Asylum II: I Will Give You a New Face   4 comments

Asylum II went completely wild, which I suppose is thematic. Prior posts needed to understand this one.

The C64/Atari tape version of the game, via eBay.

To make two caveats before I begin:

a.) I switched from using trs80gp in Model 1 emulation to Model 3 emulation. Normally I prefer Model 3 (the graphics look a little crisper) although I was having trouble getting the game to start in Model 3 mode. Over at the trs80gp Discord I asked about it, and JRace realized the version I had been using had this data added on to it:


It appears to be from some sort of convert-tape-to-disk software; tapes could have copy protection just like disks but there was software to get around that.

One of the versions available (asylum2b from here) did run fine with Model 3, so I swapped over. The upshot is the screenshots are a little mixed this time. See if you can spot the difference!

b.) I had to use hints twice. One puzzle was kind of clever and obnoxious at the same time, one I was fooled slightly by inconsistent behavior.

Let’s finish dealing with the fuses first. Last time I had managed to get everything in the dark, but my attempt to bring a fuse back to the circuit box to fix it failed. I speculated offhand I might just be typing the parser command wrong, and that turned out to be correct: PUT FUSE IN CIRCUIT seems to work (despite FIX and REPAIR both being verbs they don’t apply here).

Now, for the inconsistent behavior: I had given a stethoscope to a hypochondriac, causing him to keep appearing and running away, shouting about GERMS. Before I had given the stethoscope I had tried using my AXE and I was picked up for violent behavior, just like all the other times I tried violence, so I figured that was that.

Once the hypochondriac is in his “germ phase” after handing off the stethoscope…

He runs off screaming ‘GERMS! GERMS!’

…you can then attack (even just a KICK seems to work). He will drop some pills and run away, but you will not sound any kind of alarm.

I pretty quickly sussed out what the pills were for, but I first want to go back to the rocket belt. I had, recall, found myself flying into a wall and dying. I ended up being baffled enough I just checked hints outright here. The clever bit has to do with leveraging the geography of the game.

You see, as you are moving with the rocket belt, there’s a message about “accelerating”; however, the rocket doesn’t last forever, and if you keep going there’s a message about “decelerating”. So what you need to do is find an extra-long hallway; in fact, the longest one in the game so far, the one on the very top of my map.

This part of the puzzle was gratifyingly clever (even though I didn’t solve it myself). I first used the term unexpected re-purposing back with Deathmaze 5000, and here the game transforms something mundane (not only mundane, but useless “maze filler”) into a puzzle.

This wasn’t the entire puzzle, however. As the animation above implies, you still die on impact even after the long hall. The way to survive is to also drop that bean bag I’ve been toting around on the far end; it will break your landing. First off, I had an unfortunate issue of visualization (like this confusion regarding an urn in Adventure 430). The item is described as a “bean bag”, not a “bean bag chair”, so I was imagining something small, like these throwing beanbags as the first image on Wikipedia. Second, I had the same mental state treating items as I did back with Deathmaze 5000 where I was able to carry around a snake by carrying the “box” that it was in; I thought that if you just dropped a bean bag (which is described as in a box that you can open) that it was treated on the ground like a physical box.

On crash-landing the rocket leaves behind a copper wire, which is one of the supplies the scientist needs. As we have the battery we just need the magnets, now.

Back to the pills. I remembered the plastic surgeon needed drugs, so with some trepidation I toted the pills over.

Horror and comedy wrapped into the same moment.

Well. The most obvious step was to make a stop by the “mad movie producer” who had been throwing me out.

With camera in hand I quickly got accosted by a guard who seemed to be a fan.

Thinking about the items I had left to use (not many) I handed over the bird costume and he took it away “gleefully” to change leaving behind a uniform.

With uniform in hand I was aimless for a while until I tried yet another whack at the phone with the axe.

This time, success! Also, the phone is described as having a “receiver”, so you can hack at that as a separate item.

The coins I haven’t used yet (although I have a suspicion where they go); the magnets can now go with the other items to the scientist.

By the way: essentially everyone you can refer to as an INMATE. Adventure games in general often feel like staged plays, where the right items just happen to be available in the right places and in the right quantities to solve puzzles that are in just the right sequence to be resolved by the items you have. Or: characters are cooperative in very specific ways that just happened to be oriented around the world-verse you’re in to make progress. Why would the scientist go through the trouble to build a time-stasis machine just to leave it behind? It makes sense if a.) they’re an inmate being told what to do and b.) they’re taking part in a staged play of sorts. b.) is reinforced by plot events which you’ll see in a little bit.

I really had nothing left to whack at other than the psychologist, so it seemed to be time to give the time stasis a whirl. Prior visit led to me dying from boredom, so maybe let’s make time pass a bit quicker?

The smock is the doctor’s outfit! Is that it? Are we done with the game. Ha. Ha ha. No. But we can go through the Doctor’s door now.

The entire dialogue is:

It’s amazing you have gotten this far! You are smarter than we realized! However, your escape isn’t to be this simple! If you can find the Master Mystic and rid us of him, we will let you go free! We will require proof of your success! We will give you a pass key. Go to your room and rest! Good luck!

So the entire process was a test of sorts, like Zork III? (It’s one of those things that’s an easy way to explain away all the different adventure tropes.)

This lands you an ivory key. I haven’t tested it thoroughly, but I can say the door to the far east of the opening maze is now unlockable, and it goes to a series of corridors similar to the hexagon, except now it is a heptagon.

A partial map so far. Alas, not nearly as easy to make clean looking as the hexagon was.

Posted April 3, 2023 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction, Video Games

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4 responses to “Asylum II: I Will Give You a New Face

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  1. This unorthodox adventure game has got me wondering whether you’ll be reviewing the Apple ][ version of “The Prisoner” (based strongly on the cult British spy series, but in no way was authorized). It’s a wildly inventive adventure game, breaking all kinds of 4th wall conventions and is an clear standout from its peers of the era. (There’s a “prisoner 2” sequel which is effectively the same game with better graphics)

  2. Wow! that has been hilarious.

    I will be very sad if the game does not end with a:

  3. Oh, imagine this game as a prerendered point and click and parser adventure with FMV for the innates…

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