Ferret: Fire and Water   43 comments

(All prior posts on Ferret here.)

Oddly enough, we’ve started to close in on a finish for Phases 9-15. As of the events mentioned in this post:

9: probably complete

10: probably complete

11: more than half complete

12: mostly complete (still haven’t dealt with the cyborg, but it might be optional)

13: probably complete

14: probably complete

15: ???

16: still haven’t gotten anywhere yet

For the small glimpse players had of 17 (Guru) it seems to be more of a meta-section as opposed to a region to explore, and there probably is a separate “endgame” after. Still not sure on a finish time; I’d really like to at least wrap up the 9-15 region by the end of the year but I don’t think we’re quite going to make it. (Also, 16, where we are currently blocked by a ticket slot, might have some new information which requires a revisit to a past phase.)

From a 1953 booklet on Operation Doorstep, making a simulated town to test the effects of a nuclear blast.

To recap from two posts ago, we had left off on what appeared to be an Oscar Wilde puzzle where you were given the initial letters of a quote and had to type what the quote was, with all the spaces removed.

type amancanbehappywithanywomanaslongashedoesnotloveher
type alwaysforgiveyourenemiesnothingannoysthemsomuch
type americahadoftenbeendiscoveredbeforecolumbusbutithadalwaysbeenhushedup
type anyonewholiveswithintheirmeanssuffersfromalackofimagination
type argumentsaretobeavoidedtheyarealwaysvulgarandoftenconvincing
type biographylendstodeathanewterror
type consistencyisthelastrefugeoftheunimaginative
type everyportraitthatispaintedwithfeelingisaportraitoftheartistnotofthesitter
type experienceisthenameeveryonegivestotheirmistakes
type fashionisaformofuglinesssointolerablethatwehavetoalteriteverysixmonths
type geniusisbornnotpaid
type iamnotyoungenoughtoknoweverything
type ithinkthatgodincreatingmansomewhatoverestimatedhisability
type ifyouwanttotellpeoplethetruthmakethemlaughotherwisetheyllkillyou
type illusionisthefirstofallpleasures
type itisaverysadthingthatnowadaysthereissolittleuselessinformation
type itisalwaysasillythingtogiveadvicebuttogivegoodadviceisfatal
type moralitylikeartmeansdrawingalinesomeplace
type oneshouldalwaysplayfairlywhenonehasthewinningcards
type patriotismisthevirtueofthevicious

Curiously, at least two of them are misattributed Wilde quotes; “illusion is the first of all pleasures” is from Voltaire, for instance. “Genius is born, not paid” also is misattributed. Despite that, both are commonly attributed enough to Wilde that the difficulty was in finding the rarer quotes (like Sha1tan spotting “Biography lends to death a new terror”) as K managed to plow through a number of them but collecting some Wilde texts and using a regex tool.

The puzzle resulted in giving us a scroll, mentioned in my “One Puzzle” last post.

As noticed by Andrew Plotkin, you can word-for-word change #2 into Radio Detection and Ranging, that is, RADAR.

This was enough for others to pile on and solve the puzzle. All the acronyms turn out to be military ones:

PATRIOT (Phased Array Tracking to Intercept of Target)
RADAR (Radio Detection and Ranging)
AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System)
NAAFI (Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes)
SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe)

I’ll refer back to how these get used later, as the direction of solving actually went from Phase 9 (done?) to Phase 10 and the fire in the theater.

The problem was that downstairs in the theater is dark, and turning on the lights requires flicking a switch which also starts a fire.

-> turn switch
Click.
There is a not inconsiderable explosion as the ancient workings of the brass switch generate a miniscule arc of electricity which, combined with the methane gas, causes a conflaguration that knocks you bodily down the stairs.
Rehearsal Room
You are in a large circular area with a low roof. There is a stairway leading up from the room. In the middle of the space is a podium mounted upon which are four pads. The pads are designed in the shapes square, triangular, oval and round.
Exits: -S– ——– U-

There’s a zinc key nearby as well as a PVC vessel that explodes when you shake it and wait, but neither was a help for solving the puzzle. The mystery of the pads had the triangle give a long beep, and all other buttons give short beeps followed by long beeps.

Some major lateral leaps made by Voltgloss and The Larch led to the thought that the buttons are differentiated by number of sides; we can say the circle is 1 side, the oval is 2 sides (kind of?), the triangle is 3 sides and the square is 4. So there’s something to differentiate them.

Then if we think of it in a sort of binary system (where 1s, 2s, 4s, 8s, 16s, etc. make up numbers) then the 1, 2, and 4 buttons are for typing the numbers, and the 3 is for entering them in. We were needing to form the number 119 (Dial 911, “a retrospective”, from the poster in phase 9); for the “1” digits just pressing the circle sufficed, and and to input a “9” we needed to do 2 + 1 + 2 + 4 to get a sum of 9.

-> press round;press triangle
Pressed. The pad emits a short beep.
Pressed. The pad emits a long beep.
-> press round;press triangle
Pressed. The pad emits a short beep.
Pressed. The pad emits a long beep.
-> press oval;press round;press oval;press square;press triangle
Pressed. The pad emits a short beep.
Pressed. The pad emits a short beep.
Pressed. The pad emits a short beep.
Pressed. The pad emits a short beep.
Pressed. The pad emits a long beep.
The podium gently levitates as a hidden trapdoor opens above you. The base of the podium stops moving once it is flush with the stage which is currently participating in a significant conflagration.
Well, that’s saved the crematorium a job.

This apparently resembles the old Data General Nova in form, so I’ll let the Ferret authors themselves give some more detail:

The pads are enumerated according to the number of sides.

Short beep = Add.

You can’t enter the same number twice in a row as this resets to 0 (just to make the puzzle interesting and stop repeat, repeat, repeat).

Triangular pad emits long beep so not part of the sequence.

There are such things as Triangular Numbers (0, 1, 3, 6, 10…) so there was scope for trial and error by experimenting with different values.

The Triangular Pad is Shift Right, effectively Multiple by 10 (Long Beep = Long Add, i.e., multiply).

PRESS ROUND PAD: 1
PRESS TRIANGULAR PAD: 10
PRESS ROUND PAD: 11
PRESS TRIANGULAR PAD: 110
PRESS SQUARE PAD: 114
PRESS ROUND PAD: 115
PRESS SQUARE PAD: 119
PRESS TRIANGULAR PAD: Enter

It will be interesting to see if you think this is the hardest puzzle in the game?

I’m not sure about “hardest” (that’s difficult to measure) but I will say it is the only puzzle that seems to be a fourth-order one. You need to realize:

1. the sides on the buttons are what matters (and oval counts as 2)
2. the triangle lets you “input” numbers
3. the numbers are being added
4. the sequence needed is 119

None of these have any feedback if you are on the correct trail! So essentially, four puzzles need to be solved all in combination with only the hope that it might work.

So no, I wasn’t a fan of the puzzle design, although the bit after was neat: how do you survive the fire? Notice pushing the buttons does not bring you back up to the green room (where the fire was) but into the center of the stage (where the fire has spread after starting). So really, the puzzle is: how do you keep the fire from spreading? Fortunately, due to being stuck on the buttons for long and suspecting some other gimmick, I already knew about the oddly-placed doors on the map that could be closed, which I have marked in orange below.

Closing both doors before activating the switch gives you a route to walk out of the theater before it collapses in dramatic fashion. I’ve already gone on the record as “preparation puzzles” being highly satisfying, and the case here was not an exception.

The explosive and the key turned out to both be immediately helpful in Phase 11. I was able to hop onto a ferry over to Treasure Island, where a new location awaited.

Alright Corral
A road running from north to south with steep rockfaces on both sides of the road which is blocked by a mass of fallen rock possibly from a mountainous outcrop overlooking the road. In front of the rockfall is a giant slab of rock with an irregular crack running from top to bottom.
Exits: -S– ——– —
-> shake vessel
Whatever internal partitions that were keeping the vessel’s contents separate appear to have been demolished by your violent behaviour.
The vessel appears to be ticking now.
-> put vessel in crack
Done.
-> s
Treasure Island
-> wait 2
Time passes (yawns).
There is a small explosion nearby.
-> n
Alright Corral
A road running from north to south with steep rockfaces on both sides of the road which is blocked by a mass of fallen rock possibly from a mountainous outcrop overlooking the road. To the north, apparently blown out of the mass of the rockfall, is an entrance to a cave.
Exits: NS– ——– —
-> n
Cave of Despair
You are in a small rock cave formed by an explosion within a rockfall. There is a brightly lit exit to the south. Set into the road is a manhole cover.
Exits: -S– ——– —

The cover is locked but the zinc key works on it, giving what appears to be a one-way trip down.

Graveyard
You are in a small room with concrete walls that appear immensely strong as rusty reinforcing bars are visible in various places. The room is gloomily illuminated by a dim light entering though a hole in the roof. The east wall of the room is formed from a mound of rubble.
There is an emblem on one wall.
Partially buried in the floor is a juvenile’s skeleton.
There is a rubber ball here
There is a rigid pvc hoop here
There is a birch cane here
There is a weathered satchel here.

This appears to be another “information trip” where the whole point is to gather knowledge but otherwise the only way to escape is to restore to a previous game; yet another doomed quantum echo. The emblem and answer sheet I gave last time; the answer sheet never got solved so I’ll give it again:

The emblem technically gave a hint (mentioning NORAD) for the scroll with military acronyms, but surely that’s not the whole point of the section? (I’m not even sure if Andrew was referring to this when he made his breakthrough; it doesn’t seem necessary given the clues on the scroll already present.)

Back to the scroll’s solution: we knew (from explicit hint of the authors) that the scroll served to give a hint for a mobile phone hooked up to some explosives.

Asylum from Enmity
A dank crepuscular room made from reinforced concrete as if to survive a blast overhead. There is some form of opening in the ceiling apparantly to permit the ingress of light and ventilation. Against one wall is a safe surmounted by a resin slab.
Exits: —W ——– —
The resin slab contains:
a mobile phone
some Semtex explosive
-> type 219934875
Typed.
The communicator emits a beep followed by a ring tone. After 2 rings the line clears and you hear a voice that says “Text Sequence commenced”.

We now had the list of acronyms to follow up, but just trying to “type” the words doesn’t work; they need to be numbers. I (and Voltgloss, in the comments) thought of old phones and how they will “cycle” to do texting (that is, a number says ABC, so you press it twice to get a B and three times to get a C) and tried translating the five acronyms into numbers:

dial 7287774446668
dial 777232777
dial 2922227777
dial 6622333444
dial 7777442733

This works, if you’re next to the explosive, but that kills you. It also kills you if you are a few steps away, and I was stumped trying to survive.

Voltgloss mysteriously got through by standing far enough away, but I kept getting a busy signal.

What we eventually discovered (after some back and forth) is that when the message about “you have failed to register with The Department” the communicator is charged enough to send messages, but if you wait an extra turn, the communicator gives off two more beeps and is now “fully charged”. This gives it slightly more range, which is sufficient to dial and live.

There is an explosion nearby that causes the ground to rumble and dust to rise as a blast-wave hits the air in the immediate vicinity. Thankfully you are far enough away to avoid any concussion.

Going back to the safe reveals we have found…

Asylum from Enmity
A dank crepuscular room made from reinforced concrete as if to survive a blast overhead. There is some form of opening in the ceiling apparently to permit the ingress of light and ventilation. Against one wall are the remnants of a safe, the top has been sheared off leaving a ragged edge. The room appears distressed, as if it has suffered a recent explosion.
The rusty safe contains:
an asbestos bag
-> open bag
Opening the asbestos bag reveals:
a diving suit

…a third diving suit! We knew the one in the sewers was a red herring, the one under the trapdoor was probably a red herring, and here we have one we can finally access. It feels like the end of a long shaggy dog joke. (There was some ultimate use in seeing them earlier — K somehow discovered the presence of “pockets” while noodling with the suit. There is no mention in the description.)

Moving on, the issue with the suit it is too big to move around in unless underwater. So normally we’d go to the end of the pier and fall in the water; DIVE does exactly that but seems to be a bug; the idea being we can’t move enough at all.

Pier
The pier overlooks a wonderfully picturesque lake. In the middle of the lake is an island. The pier is made from ancient cedar planks. There is a rocky path to the south.
-> DIVE
Weeeeeeeee … splash! Oh, this is fun, splishy, splashy, splishy, splashy. Uh oh! There appears to be some undercurrent here. It is dragging you beneath the surface. You are beginning to fill with water.
You seem to be all drowned init.

We did know that the entry point surely had to be the pier, because entering the room gives 50 points! One of the general observations we’ve made is that point-increase usually indicates a hint about an important room. For example, the room near the gate in phase 9 increases points, yet is apparently a dead end; that’s supposed to mean you can bust through.

It turns out the pier’s description contains a very small clue “The pier is made from ancient cedar planks.” The ancient is supposed to hint they can break. Unlike a similar situation in the phase with the number riddles, jumping doesn’t work. What does help is crating over a bunch of heavy items (I used the rug that was covering the trapdoor in phase 9, plus the “security casket” from back in phase 8 that had the card and was now empty) which causes it to break.

-> n
Pier
The pier overlooks a wonderfully picturesque lake. In the middle of the lake is an island. The pier is made from ancient cedar planks. There is a rocky path to the south.
Exits: -S– ——– —
There are some interesting objects here:
a colourful rug
a security casket
The pier emits an ominous creaking sound.
-> wear suit
Dropped.
Done.
The pier emits an ominous creaking sound accompanied by a worrying snapping sound.
-> wait
Time passes (yawn).
The pier emits an ominous creaking sound accompanied by a worrying snapping sound followed by a terrifying splintering sound as the ancient timbers of the pier give way. You feel briefly weightless before plummeting into the icy depths. Good job you took your preparation seriously as the diving suit appears to be performing its function, albeit not too well as the suit starts to fill with water.
In a Lake
You are at the bottom of a lake. The water is very murky here.
Exits: NSEW NENWSESW —

Fortunately it doesn’t take too much searching to find there is an “airlock” nearby.

Airlock
You are in a very small room that is full of water. Set in the middle of the floor is a curved pipe surmounted by a big rusty wheel. There is a steel door in the south wall and an armoured door to the north.
Exits: -S– ——– —
The diving suit continues to fill with water.
-> turn wheel
It won’t budge.
The diving suit continues to fill with water.

Part of the issue is parser-related; CLOSE DOOR, which you think might logically apply to the open door (the one to the south, the steel door, which we had to open to enter the airlock) actually gets applied by default to the armoured door, the one to the north that is already closed. You need to CLOSE STEEL DOOR specifically. (I mention this because I surely won’t be the only person passing through who makes the same mistake.)

The other issue is the wheel being stuck. We had a “spanner” from an earlier phase which seems to fit the bill, but how to get it underwater? (Anything on the pier when it breaks disappears.) I mentioned already the discovery of mysterious pockets. What you can do is put the spanner in the pocket, cause the pier-breaking sequence, and when you get in the airlock and close the steel door, drop the suit; this gives you exactly one turn to do one more action.

-> close steel door
Closed.
The diving suit continues to fill with water.
-> drop suit
Umm, it’s a bit of a struggle with all this water around but I think I can just about…. Oh no, I haven’t. Oh, I have. Silly me. What came over me. A lot of water apparently.
-> turn wheel with spanner
Taken.
Eek, eek, squeak, squeak and other onomatopoeias. The wheel requires a tremendous effort to release it from years of disuse, but once freed the water is rapidly emptied leaving you in a small room.

Phew! This opens yet another brand-new area I haven’t experimented enough with, containing a dam which begs to be blown up with the explosive and an inflatable boat seemingly taken straight out of Zork.

Control Centre
This is a large area that has been thoroughly ransacked. Only a few items of the original equipment remain, possibly because they appear to be immovable or of little value. Attached to one wall are a green button and a red button together with an electrical contact breaker. Near to the green button is a tiny slot. To the right of the slot, embedded in the wall, is a copper spigot. Set in the middle of the floor is a curved pipe surmounted by a big rusty wheel. There are tunnels leaving the area to north and south.
Exits: NS– ——– —
-> n
Maintenance Tunnel
This tunnel-shaped area is quite claustrophobic with little room left for your passage due to many pipes running the length of the room.
Exits: NS-W ——– —
-> w
Storeroom
A featureless undecorated chamber ground out of rock.
Exits: –E- ——– —
There is an inflatable dinghy here
There is a pvc bin here

My suspicion is we can now go across the lake with the boat and explore, but I haven’t done enough yet in this section to give a full report, so we’ll save that for next time.

Two of the mannequins used in Operation Doorstep, hiding behind a ladder.

Posted December 28, 2022 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction, Video Games

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43 responses to “Ferret: Fire and Water

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  1. Suspicions/theory/problem for the new area (these are not Invisiclues style hints and I have not solved anything yet – they are instead a series of observations/thoughts ideas that lead to a conclusion in #4 and identify a problem in #5):

    1. Gur “Jngresnyy” ybpngvba vf, V nz thrffvat, jurer gur ubtfurnq oneery (vs ynhapurq naq evqqra) riraghnyyl penfurf.
    2. Gur genafvfgbe enqvb vf qrfpevorq nf “jngrecebbs.”
    3. Vs lbh chg gur enqvb va gur ubtfurnq, ynhapu gur ubtfurnq, naq YBBX, lbh ner gbyq gung gur ubtfurnq pbagnvaf obgu gur enqvb *naq* “na yrq qvfcynl,” juvpu cerfhznoyl vf gur qvfcynl *ba gur enqvb* ohg qbrfa’g nccrne nf n frcnengr bowrpg hayrff gur enqvb vf va gur ubtfurnq naq gur ubtfurnq vf va gur jngre.
    4. Pbapyhfvba: gurer vf fbzr jnl gb genafcbeg zber vgrzf gb gur qnz nern ol chggvat gurz va gur ubtfurnq (nybat jvgu gur genafvfgbe enqvb), ynhapuvat gur ubtfurnq *jvgubhg* orvat va vg (fbzrubj), tbvat guebhtu gur qvivat fhvg frdhrapr, naq gura svaqvat gur oneery’f penfu fvgr ng gur Jngresnyy.
    5. Ceboyrz: V unir lrg gb svther bhg n jnl gb fraq gur ubtfurnq ba vgf wbhearl jvgubhg orvat vafvqr vg crefbanyyl (naq vs lbh naq nal vairagbel vgrzf ner va gur ubtfurnq fvzhygnarbhfyl, lbh qvr).

    • just one minor probably irrelevant observation

      Vs lbh chg gur nforfgbf ont va gur ubtfurnq, naq gura gel gb chg gur enqvb, vg qbrfa’g svg, ohg vs lbh gel gb chg gur enqvb va gur bcra nforfgbf ont, lbh pna.

      Honestly feels glitchy — GET ON can have it go roll, yet just going NW can have it be fine.

  2. Regarding the mapping circle:1, oval:2, triangle:3 and square:4
    Number of sides is quite unsatisfying and mathematically outright wrong (?).

    It’s maybe cleaner if we consider the number to represent the “number of parameters that (uniquely, ignoring translation) defines the figure”. A circle is defined by one parameter (radius), an ellipse by two (small and big half-axis), a triangle by three (the length of two sides and the angle they form).

    It sounds clean, but sort of breaks down for the square, which takes one parameter for the actual square and five for the general quadrilateral.

    Also, Ferret is a wild ride, thanks for writing up these reports!

    • I’m picturing (now, with the benefit of hindsight) the “oval” as a sort of marquise-cut diamond shape, i.e., an “oval” with points at two ends and thus more reasonably thought of has having “two sides.”

      Speaking of diamonds, did anyone else stumble on the diamond way back in Phase 7? (When I went back for the silver key I poked around that phase a bit more looking, unsuccessfully, for the “map” someone – I think Damian Murphy? – mentioned having found there. Found an apparently utterly useless diamond instead.)

      • Diamond isn’t useless. According to Roger Durrant:

        1. Lbh pna hfr vg gb phg fbzrguvat.

        2. Vg jbexf ba n tynff jvaqbj.

      • I am really interested in these things (diamond and map) which I have never seen. There was something hinted to with the Fire Escape earlier I seem to recall. Since I brute-forced the helicopter flying I never needed a map, but it seems that I have missed a lot of phase 7. The whole Subway Corridor area screams of having more to reveal than just the “pretty envelope”, with its complicated structure and descriptions and the door and armoured glass which I never did anything with. If you have some clues for this I would be thankful.

      • I haven’t solved all of this either, but to get to the diamond: [Ng gur obggbz bs gur sver rfpncr, WHZC. (Jung V unira’g svtherq bhg vf ubj gb trg *onpx* nsgre qbvat guvf.)]

    • Agreed 2 is dodgy for sides, but at least I see what the authors were getting at.

      Glad you’re enjoying the writeups! Giving how many complications have piled on I’ve been wondering lately how easy this is to follow for people not playing the game.

      • It is probably impossible to really follow the game from the sidelines, without any sort of playing along. Some of the puzzles you explain in enough detail that I can get them, but for much of the rest of game I only get a sort of vague feel of its “outlines”.

        I have had minimal exposure to adventure games in general (only a few mainstream games like Space Quest, Police Quest, Sam&Max, etc), so for me it’s quite interesting just to see “how deep the rabbit hole goes” – how convoluted the puzzles can get and for instance how much it makes use of alternate timeline knowledge. It’s always fascinating to see how assumptions and expectations differ in different game communities.

        An aside: I think it’s pretty much taken for granted that players can/will/must take advantage of knowledge from other playthroughs to be able to handle the higher difficulty levels of strategy games or RPGs. A big part of beating “very hard” is often knowing ahead of time what the important bottlenecks are, in terms of difficulty, and understanding the game system well enough to be able to prepare a minimum viable solution.

      • Yes, some of these puzzles involve “play with this thing and try to figure out what it does” and it really is hard to describe all the aspects of that kind of puzzle without having solved it first.

        If I think there’s a stronger chance of contribution to I’ll try my best to give all the information.

  3. I have an interesting question, rather than the usual expected statements about length, how long do you think a walkthrough of this would be? A written walkthrough, just explaining the steps you need to take rather than something like a UHS-style series of hints.

  4. Got a nudge and killed the cyborg, turned out to be shockingly easy.

    Hfr na vgrz sebz cunfr avar.

    Also, received (but has not used) this hint about the dam area where we are:

    xrrc tbvat jvgu gur Pbageby Ebbz naq ehfgl jurry sbe n ovg ybatre.

    • Man, I am struggling to get anything interesting to happen in the Control Center, even with this hint. I keep wondering what’s meant to go in the slot – it’s certainly not the spanner or diving suit, and I wasn’t able to fit anything else in the suit’s pockets besides the spanner (not even the tiny indigo pin). I still think the hogshead is key to getting more inventory over this way, perhaps something to go in the slot, but not made further progress there either.

      • Same :( The only other peep I got on the circumstances was explaining that objects have both volume and weight, which is why we could have the nested bag – thing in bag even though they don’t fit separate in the hogshead. I don’t know if that really assists with the puzzle though.

      • I don’t think the thing-in-another-thing is the whole/right answer to the Hogshead Fitting Paradox.

        See this transcript:
        “There is an oak hogshead here
        -> put suit in hogshead
        Done.
        -> put bag in hogshead
        It won’t fit.
        -> board hogshead
        You are in the hogshead.
        -> drop bag
        Dropped.
        -> disembark hogshead
        You are back on dry land.
        -> push off hogshead
        It’s a bit of struggle given the weight of the hogshead, the roughness of the terrain and the unwieldy size of the barrel but eventually success is achieved. The hogshead is bobbing gently in the lake water.
        -> l
        Lakeside
        The path reverts to rock as it runs back to the southeast. There are steep rockfaces on both sides of the path leading you into a beautiful lake.
        The oak hogshead contains:
        a diving suit
        an asbestos bag”

        So I can’t PUT the two items by themselves in the hogshead, but if I DROP the second item in the hogshead they both fit there at the same time, together with me.

    • I have not managed to incapacitate the cyborg in any way yet – but I also have no problem with it (as far as I can tell). Do you gain something by killing it?

      • It drops an item when killed, which may or may not eventually be useful (this being Ferret).

      • You do.

        1. Lbh jvyy arrq gb qrfgebl vg jvgu n jrncba. Ubjrire, lbh crefbanyyl unir ab jrncbaf gung jvyy jbex gb qrfgebl vg.

        2. Gurersber, vg arrqf gb or qrfgeblrq jvgu vgf bja jrncba.

        3. Hfr gur zveebe naq yrg vg fubbg.

      • Haha, I have been trying with the [zveebe] since I first was attacked by it, but I was stumbling with the parser (I thought) and couldn’t get it to work like I wanted whatever I tried. Now, with renewed encouragement, I just [jnvgrq] and ta-daa! :P Sometimes it is not the game that is hard…

  5. I just realized that the name of the room with the mobile phone and the Semtex is a hint for how to solve the scroll puzzle. “Asylum from Enmity” = “fallout shelter.” (As in, have a falling-out, which I think is more UK than US usage.)

    Not sure if “Bicycle of the Prophets” etc. are similar charades but I would guess that those are a pile of red herrings in which is concealed [looks up the latest scholarship on the etymology of “red herring” on Wikipedia, realizes that the metaphor will get hopelessly tangled] something that isn’t a red herring.

    • Thought: could the answer key be referring to literal room names in the phases? It is a memory test after all. (Either all five in phase 1, of phase 11 through 15.)

      • While I like this idea a lot, I note that (i) the dark caves phase doesn’t seem to have any unusual room names at all, and (ii) a quick tour through what we can access in phases 11 onward doesn’t seem to show any locations that match answer #3 (the unusual 3 letters, 2 letters, 6 letters pattern).

        I haven’t yet had the chance to sweep back through Phase 1 to see if they might all be from there (which does make more sense as a “memory” test), so perhaps that way lies paydirt.

  6. ok, so I got an explicit hint at what is going wrong re: the lake problem — and I’m still not sure what to do with it.

    The suit has _two_ pockets. (I remember K mentioning this way back and I tried to test it.) I am unclear how to refer to the second one.

    • aaaaaah

      -> look in suit
      Peering inside you can see:
      a comb pocket
      a coin pocket

      ok, trying to stuff the coin pocket with various things to see works on the slot in the control center

    • -> push green
      Click. Off in the distance a tremendous rumbling starts and then gradually mutes to a distant hum.

    • Just to give explicit directions in case anyone needs it:

      Chg gur fcnaare va gur pbzo cbpxrg naq gur erpgnatyr bs zvpn (gur bar sebz gur gna oybpx) va gur pbva fybg. (Lbh pna gel gur bar gung tbg fzbbfurq va gur gencqbbe, ohg vg qbrfa’g jbex.) Jura ng gur pbageby ebbz, chg gur zvpn va gur fybg. Gura chyy gur oernxre naq chfu gur terra ohggba (gur fcvtbg qbrfa’g nssrpg guvf va cnegvphyne). Guvf fubhyq tvir n fbhaq. Abj lbh pna ghea gur jurry jvgu gur fcnaare.

      For the next part I suspect:

      Gur jryy arrqf gb or svyyrq jvgu jngre.

      • oops, not correct! This is for the part when you reach “Dog Leg”, so if you’re stuck right after, hints:

        1. Guvf vf fvzvyne gb n chmmyr sebz na rneyvre cunfr gung vaibyirq n snyy.

        2. Va gung cunfr, lbh hfrq n znggerff gb xrrc sebz trggvat vawherq.

        3. Urer, gur fbsg guvat vf gur qvatul.

        4. Lbh arrq gb jnvg ba chyyvat gur pbeq hagvy lbh’er va gur jryy.

        5. Nyfb, whfg guebjvat vg va gur jryy qbrfa’g jbex — lbh jba’g ynaq va vg.

        6. Lbh arrq gb obneq vg, naq chfu vg bss yvxr lbh jrer tbvat va gur jngre.

      • More progress! After solving the puzzle at Dog Leg just mentioned there’s another one, and:

        1. Vg’f n gvzrq guvat.

        2. Fcrpvsvpnyyl, vg vf onfrq ba gheavat gur fcvtbg ng gur pbageby pragre.

        3. Lbh arrq gb ghea gur fcvtbg, gura obbx vg gbjneqf gur jryy naq qb jung lbh arrq gb qb.

        4. Vs lbh gvzr guvatf pbeerpgyl, gura lbh pna jnvg sbe gur jngre gb eha bhg, naq lbh’yy trg syhfurq qbja n qenva vagb n arj nern, naq or noyr gb rfpncr!

  7. just a quick non-rot13 update:

    9: probably complete

    10: probably complete

    11: probably complete

    12: probably complete

    13: probably complete

    14: probably complete

    15: ???

    16: still haven’t gotten anywhere yet

    Getting closer!

    • I think we need to figure out what to do (probably what to construct with the “melter” utility) in the Eric room and probably also the Sellers room (maybe we can use the “melter” to fix this so we can see the transparencies?) AND something with the wire cable / Holloway Museum area. Unless I have missed some progress?

      This is my current status, at Ascot Station Platform (phase 16):
      Phase 16 (Liberation)
      Mode: Master
      You have scored 1405 (out of 1670) points in 2555 moves.
      Rooms visited: 695. Rank achieved: Overlord.

      These are the items that I have available in the Locomotive:
      acrylic orb
      asbestos bag
      beautiful ruby rod
      blank manila envelope
      book
      cellophane bag
      chunky bracelet
      damaged communicator
      glossy voucher
      human skull
      iron ring
      jade globe
      laminated scroll
      leather wallet
      lemon ticket
      life jacket
      lime ticket
      mobile generator
      pair of tweezers
      perspex rod
      photographic flashgun
      picnic box
      piece of fur
      piece of linen
      puce transparency
      pvc envelope
      sealed pvc vessel
      security capsule
      security casket
      silver key
      silver obol
      slender black cylinder
      smudged pamphlet
      strawberry ticket
      teleport bracelet
      tiny rectangle of mica
      transistor radio
      translucent fruit bowl
      vermilion transparency
      zinc key
      +
      aviators passcard OR indigo pin (two separate FCFs for these scenarios)

      There are of course some items I have chosen to leave or sacrifice for various purposes, where I could exchange them for some other item(s) to sacrifice/leave instead.

      For Pier wrecking in phase 11 I use:
      granite spheroid, toy robot, toy truck

      For fifth floor (“Milligan”) access via Cradle of the Window Cleaners in phase 15 I use:
      rubber charger mat, long duralium spanner, gaudy mirror, dirty reticule (empty)
      (this could also be done with the granite spheroid alone, but it was already used at the Pier)

      I am not sure if it would be possible to bring the sparkling diamond and/or more/other things from phase 7. I suspect the diamond/map detour is only for information gathering, since I am yet to see any score increase there.

      A very important inventory throttle point for the later phases is the hole in the roof just when we start phase 8. I bring the white/orange/brown/black pins which we absolutely need, and the silver key which seems useful for the security capsule / teleport bracelet (though it has not seen any use yet). We can also bring the aviators passcard OR the indigo pin of which neither have seen any use yet (past phase 7 that is, for the passcard). Perhaps there are more/other things we could bring too/instead (sparkling diamond, shining silver disc?).

      Perhaps we could bring the pvc bin from the Storeroom in phase 11 if we drop something else off?
      Could we even make a second run around this section if we somehow bring the diving suit all the way back (probably impossible, the dinghy is gone)?

      (A note about the indigo pin and health – even with bringing the indigo pin and getting a “nausea” message just before exiting the radioactive area I still “feel ok” and can drink two times from the water, so this extra trip should not be the reason for the health difference between mine and Voltgloss’ paths. Curious!)

      • PVC bin you can toss in the well and grab it at the bottom — I’ve toted it along with me. Been trying to test it on the heating element but the weight thing is still gnarly to figure out so I haven’t brought it to the room yet.

        I used rug + security casket for the pier.

        I don’t know if you’ve found at the museum yet, but:

        Svyyvat gur jryy jvgu jngre nyfb nssrpgf gur zhfrhz, lbh pna tb snegure va abj.

        Hasbeghangryl, gur tnzr unf na reebe jurer vg xvyyf lbh ohg tvirf n fgenatr zrffntr. Jung unccraf vf lbh ner fhccbfrq gb or n “lbh qebjarq va gur jngre” zrffntr ohg gurer’f fbzrguvat lbh pna qb gb fgbc lbhefrys sebz qebjavat.

        V’z abj fghpx va gur fhofrdhrag znmr. Unira’g qbar nalguvat jvgu gur pnoyr lrg, V jbhyq nffhzr fbzr ybat pbeq pbhyq or nggnpurq gung V pbhyq gura qent jvgu zr va gur znmr, ohg qhaab sbe fher.

      • Good thinking with the pvc bin! I had given up on throwing things down holes since I have not had any success with it this far. And I had not noticed the museum, that is great too. Have you found any more score points there yet?

        I have spent my time trying to scour “the past” (phases before 9) for things that I have missed and especially items that could be brought “forward”. Still have not figured out how to “escape” with the diamond.

        Do you believe that floors 4 and 5 are the only ones accessible with the windows cleaners cradle? It seems so to me after a lot of testing. I suspect/hope there is some key somewhere that opens all the doors from the stairwell in phase 15.

        Alas, puzzle solving time is up for today. Another go tomorrow I hope.

      • Could you spoil me on your steps to bring the pvc bin through? I must be doing something wrong, I toss it in the well and get out myself but never see the bin again… :(

      • “Put bin in well” while at top. When floating in darkness, “get bin”. If you wait until the skull room it is too late.

      • Thanks! I thought all variations of “getting things in darkness” were made impossible by that new game version and ruled out this as an option. I will try it!

      • I can confirm that getting the pvc bin in the dark works on version 10.21. :)

  8. re: the maze upon entering the water portion of the museum

    nsgre svefg ragrevat gur jngre, tb
    abegurnfg, abegujrfg, abegurnfg, abegujrfg
    gurer jvyy or n fgnve

    • add: has to relate to this from earlier back at the phase 9 manor. don’t know the connection though!

      Report of the Vlandorf Expeditionary Force
      Date: 27 November 1957

      How long is it since we took a good look?
      Could we ever find what we were looking for?
      Once we analysed the text and found the missing “the”.
      Luckily that led us to the location of the pylon.
      Another thing that we should have thought of.
      Unless we had made that expedition to Xepherous.
      Xepherous gave us lots of clues as to when.
      Eventually, though, we may just end up floating.

      Your humble servant Obcequs, the Tharp of Tranydore.

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