The Golden Baton: Revenge of the Parallel Universes Problem   2 comments

I didn’t get much farther than last time, but I hit an almost perfect variation of the Parallel Universes Problem, so I wanted to share.

From the Museum of Computer Adventure Games.

(Definition: situation where the user is in a playthrough with different conditions from another playthrough, and where the difference between the “parallel universes” is non-obvious. I first coined the term in relation to the game Kidnapped.)

I had previously been stopped by an armored figure, but only in the TRS-80 version of the game.

I had *not* been stopped by the same character in the BBC version. I thought, vaguely, perhaps I hit a bug, or just a situation where the defeat gives an item and it was set up so the later version was more forgiving when the puzzle was to be solved.

I had missed a slight difference between the two universes. In the BBC universe, I was wearing a RAGGED OLD CLOAK (from the first room of the game). In the TRS-80 one, I was carrying it, but didn’t have it on.

The cloak makes you invisible to the figure, so you can move on. There is no message or indicator why you can get by (I found the “invisible” thing from the game’s hint sheet).

This opened up two areas for me. First, the inside of the castle (see above), which includes a hunting horn (you can BLOW HORN but I haven’t found a use for it yet), a HELMET (there’s runes on it, just like a STAFF on the road to the castle), a LAMP, a LARGE HAMMER, a magical QUARTZ, a SMALL MIRROR, and a LIZARD MAN. I haven’t tried to face off against the lizard man yet, but I did run across a gorgon, and the results were unfortunate.

Getting in here required a KEY I found by throwing the rope up the tree I mentioned last time.

I would think the SMALL MIRROR would help, but the result above happens even if you’re holding it. I don’t know if there’s some extra verb involved, but I’d be surprised if the mirror didn’t factor into the solution somehow.

The second area I opened — by lighting the lamp — was a series of caves underneath the hut (or “cabin” if you’re playing the BBC version).

The cave layout is slightly different in the BBC version.

I found a padlock which I was able to smash using the LARGE HAMMER from the castle. Inside was a RAFT. I have no idea how to use the raft.

I found some slugs (easily defeated with salt I had) and a crab (who is distracted if you throw the dead slugs). The crab is next to an underground lake, which seemingly begs to have the raft used on it.

This is one of those kind of games where an item only works in the right spot and just gives a vague hint if you’re doing it wrong, so it may be I need to just try (say) THROW RAFT elsewhere. “RIDE” is clearly eliminated as shown on the screenshot above, though.

Other than checking up on the armored figure I’ve been trying to resist hints; I’ve been warned the puzzles are pretty arbitrary on this one so I don’t know how productive it will be to hold off on reading more hints, but I’m going to hang on a little longer.

What I am going to do is drop playing the BBC Micro version for now; I’m finding it too confusing to switch back and forth between the universes (I’m still referring to the HUT as a CABIN by accident) even though it’s fascinating that the author decided to change so much between the two versions.

Posted October 12, 2020 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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2 responses to “The Golden Baton: Revenge of the Parallel Universes Problem

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  1. If you can WEAR HELMET/TURN HELMET (so it covers your eyes) and then GO to the medusa room while holding the mirror, that would be cool.

    • Wow, that’d be a neat solution!

      (Unfortunately it turns out to be not that neat, you need to HOLD MIRROR before walking in. Bleh. I did beat the game, writeup today or tomorrow.)

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