Lucifer’s Realm: The Princes of Peace and Darkness   4 comments

This is my finale post on Lucifer’s Realm, so if you’ve arrived from elsewhere, you should read my prior posts first.

The UK edition of the game, from Retrogames. They’ve tossed Mussolini in the lower right, there. Despite the mention in the ad copy Mussolini shows up nowhere in the game.

I left off last time in a forest, which is a (mercifully small) maze.

Out to the west you can find the Prince of Peace himself, Jesus.

There’s a little bit of a catch with the whole “Satan sets you free” arrangement, you see — your soul has still been damned by your actions and Heaven won’t let you in. So the whole idea with meeting Jesus is to get absolution. His hint is to go back to the well of Beezlebub (?!) and try the vapors again. This doesn’t toss you in the dreamlike state again, but it does give a hint:

The verse in question here is “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” You need to go back to Jesus and CONFESS SINS.

Now you’re almost ready to take on Satan, but there’s one really nasty puzzle remaining. Going the other direction from Jesus on the other side of the maze you can find a crack in a wall.

The crack does not let you take an inventory items in. If you drop everything and go forward you find a stone door (which doesn’t want to open) and Judas the betrayer himself.

The silver coins seem like an immediately obvious bribe (it also seems like a wondrously appropriate hell-punishment for Judas to be wandering in eternity gathering more and more silver coins) but the crack makes it impossible to bring the coins over. I admit to being completely stumped here and had to look at hints.

Specifically:

a.) the word LUCIFAGE lets you open the stone door and get into a cave, which contains nothing

b.) to get the cave to contain something, there is one exact room in the forest you can drop items which will teleport over to the cave, for no clear reason

Part b does have a clue of sorts. At the start of the maze there is the message

OFFICIAL SAVEGAME SITE..NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR LOST ARTICLES!

which sort of hints at this might be something that happens. The appropriate room to drop things is at the very end of the maze but by then I was out of objects to drop and had figured out the form of the maze was mostly regular, anyway. If I had mechanically put something down and kept on moving I might have run across the trick by accident.

The trick with the magic cave let me grab the coins for Judas, and the crown from Hitler I still hadn’t used yet.

I finally arrived at a “SATANIC PALACE”…

…where I was able to KNOCK to be let in.

I mean, Jesus dropping by to absolve a sinner, sure. But an angel (that’s still angelic) opening the gates of Satan’s palace? Nuh-uh. The “angel” asks you to drop the crown.

It’s a trap!

No, you can just ignore the angel and move on to Satan himself.

If you give him the crown he will meet his end of the bargain (better than Hitler, that way) and let you free, and assuming you’ve made yourself proper with Jesus, you can ascend to victory.

Well, sort of? Satan getting his crown back allows him to kick Hitler’s army out of hell, but they still have the Deecula statue (remember us helping Hitler activate that?) And so… they try to invade Heaven instead.

It’s a 1982 game, so it won’t be terribly long (I’m estimating 3 months or so) before I get to the The Paradise Threat. Text-only this time, alas, but I’m still interested in having a final showdown with Hitler.

It’s not often that I invoke deeper themes here — as lovely as all the games have been, we’re still scratching the surface of artistic achievement. I thought The Institute had a promising setup that didn’t follow through; it vaguely indicated something about father issues and had a couple nice dialogue bits with the psychologist but the vast majority of it was a random glob of puzzles.

While Lucifer’s Realm still suffers some in a gameplay sense, I’d say it doesn’t have the same complaint: it sticks the landing on trying to say something with its story. Our protagonist has evil unmentioned deeds that go unremarked, but they (us) are clearly willing to go to extremes to help. What point is someone past saving and what point does redemption make sense? The encounter with Jesus indicates that, in some circumstances, past deeds can be forgotten.

At a simultaneous level, the whole plot involved helping the Prince of Darkness. Is this a paradox or reconcilable?

Is Judas, still desiring more silver coins even in Hell, essentially causing his own punishment?

Was giving Hitler the final piece to the Deecula statue worth it; that is, by helping a great evil, have we caused too much unintended consequence?

Or if you want to approach from the ludic angle, what was the significance of the final obstacle being a demon pretending to be angel trying to steal the crown from Satan?

Don’t forget Will Moczarski has been playing along the same time as me here, using the text-only TRS-80 version. I haven’t seen his final post but I was curious if any puzzles would come out differently, and if he had any different reactions in general to the events of the game. A few quotes of interest:

It took some time to get the parser to cooperate in almost every situation and so far I’m not exactly fond of the game.

It’s about as fussy as the previous Jyym Pearson parsers, but the thing I found trickiest was the occasional inconsistency. For example, at the very start, when you land in hell, you CLIMB down to a room with water and then pull a drain. (You can’t GET DRAIN either, it says you can’t see that here.) This automatically send you down a level. If you go back up again (absolutely necessary for the game, since the starting room requires the sunglasses to see LUCIFAGE), trying to CLIMB down and then CLIMB DRAIN just goes back up again rather than in the drain. The command is ignoring the noun. You have to GO DRAIN in order to keep progressing. There’s no real logic why the verb is different. Just one extra piece of friction to keep moving. (I believe the TRS-80 version is different again here, although I’m not remembering the exact commands; I tested it when I was first booting up the game.)

It works but he asks me why. I really don’t know, so I say “kill him”. Eichmann doesn’t react to this but the game tells me “You’re too kind.”

If you try to kill Eichmann in the Apple II version, he vaporizes you. Relatedly, Will had a lot of trouble getting past:

My next task will be to find the exact right words to get past Eichmann. I try “join him”, “warn him”, “aid him”, “talk to him”, “give him something”. Nothing works. “Join his army” does, as I find out after quite a while. “O.K., tell them I sent you”, says Eichmann, then leaves. It’s a bit ludicrous but I’m happy to finally be able to move on.

JOIN ARMY is the first phrase I tried (it seemed strongly implied by the poster). Just a matter of luck, really, but it makes for two rather different play experiences.

I can’t figure out what to do with the well and assume that I need to either smell the vapours (which doesn’t work) or drop something down the well (I might be missing the right item). Oh well.

SMELL works in the Apple II version, Will had to come across BREATHE.

I’m in doubt for a moment. Shouldn’t I be helping Satan instead of Hitler?

From the department of pair-of-sentences-I-wouldn’t-expect-anyone-to-write.

Looking reveals a smiling snake. I try talking to the snake and it gives me a hint to drop the crystal here. Or is it a trap? Anyway, I drop it and the snake swallows it. I have a bad feeling about this!

Because I’m unable to save my game I don’t try to proceed without feeding the snake. If you want to give it a shot and report back in the comments, by all means: please go ahead! Or maybe Jason smelled a rat and avoided dropping the crystal?

I think the picture helped here. It looks like the sort of snake aching to have its belly cut open and dug through.

As it turns out, that’s not exactly how it went — the snake disappears when you kill it at the crystal goes back to where it came from — but that was at least my thought when the snake ate the crystal, not that I had made a mistake, but that I commenced on immediate plotting to cut it open to get it back.

There was, on the opposite end, a spot where a picture hurt rather than helped. There was a spot (next to John Wilkes Booth) where using SMELL led to a rock, and there was an opening under you could get into. Will’s issue when he was playing is he had found the dark area below before he had found a lamp. My issue was knowing that you could even go in the opening in the first place:

That does not look like you can just crawl under the rock and go in; I have vague suspicion there might have been miscommunication with the artist here.

Speaking of the artist, yes, I’m in general agreement with the comments that Rick Incrocci’s artwork is fabulous, especially compared with Time Zone and other works we’ve seen of late. Some of this is technical: he had access to the Penguin drawing software (first published in 1981) whereas Time Zone was in development before it came out, and I don’t think anything else we’ve seen (other than The Institute) has had a chance to use it, either. Of course, the raw skill as an artist is in play here as well, and don’t be too sad about the sequel to Lucifer’s Realm not having art; he worked on other games that we will be getting to in due course, like Masquerade, which (due to the author Dale Johnson publishing an early version in 1982) we will be arriving at later this year.

For now, though, I have a couple of curious one-offs to get through (including an ultra-obscure adventure-roguelike), before we arrive at Infocom’s first game of 1982, a detective game I have never played before. Much excitement!

Posted March 27, 2022 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction, Video Games

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4 responses to “Lucifer’s Realm: The Princes of Peace and Darkness

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  1. I dunno whether Judas is so done with everything, or is casting his eyes at a Heaven he can’t see hoping maybe this time he’s done enough to atone.

  2. I’ve really enjoyed this series especially because of the great artwork! I also don’t comment very often but just wanted to pop in and say that and also that I just love reading about all your adventures.

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