Star Trek: 25th Anniversary: Another Fine Mess (partial)   2 comments

The downside of resisting the use of hints is the stalling that accompanies it. Rather than waiting any longer for me to finish this episode, I’ll do a work-in-progress post.

Another Fine Mess sees the Enterprise called to investigate some Elasi pirate activity and starts with the usual ship combat, but against two ships rather than one. I was stuck here for quite a while until I realized: a.) against one ship, even flying head-on, the Enterprise can tank hits better than the other ship can and b.) if you fly around for long enough Scotty will repair the vessel. So my strategy involved what wasn’t exactly a kamikaze dive, but still pretty much laying on maximum firepower on one ship without caring much about damage; then booking it away as far as I could to give the Enterprise time to return to health before taking down ship #2.

Both Elasi ships flew away and the Enterprise tracked them to a nearby star system (Harappan) which led to an unpleasant surprise.

Harry Mudd is a recurring character who appeared twice in the original series (Mudd’s Women, and I, Mudd) and described by the writer who invented him as “an interstellar con man hustling whatever he can hustle”.

This time Mr. Mudd seems to be involved in a surprisingly legitimate salvage operation on an alien ship, and has sold numerous items to various parties but, mysteriously, the Elasi pirates are demanding to know Harry’s source. Only the fact the alien ship is near a neutron ship has let Harry escape so far unscathed.

My suspicion is not that Harry tried to scam the pirates, but that he ran across something much more interesting than he realized. (Again, this is work-in-progress, so I don’t know for sure.)

Kirk points out the unfortunate reality that because Harry Mudd is involved in legitimate business under the purview of the Federation, the Enterprise is obligated to protect him. The Enterprise manages to beam the usual away team over (Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and a redshirt) but afterward is out of contact due to the neutron star.

Upon arrival, Harry Mudd himself is rummaging through supplies looking for more things to sell. The events that follow are strangely low-pressure. Essentially, you’re given free rein to roam around the ship and learn about the aliens, with minor incidents involving aforementioned intergalactic con man. While I’m sure a pressing crisis will come — probably the pirates will find the location of the alien ship — at least at the start, the gameplay involves wandering around, scanning things with a tricorder, and activating alien machines. (It’s a nice change of pace, but I’m stuck not due to some specific puzzle, but what I assume is a story trigger that hasn’t gone off.)

The fact an entire location is devoted to a special torpedo weapon with higher range than an existing known technology might be considered a tell.

My first hour on the ship consisted of wandering back and forth across the same series of three rooms without much luck. This game is very difficult when it comes to telling where exits are. In the screenshot above, for instance, there’s a door to the left hidden behind the equipment; I only found out it existed when I came the other way.

I finally came across a computer room and managed to activate it via some odd deductions of Spock involving the fact the alien species likes to organize things in sixes.

Because they have six eyes and six fingers, you see. This is one of things that’s totally plausible in reality but in story practice here felt rather goofy.

On a visit back from the computer room through a medical lab, the crew found Mudd trying to take a capsule from a medical cabinet. He was startled, tried to hide the capsule behind his back, and dropped it causing him to go into a paranoid state. Spock used the Vulcan nerve pinch to bring him down, and McCoy fixed the alien medical bed in order to treat Mudd’s condition.

Hm, I just made those events sound almost normal. In game reality, here’s what happened:

The scene with Mudd dropping the capsule happened as described. Then I tried a bunch of actions to subdue Mudd but had no luck; a phaser wouldn’t work for some reason, and McCoy said he wasn’t fast enough to apply a hypo. I ended up having to wander elsewhere without having solved the puzzle, and found a perfectly well and conscious Harry Mudd in the opening room still unloading a box. At the same time he was having a paranoid freak-out two rooms over. It took me a little while to process that this was a bug and not some futuristic twist.

Eventually I did get down to trying (click Use)-(click Spock)-(click Mudd) but Spock just sort of saunters over casually and applies the nerve pinch, so I’m not sure why McCoy or a phaser wouldn’t have worked. Spock then moves Mudd to the medical bed where I had to do a convoluted set of clicks to get to

(use McCoy on patient)
(use Pick Up on the capsules)
(use capsule just Picked up on the console below the capsules)
(then go back and use McCoy on patient)

The “Pick Up” thing threw me awry. The game essentially has 3 ways of reasonably delivering the same command but only wants to recognize one of them.

There was also a very brief scene where a temporary life support system goes awry; a repair tool from elsewhere on the ship fixed it.

Finally, I managed to operate a control panel and open a viewscreen … to see stars.

I’m sure if I go in circles enough the next story trigger will happen, otherwise, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing? Again, there doesn’t seem to be any pressing crisis, the only thing to worry about is the Enterprise can’t get through (so we can’t just beam off the ship at the moment).

Posted May 13, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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2 responses to “Star Trek: 25th Anniversary: Another Fine Mess (partial)

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  1. FWIW a couple times you refer to “Harvey Mudd” (engineering school that is part of the Claremont Colleges in California) rather than Harry Mudd, the intergalactic conman.

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