Savage Island Part 1: What Was, Must Be   16 comments

My first revelation since last time was I could HOLD BREATH while in the lake, and SWIM DOWN to explore the bottom.

I found a knife and a small plastic block, although I couldn’t get them out of the lake; I kept drowning in the attempt.

I suspected the log would come in handy and had already tested it out; I was foiled by expecting to need an action like CLIMB LOG or such to indicate I was “riding the top of the log” so to speak. No, you just hold the log in your inventory, and you can swim through the lake holding whatever else you want, including a knife, fish bones, an empty bottle, and a partridge in a pear tree.

(To put things less glibly: the game only considered weight and buoyancy, whereas I was thinking of logistics and having enough arms. I had even tried holding the knife with my teeth like in pirate movies.)

Once I realized this, most of my problems were settled, except for a very evil part–

The log doesn’t appear until after the hurricane starts. So the sequence goes

1.) Store the rum in the cave (possibly being randomly mauled by the bear while doing so).

2.) Drop the bottle off and swim across the lake holding nothing; go over to the beach and wait for the hurricane to hit.

3.) Once the hurricane hits, grab a log. Go back to the cave and get the empty bottle.

4.) Use the log to ferry the empty bottle across the lake, then jump back to the beach and fill the empty bottle with seawater.

5.) Loop yet again back to the bear cave, use the hot floor to get salt from the salt water, give the salt to the bear, and finally wait out the storm in the cave (now that you’ll be safe from both wild animals and the storm).

The very evil part is that in addition to the bear possibly randomly killing you, and the hurricane randomly killing you in almost *any* room once it starts, the save game option is disabled while the hurricane is going on. I had to run through the whole sequence multiple times, hoping for good RNG; in my second to last try the bear mauled me right as I was about to give him some salt.

Grah. I’m being traditionalist here so I can report to you, my faithful readers, what the experience is like, but for anyone playing along, please feel free to use emulator save states as needed.

Anyhow! Once past this hurdle I was able to rescue the knife and plastic block (via another log pass) with the interesting dilemma that the log doesn’t fit in the west crevice to go over to the beach. If you carry the log while trying to climb up the volcano (which normally just sends you right back down) you drop the log while attempting this and it helpfully falls back onto the beach side of things.

I combined that log with another one the hurricane generated and some vines I cut from the jungle to MAKE RAFT. Launching it from the beach’s tidepool, I did PADDLE EAST and PADDLE WEST for a while until I came across an “atoll”. Remembering the cannon fire, I did WAIT and a pirate ship appeared.

…oh yeah, the rum. I forgot to bring that! Fortunately, I hadn’t “broken” my sequence too much and was able to shuffle the empty bottle back to the cave, fill it with the rum I had stored, use the log again to ferry the bottle back to the beach, make the raft again, find the atoll again, wait for the pirate ship again, and then GIVE RUM. The pirate accepted the gift and left; his bandanna fell off, revealing antennae (it’s an alien pirate), and he left behind a note as well.

I also found amongst my raft travels a cave with drawings and a hinged stalactite, although I haven’t been able to do anything with the latter yet (I suspect it may just be parser wrangling, though).

Whew, that’s a lot of progress! Again, feel free to speculate if you’re just playing along, and restrain yourself from hints if you’ve beaten this before.

Posted May 24, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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16 responses to “Savage Island Part 1: What Was, Must Be

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  1. The first time I played this, I got the impression that carrying the log made it less likely to be carried away by the hurricane, because of the added weight. But as far as I can tell that is not the case, it seems to be purely at random. Another case of pareidolia, I guess.

    Petter Sjölund
  2. The very evil part is that in addition to the bear possibly randomly killing you, and the hurricane randomly killing you in almost *any* room once it starts, the save game option is disabled while the hurricane is going on. I had to run through the whole sequence multiple times, hoping for good RNG; in my second to last try the bear mauled me right as I was about to give him some salt.

    Stuff like this is why I don’t actually play along with these games. I had all the ingredients of this but I had figured there was something else to avoid the random death. In the other thread I’m explaining to Voltgloss that this exact sequence doesn’t work because you want to calm the bear before the hurricane, in order to be able to wait it out safely in the cave.ˆ

  3. Further notes/speculations:
    i didn’t have too much trouble figuring out that the log worked by being carried in inventory, because something similar happened with the shield in Voodoo Castle (and you had to explain it to me). Or maybe because the parser was limited enough that it seemed like a natural thing to try.
    I think that, in addition to climbing the volcano to dump the log on the beach, you can leave it west of the lake, return to the lake, dump your inventory, and swim back to west of lake to retrieve the log.
    I would definitely suspect that the hinged stalactite is the thing you have to PUSH. Though probably you need to push it with something and I’m not sure what would work.

    If I’m not mistaken, so far you haven’t used coconuts, fish bones, plastic block, bandanna?

  4. I think that, in addition to climbing the volcano to dump the log on the beach, you can leave it west of the lake, return to the lake, dump your inventory, and swim back to west of lake to retrieve the log.

    If I understood you correctly, this won’t work, because you can’t carry the log through the narrow crevice west of the lake.

    Petter Sjölund
    • I don’t think I conveyed it clearly–what I meant was this:
      Get log from beach
      Go through the volcano
      Go lake with log
      Swim west
      Drop log
      Go crevice/jump to beach
      Do whatever other stuff
      Go through the volcano again
      Drop your inventory
      Go lake
      Swim west (you can do this with no inventory)
      Get log/go west/swim (returns you to lakeshore and your inventory)
      Get inventory/go lake with log
      repeat as necessary.

  5. It would be fun to calculate, by looking at the game code, the actual chance of not getting killed by a random event even if you know exactly what to do and take every precaution to minimise risk. I bet it is less than 50 percent. I wonder if it differs between interpreters with different implementations of randomness. I think I’ve spent half an hour trying to give the bear salt now.

    Petter Sjölund
  6. The good news for me, as far as trying to play this goes, is that when I tried to restore a save on the archive.org DOSBOX interpreter it stopped recognizing verbs such as “go” and “inventory.” So the fact that you can’t save in the hurricane doesn’t give me any extra inconvenience.

  7. Ok, this seem to have improved since the last time that seem an awful game.

    Now it has evolved in a somewhat A change in the weather.

    Anyway, this kind of game could benefit a lot of modern design with shortcuts after certain events.

    Do you know more games that has this feeling of “man vs nature”? And that has some emergent features?

    • Straight up man vs. nature in adventure games is strangely kind of rare. (It lets you avoid NPCs that talk and the like … just nobody has seemed inclined to run with it.)

      Closest I can think of is Sunset Over Savannah and She’s Got a Thing for Spring.

      The Fire Tower and The Cove are both just-wander-nature games but there’s no survival aspect or puzzles.

      • I feel like most of Snowquest is like this? I never played the revised version with the change in the ending part (because the organizers of the post-comp competition uploaded everything as a zip file, which meant I couldn’t play it online, and in fact the Play Online link still goes to version 1 which I didn’t realize until I reached aforesaid ending and it was unchanged. Don’t post tiny zblorb files as zips, people!)

      • I doubt it, because I think I alpha-tested Snowquest, and I don’t remember the same feeling. Snowquest is a straight, linear story.

        rubereaglenest
      • OK, I didn’t realize you meant for games that are nonlinear as well.

        She’s Got A Thing For Spring seems like something like it. I guess David Givens’s Changes might be something a bit similar, but in a science fictional way, and also it’s not so much man vs. nature in that you’re successively possessing the (alien) animals. But it’s about the interaction of animals in an environment.

        Don’t know if it’s a coincidence that these games are all impossibly difficult either by reputation or by my personal experience (except Sunset over Savannah, which I’ve never tried and haven’t heard of as a tough game).

      • Nah, Sunset Over Savannah is pretty tough, too. (It’s a little more “peaceful” and there’s a feeling of any points being optional, so it doesn’t feel like a regular difficult game.)

      • I was stunned at how little information there was online on She’s got a thing for spring. It turns out it’s called “She’s got a thing for A spring.” I’ve been getting that wrong for something like a decade.

  8. Pingback: Savage Island Part 1: Finished! | Renga in Blue

  9. I guess maybe the genre lends itself to wandering things whose patterns have to be determined by careful observation, and puzzles that require good timing, and patrollers that disrupt complex plans, all of which add up to extreme difficulty? I know my issue with Changes was that I kept having to drop whatever I was doing to avoid the fox, so when you were doing something that involved taking something far across the map it could take many many turns to experiment with the results.

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