The Cranston Manor Adventure: I HAVE PUT THE BULL IN A TEMPORARY TIME STASIS FIELD   6 comments

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I’m verging close to the end — a lot of the game falls open once the map is mostly done, although the last pesky puzzles may take a bit of work. I’ll list those out, but first, I need to highlight two annoyances:


You need to sleep regularly or you die.

For a long time, I hadn’t found a bed, so my initial mapping efforts involved sending lots of death-clones. I later discovered, by accident, that SLEEP pretty much works anywhere in the house; while you can’t do it outside, you can do it randomly in the middle of a hall safely; I haven’t checked everywhere, but it looks like every room with one of those black armors works. (We’ll get back to the black armors again in a moment.)

There really doesn’t seem to be a gameplay point other than when going underground it’s wise to rest first, lest you get stuck falling asleep randomly in the middle of the (confusing) map.


I talked about those last time; they serve as the “dwarves” of the game, and randomly up to try to shoot you. Their accuracy isn’t that high, unless you try to attack them. Then they come in an endless stream.

Despite initial appearances, original Adventure kept track of specific dwarf locations and had limits to their travel (but also a large enough area you didn’t see them constantly). With Cranston Manor it is possible they do the same thing but functionally there are so many of them the best route seems to be ignore them and then reload every once in a while when they actually hit.

This normally wouldn’t be a problem but the game isn’t great about specifying where exits are, so I find myself losing lives just checking there isn’t some exit to the west I missed.

With that away, let’s talk about


Lots of fairly standard rooms for the imaginings of giant manors; halls, an observatory, a “hunting room”, bedrooms mostly upstairs (which, recall, I only found late), an organ room, servant area, a kitchen, and a chapel.

Puzzle #1: There’s a fountain outside with water I’d like to drain, and a cistern inside with a bottle inside that I’d like to fill with water. There’s even a pump switch in the cistern, but if I try to use it I find it “needs some help starting”.
I have a screwdriver I assume somehow works, but I haven’t found anything to screw or unscrew.

Notice the reference to “solar cells” in the lantern. The lantern can run out but can apparently be recharged when outside.

Puzzle #2: if there’s a treasure sitting in a room with one of the suits of armor, they won’t let you pick it up. Two treasures (SILVER CANDLESTICKS and RARE TEA) start out in such rooms, and any treasures from elsewhere that you drop in a room with armor become part of the same issue.

That’s pretty much it for aboveground. The map tries to go for “hidden puzzles” — there was a fireplace where I could GO FIREPLACE but it wasn’t immediately obvious, and a torch which revealed a secret lift…

but for the most part, the other obstacles weren’t “puzzles” as much as navigational oddities. One exception (which I already saw) was a rope you could climb, and twenty-dollar bills on a shelf out of reach. If you just tried to jump you would fall, but SWING ROPE puts them in reach.

This is one of those “slightly specific physical action” puzzles that can sometimes be awkward (see Hezarin with the surfing scene, and climbing at the end, or Savage Island’s breath control). Still, I solved this fairly quickly and found it satisfying; I’m not sure what the dividing line is between action being too unusual and just right.

That leaves the


where there is (Puzzle #3) a door which requests an ID — I assume I just have to find it so I’m not doing any active solving — and Puzzle #4, the weirdest of all.

If you try to return back through the room a second time the bull gores you.

Past the bull is a gold nugget, but there doesn’t seem to be a way back except through the bull. This still may just be a situation where I need to solve another geographic oddity and getting by the bull is a one-shot deal.

My (no doubt incomplete and broken) current map of the underground.

Posted August 24, 2020 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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6 responses to “The Cranston Manor Adventure: I HAVE PUT THE BULL IN A TEMPORARY TIME STASIS FIELD

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  1. Was glad to see this posted. “Cranston Manor Adventure” is a game that I played for TAG and for various reasons never wrote it up. I’m glad to see someone else did. I was able to get in touch with the developer as well, but regretfully he didn’t have too much to add.

    • I look forward to being able to read your Infocom series … eventually. (I did read your Cornerstone entry. Technically I remember some of the games so well I wouldn’t be “spoiling” anything, but still … I should try to be as fresh as possible when they come up.)

  2. I can’t help but think that with the bull, the bullfighting tropes may come into play. Be it the word “Ole” or perhaps some sort of red cloth that you need to wave?

  3. I have had a lot of fun playing through Infocom. I admire your desire for completeness; while I haven’t been able to do that on a macro level, with Infocom I know I can play them and their precursors in chronological order and that satisfies my OCD nicely. Stop by and compare notes when you hit on something I’ve covered as I appreciate the alternate viewpoint. 1981 is a good year with lots of innovative games and while you’ve hit quite a few already, there are good ones still to come. (I don’t see that you’ve done Softporn or Cyborg yet for example, both of which are on my “important” list.)

    I reached out to Mr. Ledden and let him know you were looking at his game. Perhaps he will stop by, but most likely not. My impression from my brief conversation with him five years ago was that this was significantly in his past and not something he’s thought about much in decades.

    • I’m very much looking forward to Cyborg, although it’s pretty deep down my list (can’t burn through all the gems early!)

      The next game on my list is on TAG (different person who did the writeup, though).

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