The Tarturian: The Final Battle   7 comments

Into the breach we go. This post will only make sense if you’ve read my previous ones first.

From the cover of the game’s manual, via the Gallery of Undiscovered Entities.

Before approaching the final battle, I needed to get all the weapons in addition to all the treasures.

daggers, potions, swords, spears, darts, maces

Some of these are dependent on if you are holding certain treasures; for example, if you are holding Rexxon’s Arc (that was the one that required doing the USE RING/MAGIC puzzle) you can find the daggers in a random dead end.

This is after the vast majority of people will have everything mapped out. Just to be clear how annoying this is, here is a merged version of all the maps together.

I’m not sure what the expectations of the authors was — that the entire map get combed over again?

The maces are the same way — they are in a random dead end, and you can find them while holding the pendant (it’s more feasible a player would be holding the pendant by the time they first reach this location, but I hadn’t).

There are swords are at yet another random dead end, this time while holding the crown (which is likely one of the last treasures the player would find!)

Oddly enough, another place has swords. It’s in a location with a whole stash: darts, potions, spears, and swords all together.

This is the only “interesting” weapon spot, insofar as reaching it requires going past a slaver raid (there’s no way past it) …

After this I was out of strongmen and elves.

… and down a shaft, where there’s no way to get back up. I hence had one somewhat random puzzle left to solve, although my solution came from taking the magician I happened to have out and trying MAGIC in every room. In one of the rooms you find a bicyclops. (A cyclops with two eyes. Yes.)

From the source code

2917 IF A$ = “” THEN PRINT “YES THAT IS THE CARRIAGE RETURN KEY NOW LETS SEE YOU FIND SOME OTHERS”: GOTO 2910

2920 IF A$ = “SEX” THEN FOR I = 1 TO 5: XDRAW 38 AT 120,60: XDRAW 38 AT 135,60: DRAW 38 AT 120,90: DRAW 38 AT 135,90: XDRAW 38 AT 120,90: XDRAW 38 AT 135,90: DRAW 38 AT 120,60: DRAW 38 AT 135,60: NEXT I: PRINT “OOOGA OOOGA”: GOTO 2910

2925 IF LEFT$(A$,4) = “HELP” THEN PRINT “TELL ME ONLY WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH”: GOTO 2910

2930 IF LEFT$(A$,4) = “FIND” THEN PRINT “TELL ME ONLY WHAT YOU NEED TO FIND”: GOTO 2910

2940 IF A$ = “EXIT” OR A$ = “ENTRANCE” OR A$ = “LEAVE” THEN GOTO 8140

2950 IF A$ = “GOLD” OR A$ = “TREASURE” OR A$ = “WEAPONS” THEN PRINT “I DON’T SEE ANY”: GOTO 2910

(If you pick SEX the eyes move rapidly up and down, followed by OOOGA OOOGA. I will spare you a screenshot.)

After enough turns have passed the bicyclops helpfully states IF YOU SAY ‘EXIT’ I WILL GET YOU OUT so at least this isn’t a complete guessing game.

With all that taken care of, I first needed to restock my supply of elves and strongmen.

Urgh. This is the only thing money in the game is used for.

Then it was just the Tarturian to worry about. I mentioned I already found it last time. What happened is I had found some food for the yummy yakky (two posts ago, so let me reproduce the picture)…

…who, after USE FOOD, gives you a hint.

BURP THANKS.I TRIED TO EAT A SPIDER HANGING FROM THE CEILING ONCE BUT SOMEBODY MEAN PUSHED IT TOO HIGH FOR ME

Way back in one of the early rooms of the game I remembered a spider.

I tried doing the Strongman’s various maneuvers: MOVE unveiled the passage to the Tarturian.

THIS IS THE ENTRANCE TO THE TARTURIANS LAIR. IF YOU ENTER IT THERE WILL BE NO RETURNING.

DO YOU WISH TO FACE THE TERRIBLE TARTURIAN Y(YES) N(NO)?

This leads to the final showdown, which has no interactivity at all (as long as you’ve brought all the weapons and treasures).

The game then kicks to the Apple II prompt and ends by informing you that GOTO 10 will let you watch the whole sequence again, if you want.

Utterly, utterly, exhausting. Easily 80% of my gameplay was either a.) mapping, where I had to test every room exit since none are listed b.) trawling through the map a second time once I realized what was going on with the how the weapons showed up and c.) the logistics of a decreasing strength meter and losing party members. It was hard to find satisfaction even in the puzzles that had hints to them. But at least I’m done with it.

Posted January 14, 2021 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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7 responses to “The Tarturian: The Final Battle

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  1. A curious game with a weird war-party mechanic (a cast of dozens!?), which might have had potential but seems to have turned out to be just a frustrating grind. But it was interesting to read about. Thanks for persevering with it!

    • Prior to playing this game, I had no idea how to have a (good) adventure game where you control an entire war-party. Now, even though The Tarturian is essentially a negative example, I have an inkling.

      The random-critters-killing-particular party members would have to go, and the command structure would need to be streamlined (like, I could see choosing CAST and having some message along the lines of one of your wizards stepping up). I’d put in some bona-fide combat as opposed to just having set places where slavers make off with party members.

      I’d also give them names and stuff. Even if it’s an XCOM type situation where some of them are cannon fodder, a few character strokes would go a long way.

  2. “What Level Are We At”? “Don’t Like”? I’m suspecting a bit of editorializing here…. ;)

    2917 IF A$ = “” THEN PRINT “YES THAT IS THE CARRIAGE RETURN KEY NOW LETS SEE YOU FIND SOME OTHERS”: GOTO 2910

    *snerk*

    The fact that they specially coded for the response SEX says something about who they expected to be playing this game, methinks.

    THOUST BAND OF RAG TAG WARRIORS

    “Thoust”? Look, I know everyone gets thy/thine wrong (“thy” before consonant sounds, “thine” before vowels) but thoust?? Excuse me, I need I lie-down.

  3. For a time “The Tarturian” was an in-joke on Mobygames, whenever someone would ask after an obscure and unknown game of no known title. “Have you tried… The Tarturian?”

    I can’t really explain why it was funny, but the game’s dubious merits made it no less a fan than John Romero, who was the one who wrote it up for that site!

    • I saw Romero did a tweet about it! The odd thing is his description meant he got to the end but he must have been one of only a few people to finish it, because there were no maps/walkthroughs anywhere on the Internet.

      I could see liking it with a certain mindset. It certainly is unique if nothing else.

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