Hezarin: WARE THE MINOTAUR   19 comments

Hezarin has definitely exceeded Acheton in difficulty, and while I don’t think it quite has hit the Quondam threshold, it’s gunning for it hard.

The commercial release of Hezarin was in a “double game pack” with The Last Days of Doom, a science fiction game which is third in the Doomawangara trilogy. Picture via Museum of Comptuer Adventure Games.

I wanted to tie up loose ends on the “Fountain Room” portion of the map. In particular, there was a section with a rope bridge and a “Minotaur Lair”.

You are on the south side of the rope bridge. The bridge sways unexpectedly below your feet, and it is all you can do to maintain your balance in this precarious position above the raging torrent. The bridge continues uninvitingly to the north, whilst to the south is a shelf of rock offering firmer footing.


You are on a shelf of rock high above a seething underground river. On the
rock wall at the rear of the shelf is blazed in letters three feet high:
Passages lead southeast and southwest, and a frail rope bridge spans the gorge,
disappearing into the darkness.
A pearl necklace is lying here!


You are in the minotaur’s lair. Passages lead in several directions.


[… this is another “random” maze …]

Your compass is spinning like a demented top.
OK I think this is the way …..

You are in the minotaur’s den. The ground is littered with straw and old bones. A dark for is just visible in the gloom in the corner of the room; it appears as yet to be unaware of your presence.

>kill minotaur

You move toward the dark form in the corner, and discover to your relief that it is only a statue. Obviously the statue is far too heavy to move.

This is what the map around the minotaur area looks like at first, although there’s a hidden area.

The minotaur statue fake-out was amusing but I was clueless how to proceed. I did have this poem scrawled on a different part of the map…

Not the making of the beast
And Adventurer’s despair
But the taking of the beast
In the Minotaur’s lair

…but I admit to needing to check hints here (and multiple times for what followed). Before I get to that, I need to mention a magic item:

A three foot black rod with a rusty star on the end lies nearby.

Yes, this is getting a cameo from Adventure. WAVE ROD has a somewhat different effect from the original game:

As you wave the rod it emits a loud WHOOOoooosh, like the sound of a firework being let off, and clouds of black smoke issue forth from the end. You suddenly feel distinctly queasy; your limbs no longer respond to your commands, and you collapse to the floor. When the smoke clears you find that you have turned into a frog.

This is useful getting into a small crack and finding a treasure (a fly that you can eat in frog form, but it turns out to be a jeweled treasure rather than a real fly so you spit it out). Making it back to the Fountain Room and typing DRINK WATER is sufficient to change back to human form.

I was happy enough to have figured this out, but I didn’t make the connection between the rod and the poem. The first two lines refer to the froggificaiton of our hero (“the making of the beast”). The second two lines mean the rod has a different effect when waved at the statue.

As you wave the rod the statue shudders and begins to emit a terrifying creaking sound. The surface ripples and begins to shrink in upon itself, as if it were being sucked in by some unseen force. You are unable to turn away and watch, spellbound as the statue grows ever smaller. Finally all that remains is a tiny statuette, a fraction of the size of the original. The statuette is lying on a previously invisible trapdoor.

Any attempt to open the trapdoor was stymied; the game said it was bolted on the other side. So what was the purpose of all this, then? Was this trapdoor only going to come up again much later?

I had previously tested out CUT BRIDGE (with the vorpal sword in hand) because it was described as wobbly, but the right action was to cut the rope while standing on the bridge.

With one slash you cut right through the bridge, and you are forced to hang on for dear life as the bridge plummets towards the far canyon wall. Just as it appears that you are about to bash your brains out at high speed you notice a dark opening in the gorge wall, which fortunately you appear to be heading straight for. As the bridge is brought up short you let go and hurtle into the cave. When you have recovered sufficient compsure to look around you discover….
You are in a secret cave underneath the minotaur’s lair. A large stalactite forms a pillar in the centre of the cave running from floor to ceiling. and other smaller ones grow nearby. To the north is a 60 foot drop down to a narrow ledge, while a winding tunnel leads south. There is a rope bridge hanging outside the cave entrance.
There is a large stone here, made of a strange black substance.

Oho. This led to a treasure (a silver tiara) and allowed me to unbolt the trapdoor and get back up to the Minotaur Den, but I was now trapped. The key was to untie the remains of the rope bridge and re-tie them down farther at the secret cave.

OK. You fasten the bridge to the stalactite.


You shinny deftly down the bridge, jumping the last few feet down to the ground You are on a narrow east-west ledge just above a fast flowing river. The ledge quickly peters out to the west. A rope bridge dangles down from the cave above, ending about 15 feet above your head.

If you try to go west, the ledge ends; if you try to go east, you lose your balance and fall in the river … unless you’ve reduced your inventory as much as possible (basically, a light source and your treasure-holding bag; fortunately the vorpal sword counts as a treasure). This puzzle wasn’t illogical, but there was no textual indication the possessions were causing the imbalance.

The ledge is followed by some steps which lead to an area I’ve seen before, from the other side.

You are on a large landing. Two close set doors decorated with scenes of brave Adventurers fighting huge lions, exit northwest and northeast. The only other exit is down the steps.

Here’s a map of my earlier visit of the same place just as a reminder:

This is from the first underground cavern of the game and shows the north side of the lion and leopard rooms.

Previously the rooms were separate, but looking from the south side they are “close set”, so trying to OPEN DOOR results in a disambiguation prompt.

Which door do you wish to open (left or right) ?

Let’s try typing RIGHT.


As you open the door a large and ferocious lion leaps out. Against his superior bulk and razor sharp claws you stand no chance…..

No, maybe LEFT?


>As you open the door a large and ferocious leopard leaps out. (Obviously the painter of the murals only knew how to do lions.) Against his superior bulk and razor sharp claws you stand no chance.

I will be revealing the final result after the picture, but you (yes, you, the one reading this right now) might want to stop and think how you’d solve this one; you technically have enough information to solve the puzzle.

The Hero Overpowering a Lion. Picture via Thierry Ollivier at the Musée du Louvre. (Image permission is for non-commercial use only.)


You yank open both doors simultaneously, barricading yourself in the triangle so formed. As you do so two large and ferocious animals leap out, and the noise of their combat reverberates throughout the caves. Obviously they had not eaten for days. Eventually the noise ceases and you feel confident enough to close the doors. The bodies of the big cats lie in pieces around the landing, obviously quite dead.

Just for emphasis, yes, you have to type something entirely different than what the prompt tells you is an option. This is meta at the level of answering the rhetorical question about fighting a dragon in Adventure.

Posted January 24, 2020 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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19 responses to “Hezarin: WARE THE MINOTAUR

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  1. I got the final puzzle in this post. It reminds me of the Inform 7 parser–when I was digging around in it once I found a comment about the clever trick it uses when you type “all” in response to a “Which do you mean?” question. This was the first time I realized you could type “all” in response to a “Which do you mean?” question.

    • I learned that the puzzle can also be solved with the command OPEN DOORS (plural).

      Structurally, this whole sequence creates a one-way “door to before,” letting the player return to the first underground cave area from the fountain area. The question then is… what can you then do on a repeat visit to the first underground area, that you *couldn’t* do previously? A question I’m wrestling with presently myself.

      • Vague hint (more or less just a strategy idea):

        Gur trbtencul vf frzv-npphengr — fb vs lbh unir na haerfbyirq chmmyr orybj gung frrzf gb or yvaxrq gb trbtencul, purpxvat gur sybbe nobir va ebhtuyl gur fnzr fcbg pna or urycshy.

      • A bit late Voltgloss but you can visit Nightmare Cavern without chickening out and thus receive an object…..if you have seen the object you’re given on your previous visit. Yes it is that tortuous.

  2. “Triangle so formed”? I guess the doors must be hinged on the inside (the left door on its right side and the right door on its left), but is there any description of that fact?

  3. I also guessed the solution of the final puzzle in this post, because I remembered an almost identical puzzle in an old “Mandrake the magician” comic — maybe it was an influence? In the comic, there were four doors; we knew that behind one of them was the exit and behind all the others were wild beasts, and someone forced Lothar to choose a door. Mandrake told him to open all doors simultaneously: the beasts then fought each other while Lothar could escape.

  4. I note that you can OPEN DOORS and have the leopard and unicorn destroy each other.

  5. Or rather leopard and lion

  6. Mon dieu this game is just as tough as I remember it. I still think the need to abgr gur svefg yrggref bs vafgehzragf cynlvat hcba lbhe vavgvny ragel gb Avtugzner Pnirea vf na nofheqyl uneq yrnc bs vagvhvgvba. It’s almost as if they knew it because they rubbed salt into the wounds by ensuring you could never see the description again. Luckily I had noted it down in the naughty nineties when first I played. It is one of the few bits (with the exception of the leopard and the lion and the pit problem) that I actually remembered. I’ve had nearly as many restarts as Warp already.

  7. One trick I hadn’t realized Jason was that the location of the two pits in the long east-west corridor to the se of the Fountain Cavern is randomized. This would seem to be counter intuitive to the idea of having a map showing the position of the pits. The last time I played it the correct sequence was e-e-e-e-e-e-jump-e-e-jump-e-Brimstone Cavern. This didn’t change whenever reloading the same file when directly to the north of the rope bridge and before reading the map. However, on playing today this sequence has become e-e-e-e-e-e-jump-jump-e-e-e-Brimstone Cavern. I was aware that attempting to save the game in mid sequence caused the two pits to slide together thereby rendering the game unwinnable but this trick seems illogical (or is it a bug?)

    • Pretty much everything I know about the puzzle I wrote about in my previous post (“the crowd are delirious” one). The map indeed itself is not fixed and will be randomized each game.

  8. Well I have checked the paper inside the lantern from different plays and mine never changes. Only the actual terrain does.

    • I’m still not fully comprehending what’s going on — it is trying to do an anti-cheat but I’m not even sure if it is working right. It certainly was the most frustrating part of the game for me.

      TBH if I were replaying Hezarin I would just use a save state (save states were really wobbly in 2020 when I was first playing, but Dosbox-X is really good and stable for save states now).

      • Yes; I checked my map religiously and it always shows the same number of lines and pit locations are identical regardless of where the pits actually are in reality. The latter do change for me. I had a pc crash this week and was forced to employ my Windows 10 machine which I had been deliberately putting off for a couple of years as I love Windows 7 and the thought of having to re-install everything including all my emulators (remember the HP3000 Warp install?) and everything else deterred me but I finally had to bite the bullet.

        Anyway I have been unable to use the save state slots successfully in DOSBox-X. The state saves and reloads but then I get a disc read error as soon as I try any more input. It is definitely not an access / rights issue as I have full admin control. In the end I found a customised version of DOSBox called DosBox SVN-Daum which has a menu bar and possesses ten save slots although you can’t name them. I thank the guy who wrote it and this works fine in Windows 10.

        I haven’t tried to set up my Archimedes emulator, Atari etc. yet as I am still fighting my ASUS graphics card lockups. And they said moving house was traumatic.

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