Ferret: The Wall   21 comments

(Previous posts here.)

It’s odd, given the complexities of before, to get stuck on what amounts to a one-room puzzle, but that’s what is happening here. I made it to a desert…

You are in a hot and dry desert. You can see nothing around except sand and
more sand.
-> move sand
You should be so lucky, try to move Everest Mohammed.
-> look up
You are nearly blinded by the light.

…and that’s been it. Nothing I’ve tried has resulted in anything useful.

From Computerworld, 15 January 1979.

It could be, of course, there was some sort of inadequate setup in the past, like a missing item or such in phase 1. However, the various “inventory reset” points have kept the phases from passing off too much to each other. While, perhaps, there was some exceedingly abstruse way to keep, say, the sphere from the opening of the game (that when you break it causes you to die of toxic case) and that somehow it will do something useful in a large desert … I register low odds here.

But there’s always the possibility of missing something from phase 4; the teleport doesn’t let you bring heavy objects, but there could be a missing light one, like a special item that can be used to find a route through the desert.

Phase 4 in particular had a “long plank” that was never used and feels suspicious in terms of visiting a new area (which might have the aforementioned light item):

You are in, what apparently was once, a bedroom. However, the east side of the
room has subsided into a deep ravine, leaving only a ledge for you to stand on.
Beyond the ravine you can see the remains of the east side of the bedroom, also
with a ledge.
Exits: –EW ——– -D
There are some interesting objects here:
a shabby mattress
a long plank
an aquamarine tile
-> get plank
You’re not strong enough.

The “you’re not strong enough” I’ve seen before, when my health was merely “ok” (as opposed to “fine”) and my inventory capacity was reduced. Health can fall when you make a big fall or when you drink bad water or you get pummeled by the monk or you spend time in the desert. There’s “mouth-watering food” that restores health…

-> eat food
Hmmm…. That was delicious.

…but there’s only one, and it is too heavy to carry it and the laser cannon at the same time (which is necessary to do even for making it to the jungle section). Unless I’m missing some resource I don’t think this is the problem. I did spend some time back in phase 1 trying to juggle my food forward (the thing that restores health) just in case but it really is set in the game as too heavy.

Another possible past-issue might be closer to the moment of jumping into the teleporter. In order to arrive there, you fill a pool with water, dive in, and then wait a very long time for the pool to run out of water.

Swimming Pool
You are in a room lit by a suffuse glow. The room contains a swimming pool, with a small ledge along the eastern edge.
Exits: —- ——– —
You are wallowing in the water.
The swimming pool contains:
some water
The level of the water in the pool is going down.
-> wait
Time passes (yawn).
The level of the water in the pool is going down.
-> wait
Time passes (yawn).
The level of the water in the pool is going down.
-> wait
Time passes (yawn).
The level of the water in the pool is going down.
-> wait
Time passes (yawn).
The level of the water in the pool is going down.
-> wait
Time passes (yawn).
The level of the water in the pool is going down.

It is possible to put an item in the pool and have it get sucked down to the hidden chamber. I’ve tried leaving wire tied to the splint (formerly a bow) and climbing down the wire somehow to get into the hidden chamber early while it is still watery, but no luck.

-> tie wire to splint
The wire is tied to one end of the splint.
The level of the water in the pool is going down.
-> put splint in pool
It falls to the floor of the pool, rolls around for a bit on the steeply
inclined floor and then disappears out of sight.
The level of the water in the pool is going down.

A third possibility might that the teleporter setting is just wrong somehow. The score goes up by arriving at the Inner Sanctum, but there isn’t another score increase by entering the teleporter. The touchscreen which shows the Inner Sanctum might present some opportunity here but all my attempts at fiddling with it (and moving it around and rotating the wall) have had no influence on the teleporter destination.

A fourth possibility is that I really do have enough to reckon with the desert already, and I need some … magic verb or action or something? When I first arrived at the cathedral I was stuck for a while before finding I could PUSH (direction) WALL to move around, and pretty much any other command gave nothing useful, so there might still be some special trick I’m missing. My odds are still currently on a missing item from phase 4, though.

(My next post, by the way, will be on a one-shot post on a different adventure — I and possibly you could use a little variety. Definitely not giving up on this one, though!)

ADD: There’s a version 10.01 of Ferret up at the website. It seems to be compatible with prior save game files. The authors also have their own “minimal” version now so you don’t need to bother with mine.

Posted October 29, 2022 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction, Video Games

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21 responses to “Ferret: The Wall

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  1. Completely out-of-left-field suggestion here, but: have you tried verbs related to senses other than sight? I’m recalling a scene with a character saying “I smell water” just before finding an oasis in the middle of a desert in H. Rider Haggard’s classic British adventure novel King Solomon’s Mines.

    • tested, but alas

      good idea!

      I’ve been trying to figure out if “sensing” water is possible. The room is just a loop where any directions drops you back in the same place, so you can’t “map” it (you also can’t drop objects but if you fire a bolt at the sand it stays put) but maybe if you have the right “sensing” object the room will change a little and won’t loop any more. Hamil did something like this once.

      • Is there anything you can use as a dowsing rod? I couldn’t quite tell whether you can get the splint to the desert.

      • thought of that

        tried WAVE SPLINT OVER SAND, no effect

        probably needs to be broken in order to get turned into a dowsing rod look, but break doesn’t work

        CUT asks for an item. Trying to do it with the glass doesn’t work.

        Smashing with a hammer doesn’t work.

        Still _highly_ suspicious though, mainly because when you untie the wire in phase 4, it gives a normal message, and when you do it in phase 5, there’s a blank prompt (it still works, but it is like the code for the splint might be handled differently somehow)

        Someone else from Team Ferret take a stab?

  2. It probably won’t help with the puzzle, but dang…

    -> look up
    You are nearly blinded by the light.

    Great, now I’ve got that Bruce Springsteen song stuck in my head! Like I said, probably hasn’t got to do with anything… Although the song certainly already was around by the time work on this game was started, so the developers were probably aware of it

  3. Just to confirm: there’s no way to ferry a container (for holding water) this far forward into the game, correct? Having to climb the rope in phase 3 prevents us from bringing any of the bottles/beaker/plastic container from phase 1, right? That’s my vague recollection anyway.

    • According to K’s weight chart from here the bottles are the lightest thing that’s a container. I was unable to bring a bottle down the rope.

    • went to double check

      You are carrying:
      a brown bottle
      -> climb rope
      You manage to get about halfway up the rope, but, unfortunately your weight causes the rope to snap, and you to fall, crashing into the ground below. What a shame, you were doing so well too.
      Your body is in an on-going no functioning situation.

  4. I have been avoiding the discussion recently so as not to view any spoliers and tried to plough my own furrow on this game. It certainly seems to be growing more difficult as the story unfolds. I have now managed to fubbg gur zbax jvgu gur pebffobj obyg but I can’t make a lot sense from gur zntnmvar pbire be gur zrffntrf ba gur sbhe fvqrf bs gur phor. GP1 naq GP2, 6z, 12 zvaf qbrfa’g fhttrfg nalguvat gb zr. V cerfhzr lbh arrq gb ragre n ahzore ba gur pbzovangvba ybpx ohg jung gung vf onssyrf zr.

  5. Here’s a very silly suggestion: have you tried doing anything with “more sand”?

  6. What if you either wait or just move randomly in one direction, waiting for a mirage to appear? Just trying to think up possibilities within a desert context. Great read on this game.

  7. hint from the authors

    Major part I’ll leave out of rot13:

    “Firstly, the issue with the bolt is a bug, as you postulated it should disappear into the sand like everything else. Despite this anomalous behaviour you should imagine yourself in a desert that extends in all directions.”

    In other words, the game _is_ keeping track of positioning.

    Gb znxr cebterff nzbat gur qharf:

    Lbh qb ABG arrq gb:

    Pneel nal bowrpgf vagb gur qrfreg
    Unir qbar nalguvat cevbe gb gur qrfreg
    Hfr nal arj be fcrpvny ireo.

    Lbh qb arrq gb:

    Hfr ybtvp (fgneg ol jbexvat bhg lbhe enatr).

    • so I’m not sure what is being meant by “logic” here but I’ve just been mapping like it is a big grid. Imagining the starting desert place is the center, I’ve expanded to a 17 by 17 square so far and confirmed it is empty.

      You can take 31 steps before dying (although you die at the 31st step, so the “range” is really 30).

      This puts the desert theoretically in a 61 by 61 square. If something is hidden by location (and not by stepping direction order) then that’s the biggest that can be reached.

      • Painstakingly mapping out the desert, I found something interesting after (ROT13) 6 fgrcf AR, 4 fgrcf R.

        V fhfcrpg guvf jvyy or hfrshy fbzrjurer ryfr va gur qrfreg (V unira’g znccrq bhg gur jubyr guvat lrg).

      • Forgot to mention: Gurer’f fbzrguvat zber va gung fcbg guna jung’f vavgvnyyl sbhaq gurer.

      • Some thoughts based on Damian’s discovery:

        V tbg hc gb 21 ol 21 naq uvg gur fnzr fxryrgba ng (gra, fvk) vs hfvat n pbbeqvangr tevq

        Gur tevq hc gb gung cbvag vf bgurejvfr pyrne

        Nffhzvat jr arrq gb trg gur vgrz sebz gurer, vg gnxrf gjryir zbirf, yrnivat rvtugrra zber

        Gung erqhprf gur nzbhag bs tevq gung arrqf gb or frnepurq sebz gung cbvag

      • found a new place

        whfg ercrng gur fnzr qverpgvbaf nf orsber. gung vf, fxryrgba vf gra rnfg, fvk hc; tb gra rnfg, fvk hc ntnva gb (gjragl, gjryir) gb ernpu fbzr fgrcf tbvat qbja

  8. There’s riddles up ahead. I’ve got the first three, but the fourth one I’m stumped on for now, will take a stab later

    V unir orra svthevat vg vf chggvat zrnfherzrag va n fgenatr jnl (fb 2l = 2 lneqf) ohg V unira’g tbggra nal ahzore gur tnzr yvxrf lrg. Qbrf az = anhgvpny zvyrf be anabzrgref? Qbrf s zrna n srzgbzrgre rira gubhtu vg qbrfa’g hfhnyyl trg jevggra yvxr gung? Vf p pragvzrgref? Nz V whfg qbvat guvf nyy jebat?

    • That last one has me baffled too.

      V fhfcrpg gung jungrire ahzore pbzrf bhg bs vg jvyy unir gb or eha guebhtu gur fnzr qrpelcgvba zrgubq nf gur bguref.

      That third one took me a good few minutes.

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