Curse of the Sasquatch: If It Weren’t for You Meddling Kids   Leave a comment

I have finished the game, and there is a genuine Plot Twist™, so spoilers ahoy.

Image from the 1975 movie Curse of Bigfoot. It may be where Greg Hassett got the title for this game. As of this writing it is ranked 1.9 out of 10 stars on IMDB.

I managed to unstick myself from last time by using the old “well, this object LOOKS like it ought to be useful, and so I will try it on every spot on the map” trick.

Specifically, dropping at a ladder just outside the maze from last time let me get to a new area.

Yes, it’s spelled “Padio” in the game.

I had an AXE and was in a FOREST, so CHOP TREES yielded some firewood … and a warning.

Past this was a building filled with pools of oil (the kind you drill for, not the kind you put in cooking). This was the moment it hit me this was not a hunt for Bigfoot at all, but a Scooby-Doo plot.

For those unfamiliar with Scooby-Doo, it is a TV show that has various iterations and reboots for 50 years. According to the Scoobypedia:

The show follows the iconic mystery solving detectives, know as Mystery Inc., as they set out to solve crime and unmask criminals, bent on revenge or committing criminal acts for their own personal gain.

Titular character, Scooby, is followed by his best pal Shaggy as both vie for Scooby Snacks on their adventures! Velma brings her extra intellect and initiative to them, setting out plans to catch criminals. Fred is the team’s leader while Daphne is bold and takes risks all to keep society safe.

More importantly, the prototypical Scooby-Doo plot has the gang discover some mysterious goings-on that appear to be monsters or ghosts or whatnot, but by the end discover it was Old Mr. Crumpet the whole time and somehow he managed to get a hold of both holograms and teleportation technology. He meant to drive people away from the old amusement park so he could buy up the land when it went bankrupt and he would have gotten away with it too if it weren’t for those meddling kids. (Why he didn’t bypass illegality altogether and just profit off his obviously hyper-advanced hologram technology is unknown.)

Turning a knob in the building led to an underground area. This seemed to be a one-way trip.

The underground area included a “wine bottle” (which actually had oil in it) and an oil barrel, just to emphasize the point made earlier: there’s a lot of oil here. There was also an elevator which led down to a “closet” and eventually to a “control room”.

Here I was very, very, stuck. I maybe shouldn’t have been, but as a partial excuse, the game a.) doesn’t have a save game feature b.) has a brutally stringent inventory limit and c.) locks the player into the closet-control room area once arriving. So it was very annoying to test out different possibilities and I eventually resorted to checking Dale Dobson’s playthrough at Gaming After 40. (He got stuck in the same place, and had to check source code.)

I had missed that I could take the firewood I chopped in the forest back to the fireplace in the shack at the very beginning of the game, then type MAKE FIRE followed by LIGHT FIRE. (It sounds logical enough, and there’s even a hint near the beginning about lighting a fire, but at the time I processed it just as a reference to things being cold and didn’t have making a fire on my mental “to do” list. Oops.)

As the screenshot indicates, this opened a secret area on top of the shack, where I found a TRAP and a note to “DROP THIS TRAP AND YOUR BAIT (NOT INCLUDED) WHERE YOU SUSPECT THE SASQUATCH FREQUENTS.”

I took the LIFE-SIZED BIGFOOT DOLL I had and the TRAP over to the control room (crossing my fingers I had this right, since again, no saved game), and…

…victory! I don’t know if any Scooby-Doo villains worked with the Russians, but trying to frighten people off land in order to claim valuable oil is definitely their speed.

I did appreciate the minor twist, and especially that it was heavily signaled early on yet I missed the first signals due to the vague standard way objects in adventure games often are delivered on a convenient platter. For example, I had found a GROWLING TAPE RECORDER which I assumed was needed to be used to attract an actual Bigfoot; it did not occur to me “wait, this is the device the villain used to scare people” even though that’s a more logical conclusion. Essentially, I was tricked by the form of the text adventure itself. (See, comparably, the puzzle that stumped me on The Great Pyramid.)

So, kind of a fun plot finesse, but why would a “life-sized bigfoot doll” (which I assume the villain earlier used as part of the con) be the right bait? Wouldn’t that bait only make sense for an actual Bigfoot?

Also, why were the trap and note on top of the shack in the first place? My best guess it was left by the mysterious person who rescued us and brought us to the shack in the first place. (We never learn who that person is.) Were they trying to conceal the trap from the villain, maybe? I probably am trying a little too hard to find the logic here.

I never worked out the deal with this statue while playing, but I found out later from the Gaming After 40 post that the statue is supposed to be the Tin Man from Wizard of Oz saying “OIL ME”. If you manage to do so he gives a hint about getting into the control room, but I didn’t need the hint to finish the game.

Posted November 5, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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