Cyborg: Food for the Truth   2 comments

Only incremental progress since last time (and I have been taking whacks at the game at odd hours all week) but part of it had to do with what may or may not be bugs.

From Schuette’s Book of Adventure Games.

The very first room had a lizard asking for “food for the truth”. I didn’t spend an overly long time agonizing here — I figured food would surface eventually — but Voltgloss mentioned there was a puzzle that didn’t work at all on the Apple version of the game, and when I investigated further I found out it was this one. Specifically, there’s a location that mentions “insects” in the description where you can GET INSECTS, but it does not work in the Apple version of the game. Here’s a screenshot from the C64 version:

Unfortunately, this means I have to start thinking about objects I might be able to take mentioned as the general part of a room description, rather than separated into their own lines. Ugh.

You can then talk to the lizard (“ASK LIZARD”) and get some information which mostly seems to be for plot flair, but it was still worth going through the effort:

The lizard also confirms the forest is “purely an illusion” and mentions it arrived where it did “through a terrible catastrophe” and that “zoological specimens” have escaped their cages and “the robot is worst of all”.

Switching back to the Apple version (because I’m stubborn, and also I haven’t found a good C64 emulator that handles “turbo mode” well without also making keyboard presses too fast and Cyborg runs incredibly slow) I still was quite stuck. I had noticed that I could WEAR the micro-laser in order to shoot it and the shoulder harness could be worn as well, and with the laser I could shoot at the hostile snake and “cut” the string I found tied in the forest into smaller pieces of string, but I was otherwise combing over every location making sure I hadn’t missed anything.

I decided to try HELP because it felt like it was meant as an in-game resource and not an external “giving up” — this lets you “talk” with the computer you are merged with to get advice. Most places were not terribly helpful, and some hints I knew already, like a spot in the northeast had a tree that was climbable (but I kept slipping when trying to climb it). Oddly, one hint seemed to be misplaced.

SOMETHING IS ODD TO THE EAST.

This happened to the location just north of where I think it should have been.

The path to the “little, shelved room” isn’t necessarily described, but I was blindly trying room exits at the time so I found it almost right away in my first session.

I maybe should have internalized this as a general pattern. There was another hint when climbing a ramp (the same one that has the insects) that there seems to be something below, but if you try to CLIMB DOWN you go splat and die. I tried tying the string into some sort of rope (it was described as strong, so maybe?) but otherwise had no luck so figured this was a puzzle for when I got an object later. But no: this was pretty much required as the next step in the game. But you don’t climb down where the hint is given, but rather one position off from it.

If this was the only place in the game where this happened, I might say the hint was just trying to be sneaky and force the player to think about another location to get down from the same place, but since the other hint location is clearly erroneous, I’m going to guess this one was an error too.

Past the glitch I found some sneakers, matches, a black plastic cube, a power-pack (this helps keep the “your health is reducing” timer at bay) and a stepladder (which helps you get back up to the ramp again).

I also found what was entirely a “flavor maze” when I tried to leave the clearing in an odd direction. The rooms seem to be there entirely just to get the player lost, but I still had to go through the effort of dropping items and testing every direction because I wasn’t sure there wasn’t going to be a hidden item.

I then used the pieces of string I had failed to turn into a rope to make the sneakers wearable, and was able to climb up the tree to find a “strange piece of fruit”.

On a hunch, I took the fruit back to the lizard and tried to give that (rather than insects) and found it worked! Maybe the insects were intended as an alternate solution?

Posted December 12, 2021 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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2 responses to “Cyborg: Food for the Truth

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  1. Fascinating to see a hybrid of text commands and multiple choice for dialogue. Is this the earliest example?

    • Stuga had a bit that switched to multiple choice, but it wasn’t really conversation.

      I do think this is otherwise the first appearance, yes. (Note that it isn’t only sort of fake-multiple-choice in the parser version, where you ASK followed by the number but still in the parser, and only the C64 version from ’82 does it turn that into a prompt where you just type the number.)

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