Archive for July 2017

Pyramid of Doom: Heart of the Phraoah   2 comments

Last time, I had found a “throne room” with an “Iron statue of Phraoah” that killed me. There was a mural with the hint “Seek ye well the HEART of Iron” and trying to >TAKE HEART gave the message “Pharoah’s heart is red like yours, yet evil has darkened it!”

I have now solved this puzzle. Voltgloss mentioned in the comments this is the “defining puzzle” of the game. Since I’m going to spoil it, you should turn away now if you plan on playing Pyramid of Doom in the future.

I was stalled, and did my common procrastination tactic of browsing for more images to use in blog posts. Surprisingly, my act of procrastination broke open the case!

This is from the second catalog (1980 I believe) for Adventure International products. Specifically note the phrase “So, if you can’t seem to get out of the bog or locate the pharoah’s heart”. I assumed (via the somewhat deceptive parser response to >GET HEART) that the heart was in the throne room, but upon reading this comment I tried >GET HEART in an entirely different room and got the same message. It must be a hard-coded “hint”; and to be fair, while it led me astray at first, I wouldn’t have solved the puzzle without it.

So: considering the whole map, is there anything “darkened”? I did find a lump of coal in a fireplace, and had even tried using it in the throne room to no avail, but the word “darkened” suggested to me it could be cleansed somehow.

If you recall the pool of liquid that gave me trouble at the start of the game, I took the coal in the water and typed >CLEAN COAL.

The result: a ruby. Ah!

Alas, holding the ruby, rubbing it, waving it, etc. seemed to not do anything to the pharaoh. I decided I needed to destroy it. I utilized a nearby pool of acid:

WHAT SHALL I DO? THROW RUBY
OK Ruby falls into pool of acid, burns up.

Checking back in the throne room:

I’m in a throne room
Obvious exit: DOWN
Visible items: Small Nomad, Chain hanging from ceiling, Chest, Wall Mural, Pile of Melted iron

Pulling the chain reveals a secret staircase, and after a little trouble, I was able to get up to 12 out of 13 treasures found. The only issue: is the 13th treasure the ruby that I melted in acid? I’m not getting that back.

I don’t know if that means I solved the puzzle in the wrong way, or if the ruby just “doesn’t count”. I’m still stuck on the other puzzles from my last post (the giant oyster and the purple worm) so unless both are red herrings, I’m missing something else important.

But, close! Hoping for a victory post next time.

Posted July 11, 2017 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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Pyramid of Doom: The Possibility Space   8 comments

ONE

Going back to the moment of entering the pyramid, recall from last time I had trouble finding the “large key” leading to the main door due to a parser issue. Given someone who doesn’t have the issue and finds the large key right away, I believe the “intended” first method of entering the pyramid was this:

WHAT SHALL I DO? unlock door
Large stone falls on me!

To prevent this from happening, you have to dig and find a secondary small door; upon unlocking it, the large door can open safely.

I know traditionally the “diagetic plot” of an adventure is the one that goes through without deaths, but I’ve come to think this paints an incomplete picture. This particular death is amusing enough that it’s hard to imagine it won’t be “in the head” of the player, making the environment seem more dangerous. On the surface, the player is walking through a door. Underneath, the player is avoiding a death-trap. Without both branches simultaneously, part of the story is missing.

TWO

One of the puzzles I solved since I last checked in involved a room of mirrors, and was in several parts.

I’m in a long, narrow passageway
Obvious exit: SOUTH
Visible items: Small Nomad, Bricked up doorway, Rope

First, to get in requires busting through the bricked up doorway. There’s an iron glove nearby, and if you wear it, you can >PUNCH DOOR

OK Crash!!!

!!! That’s quite a glove, there.

Heading into the door:

Mirrors EVERYWHERE! Light blinds me, so I shut it OFF!

The room description is then just “It’s too dark; I can’t see.”

You can go in any direction (NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, WEST, UP, or DOWN) although only one of them (EAST) leads to a new room. When entering the new room you have to remember to turn your flashlight back on.

I’m in a dressing room
Obvious exit: WEST
Visible items: Small Nomad, * GOLD SCARAB *

However, there’s yet another treasure, back in the mirror room!

WHAT SHALL I DO? FEEL
I feel a coin on the floor

Regarding the sequence as a whole, it strikes me as one of those where parser is stronger than a hyperlink-interface, in all three parts: A.) The idea that you can straight-up punch a door is hilarious and not even that hard to work out, but having the option “punch door” pop up would be much less satisfying then coming up with the action unprompted. B.) The hidden room based on direction-in-darkness which requires manually lighting up the flashlight after testing a direction would feel lawnmower-y if the six possible directions were available to click; I originally figured the coin was the only treasure (where the exit SOUTH went back as I expected) and only discovered the dressing room after later experimentation. C.) I have no idea how feeling in the darkness would work in hypertext without some persistent FEEL verb that works in every room; having the verb pop up in the dark room only would ruin the surprise.

THREE

I have discovered 9 out of the 13 treasures. The places I am obviously stuck on are:

1.) A “giant oyster” who blocks my entrance through an archway.

WHAT SHALL I DO? go archway
Oyster won’t let me

I am unclear how this works. I guess the oyster is … wedged in somehow?

2.) A “purple worm” that I found in a room with a dead explorer:

WHAT SHALL I DO? open portal
Nomad: `RUN YOU FOOL!`
WHAT SHALL I DO? SHOOT WORM
Doesn’t bother him.
Purple worm devours me.

Note the nomad’s warning, which is provided even before opening the portal. I theorized earlier the nomad might be helpful; I guess this (and stuck point #3) might be the reason the nomad has been around in the first place?

There’s a nearby pool of acid which I suspect might make a nice home for the purple worm, but I haven’t been able to get it to move around, so that might be a red herring.

3.) I’ll just let my transcript explain this one:

I’m in a throne room
Obvious exit: DOWN
Visible items: Small Nomad, Iron statue of Phraoah seated on throne, Chain hanging from ceiling, Chest, Wall Mural
WHAT SHALL I DO? read mural
Mural: Seek ye well the HEART of Iron.
WHAT SHALL I DO? pull chain
I hear a hollow laugh. . . The sound of machinery.
[In the room description, the statue changes to “standing statue”.]
WHAT SHALL I DO? pull chain
Nomad: `RUN YOU FOOL!`
I hear a hollow laugh. . . The sound of machinery.
[The description changes to “Iron statue, slowing advancing. . .”]
WHAT SHALL I DO? shoot statue
OK Missed…
Iron Statue tears me apart!

I’ve been puzzling over the “HEART” of Iron hint. I read over the Wikipedia article on iron in case this is some external reference, but I don’t think so.

ADD: Found this immediately after posting.

WHAT SHALL I DO? get heart
Pharoah’s heart is red like yours, yet evil has darkened it!

It still isn’t helping me out, though.

FOUR

Before I sign out, I wanted to share the blurbs from the 1979 and 1982 releases of the game:

1979: From jewels to gold – 13 treasures are concealed in this ancient pyramid. Watch out for the nomad and beware the curse of the pharaoh!
1982: An Egyptian Treasure Hunt leads you into the dark recesses of a recently uncovered Pyramid. Will you recover all the treasures or more likely will you join its denizens for that long eternal sleep?….

Notice how the first one seems to set the nomad up as an enemy? The nomad is still the only one I can use the pistol on, who as I explained last time comes back after disappearing in a puff of smoke. I think it’s possible the pistol is either a giant red herring or used in a very unconventional way, which I can throw some respect for.

Posted July 9, 2017 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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