Labyrinth: Roller Skate Delivery Service and Pies to the Face   4 comments

I finished, and as Will Moczarski predicted, this game was easier for me to knock down than Deathmaze 5000.

The main reason was a complete lack of red herrings. Every item ends up being useful, and you don’t have to waste time realizing, e.g. a frisbee is just there to kill you.

(Complete spoilers for most of the game follow this point.)

Last time I left off mentioning a “haunted jar” I didn’t know what to do with. I had tried to OPEN JAR and was told the lid was stuck. This was a hint I was supposed to get it open by any means necessary.

Very close to the start there’s a “crushing” room adopted straight from Deathmaze.

However, unlike that game (where it’s a red herring trap), here if you’re holding a “metal rod” the walls stay open. You can drop the jar and leave and the walls crush the jar and release a ghost, which says the word “mevar” as it leaves. (This is unfortunately somewhat inconsistent, since the crushing doesn’t work on other objects; fortunately the first thing I tested it on was the jar, otherwise, I could have been led far astray in solving the puzzle.)

Armed with that word, I used the other magic word I knew (PTOOII) to teleport to a sword, and MEVAR to escape the place with the sword. From my last post, I originally thought the sword was just a trap, but again, I was in Deathmaze mentality; here is where I started to suspect Labyrinth was instead a no-red-herrings game.

Once I got the sword I was able to take down the “ugly man” who had been attacking me in a particular corridor. Past the corridor, I found a “maiden” who (after carrying her for a bit) turns into a “witch”. The witch then turns the player into a monster who guards the witch in the same spot the ugly man did, and eventually you die via another adventurer. Strange loops.

I did say “eventually” — there’s a bit of lag time between picking up the maiden and having her invoke her witch powers. If you’re wearing the roller skates, that’s enough time to skate over to where a nearby cave bear is. I had yet to play a game where I fed a “maiden” to a bear, but there’s always a first time:

This yields an emerald. The emerald isn’t useful yet, and here I was stuck, basically only having the cave gnome to deal with. I ended up doing the text adventure version of “click every item in inventory and try it out”; I listed out every verb and item and ran through essentially every combination.

I finally hit upon SAY MEVAR (previously used to escape the area with the sword) as causing the gnome to “temporarily freeze”. Any action after killed me, so I had to reset my “try everything” list and lawnmower through until I hit upon THROW SALT which causes the gnome to “dissolve”. I think the idea is the “freezing” is meaning literally a block of ice, so the salt makes it … melt faster, I guess … even though the gnome can break out of it almost immediately otherwise. Bleh. This was one of those puzzles where even though I solved it entirely on my own, I would have been better looking up the solution and saving time.

By killing the gnome I got some coins; using INSERT COIN on a nearby vending machine yielded some matches, which I was then able to light a lantern with. (If you try to light the lantern with a torch, the game just claims torches can only light other torches. I have no idea why this would be the case. I honestly think the torch mechanic made more sense in Deathmaze and it was just a holdover here from using the same engine.)

With the lantern I was able to get through the “fog” which normally attracted a minotaur near the very start of the game. (The lantern disappears after you use it.)

After the fog comes a “wraith” who is defeated via cream pie.

The same map also has a “ruby” and a “fan”. Upon returning to the “main area” from this maze, the minotaur was suddenly attracted by the fact I was holding the ruby and emerald at the same time, and killed me two turns later. The best way I found around this was to TAKE BOX instead of TAKE RUBY (this trick was needed in Deathmaze for the snake) so you can carry the ruby around without the minotaur “sensing” it.

Since I had the minotaur coming to me, I needed a method of killing it. I admit spending an inordinate amount of time back at the “crushing” machine trying to trick the minotaur into stepping inside, but I couldn’t logistically find a way to have the minotaur step in and escape (I tried to time out a teleport via PTOOII, but it just wasn’t working). I finally had to resort to my one hint of the game, although I probably should have realized the issue — there was a map section I hadn’t visited yet.

I had mentally thought “hm, interesting they didn’t use it this time” but still never came to the conclusion I could sneak in that area, since I had checked all the nearby walls thoroughly. It turns out I wasn’t done with the vending machine yet. KICK MACHINE caused it to swing open to a dark area.

By dark area, I mean “so dark even the torch doesn’t work”. This led to an experience likely familiar to old-school CRPG players — stumbling around hitting walls and trying to map out a “permanently dark” region. This was made doubly annoying by a.) a pit which dropped you in the fog (and recall, I had already used up the lantern) and b.) the fact there’s an item hidden around, but you can’t see it. This required typing OPEN BOX in random locations until reaching a hit, which was a DEVICE way in the corner. Using PRESS BUTTON revealed the device was a lightsaber.

I opened the box I’d been toting around with the ruby, and while holding the ruby and emerald, the minotaur came just like before, but this time I had THE FORCE on my side:

A winner is me! You might have noticed I mentioned a “fan” but never used it yet I claimed a complete lack of red herrings. I essentially skipped a puzzle. You can drop another coin in the vending machine and get a battery, then apply the battery to get the fan to run. The fan will get rid of the fog (so the pit in the dark area is no longer deadly, just annoying). I sidestepped having to worry about the fan because of the ruby-in-box trick letting me tote both gems all the way over to where the lightsaber was.

To loop back to my comparison of this game with Deathmaze: I still hold that Deathmaze had a stronger plot. This is despite the razor-thin “your only job is to escape” opening. There was a genuine arc: opening bottleneck -> progress to level 4 -> defeat of the monster on level 4 -> teleport to level 5 -> fight with the monster’s mother -> grand finale with the exploding maze. Labyrinth, while much tighter on puzzles (despite a few teeth-gritting moments like the cave gnome) didn’t have that kind of dramatic tension, and while the sense of humor was roughly the same, I still felt like the atmosphere of Labyrinth was generally sillier.

Still, if you had to play one of the two games, without hints? Definitely pick Labyrinth over Deathmaze.

Posted September 11, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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4 responses to “Labyrinth: Roller Skate Delivery Service and Pies to the Face

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  1. (If you try to light the lantern with a torch, the game just claims torches can only light other torches. I have no idea why this would be the case.

    Eh, I could see it being difficult to insert a torch into a lantern to light it, if e.g. the lantern just has a hinged door to reach the wick and the torch won’t fit through it. Although if that’s what you’re meant to understand, “it won’t fit” would have been a more reasonable response than “torches can only light other torches”.

    • If this was a youtube channel instead of a blog, and there was some kind of budget, I’d test it out. This lantern would be awkward to light with a torch, can we do it anyway? Hold the lantern at an angle, maybe?

      It’s a little like the scenario where a game is looking for a very specific tool — a hammer to put in a nail — but there is some other item you can theoretically improvise the same result (an iron bar, say) but the game doesn’t even let you try.

  2. Almost wonder if the lack of red herrings in this one is thematic, based on the difference between a maze and a labyrinth.

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