Lucifer’s Realm: The Suffering   11 comments

If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.

— The Second World War (1950), Winston Churchill

The cover of the American Eagle edition of the game, from the Museum of Computer Adventure Games.

The afterlife lends itself well to computer gameplay. Depending on how it gets described, characters are essentially immortal and can die and revive without any disjoint between game universe and mainline narrative (done magnificently in the recent game Hades). Logic and geography only need to be held onto in a tentative way. Odd, repetitive actions and futile motions can seem “normal” (also known as: testing actions in an adventure game that don’t work).

The last part is kind of unfortunate, but expected in the context of a Pearson game: making sure to LOOK at everything, then LOOK at what might plausibly be considered a sub-noun in the description you get, then LOOKing again three more time just in case you missed something. Also, LISTEN and SMELL for good measure. Quite a bit of my early stuckness had to do with this kind of activity, which just isn’t consistent enough to feel like “exploring”.

But to start things off, I tried to kill John Wilkes Booth. As one does. He tried to strangle me with some rope and I was able to run away, and helpfully, grab the rope. (Unhelpfully, I didn’t notice the rope had come along with me until a few iterations of just running around, but I’m condensing a bit.)

In the same location next to Booth, I incidentally found a rock by SMELLing, but I couldn’t do anything with it at the time.

The game also mentions an “opening” under the rock, and at the time (based on the picture) I assumed the rock needed to be dislodged somewhere so went through great pains trying to lever it away with no luck. It turns out this was almost meant to be a non-puzzle, but I didn’t realize it until later. In the meantime, I went back to test SMELL in other places some more and found at the well from last time, while SMELL generically didn’t help much, if I typed SMELL VAPORS I was able to go into a “dream-like” state.

After some listening I got some communication straight from Beelzebub (see above) hinting not only did I need to find a crown, but that Hitler was after a piece of the statue called Deecula.

WHEN DEECULA IS RESTORED AND IT’S POWER GLOWS, THE CRYSTAL SEALS HIS FATE.

Thanks, Beelzebub … friend? Next to the well was the screw I had posited earlier I needed to tie a rope to, and this was indeed the case. Climbing down, I found another Hitler ally.

The Jim Jones massacre happened only four years before this came out, in 1978. The short version is that in the US he formed a quasi-Christian cult of personality known as the Peoples Temple, and eventually (due to paranoia and concern of nuclear war) moved the group to Guyana. Some complications with the US government led to the group murdering a US congressman and the eventual distribution of cyanide-laced Flavor Aid to all 909 of his followers. Some refused to drink and were given cyanide by syringe, with the end result was that all of them died including 304 children, so yes, Jim Jones richly deserves his place in hell.

Jim Jones said he saw sin in me and I could not pass. While being judgmental he dropped a spare pair of sunglasses, and I was also able to swipe the contents of the skull I had tossed off the ledge: a lamp.

If you try to KILL Jim Jones this happens and you get teleported back to the start. This is not a game over.

The sunglasses I knew immediately to take back to the “word” from the very start which was too bright; with the sunglasses on I was able to read LUCIFAGE. I then flailed around quite a bit more and somehow came across a DAGGER and a SWORD that were along the way to see Satan while I was wandering. I don’t know if the two items just appear after a certain amount of times, or if I really missed LOOKs in the right rooms somehow.

I beat upon all the various rooms in case I missed something else before returning to the pesky rock-on-opening. While testing things out I tried (more by rote process than thought process) the command GO OPENING, which worked! I guess the rock on top of the opening was not meant to be a complete covering even though it was drawn that way.

If you don’t have the lamp, this room is too dark to see.

This led to an ancient chest which read “the word is the key”. Given I had learned all about LUCIFAGE, I tried it out, and the chest revealed a disk marked DEECULA — this was the thing Hitler was wanting.

This looks a lot like a ping-pong paddle, especially when Hitler is holding it later.

I didn’t find it my first, second, or even third time through, but I’ll save time and mention there’s one more item hiding here, if you LOOK BLOOD: an oil can.

With the disk in hand, I took another visit to Jim Jones — knowing Hitler wanted the disk — and Jones stepped aside to let me through, commenting that Hitler wanted to see the disk. This led to a room with sleeping bats, and a squeaky door.

The game has been pretty good at avoiding softlocks, given that death isn’t really death, but if you see this screen, you’ve softlocked the game. The bats are awoken by the squeaky door and can’t be calmed.

The oil can is obvious once it is in hand, but I first tried a bunch of ways of scaring off the bats, even though I did have in the back of my mind the whole situation would be avoided if the door didn’t squeak.

I then encountered a very dark room that was only made less dark once I took off my sunglasses.

If you try to wander in the darkness while sunglasses-clad you get this scene of falling into a pit, which looks like it was rendered from a photo rather than drawn.

With visibility, there’s a chain you can climb up (and take with you) in order to make it to Hitler’s room.

The guard asks who sent you, you have to say EICHMANN (who said earlier to mention his name).

Arriving with the disk results in a very enthusiastic Hitler, and I’m just going to give the whole sequence of images.

Are we the baddies? (I mean, going to hell means the answer is “yes”, but I mean in the sense of I thought we were supposed to be stopping Hitler, not helping. This seems to be the only way to make progress though, this is an “intentional” story beat.)

I’ve made it a smidge farther but this seems like a good cliffhanger. In a way the setup feels very tight and modern, but the awkward ability to miss basic items has been quite a drag. I suspect I’m at a halfway point (at least, I switched from disk 1 to disk 2) and — depending on how hard the rest of the game is — should finish by my next post or the one after.

Just a quick reminder, do check out Will Moczarski’s write-ups, as he is playing this game also in the text-only version.

Posted March 19, 2022 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction, Video Games

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11 responses to “Lucifer’s Realm: The Suffering

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  1. Jim Jones is also the wonderful fellow we can thank for the phrase “drink the Kool-Aid”, as in to completely buy into something. Flavor-aid is undoubtedly very grateful no one remembers that they were an accidental part of the whole thing.
    Also, why the hell does Hitler have smell lines? I didn’t think Hitler would have done something to get him sent to the stinky part of Hell. He hasn’t bathed since he got there, I’m sure, but I doubt anyone else has either.

  2. I can’t help but marvel at how good the artwork is in this game, especially having recently read your Time Zone entries.

    There is a bit of Incrocci’s incongruously cartoonish style (e.g. the face of Deecula), but much of the renderings are extraordinary in the way dithering gives the illusion of more than 4 on-screen colors, and the depth of detail he ekes out from the Apple ][‘s “Hi-Res” mode. It’s remarkably well done.

  3. My second post is up! I will now read your first post assuming that it’s spoiler-free at this point (I’ve made some progress in the meantime) but I will refrain from reading this one (or the comments) in case you are further along in the game. What I’m really looking forward to is reading all of them again after having finished the game. I’ve just dodged a major bullet (I assume) by accident and am curious how you tackled that puzzle. Also, it’s great that we are playing different versions so there may or may not be some differences concerning the parser or rooms that are a bit hard to imagine by reading the sparse descriptions only.

    • I peeked and we’re at the exact same spot, so feel free to read both of them.

      If you mean the dagger, I just got lucky. I assumed the dagger wasn’t there before, but maybe it was in the door all along? I need to go check that.

      Where I really got stuck for a long time was the oil can.

  4. I read that in his youth, Jim Jones admired Hitler, so it makes sense he’d sign up as his henchman.

  5. what a….. GAME OMG!

    The graphics (looks rad in my mobile), the setting, the atmosphere, the plot!

    Is it as awesome as it looks?

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