts on the mattresses actual solution, I do agree that the game doesn't really put you on the direction of its solution, instead making you think about a way to get that mattress to squeak longer. Mattresses aren't items adventure game protagonists usually move after all.

      The second I remembered the fork again I realized the connection. What else would you style spaghetti with but a fork? Twirling it around like you twirl it around. Its not like styling real hair, as it were. That said, I did wonder if there wasn't a second puzzle involving the crank since you could pick it back up again...for some reason.

      I'm guessing the logic is that you'll be tossing items between characters anyway. But I do note that if this wasn't Lucasarts I would assume that flushing it screwed me over somehow.

      Bernard's reaction to using various items on the scalpel is just annoying. I'm no Bishop with a knife, but I think if I needed a dime and it was stuck on the ground, I'd know how to use a scalpel to get it out. Or a fork. Or use decaf because who cares? The dime should have had something else "protecting it" instead of gum, or I dunno, cut resistant gum.

    4. Huh, surprisingly many of you had trouble with figuring out dropping items onto portraits - me and my family easily intuited it early on, without the manual. But I guess playing with a group of people helps with coming up with things to try.

    5. Same here, I didn't read the manual, but intuited very early that I could just switch items between inventories by "giving" the items to other characters.

    6. I anticipated this -- I made a ROT13 in the first post about it, and I now regret not making it a formal bet for valuable, rare CAPs.

    7. Michael, you regret making a bet you would have lost? ;p I did figure it out eventually, albeit after a long amount of time having spent moving items physically through the Chron-a-John.

    8. If I had worded it this way, I think it would have been legitimate:

      V org gung Zbecurhf jvyy jnfgr jnl gbb zhpu gvzr va gur tnzr geniryyvat gb naq sebz gur Pueba-B-Wbuaf jvgubhg abgvpvat gung gur TVIR ohggba jbexf rknpgyl gur fnzr jnl vg qvq va Mnx ZpXenpxra, Znavnp Znafvba, naq Sngr bs Ngynagvf, jurer lbh pna tvir na vgrz gb n punenpgre yvfgrq ba gur vairagbel frpgvba bs gur fperra.

      ROT-13 just for fun. :)

    9. I haven't played Zak (ever) or Maniac Mansion (for more than a few minutes)... what's the in-universe device that justifies "teleporting" objects like that?

      Can you do that in Fate of Atlantis? Granted I've only played it once and watched a friend play it another time or two, but the times you're apart from Sophia I don't remember there being a character potrait that you could drop items on...?

    10. The in-universe device is simply that your character could walk to the other char, give them the item, and walk back.

      In the rare situation where that isn't possible, the "give (teleport item)" option doesn't work either. Note that likewise in DOTT, the option doesn't work if and when either character can't get to the time machine.

    11. Ah, okay. I thought it would be more common that the characters were cut off from one another (as they are in DoTT without the Chronojohn). Like I said, I haven't played either of those two games.

  3. No, that possibility isn't present in Fate of Atlantis, but in Dott is a must given the design of the game. They could made it much more clear in the manual, but I played a pirated copy back in the day (it was almost impossible to buy it legally on my country on those days) and figure it out nevertheless.