Arrow of Death Part 2: The Fire-Walker   8 comments

(Continued directly from my last post.)

I managed to resolve the column of fire summoned at the tapestry above, but before getting to that, I made the Arrow of Death.

I mentioned a “grotesque creature” at a “guard room” (with no guards). Experimenting around I tried to just KILL CREATURE and somehow got a key out of the process. This is one spot where I think difficulty visualizing what the author really meant hurt things; I didn’t know if it was a giant creature or a small creature, one that was strong or weak. I really don’t know what happened at all or where the key even came from.

This is a common downside with the Scott Adams database system.

Moving on, I took the key up to a previously locked door in the kite/dead guard area (another loop over previously found terrain). This led to a storeroom with cheese and bread. I then took the bread over to the starving mule and made a friend.

The mule was now following me. Since I was on a hot streak I went to visit the prisoner trapped behind a grating, and it immediately occurred to me the rope might be helpful.

I was then able to get the mule to move and yank the grating off, letting me visit the prisoner, who turned out to be a helpful person indeed. He’s mentioned in Arrow of Death Part 1, so I’m first going to give the old Part 1 screenshot, then a new one:

I needed the strength weed again to wake the fletcher up. This was a pretty satisfying object re-use since the first time was to just get stronger turning a wheel, whereas here it is help someone in much worse shape, yet both cases “getting stronger” is appropriate.

One nice side effect is that turned three inventory objects representing the Arrow into one Magical Arrow object.

I was now out of things to do, so I went back to the tapestry and contemplated the column of fire. I realized I was visualizing it wrong: I was thinking of it something small, like the candle. If it was instead something large, I could try entering it, and since the tapestry hints at fire-walking:

Voila! This leads to a new outdoor area and (I think) puts the game back on a linearity path. Oh well.

Near where you exit is a hut with a pipe and tobacco, and in the other direction there is a lake with a boat.

Getting on the boat and picking up some oars, I tried ROW BOAT and got swallowed up by a whale. A whale on a lake. Sure?

The tobacco and pipe presented an immediate solution, so I filled the pipe and tried to SMOKE it twice, causing me to get spit up onto the shore.

This is yet another area in the linear journey, where you can snag a dynamite with a fuse, a large rock, and a mysterious small smooth stone from a cairn.

There’s a shovel, too, which is how you are able to dig up the dynamite. The earlier flintstone was dug up by hand, but the ground is too hard in this area to dig without a shovel.

After significant experimentation I realized I could RUB the stone to cause a beggar to appear (the one from the last game?) I then did GIVE STONE and the beggar handed me off a magic bow, which is handy since I didn’t want to be stabbing the bad guy with an arrow by hand.

And here I am stuck. Back at the shore there’s an “animated skeleton” near a trail which tries to block if you GO TRAIL. Trying to KILL or SMASH or the like doen’t work. Dropping the dynamite there, lighting the fuse, and running away doesn’t work — or at least it causes the dynamite to explode, but nothing to happen to the skeleton. I worry I’ve missed an item somewhere but I feel like I’ve searched the prior areas fairly thoroughly. (That “machinery” I was worried about last time I believe was just a hint as to the effect of the wheel — it was intended to move the large stone to dam up the river, allowing me to go into the mud.)

You’re welcome to take guesses as to what to do next in the comments, but if you know the answer (from playing previously) please hold off for now. This game has been relatively fair and I’d love to be able to beat it otherwise hint-free (not counting any clever reader theories in the comments).

Posted September 30, 2022 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction, Video Games

Tagged with

8 responses to “Arrow of Death Part 2: The Fire-Walker

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. The screen where the fish/whale coughs you up sort of looks like it has a dam that you might dynamite, maybe? Or the large rock blocking (?) the cave entrance?

  2. Sadly, I don’t have any suggestions for moving forward, but the previous conversation about the Scott Adams tech caught my eye. This series also has the rhetorical framing of the Adams games, specifically the first-person narrator that asks “What now?” in this case or “What shall I do?” in The Count, etc. in addition to providing feedback on actions and so forth.

    Do you think the first-person approach affects the player’s experience? Variations like this really interest me.

    Looking forward to seeing how this ends!

    • The “puppet perspective” was pretty common early on and implicitly and explicitly had a bit of merge with the computer and the avatar itself; that is, if there was something the parser didn’t understand, it was excusable partly because it’s just a 16K computer, what do you expect?

      A pretty good instance of the is Galactic Hitchhiker, where the avatar character is described as “I.Q. approaching zero, from the negative sign” and whose favorite phrases are “I CAN’T” and “I DON’T UNDERSTAND”.

      The idea got subverted a little with the original Cranston Manor, which “sends a droid in your place” to go adventuring, and Cyborg, where you have a merge with man and machine and the game is told from “we” perspective.

      For an influence on Scott Adams in particular, the slight remove from the character itself I think is strongest in his game 12, Savage Island Part 2, where part of the game requires you to literally switch bodies with another being (and the bodies don’t get switched back later!) It’s the first instance of this kind of gameplay in a text adventure and I think the “puppet” perspective may have contributed to getting to that mechanic.

      It’s pretty rare for modern stuff (imagine “I Have Died” rather than “You Have Died” in Dark Souls) and the only body-switching games I can think of in recent times involve a ghost or the like.

      • I appreciate your thoughts! I may take a look at your examples of subverted first person—very interesting. I’ve been writing a bit about the significance of second person in IF, but knew these early exceptions existed. I think that those early TRS-80 games are a bit like sonnets or other strict poetic forms—those authors managed to accomplish a lot in a very constrained medium.

      • A lot of British adventures in the late 80s/early 90s used third-person, past-tense narration, especially on the ZX Spectrum for some reason.

    • You can see that that attitude was there since Adventure, where the narrator says “I WILL BE YOUR HANDS AND EYES.. DIRECT ME”

  3. There are still some variations between different versions at this stage; in the BBC/Electron version you have to drop the items before Arnid can make the arrow, unlike all the others.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: