Adventure (430 points): Finished!   6 comments

Perhaps you were frustrated by long hours mapping the maze of twisty passageways, all different, especially once finding out the “vending machine” at the end only serves as a way to remove a treasure and reduce the possible high score. Perhaps you always wanted to do this:

Dead End

There is a massive and somewhat battered vending machine here. The instructions on it read: “Drop coins here to receive fresh batteries.”


As you strike the vending machine, it pivots backward along with a section of wall, revealing a dark passage leading south.


You are in a long, rough-hewn, north/south corridor.

Only ATTACK works. You can’t “PUSH” or “MOVE” or anything like that.

Past the vending machine is a small secret area:

You are in a large chamber with passages to the west and north.

A formidable ogre bars the northern exit.

While attacking the ogre in normal circumstances is futile, if you have a dwarf following you around it can come to your advantage:


The ogre, who despite his bulk is quite agile, easily dodges your attack. He seems almost amused by your puny effort.

One sharp nasty knife is thrown at you!

The ogre, distracted by your rush, is struck by the knife. With a blood-curdling yell he turns and bounds after the dwarf, who flees in panic. You are left alone in the room.

In any case, I managed to secure the 20 necessary treasures, place them in the well house, and then waited around the cave until the endgame started. If you’ve never played any version of Adventure to the end, here’s what that looks like:

The sepulchral voice intones, “The cave is now closed.” As the echoes fade, there is a blinding flash of light (and a small puff of orange smoke). . . . As your eyes refocus, you look around and find…

You are at the northeast end of an immense room, even larger than the Giant Room. It appears to be a repository for the “Adventure” program. Massive torches far overhead bathe the room with smoky yellow light. Scattered about you can be seen a pile of bottles (all of them empty), a nursery of young beanstalks murmuring quietly, a bed of oysters, a bundle of black rods with rusty stars on their ends, and a collection of brass lanterns. Off to one side a great many dwarves are sleeping on the floor, snoring loudly. A notice nearby reads: “Do not disturb the dwarves!” An immense mirror is hanging against one wall, and stretches to the other end of the room, where various other sundry objects can be glimpsed dimly in the distance.

This leaves an absurd puzzle I’ve already written about to finish things off:


There is a loud explosion, and a twenty-foot hole appears in the far wall, burying the dwarves in the rubble. You march through the hole and find yourself in the main office, where a cheering band of friendly elves carry the conquering adventurer off into the sunset.

You scored 410 out of a possible 430, using 504 turns.

Your score puts you in Master Adventurer Class B.

To achieve the next higher rating, you need 1 more point.

I lost some points due to

Saving my game three times. Each save was a 5 point loss.


Passing the 350-turn mark (which causes a deduction) and the 500-turn mark (which causes another deduction). The latter was particularly frustrating; after getting all treasures the standard procedure is to wait in the cave for it to “close”, which easily took at least 50 turns.

I’m not entirely convinced a 350-turn win is possible, especially with the closing wait time built in? I did use “routing” trying to make each foray in the cave as efficient as possible, but I was still a bit off. The trickiest part to time was the vending machine foray as mentioned earlier, because you have to dive into the maze with a dwarf in tow.

Also, the dwarves just seemed more generally aggressive in this game compared to the last. I did make a couple honest no-save attempts but each time I was skewered; death is very random.

Frank thoughts: none of the new additions are improvements. While it is indeed interesting to use the bird for more than one thing, and indeed satisfying to have the vending machine mean something, and even somewhat enjoyable to optimize for points, the 430-point version of Adventure is not as balanced as the 350-point version. While the same difficulty of puzzles might be welcome in, say, Philosopher’s Quest, the entire texture of that game radiated evil, while 350-point Adventure is friendly and bright. Spice was added to a dish that didn’t need it; what Don Woods really needed to do (and still, perhaps, might do?) is write an entirely new game.

There’s been one “enhanced” port of 430-point Adventure, written for Android.

Posted May 31, 2017 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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6 responses to “Adventure (430 points): Finished!

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  1. A very surprising conclusion. One would think that adding additional depth to an essentially familiar game could only make it better. It’s quite startling to realise that, even when this is done by the original author, it can have a negative overall effect.

  2. “I’m not entirely convinced a 350-turn win is possible, especially with the closing wait time built in?”

    I was able to do it using Eric Raymond’s “Open Adventure” reimplementation, but it was borderline cheating:

    For one thing, it allows you to pick a random seed for the game. So I made multiple runs through the beginning of the game, until I got a run where the dwarf and the pirate appeared right when I needed them. I looked at the generated log for the random seed, and then used that for all subsequent runs.

    I made liberal use of the secret exits, where you can type the name of a nearby room and go there instantly. Not only did that allow me to bypass rooms, it side-stepped the randomness of some exits.

    You can shorten before the dungeon closes by trying to exit after you get the warning that it’s closing soon.

    This brought me down to some 360 moves. I realized I could shorten one of treasure-gathering trips by a few moves by doing things in a different order, and do some other trimming. That left me at 351 moves. Darn it!

    Finally I realized that I hadn’t actually killed a single dwarf, because they only showed up when I was a few moves from the exit. So left the axe on the ground, which meant I didn’t have to drop it later for the forest trip. Success! 430 points in 349 moves.

    I’m sure I didn’t pick the optimal route through the game, but it still seems highly dependent on dumb luck. So it’s possible, but I’d hardly call it reasonable.

  3. Since I figured it could be a useful test case for them, I’ve left my walkthrough and transcript as a bug report/feature suggestion. You can find it at

    Torbjörn Andersson
  4. Just an update to say that Ryan Sarson’s improvement on my walkthrough is now part of the Open Adventure test suite: with a transcript in the corresponding win430.chk file.

    The problem with mine was that I started the “fee fie foe foo” incantation before finding the final treasure (in my case, the rare spices), but didn’t finish it until I got back to the Giant Room. This was because if I did it after discovering the spices the dungeon would close before I got back, and if I did it all before I would be two moves short of getting a perfect score. But it turns out that you’re not supposed to be able to do that, because any command (even an invalid or empty one) that’s not part of the incantation is supposed to break it.

    (At the time of writing, that bug is still present in Open Adventure, but there may be a fix incoming.)

    Ryan found a way to shave off a few moves from my solution so that he could do the incantation properly, and then proceeded to verify it against Don Wood’s C implementation by running it “about 300 times using a bash script” before the random number generator smiled on him and allowed the solution to work there as well. For the curious, the main difference between his and mine was that he made a single trip (without even picking up the lamp) to move the emerald and retrieve the pyramid, where I made it part of my first treasure gathering run so I had to juggle my inventory a bit more.

    One funny thing was that, in addition to proving that the game *can* be finished with a perfect score (something I had just taken for given, but it turns out you weren’t the only one who had tentatively concluded that it was impossible!), it exposed a bug in Open Adventure where the wrong message was printed at the very end: It told me I could get a higher rating if I got another 9570 points, instead of telling me that getting a higher rating would be “a neat trick”. But that has been fixed now.

    The ending message suggests that a <340 move solution may be possible, but I'm not going to look for it. I'm half-tempted to go on some speedrunning forum, arrogantly state that it's impossible, and then just sit back and watch them solve it for me.

    Torbjörn Andersson

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