Earthquake San Francisco 1906: Adventures With Fruity   Leave a comment

(This post won’t make much sense without reading my previous ones in this series.)

Slow and jerking progress. I’ve somewhat got “in the mind” of the author here.

Reading the Author’s Mind Point #1: The parser has some “general” verbs that work anywhere — I listed them last time — but also some locations/objects with custom responses even on verbs that normally provoke a “huh?” and a custom phrase in one case (that is, the verb was not recognized, but the full verb-and-noun-combo was).

For example, SCREAM in order to get un-buried from the rubble doesn’t work anywhere else. (I had solved the puzzle before I went and made my verb list.) Rather more frustrating and important is that I was staring at the blank wall from last time…

…looked at the lumber in my inventory, and thought to try MAKE LADDER. This led to the response


which does not happen if you try to make a ladder anywhere else, even though there’s no logical reason for this! I was just lucky enough to try the command in the right place.

Moving on, I needed the aforementioned “something” I lacked — I presumed nails, and possibly a hammer, so went searching for them.

Reading the Author’s Mind Point #2: Events can happen in previously visited places. The game doesn’t keep track of the number of turns (except for if you are in imminent danger and have one turn to react) so this is event-based, meaning if you hung out and searched a place for many, many, turns, you may still have missed anything, because time doesn’t “advance” until you get further along.

Case in point: I had sauntered back to the start and somehow encountered the dog below near where the fruit seller was. I will call him Fruity.

Nooooo Fruity that’s rotten fruit, you’ll get sick.

I’m not sure what triggers Fruity to appear — I think it may just be getting into the sewer, or something close to that — but it means that after any progress, prior locations need to be checked.

Points #1 and #2 combined to have me go back and scour each location looking for nails (or a hammer). It occurred to me at the ruined hotel there could be some nails in the debris, even though I did LOOK on everything I could think of.


I apparently hadn’t done LOOK WALL because that yielded me … a handgun? (I tried another look after and the game said NOT NOW!) Well, that doesn’t solve the ladder problem, but I did have a soldier to deal with, and unlike the poor human we gunned down in Escape from Traam he’s actively trying to hurt us, so:

Still feel kind of bad, because the only reason for doing this is to steal the nails from his pack.

Just nails and lumber aren’t quite enough, though. After some frustrating attempts at searching nearby some more…

Still haven’t found anything here, for instance, but the game has me absolutely paranoid something will eventually pop up so I have to keep returning.

…I hiked back all the way to the hotel, and amidst my searching, tried LOOK WALL again. Remember, I found a handgun but couldn’t find anything else!

I double checked, and it looks like the hammer will not appear until you use the gun. I very much get the impression the author had a “script” of action, but even with liberal use of “drama time”, I don’t understand why the handgun and hammer can’t appear at the same time.

With hammer, nails, and lumber in tow, I was finally able to walk back to that wall and MAKE LADDER (and of course I had to walk back first, given that MAKE LADDER doesn’t even get recognized as an understood phrase elsewhere in the game!)

Horray! I was able to ladder myself over the wall, only to drop into a courtyard with an iron door that was too hot to the touch from a fire on the opposite side, and to have Fruity pee all over my pants. This left my inventory with WET PANTS, and no, I’m not kidding. You can avoid this if you immediately go away from the courtyard and don’t try to interact with the door while holding Fruity — more Drama Time it seems. The WET PANTS take up an inventory slot and you can’t drop them without eventually getting arrested for indecent exposure, so I’ve got one save game where I keep the wet pants and one where I avoid getting them to have that extra inventory slot.

ASIDE ABOUT INVENTORY SLOTS: The inventory has a maximum of six, and since the game is linear, it’s a royal pain — whenever I’ve made progress I’ve done back-and-forth trips trucking all the items in the game farther to the front of the line. Will I still need the gold and silver keys used earlier? Probably not, but I got bit so hard in Traam I’m not taking any chances. As part of the back-and-forth trips you have to be careful not to block your progress by not taking along key items; for instance, a crowbar that you use at the very start needs to stay in your inventory to be able to use the manhole cover to the sewer (it’s not obvious this is the case, but the game stops you if you aren’t holding the crowbar, which I found out the hard way).

Fruity runs to the south after the incident and, perhaps to make up for past transgression, digs up a boat paddle (which I haven’t gotten to use yet). I wasn’t getting anywhere with the hot door (I thought maybe the wet pants might serve to cool the handle down or some such) so I had to move on, by jumping up some stairs (steps are missing so if you just CLIMB you die) and finding a horse.

CLIMB HORSE and RIDE HORSE both work (although it took me a while to work this out, progress was much more disjointed than I’m making it seem) leading up to a cliff. Unfortunately, the horse took off on its own and died. Trying to climb further led to death.

This better not happen to Fruity or I’m going to get grouchy.

Back a room I found a CREVICE


so I had to LOOK QUARTZ




followed by LOOK FLAT SPOT


followed by LOOK OBJECT, finding a DIAMOND and leading me to wonder if the author was attempting some analogue of a shaggy-dog joke in puzzle form.

Speaking of shaggy dogs, I was stuck so decided to go back and try the iron door again. This time, the fire had abated and I was able to go through. In a Drama Time sense this makes sense, but why couldn’t we have waited the fire out earlier …? It’s very easy for Drama Time (in the way this author is using it) to interfere with puzzle solving.

Past are the three rooms above. The first two I thoroughly and tried every manner of LOOK and MOVE and DIG I could think of, but I found nothing. It wouldn’t surprise me though if after making a small bit of progress I’ll find a postage stamp under one of the cushions for no good reason.

This means the only puzzle I have to work on is the crack in the ground, but trying to CLIMB or JUMP or apply the ladder in any sense has led to falling to my doom For the record, my inventory (carried and uncarried) is CROWBAR, HANDGUN, SMALL DOG (Fruity!), LADDER, GOLD KEY, SILVER KEY, LETTER, WAD OF BILLLS (from the very start of the game), PADDLE, HAMMER, DIAMOND, and depending on what reality fragment I’m in, WET PANTS. I’ll take speculation as to what to do next in the comments, but if you outright know the answer please use ROT13; I’ve somehow managed to go without hints so far, and I’d like to try for at least a little longer.

Posted June 17, 2021 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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