Xanadu Adventure: Finished!   5 comments

I was planning on calling this post “The Hard Part” but it really wasn’t? I’m not exactly disappointed but I feel like I might have missed something, despite getting a hearty “congratulations” and the hand of a princess. (Also, be sure you’ve read my prior posts on this game for this one to make sense.)

Anthony Hope has an entertaining play-through video on Youtube here that lasts nearly 2-and-a-half hours.

First off: the amount of available torch light (that’s Brit-torch, so “flashlight”) was not at all a problem. A good chunk of the area is well-lit/outdoors and there’s even some leeway there. I’ll call the batteries the shop sells at the start to be essentially useless, I never needed to touch them, and you can even travel through darkness to an extent (just you can’t interact with objects in darkness, but you can still move around).

Second, the game really is forgiving in terms of transport-options. You get one magic word (GREZON) that gives you a one-shot teleport back to the treasure room, MINH works on two parts of the map, and if all else fails you can just walk (again, darkness is ok!)

I had nearly already solved all the puzzles last time. One that I missed was going up a bell tower to where a vampire bat resided, but there’s some garlic hanging around that lets you easily grab a treasure there.

I also missed going down a well to an oyster, where a “bivalve opening tool” served me well to pop it open and get a pearl. (I also, according to Anthony’s Hope walkthrough I checked after I finished, missed my only 5 points here by failing to eat the oyster. Not my first choice of gourmet, I’m fine leaving those points behind.)

I mentioned, offhand, defeating a cockroach with ITHURD; this does appear to be “correct”, or at least the way the walkthrough does it.

Where my playthrough different from the walkthrough is with the Troll. There are two ways through and there seems to be randomization here. One is to toss it the colorful postcards you can buy from the shop.

However, on my “final run” the troll wasn’t taking the cards and kept throwing the cards back, so I tried my lunch instead and it took that. (No hunger timer I could find, so it didn’t matter!)

The only other tricky part happened upon finding the last treasure. A voice announced the cave was closing and I needed to book it back to the shop at the start of the game. If you take too long you get squished.

One other thing that helped is the only threat that mattered, the second dragon, I met out in the middle of the forest, so I was able to run away from it and ignore it entirely. I was otherwise utterly unable to kill it with my sword.

Assuming you are efficient (and you don’t need to be that efficient) you have time to teleport back to the pagoda, deposit all your treasures, and book it for the shop and your reward.

I really was expecting something off-the-wall hard akin to Atom Adventure since Anthony described this game as an expanded version of that one. I never had any of the same effects, where the torch and inventory issues were so pronounced they essentially produced a whole new set of puzzles that needed to be solved on top of the regular ones. I did have to think somewhat about my movements, but I never felt pressured enough I had to reload every time I went a wrong direction.

The funny thing is, of course, that isn’t really a bad thing! This is essentially the most playable of Paul Shave’s games. It mimics Adventure a little too much for me to call it top-tier, but I did enjoy seeing how randomization fiddled with gameplay possibilities, and I’m guessing there are some emergent stories that I’ve missed based on, say, possibly having a sword break at an inconvenient moment. (Weirdly, in my final run I didn’t meet any dwarves — I wonder if that has something to do with me trapping the dragon in the forest.) I’d say the adventure-roguelike aspect (which I’ve chronicled a number of failures of) actually works here; just the right elements are randomized in just the right amounts so the game at least felt a little dangerous, but not unmanageable.

So, my sincere apologies for all those hoping for five more posts of struggling and pain on my part. If you’re nostalgic you can always re-read my series on Madness and the Minotaur, which does have a sequel in 1982 that uses the same engine, so eventually the suffering will come.

Posted May 21, 2022 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction, Video Games

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5 responses to “Xanadu Adventure: Finished!

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  1. comment to Anthony: I went back and read over your walkthrough again and you specify having the axe and sword. Any reason in particular you want the axe? I just did KILL DWARF with the sword the times they’ve shown up.

  2. Well, this is embarrassing! I struggled for ages with this game, and you seem to have just breezed through it! In my (poor) defence, I will mention that the randomization may have distributed objects in a trickier way for me than for you. One possible “mistake” I made is that I eventually settled on one single savestate on which to base all my run-throughs, which meant that the positions of the treasures were then fixed every time I restored or restarted because I never booted the game from scratch. So maybe I just ended up with a trickier setup. Ahem. Or maybe I’m just desperately trying and failing to save face.

    The other thing is that the game has a somewhat complicated and still unclear release history. Some time after I completed my playthrough video, I noticed another copy of the game on eBay and bought it. When I loaded it up, I discovered that the command-prompt and version number were different, and the version number implied that the eBay copy was a later revision of the game. That later revision is the copy that’s now on bbcmicro.co.uk and it’s the version you probably played. So perhaps we played different versions of the game. (Yeah, right. This face-saving is getting a bit pitiful now, isn’t it?!)

    The thing about the AXE is that I vaguely recall thinking that it gave you a better chance of killing a dragon. Because your “strike power” (lethality) goes up the more weapons you’re carrying, I think..? My memory’s a bit hazy on all this now, though.

    Anyway, congratulations on completing the game and schooling me on how it’s done!

    • I always used the same save state to begin (which I made on the very first move). It’s certainly the case that some randomizations would be harder than others. Part of the reason I waited on “nailing down” a save on Madness and the Minotaur was figuring I wasn’t even able to recognize what a “good seed” was yet until I figured things out, but I’m fairly sure I lost far more time than I would have just going with one of my early saves.

      I think the “strike power” thing is generally intended to go with ALLY — if you have a sword and your friend has a sword you can ally up to kill a dragon 100%.

      (I still haven’t commented on multi-player, but I want to do it for real before doing so. Would you like to have a go sometime? I might find some time near the end of next month, and there are a couple applications these days that would allow it with a minimum of fuss.)

      In general I found 1.) I always killed the first dragon 100% of the time, although sometimes it broke the sword and 2.) I always lost against the second dragon, even with both a sword and an axe. Plus. if you buy everything but the axe, that uses up all of the starting money, so that seemed a reasonable way to go.

  3. I think my comment’s awaiting moderation.

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