Lugi: Rooms   8 comments

The Lugimen from this game come from Arcturus IV. While the star is real (fourth brightest in the sky) the planet is so far speculative. It still has made an appearance both in Marvel comics with the Caretakers of Arcturus starting in 1974, and an earlier “classroom project” volume from MIT which made a mock-case study of an alien race.

Arcturus IV Case Study (1953). From the Internet Archive.

It’s possible the authors of Lugi intended to reference the Marvel comic here (the Caretakers have “warps that transport them from Arcturus IV to the Savage Land on Earth“) or it could be that another appearance of the fourth planet of Arcturus is a meaningless coincidence.

The instructions state there are always exactly 35 rooms. I can now say with confidence the game draws them from a “pool” so on a given run you will not see all possible rooms. Here’s a selection; for the most part, the exits from a particular room are also generated at random.

You’re in an air vent looking down over the Lugonian mess hall, where thousands of the fiends are eating a disgusting lunch.

You’d better get out QUICK, or they’ll spot you!

This is a “real time” room — when the game says you need to get out quick, you genuinely need to type fast enough. If you do not, there’s a warning sound and you lose some of your “overall time” pool which determines when the Lugimen find you and eat you.

You’re in a dingy white cubicle, with a cabinet at the far end.

The cabinet here is openable, and you will always find Lysol, Flysol, and Raid. (The Flysol makes flies.)

You are in a large bare chamber holding a huge NASA astronaut centrifuge. It isn’t plugged in. There are about a hundred gleeps inside the cage.

This is a trap; if you try to get the gleeps (which are Lugi-currency but still seem to count only for points) a small child Lugiman plugs in the centrifuge and you go splat.

You’re in a grisly chamber with whips, chains, tongs, an iron maiden with a skeleton in it, and a large drainpipe in the middle of the floor. There is a CIA badge on the table, next to a large hibachi.

This one’s another trap.

>GET BADGE
You pull at it, and discover that a thin thread is attached to it…

It’s a booby trap for sentimental CIA agents! Ports spring open in the walls, deadly muzzles protrude, and Lugonian heat rays burn you to a crisp.

The vast majority of rooms don’t add “interesting” features, they’re just descriptive, like

You’re in a wax-museum replica of a WWI army recruitment office.

or

You are in a little brick house in the middle of the woods.

or

You’re sitting in a pile of fluffy cloth. A small voice says, “I strongly recommend the fiction of Alfred Bester.”

or

You are looking down over a vast– no, an endless sea of shifting gray nothingness, a nothingness so absolute that you cannot bear to look at it, for you feel that you will go mad. In the great distance, shrouded by mist and haze, are many huge forms, like gigantic statues, with shapes that, even at this distance, appear hideous and malformed. A sign on the wall reads “Chew Zqrgley’s gum!”

(There is a piece of gum elsewhere that turns into tar if you chew it — I haven’t found a use for it.)

The only rooms that are guaranteed to appear are the car room, the console room that can zap you over to Arcturus IV with the emperor, and the escape room. I’ve mentioned them before, but let me quote in full:

#1.)

You’re in a grimy new-car showroom with a huge glass window, luridly painted on the outside, looking out onto a busy street. You see that you are nearly two miles from the Embassy.
There is one dust-coated car here, a model made eight years ago.

#2.)

You’re in a humming, buzzing control room, with many switches and buttons.
>PUSH BUTTON
There is a dazzling flash of light, and a sudden wrenching discontinuity as the floor seems to heave madly. You recover in moments…

You are inside a small cylindrical metal cage, one of many along one wall of a huge room. The only features inside are a small metal shelf and a red button. The room is crowded with hundreds of Lugimen, most of them dressed in gaudy uniforms and heavily armed. The heavy gravity and noisome atmosphere tell you that you are no longer on Earth, but on Arcturus IV, the home planet of the Lugimen. At the opposite end of the room, surrounded by servile Lugimen and brutal-looking guards, a monstrous bloated horror sits in a heavy gilded chair. You realize that the monstrosity is none other than the Grugza Emperor Ra-Lugi himself, the absolute ruler of the planet, in his own throne room! Suddenly, the Emperor’s small, feral eyes meet yours, and he gives a bestial scream of rage! His guards leap forward, drawing their weapons! Things look bad… There’s a huge doglike ugly alien beast lying at the Emperor’s feet.

There is a small statuette on the shelf. Perhaps it is religious in nature.

#3.)

You are on a sunny balcony over a busy street.

On the balcony, as long as you have a rope, typing OUT lets you escape. (Typing JUMP does too, just … not while alive.)

I mentioned last time the dilemma: spreading a lethal disease in the process. The trick to avoiding the disease seems to be handling this guy:

There’s a small, unhealthy-looking Lugiman here, a real runt, holding a cudgel! He screams at you in Lugonian: something about “filthy Earth vermin” and “stinking Earth germs …us allergic people can’t take it any more!” He raises his cudgel, holding his nose, and prepares to bash your skull in…

I decided to test all my theories which didn’t involve an object; fortunately, if a verb is *not* understood, the game does not advance a turn (so you don’t get killed), meaning I was able to go through multiple commands here without dying before finding SPIT:

>SPIT
You spit at the crazed Lugonian runt with the cudgel. It hits him in the face. He stops dead and emits a harsh, tearing scream! He runs out of the room, shrieking in mortal agony. The echoing cries are soon intermingled with harsh, racking coughs. He’ll be no more trouble.

I’m unclear why just running away gives you the disease but having him run away doesn’t. After this, I was able to wrangle a somewhat “good” ending:

You climb down the rope to freedom!

(Hit return for your score:)

****************** YOUR SCORE ******************
For escaping: 100 points
Dealing with
unhealthy Lugiman: 40 points
Difficulty of game: 0 points
Objects picked up: 35 points
Bringing out gleeps
and alien objects: 32 points
Rooms explored: 72 points
___________
TOTAL SCORE: 279 POINTS.
**************************************************

Your superior tells you that you did a half-way decent job.

So from here, it’s just a matter of how many points am I going for? I would like to try to figure out a.) is it possible to do something with the exploding car? b.) is it possible to do something with the emperor? I haven’t been able to test many theories in either, but I can say whatever happens I’ll finish up next time.

Posted August 20, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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8 responses to “Lugi: Rooms

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  1. Arcturus shows up a lot in fiction : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stars_and_planetary_systems_in_fiction#Arcturus_(Alpha_Boötis) and it looks like there’s stuff with Arcturus II, Arcturus III, and Arcturus V out there, and that’s where I stopped looking.

    • That’s a very neat list!

      Wild trivia: it looks like the first Arcturus book (A Voyage to Arcturus, 1920) had a sequel written by Yale professor (and author of The Western Canon) Harold Bloom. I wouldn’t have pegged him for writing science fiction.

  2. This is a dumb question probably, but I did not quite get the relationship between the Lugonians and the Luigimen. Are they the same thing? One a faction of the other? (Heck, is “Luigimen” an ethnic slur?) Or are the Lugonians victims of the Luigimen? Given that the Lugonians have an embassy, it seems like they’ve got a right to be here, but there seem to be scenes where they’re clearly antagonists.

  3. Yes, it is possible to get the Emperor’s doglike animal, and the statuette. (And no, Arcturus IV has nothing to do with Marvel. (I was a DC kid.)) Hint: spraycans.

    There’s an easy (but fatal) way to find out exactly what is giving you the Lugonian Plague.

    I’m not sure about the ancient version you’re playing, but in the final game versions, there are a lot more than three rooms that are always present. Also, the connections are not entirely randomized — for instance, it avoids putting a hole in the floor of a room with standing water. Additionally, there is always a path which connects all the rooms into a loop, without depending on the rope.

    Some of the room descriptions you quoted were dropped in later versions, and completely forgotten by me as ever having been in there.
    — Paul

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