Warp: I Think You’re Just Getting in Deeper   26 comments

You can assume, from this point, any post on Warp is potentially my last. Not only is the game trying to tear the player apart, the game is trying to tear itself apart.

ABORT :WARP.PUB.GAMES.%3.%4102
PROGRAM ERROR #1 :INTEGER OVERFLOW

PROGRAM TERMINATED IN AN ERROR STATE. (CIERR 976)

Before I really get started, a brief aside on the Mainframe Endgame. There is a type of endgame descended from Crowther/Woods adventure after a Treasure Hunt style plot where the player is brought into a special area separate from the main game and any puzzle-solving is intentionally very hard.

I should qualify “very hard” as “harder than normal hard, meant almost explicitly to be played collaboratively”. I think this is most blatant in Adventure 550, which in the original port required collecting information from at least 5 different playthroughs for the endgame.

Zork mainframe went extra-long in its endgame, but also mercifully filled it with puzzles that were technically solvable. Warp took Zork’s size and restored a general sense of unfairness. Warp even quite explicitly mentions this in an in-game newspaper which has various game version notes; this one is from April 20, 1982:

THE ENDGAME IS FINALLY COMPLETE!

And, hopefully, free of bugs. Send your complaints and tales of woe to the authors as you see fit. But be warned: clues in the endgame are next to non-existant, and the puzzles are designed to be at times misleading and extremely frustrating. Patience and perseverence are more necessities than virtues.

Philosophically, it’s kind of interesting to have this kind of collaboration-nearly-required puzzle; another use of the idea is the original arcade game Tower of Druaga, which had obscurely hard to find items and essentially an underground info-network amongst Japanese arcade players was needed to beat the game.

From Floor 1 of The Tower of Druaga. There are 60 floors.

For example, Floor 45 has two special items; the box for one item appears right at the start but if you open it the box is empty. You have to first kill enemies in a very specific order (“Lizard Man, High Power Knight, Mirror Knight, Black Knight, Blue Knight”), which then allows you to open a different box and get an Antidote, and only then can you open the first box and get a Hyper Sword (which is necessary for beating the game!)

Keep in mind, this is in an arcade game that required depositing coins to play. Hopefully, I’ve gotten across why an information network was a necessary feature.

These days, having to ask for a hint is considered a “game failure” (or at least player failure), so to speak, but is the “failure” a real thing, or just cultural inertia?

Various objects from the main game make a cameo appearance. This silver cross (originally a treasure) was suspiciously easy to get in the main game.

To continue from last time, I was falling in a pit, and I really felt like I could use a rope, but the rope was locked outside the endgame where it could not be brought in. This turned out to be not *exactly* correct. While it never was useful during the main game, it’s possible to >CUT ROPE and get two pieces, a longer and a shorter. While the regular rope vaporizes upon entering the endgame portal, the shorter one does not.

*sigh*

I suppose there might have been a slight bit of logic involving the *size* of the item that goes in the portal being limited, but there was no message conveying that. In the context of a mass-solving effort, I could see someone who had cut the rope on a whim test it out and convey this fact to their fellow players.

Compounding this difficulty is that, normally, the items you are carrying disappear anyway after answering the Oracle’s trivia quiz. There is this cryptic comment

He quickly searches about for unregistered items, and then, with another wave, disappears.

which is supposed to be a hint that >REGISTER is a verb.

>REGISTER SHORT ROPE
An authoritative voice echos: One [1] Short Rope … Check!

It’s baffling what sort of action is even happening here. You aren’t stating something aloud (that’s covered by the SAY verb). There’s no physical movement; you don’t even have to be holding an item to register it. The command only makes sense at a meta-level. (As an aside, you may remember I got a password to jump to the endgame. It would be impossible to win by starting the endgame with the password since you don’t get the needed short rope item when using it. This is egregious enough I think it’s just a programming oversight.)

Moving on! I was able to successfully tie the short rope to overhang the place I knew the pit would be, went through the stone idol / tile section I mentioned last time, and outran a giant boulder to find a maze, or perhaps “maze”.

>W
Globe Room.
Additional passageways have opened.

>w
Montazuma’s Revenge.
The room about you is one of many constructed hundreds of years ago by the Great Ancients of Praw. The walls are unmarked rock, with exits leading in all directions. There is also a large hole in the ceiling (out of reach), and another in the floor.

If you wander, you eventually find various old items from the main game lying around. In case it’s important, here’s the complete list.

Battery, Brick, Expensive Camera, Chalice, Silver Cross, Silver Flute, Golden Matador, Large Pearl, Shiny Quarter, Glass Sphere, Crystal Sphere, Devil’s Trident, Ivory Tusk, Egyptian Urn, Patgonian Vase, Banana, Green Stamp, Package, Black Opal, Wetsuit, Ruby Lense, Treasure Map, Computer Printout, Railroad Bond, Golden Bullion, Framastat, Bag, Fins, Glass Bottle, Painting, Digital Watch, Silver Coins, Leeverite, Absolutely Nothing

In addition to the items, the game gives a few messages meant to be either hints or discouragement: “This looks pretty vast.”, “I think you’re just getting in deeper …”, “You’re going to get yourself even more lost.”, “Come on, you haven’t a prayer of escape!”, “You’re being awfully persistant.”, “This doesn’t look solvable to me.” and finally “In fact … it isn’t. Give up and save us both some time!”

I’ve checked thoroughly enough to say the items shift around randomly as do the maze exits, so I’m 95% certain you aren’t supposed to or even able to “map” the maze. That leaves odd, obscure actions like registering every single item (which I’ve tried), praying, being ludicrously persistent (I went EAST so many times the game crashed, as shown on the top of this post) or just saying the right random catchphrase (like “GIVE UP”). I even tried quitting the game (taking giving up literal) with the hopes that a restart would magically continue the game in the next section, but no luck.

A quick reminder to those interested in the 25th Interactive Fiction Competition — the deadline for voting is tonight. I’m hoping to put reviews up this weekend but it may not be until next week.

Posted November 15, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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26 responses to “Warp: I Think You’re Just Getting in Deeper

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  1. Montezuma was defeated by the Spanish. Maybe you need to help him get his revenge by destroying the matador statue?

    OTOH Montezuma’s Revenge is also slang for bowel problems. Maybe you can do a Deathmaze and fart yourself up through the hole in the ceiling?

    Just random thoughts

  2. I’d already tried destroying and otherwise smashing the matador with no success. And I am sadly out of intestinal gas. Oh for a tin of beans…..

  3. Using LIST NOUNS in God Mode the only item I can see which we haven’t come across before is KEYS (no. 203). Maybe some manipulation of the key shaped Scepter might work? There are two rooms listed for Montazuma’s Revenge (Rooms 414 and 415). Room 417 is entitled “Dark Woods of Error.” in locale 28, which corresponds to the locale for Montazuma’s Revenge.

    • Do the two rooms have any differences?

      Are there any rooms that look like they come immediately after the maze?

    • One other thing I tested but had no luck on was the messages “don’t go east” and “don’t go west” from various phone messages. (There’s a “go east, young man” from the statue”) Wits End from Adventure was just one room and you escaped by going every direction but west. I have tried a bunch of related tests here but I’m not going to discard the idea that the specific movement is important yet.

    • Is there a “list verbs” equivalent in God mode? If so, anything there unused so far?

  4. Given the games previous adherence to the traditions of Adventure you may be on to something there. The two rooms appear identical apart from their taxonomy as 414 and 415. Room 416 goes back to a different unconnected locale.

    The “Dark Woods of Error” is a reference to Dante’s Inferno but I doubt if there is a corollary.

  5. It is also mentioned in the description of the silver flute that it is of Spanish origin.

  6. Just noticed that trying to go up from location 414 gives a different message than usual:

    Montazuma’s Revenge. [Room 414, locale 28]
    The room about you is one of many constructed hundreds of years
    ago by the Great Ancients of Praw. The walls are unmarked rock,
    with exits leading in all directions. There is also a large
    hole in the ceiling (out of reach), and another in the floor.

    *U
    The hole above you is out of reach.

    *GOTO 415
    Montazuma’s Revenge. [Room 415, locale 28]
    The room about you is one of many constructed hundreds of years
    ago by the Great Ancients of Praw. The walls are unmarked rock,
    with exits leading in all directions. There is also a large
    hole in the ceiling (out of reach), and another in the floor.

    *U
    It’s pretty high. Why not try jumping?

  7. It just says “Jumping is for frogs, not for cretins” if I try it.

    • Yes, if you jump… but going up gives that message, I wonder if there is some way to get up to the hole. Also, the Up direction is the only one that is not mapped to itself:

      *SHOW LINKS
      Montazuma’s Revenge. [Room 414, locale 28]
      N : Montazuma’s Revenge. [Room 414, locale 28]
      NE: Montazuma’s Revenge. [Room 414, locale 28]
      E : Montazuma’s Revenge. [Room 414, locale 28]
      SE: Montazuma’s Revenge. [Room 414, locale 28]
      S : Montazuma’s Revenge. [Room 414, locale 28]
      SW: Montazuma’s Revenge. [Room 414, locale 28]
      W : Montazuma’s Revenge. [Room 414, locale 28]
      NW: Montazuma’s Revenge. [Room 414, locale 28]
      UP:
      DN: Montazuma’s Revenge. [Room 414, locale 28]

      So, as you walk around here, you stay in location 414, but the game keep incrementing a counter. There must be some series of moves, or some special action required.

      • I would guess you “secretly” pass from 414 to 415 by doing something (the don’t go east / don’t go west thing maybe) and then it’s possible to go up from there. It’s possible I even did it at some point without knowing.

        Does jumping in 415 actually work? (Does god mode allow teleporting?)

  8. Using Russell’s God Mode advice I have tried to GOTO 417 to see if I could work backwards. In ROT13:

    Qnex Jbbqf bs Reebe. [Ebbz 417, ybpnyr 28]
    Lbh svaq lbhefrys va n qnex naq ybaryl jbbq. Gur cnffntr sebz
    jurapr lbh pnzr vf ybfg, naq orsber lbh va gur qvfgnapr lbh
    pna frr gur tbqyl fhzzvg bs Gehr Rayvtugrazrag.

    V pna frr gur sbyybjvat:
    Gvpxrg Cynmn

    YBBX CYNMN

    Followed by some pretty groovy ASCII art.

  9. Iterestingly enough the building is called “The Seven Circles Of Hell” another Dante reference.

  10. I can confirm that jumping in 415 doesn’t work.

  11. Semi-random thoughts:

    From Dante’s Inferno, Canto I, about the Dark Woods of Error:

    “Midway upon the journey of our life
    I found myself within a forest dark,
    For the straightforward pathway had been lost.”

    A possible hint that you need to depart from the “straightforward pathway?” I.e., keep going different directions, never the same direction twice?

    Later in the Canto:

    “I cannot well repeat how there I entered,
    So full was I of slumber at the moment
    In which I had abandoned the true way.”

    Has anyone tried going to sleep? Perhaps after all of the game’s messages about “giving up” have been exhausted? Perhaps specifically in 415, instead of 414?

    Other question: how does the game treat “down” in 414? In 415? Or otherwise entering the hole in the floor?

    Probably absurd question: when the game threw up an error, was there anything further you could do? It is the “Dark Woods of Error” after all. Could this be some The Prisoner-style fake-error/fake-ending “Be Seeing You” craziness?

    • Another silly thought: Has anyone tried the move sequence: N. S. E. E. N. E. Or, alternatively, N. S. E. E. NE.

      These are the direction-corresponding letters, in order, in “Montazuma’s Revenge.” Which the game misspells (should be MontEzuma). If the misspelling was corrected, the sequence would be N. E. S. E. E. N. E. Alternatively, replace either (or both) of the “N. E.” pairs with NE.

  12. Sadly no luck with those. There are enough typos in the game to suggest that “Montazuma” was considered the correct spelling by the authors.

  13. Made a new discovery — if from the globe room you go southeast, you end up in the “different” room 415 where going up has a different message from 414.

    Any of the other directions from the globe room go to 414.

    When you do the 415 room entrance you *keep your inventory* also; the round peg, card, and scepter.

    • WOOOOOO

      se

      Montazuma’s Revenge.
      The room about you is one of many constructed hundreds of years
      ago by the Great Ancients of Praw. The walls are unmarked rock,
      with exits leading in all directions. There is also a large
      hole in the ceiling (out of reach), and another in the floor.

      >
      nw

      Dark Woods of Error.
      You find yourself in a dark and lonely wood. The passage from
      whence you came is lost, and before you in the distance you
      can see the godly summit of True Enlightenment.

      I can see the following:
      Ticket Plaza

      Behind the plaza window you see the Warpmaster.

  14. Just watching you people hammer away at this is mentally exhausting. I can’t imagine what it must be like to actually play.

    • Yes, the endgame is a bit exhausting… but keep in mind that is the very end and the hardest part of the game. Most of it is great fun, which is why we’re all still working on it, and for me it’s still enjoyable to wander around in Warp, even now after 30 years. It’s a very impressive game – what others have a God mode?

  15. Maybe the fact that SE are the last two letters of Montazuma’s Revenge and it affects your (ahem) rear end was a tenuous link. Or maybe not.

  16. I must admit it doesn’t work for me. Going SE from the Globe Room and typing U merely gives “The hole above you is out of reach.”

  17. Cracked it. In my game it is NE and then SW. So much for my anal fixation.

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