Archive for the ‘dracula-avontuur’ Tag

Dracula Avontuur (1980)   11 comments

Velen hebben reeds getracht de schat van Lord Dracula te vinden, weinigen zijn teruggekomen. Jij wilt het dus ook proberen…

To recap our past shenanigans with non-English text adventures, we’ve so far played

In all three cases, I played in English. Dracula Avontuur is (probably) the first original non-English game made for home computers, and (probably) the first text adventure in Dutch for any system.* It has never been translated, so I have to play it in the original Dutch.

Dracula was written by Ronald van Woensel in 1980 for the Commodore PET using only 8K of memory (tiny, see ADV.CAVES for comparison), but the text was later expanded in 1982 and ported to CP/M; what I’ve got access to is the expanded version from the author’s website.

From the 1982 commercial version.

The objective (as given by a note in your house) is that Lord Dracula has a great treasure, and you want to try to go get it. I’m glad it’s that and not “open parliamentary proceedings with interpretive dance” or “solve progressively harder sets of anagrams” because I’d have no idea how to solve that kind of puzzle in Dutch.

I’ve had to puzzle out what to type rather like I was playing The Gostak (which is a 2001 IFComp entry where the language itself of the game is a puzzle, and you have to infer what everything means). Thankfully, the game had mercy on me early and gave some possible sample commands…

Ik geloof, dat je niet helemaal begrijpt wat de bedoeling is.
Je moet steeds opdrachten geven van 2 woorden, je kan bijoorbeeld nu intypen:
SLUIT RAAM ,om het raam te sluiten
GA ZUID ,om naar die slaapkamer te gaan
KLIM GAT ,om te proberen dat gat boven je te bereiken
INVENTARIS ,om te zien wat je bij je hebt
LEES BRIEF ,om dat briefje wat op de grond ligt et lezen.
KIJK ,om nog eens te zien waar je bent en wat je kan doen.

…and for fun, for any non-Dutch speakers out there, what do you think they say?

Is “duivelaarsmunt” a normal Dutch word?

I’ve only made a smidge of progress, so I’ll get more into my gameplay process in my next post. So far I’ll describe it as “fun but exhausting”.

(*) There is another candidate, also in Dutch, but it could have been written anytime from 1980 to 1981, so I’m going to wait until I’ve done more research before playing it.

Posted August 29, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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Dracula Avontuur: The Feeling of Being a Beginner   13 comments

I’ve been playing parser games for so long it’s often tough to for me to put myself in the head of a beginner who types things like >PICK UP THE RAPIER PLEASE and gets the response “You don’t see any such thing” even when the item is clearly in the room. (I just tested this on a real game — Kerkerkruip — and that’s what happened.)

Playing in a foreign language is a great way to recreate this feeling. I got the opening hints

SLUIT RAAM (“close window”)
KLIM GAT (“climb hole”)
LEES BRIEF (“read note”)
KIJK (“look”)
GA ZUID (“go south”)

and worked out a few more things like NEEM (“take”), but I’ve generally had enormous difficulty communicating anything at all.

For example, I found a traditional maze, the kind that needs dropping items to map:

For the life of me I could not drop an item. I tried every single word in a dictionary I could find, and then out of frustration

>DROP BROOD
sneetje brood : laten vallen.
(Slice of bread: dropped.)

I still have no idea other than DROP in English how to drop stuff. You might think that LATEN VALLEN BROOD could do it but that really needs to be used as a two-word phrase (I think?), and this is a parser than only takes two words at maximum, including both the verb and noun. Relatedly, the order always has to be verb-subject, even though Dutch often prefers subject-verb; the phrase really should be BROOD LATEN VALLEN.

Here’s what I found at the end of the maze (I give both the Dutch room description and my best shot at a translation):

Je bent nu in een donker woud. Hoog in een zware eikenboom is een kleine hut gebouwd. De takken van de boom hangen laag genoeg om erin te kunnen klimmen. Er zijn vele voetstappen in de grond te zien.

You’re in a dark forest. There is a small cabin built high in an oak tree. The branches of the tree are low enough to climb. There are many footprints around on the ground.

Fortunately, I had the earlier hint to KLIM for climb and was able to KLIM BOOM (climb tree) to get in:

Je bent nu in een kleine hut bovenin een boom. Een van de planken, waaruit de vloer is opgebouwd, is afgebroken, zodat je daardoor naar beneden kunt. Je hebt van hier uit een prachtig uitzicht over het uitgestrekte bos. In de verte kan je het dorpje met de herberg zien. Een smal pad vanuit het dorp slingert het bos in. Ver links van het dorp kan je het kasteel van Lord Dracula zien. Door een vreemd schijnsel ziet het kasteel er spookachtig uit. Een smal pad loopt de heuvel op naar de ingang van het kasteel. Verder is de wand rondom het kasteel zo steil, dat het pad in feite de enige ingang vormt.
Er is een houten wig hier.
Er is een zwaar kapmes hier.

You’re in a little cabin in a tree. One of the floorboards is broken so you can get down. You have a beautiful view of the vast forest. In the distance, you can see the village with the inn. A narrow path from the village leads in the woods. Far to the left of the village you can see the castle of Lord Dracula. The castle has a strange light and looks spooky. A narrow path runs up the hill to the entrance to the castle. The wall around the castle is so steep that the path is the only way in.
There’s a wooden wedge here.
There’s a big machete here.

I could not get out of this room! Again, dictionary attempts failed me. I knew N (Noorden) W (Westen) O (Oosten) and Z (Zuiden) worked for directions, and I eventually found by luck that L is the one-letter abbreviation to “go down”. It is short for … I have no idea. I did also find that H means up, and I’m guessing that’s just shortening “omhoog” to the H since O is already taken.

I did get a little farther and explored Dracula’s Castle (with bedrooms helpfully marked SLAAPKAMER 1 and SLAAPKAMER 2) but I haven’t solved any puzzles yet; hopefully next time?

Posted August 30, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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Dracula Avontuur: Learning a Language by Context   9 comments

This has been about Dutch, but I’m going to start with Russian.

Suppose I asked you what the word класс means. Perhaps you could make a guess (knack?) and perhaps you could even guess correctly, but unless you already know the Cyrillic alphabet, it’s still just a guess.

Now, take a look at this book cover…

…and this one.

Using the above book covers as a guide, can you tell what класс means now?

I learned Cyrillic this way about 15 years ago via a series of pictures which started with words you could figure out from English knowledge, eventually moving through the entire alphabet. (I can’t find the webpage that did this anymore — I doubt it’s still extant — but it was brilliant.)

Ever since then I’ve wondered about the possibility of learning a language almost entirely like a puzzle, with the slow accumulation of content. Playing Dracula in Dutch feels a little like that; obviously, I’m looking up words I don’t know, but occasionally I luck into a sentence where I can figure out 80%, and the remaining 20% get added to my mental bank.

For example, upon entering Dracula’s Castle, the first sentence is parsable:

Je bent nu in een immense hal van het kasteel.

From the same description:

De zware deur naar buiten is open.

Trying to “sluit deur” (close door):

De kasteeldeur is met geen mogelijkheid te bewegen.

Looking at the room again, I noticed the door was still open, so I assumed the above message conveyed something along the lines of the “zware deur” being too large or heavy to close.

Later, I found a “zware gesloten kist” and tried to take it:

Die is absoluut niet te tillen.

With knowing that “zware” was heavy/big I was able to guess what was going on here and what “te tillen” meant, especially with the “absoluut niet” (absolutely not) phrase in there.

While I have made it farther in the castle, progress in general still feels minor, so I’ll report back on the actual events of the game next time.

Posted September 2, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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Dracula Avontuur: Finished!   5 comments

Report blood type to doorman. Opening hours Monday to Saturday, midnight to 6 AM. Closed on Sundays.

I did need to check the walkthrough for some things, but they were generally things I would have gotten stuck on no matter what the language.

For one thing, there’s a looping structure in terms of returning to locations I wasn’t really expecting. The overall superstructure of the map looks like this:

For most of the games of this era, we’d grab the things in the starting house and be done with it. This isn’t like that; the intent is to go in and out of Dracula’s castle and return to the house multiple times. I did catch one loop: you have to get a ladder from the castle and bring it all the way to the start to reach the attic of the house. However, I entirely did not expect an underground section to the house, and you can eventually dig all the way up to Dracula’s Castle from that direction.

Je bent nu in een vochtige kelder. Het plafond is hier zo laag dat je niet rechtop kunt staan. Er zit een nauw gat in het plafond waardoor je omhoog zou kunnen klimmen. De wanden van graniet, maar naar het noorden is de wand erg zanderig. Je staat tot aan je enkels in modderig water.
Er is een vlijmsscherpe bijl hier.
Er is een kleine houten doos hier.

You’re in a damp basement. The ceiling is so low you can’t stand straight. You can climb up a narrow hole in the ceiling. The walls are granite, except the wall to the north which is very sandy. You are up to your ankles in muddy water.
There’s a sharp axe here.
There’s a little wooden box here.

The forest maze is another place most games would not have used twice, but after getting the axe mentioned above, you can return to the big tree and get wood to make a cross.

In addition to the I-needed-the-walkthrough issues above, I had trouble figuring out what verb to use to kill Dracula at the end, but we’ll get to that.

After grabbing my starting gear (lantern, bread, milk, coin) I went over to the nearby Black Hand Inn. I bought some garlic from the proprietor and he told me they had “had enough” (referring to vampire attacks, I assume) and mentioned a hidden stair.

Je bent nu op de donkere zolder van de herberg. Via een trap kan je naar beneden. Er hangt een sterke geur, alsof hier een lijk enige maanden heeft liggen rotten. De vloer is vol bloedvlekken. Er is echter geen lijk te zien. Een vreemd gevormde steen is in de muur gemetseld.
Er is een zware kist met een dikke laag stof op de bodem hier.

You’re in a dark attic of the inn. You can go down a flight of stairs. There’s a strong smell like a corpse has been rotting here for several months and the floor is covered in bloodstains. However, no corpse can be seen. A strangely shaped stone is in the wall.
There’s a heavy chest with a thick layer of dust here.

The chest contains a handy guide to vampires, including the note that “the vampire is very scared of the powerful cross, and the best are made of wood”.

After visiting the inn I scooped up the “wooden wedge” and “large machete” from the nearby forest, then entered the castle. In addition to a food serving hall and two bedrooms, I found a tower with a mysterious door …

Je staat nu op een lange wenteltrap die omhoog en naar beneden gaat. Voor je zie je een vreemd gevormde deur in de wand met in het hout van de deur ‘DIT IS SESAM’ gebrand. Een zwaar gebonk is achter de deur hoorbaar.

You are on a long spiral stair which goes up and down. There’s a strange door in the wall with “this is sesame” burned into it. Behind the door you can hear a heavy thumping.

… and a courtyard with a helpful ladder.

Je bent nu op een binnenplaats van het kasteel dat als kerkhof dient doet. Er zijn hier vele graven waarvan sommige open zijn. Van anderen is het grafdeksel weggeschoven. De meeste graven zijn echter intact. De enige uitgang is een poortje aan de westkant.
Er is een lange ladder hier.

You are now in a courtyard of the castle that serves as a graveyard. There are many graves here, some of which are open. Others have their cover pushed away. However, most are intact. The only way out is a gate on the west side.
There’s a long ladder here.

I took the ladder back to the starting house (as I hinted at earlier), found a “stuk dik touw” (piece of thick rope) and then was fairly stuck.

According to the walkthrough, I needed to sleep in the bed at home. There was no message I recall that said the player-character was tired, just it needed to happen for some reason. However, when I tried it nothing useful happened.

It turns out I missed an encounter with Dracula earlier in the castle (you need to use the ladder to reach it). Both these actions I pulled directly from the walkthrough.

>GOOI KNOF
Dracula sist en deinst achteruit. Hij wordt duidelijk afgeschrikt door de geur van de knof look. Hij kan zich echter tamelijk snel herstellen.
->BESCHIJN DRACULA
Dracula valt je nu aan en slaat zijn mantel dreigend in de lucht. Zijn scherpe hoektanden zijn nu zichtbaar, je loopt voor- zichtig achteruit. Dan valt hij aan en probeert in je nek te bijten. Plotseling verstijft hijen valt neer op de grond. lichaam wordt eerst grijs en zwarte rook omgeeft hem. Als de rook optrekt is er niets meer van zijn lichaam overgebleven.
Je hoort echter in de verte een sinistere lach.

>THROW GARLIC
Dracula hisses and pulls back. He is put off by the smell of garlic; however, he can recover quickly.
>SHINE DRACULA
Dracula now attacks. His sharp fangs are now visible. He attacks and tries to bite your neck. Suddenly he stiffens and falls to the ground; his body becomes grey and black smoke surrounds him. You hear a sinister laugh in the distance.

I … don’t know what’s going on with that second part at all. I assume you’re using the lantern, but it doesn’t do anything. It’s possible the result will happen no matter what the action is?

After this encounter, going back and sleeping in the bed did something useful.

>GA SLAPEN
Je wordt midden in de nacht wakker door gerommel, dat vanonder het bed li jkt te komen. Als je uit het bed stapt verdwijnt het gebonk als bij toverslag.

>GO BED
You are woken in the middle of the night by a rumbling under the bed. When you get out, the sound disappears as if by magic.

Now you’re able to find a basement underneath the bed. While later adventure games are plagued with these “obscurely set off some kind of story trigger before the plot can move on” problems, this is almost too sophisticated a mistake for a 1980 game. (It could be this is an artifact of the 1982 revision, of course, but even 1982 is a little early.)

After a side trip to make a wooden cross and grab a shovel, I managed to dig into where Dracula’s coffin was lurking.

Je bent nu in een graftombe diep onder het kasteel. Een smalle een trap gaat omhoog, halverwege de trap is een ijzeren hek geplaatst. Een i jzige tocht gaat door merg en been. Er staan enige houten grafkisten in deze kamer, die allemaal op elkaar lijken.
Voor de trap zit een ijzeren hek
Het i jzeren hek is gesloten.
is een zware doodskist met in gothische letters de tekst ‘D R A C U L A’ hier

You are now in a tomb deep under the castle. A narrow staircase goes up, where an iron gate has been placed halfway up.

The room’s cold goes through your marrow and bone.

There are wooden coffins that look all alike.

There is an iron gate in front of the stairs. The iron gate is closed.

There’s a heavy coffin here with ‘D R A C U L A’ written in gothic letters.

Unfortunately, it’s not a simple matter of popping open the coffin and staking him — opening it wakes Dracula up. Dracula then flees and you have to give chase. Eventually, you catch up, and the cross is as effective as advertised:

>TOON KRUIS
Aaaargghhhh’ ! Van schrik deinst de vampier achteruit.
Hij gaat tegen een muur staan en houdt zijn handen voor z’n ogen.

>SHOW CROSS
Aaaargghhhh’! The vampire backs off, scared. He stands against a wall and holds his hands in front of his eyes.

Then you can stake the vampire, except … I had no idea how to communicate this. Perhaps I was just making a verb-conjugation typo? The walkthrough told me to SIA WEDGE (“hit wedge”?)

De vampier gilt en valt neer. Even blijft het lichaam roerloos, om dan plotseling te worden omgeven door zwarte rook. Een zeer snel verouderingsproces begint en na enkele seconden lijkt het alsof er een eeuwenoud lijk voor je ligt. Dan vergaat het en blijft er slechts stof over.
De stof waait door elkaar en lijkt op een bepaald moment letters te vormen. Vaak kun je de tekst VAMPIRANIA lezen. Dan verwaait het stof totaal en blijft er geen sporr van deze toch eens zeer indrukwekkende dracula over.

The vampire screams and falls down. The body remains still for a moment and is then surrounded by black smoke. A fast aging process begins and in a few seconds it looks like an aeons-old corpse is before you. Then just dust remains.

The substance blows together and forms letters. You can read the text VAMPIRANIA. The dust then blows away completely and there is no trace of Dracula.

If you try to leave now, you find the heavy front door is “gesloten” (closed). You need to take an alternate exit.

I admit to exhaustion here and just used the walkthrough for the end (a little bit of an escape sequence). I wasn’t able to trigger a “you have won” message but it’s possible there is none. I killed Dracula, I found a “gouden halsband” (golden necklace) and I made it back home, so I think it’s safe to call this one wrapped up.

Keep in mind this is likely the very first text adventure in Dutch, and for that, it’s very impressive.

I somewhat wish I could find the 8K Commodore Pet original; almost certainly the room descriptions would have been mere room names (as the author’s webpage indicates, it had “very concise text”), which might be less involving to read but would have made my life much easier in translation. I’m also curious if the plot structure is exactly like the original; it’s a very unusual one for the era no matter what the language. I suspect the author had at least played The Count because (other than the obvious vampire plot similarity) Scott Adams was the only other author from this era working with interlocking plot elements quite in this fashion. Compare, for example, the defeat of Dracula with taking down the wizard in Wizard and the Princess. In the latter game, you meet and defeat the wizard in one room. In Dracula, you not only meet the antagonist early (before you can defeat him) but once getting the upper hand you have to give chase through his castle before making the final blow.

I have no idea what I’m playing next (I might just bop something off my remaining 1980 list completely at random) but at least I get to return to English! I do have one last question for any Dutch speakers out there. At the death of Dracula there is the scene with the text “VAMPIRANIA”. Is this referring to some Dutch-specific lore? I’m not sure what meaning it has.

Posted September 3, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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Dracula Avontuur: The Twist   Leave a comment

Peter De Wachter pointed out I may not have found the “real treasure”, so I ended up giving Dracula’s Castle one more visit.

I had also been thinking of this door

Je staat nu op een lange wenteltrap die omhoog en naar beneden gaat. Voor je zie je een vreemd gevormde deur in de wand met in het hout van de deur ‘DIT IS SESAM’ gebrand. Een zwaar gebonk is achter de deur hoorbaar.

You are on a long spiral stair which goes up and down. There’s a strange door in the wall with “this is sesame” burned into it. Behind the door you can hear a heavy thumping.

and the fact the VAMPIRANIA message didn’t seem to make any sense (I thought maybe it was a “Rosebud” in Citizen Kane type situation, but it didn’t match any of the lore.)

VAMPIRANIA, in fact, was the magic word to open the door, leading to:

Je bent nu in de kruiskamer. De wanden zijn hier met bloed besmeurd en er liggen hier restanten van dieren. In de hoek ligt het geraamte van een onvoorzichtige avonturier. Een groot vuur verspert de doorgang naar een ernaast liggende kamer. Er is slechts 1 uitgang, de zware houten Deur.
Er is een gevaarli jke kruisspin hier.

You’re in a cross room. The walls are blood-smeared and there are remains of animals. In the corner is the skeleton of an adventurer. A fire blocks the passage to an adjacent room. There is only one exit, the heavy wooden door.

There is a dangerous spider here.

The spider is defeated via a bottle of poison water.

De fles valt kapot op de grond. Het gif stroomt uit de fles en de spin, die natuurlijk uitgedroogd was van al die jaren wachten op een prpoitje, vliegt op de vloeistof af. Op het moment dat ze het gif aanraakt sterft de spin.

The bottle falls to the ground. The poison flies out and the spider, parched from many years of waiting, flies at the liquid. The moment she touches the poison, the spider dies.

That leaves the fire, which was probably the most interesting puzzle (for me) in the game. I had found much earlier that I could tote around a large suit of armor, but had never found any use for it. If you wear the armor you can walk through the fire.

Je bent nu in de schatkamer. De wanden lijken licht te geven door een vreemde weerkaatsing van de gloed van het vuur. Hoog bovenin deze ruimte is een gat in de muur in de vorm van een latijns kruis. Er komt lucht door naar binnen.
Er is een schatkist, vol met gouden munten hier.

You’re in the treasure room. The walls give a strange reflection from the glow of the fire. High up there is a hole forming a cross.

There is a treasure chest full of gold coins here.

So, there was some treasure more interesting than the gold necklace. Now, had this been all there was, I might have just added some comments to my previous post and let it be, but I wanted to share the endgame message:

Alle dorpelingen en ook de TROS (Transylvania Radio Omroep Stichting) zijn aanwezig om je te feliciteren.

All the villagers and the TROS (Transylvania Radio Broadcasting Foundation) are here to congratulate you.

Carried off by cheering elves, right?

Er zijn ook enkele heren van de belasting- dienst aanwezig die willen weten wat er in de kist zit die je bij je hebt.

There is also some gentlemen from the tax service present who want to know what is in the box that you have with you.

Huh, that isn’t too bad, but none of my other adventures required registering capital gains …

Ook blijkt dat zojuist de vampieren tot de beschermde diersoorten worden gerekend zodat je je binnenkort voor de rechter moet verantwoorden. Er zijn enkele leden van de aktiegroep ‘Stop de Vampierenmoord’ aanwezig, die je aggressief bejegenen. Het blijkt dat ze allemaal een zwarte jas aan hebben…

It also appears that the vampires have just become a protected species and you will have to answer to the court soon. Some members of ‘Stop the Vampire Murder’ action group are present and harass you aggressively. They all are wearing a black jacket…

… the … end?

Posted September 4, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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