Asylum II: Secret Items   3 comments

An Asylum II “master disk” from eBay. It is easy to forget when seeing so many high-quality pictures of original media that a lot of players from the era had their disks look like this; copies with a fair chance of being pirated.

Continuing directly from last time, I had mentioned a sound that meant an item had dropped somewhere in the maze. I just had to find it.

This had a gold key.

Finding a key in Asylum is both thrilling and exhausting. Thrilling in the ability to open possibly many doors, and exhausting in the ability to open possibly many doors; that is, upon obtaining a key, you have to check every available door.

The gold key unlocks two doors I had left to deal with in the opening area.

One of them (on the west side) held a rocket belt. If the player wears the rocket belt and turns it on, it causes the player to fly forward, hit the wall ahead of them, and die from impact. This is functionally identical to the FART command from all the way back in Deathmaze 5000 (except the impact doesn’t kill you in that game). I don’t feel like making a new GIF file for the rocket, so you get to reminisce about the farting instead.

The other one leads to a room with a circuit board. I’ll get back to it in a little bit.

The only door I still haven’t opened in the starting area is the one on the east, which no doubt leads to another giant complex of rooms that will take ages to map.

Taking the gold key over to the hexagon, I was able to get at three new rooms. One had someone mumbling scientific terms that you could hear while outside the door, so it was not shocking to find a scientist. The scientist needs a battery, magnet, and copper wire.

There’s additionally the sound of someone saying ACTION! whilst in the hall; using the gold key to unlock the door yields a “mad movie producer”.

Finally, most intriguingly, there’s the door marked DOCTORS ONLY, the one that was mentioned at the start of the game as the exit to the asylum. The key works!

This is an interesting design finesse! Already, the exit is available quite quickly (compare to Asylum); I would have expected the key to be held back longer, but no, the only real obstacle between you and freedom is a doctor’s uniform. Not that the game won’t pull a twist, but I could as easily see it simply now making the doctor’s uniform only discoverable after epic struggle.

With all these places unlocked, I was now quite stuck. The movie producer was not impressed by my bird costume, I had nothing the scientist wanted, and the only thing to do seemed to be to whack at the circuit board yet no action I tried was working. Fortunately, the game comes with a VOCAB command to list every single word it understands.

This goes for multiple pages.

One that struck my eye is SCRAMBLE. It was highly unusual; could it work on the circuit housing?

Indeed it could: the game says

The fuses in the fuse box are scrambled.

This made me immediately think of the phone. You see, I had tried to CHOP it earlier with my axe hoping to get some spare change, but that causes an alarm to be sounded and my hapless avatar to be sent for electro-shock therapy. I thought perhaps the alarm was now disabled. This was not the case.

However: after the electro-shock therapy was through, rather than getting sent back to the starting room, the lights were all shut off.

Fortunately, a search through the entire maze is not necessary again to find what fell on the floor: it is nearby. You can now get a BATTERY, one of the items the scientist wants.

You can also use the candle and matches to light your way at least temporarily, but I haven’t found any more changes to the asylum. I tried the phone smashing yet again, thinking the total frying of the fuses might have now made the alarm totally gone, but no: you just get sent back to the electro-shock room except the shock doesn’t work! I also tried using the replacement fuse I had from the electrician and even though REPLACE is on the verb list it doesn’t work (unless my parser form is lacking). I vaguely suspect I’m supposed to keep the electrician alive somehow so they can fix the issue themselves, but you really are requires to kill him in order to chop out with the axe. Maybe the axe scene just needs to get saved for later? Or maybe the fuse box thing doesn’t get fixed at all, and we are supposed to have a copper wire and magnet to go with the battery and we’ll be able to get a flashlight from the scientist (that still doesn’t sound right to me, but I’m just throwing things out there).

I’m not quite ready to nudge at hints yet. One of the advantages of having a dungeon-crawler style map is the feeling like there’s always another wall or room that can be poked at; I still have yet to test significant wall-smashing with the axe, for instance. However, given some of the abstruse puzzles of prior games, I might be better served by giving up sooner rather than later. I’ll probably try the clock-trick I did back with “One of the Most Deeply Inscrutable Puzzles in Adventure Game History” and give myself an hour on a timer to make progress before taking a peek. (Hints are fine in the comments as well, but ROT13 only please!)

Posted March 28, 2023 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction, Video Games

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3 responses to “Asylum II: Secret Items

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  1. A great game and a great play through. How did I miss this back in the day?

  2. Not rooting because this is just an idea.

    What about use the rocket belt for trying to collapse a door at the end of a hallway, or to hit a padded wall?

    This game feels too me quite imaginative! There’s a lot of neat stuff in for a third part in a series

    • I am through the rocket belt thing. It is sort of the second idea, kind of (you’ll see). Plastic surgery scene is amazing. Game is absolutely off the hook. Post maybe tonight.

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