Sunday, June 16, 2019

Mystery Mansion: Getting Some Booty

Before I get started, I should note that I've given up on Terry Newton's "practically exact" port of Mystery Mansion. The lack of a save feature became much too frustrating, so I switched over to a C port made by Bob Sorem (which can be found here). It's not exactly authentic, but I was never going to get anywhere in this game without saves. Plus, both ports look and feel the same in play, which I feel says something for the authenticity of both.

My plan at the end of the last post was to explore the tunnels underneath the Front Porch, where I had been previously savaged by a werewolf. This turned out to be a bust; after falling through the Porch (with a light on this time) I found that I was in the basement's Furnace Room, which I had previously explored. There were no werewolves in sight, and now I'm wondering if I might have imagined getting killed by one in the first place.

Since I was down there, I decided to have a closer look at the Cold Corridor, which is accessed through a Secret Room. When you enter the Cold Corridor, a wall move towards you and will crush you if you hang around too long. I hadn't had a proper look here yet, but closer inspection revealed a door to the north. I was able to unlock it and get through, but the closing wall left me trapped in the room beyond. The trick to getting in lay in the fact that the crushing wall retreats when you go back into the Secret Room. I jumped into the Cold Corridor, unlocked and opened the door, and went back to the Secret Room. After the wall retreated, I was able to zip back through the door and down a ladder, where I found the Tricky Treasury.

The Treasury contained some pirate's treasure, and there was also a cavity in the wall. I wasn't able to figure this out yet (but more on it later). I had one more avenue to explore: the Mole Maze.

I'm not sure if I mentioned this in my previous posts, but if you head down from the Storage Room in the basement there is a maze of tunnels that's been dug out by a mole. I had an absolute bastard of a time trying to map this thing out, using the tried-and-true method of leaving inventory items scattered about in each area. It didn't help here, because while I was about halfway through the maze changed. Not only did a mole dig out these tunnels, but he's still around, and will happily dig out new ones just to mess with you. I killed him with a sword, just to see if I could, but I'm not sure if this murder solved the problem or not. In the end I caved, and copied the map made by Jason Dyer of Using this I was able to penetrate the maze to the Mole's Vault, where I found an amulet. I was also able to find my way back before the mole changed everything, and I chose that as a very good time to save my game. Hopefully I can start all of my games from this point from now on, and never have to deal with this maze again.

Jason Dyer's Mole Maze Map

Having broken the seal, I read a few more spoilers from Jason's page in an attempt to speed up my completion of the game. The first thing I discovered was the purpose of the cavity in the Treasure Room: if you put the amulet in it and turn it, it opens a secret stairwell. As far as I can tell, there is basically nothing in the game that would signal this as a possibility, so I feel okay about this cheat.

The stairwell led down into another maze, the Treasure Trek. I had a lot more success mapping this one out by dropping items, except for one problem: the maze is slowly filling with water, and it's a race against time to get through to all of the treasures. I was able to map it out through trial and error, and I'm pretty sure that I found everything.

There were two tunnels that were flooded no matter how quickly I raced through the maze. The Troll Traps both featured a sleeping troll, and numerous items scattered around. I've marked those on the map that can be taken safely. If you try to take anything else, the troll wakes up and bludgeons you to death.

As for the Den of Death, I wasn't able to find the pearls on my own. The room is filled with nothing but boulders and skeletons, and the first time I entered I couldn't find anything to do here. I didn't even register that the boulders could be interacted with. Looking at a walkthrough on, I discovered that you could try to move the boulders multiple times, with a bag of pearls eventually being revealed.

Before the boulders could be moved, though, I needed the Gauntlet of Gargantuan Girth. This could apparently be found in the kitchen, by moving a wooden figure of a king. When I went back to the kitchen, there was no chess board mentioned. There were some tables though, and to see the king you need to LOOK AT TABLES. Move it, and the gauntlet will be revealed. (There's also a queen figure, but moving that gets you shot by a row of wooden indians.) Not only does the gauntlet let you move boulders, but it also increases your carrying capacity, so it's real handy.

I guess those wooden indians were distracting me?

It's become very apparent that success at this game requires a very careful study of the room descriptions. I'm all for this in general, but if something is just sitting on a table I feel like it should be mentioned. I guess there's a case to be made that the gauntlet is an optional item, and doesn't need to be located to beat the game, but I don't think it's playing fair to obscure things that should be readily observable by the protagonist.

So I had located all of the treasures of the maze, but I had one small problem: how would I get back out? I was able to navigate back to the Tricky Treasury, but every time I tried to leave I found the path back to the basement blocked by the crushing wall. So, once again with shame, I consulted a walkthrough for the answer.

It turns out that there's a door leading up from the Batty Bathroom. I'd noticed it before, but every time I tried to enter I was told that I "could not quite get through the small door". At first I figured that I needed a stepladder or something, or perhaps a means of making myself smaller. Later on I tried dropping all of my stuff, but that didn't work either. Well, this game has yet another surprise: you can drop your clothes, even though they're not mentioned in your inventory. With that done I was able to squeeze through the door into a mad scientist's laboratory. There I found a matter transmitter and a matter receiver, which could be used to teleport.

What was I wearing, an inflatable fat suit?

Of course, I had no idea how, and none of the commands I tried worked. Perhaps I would have had more success if I'd put myself into the mindset of a late-1970s college student, because the commands BEAM UP and BEAM DOWN were the magic words. BEAM UP serves to teleport you to the lab, and BEAM DOWN will take you to wherever the receiver is set down. Again, I doubt I ever would have tried these.

Armed with the above items, I feel like I can make a run at finishing the game with a good score, but before trying that there's one more thing you can do in this game that I noticed while skimming the walkthrough.

Bad grammar in that first sentence makes it sound like I'm pulling myself into bed.

This one takes some doing. First, you have to take a shower. Then you have to get the maid into a locked room where there are no other characters, and you also have to drop all of your gear and get undressed. She doesn't like doing it with the lights on either, so you have to close the curtains before the above raunchy sequence can occur.  You can also sleep with the Lady, using the same tactics. None of this is hinted at in the game, but since it doesn't score you any points I guess that doesn't matter. I'm not sure what other characters you can sleep with, because I'm a whitebread hetero dude and I only tried it on with the ladies. I might at least have a crack at the vampire to see what happens though.

Also, while we're on the topic of sex...

No word on whether it's pining for the fjords.

It's funny with pretty much every other inventory item in the game as well.

That's enough for this week. As you might have gathered by my frequent resorting to walkthroughs, I've kind of had a gut-full of this game. I suppose that it's not so difficult to figure out how to solve the main plot - the murder mystery - but everything else you can do is ridiculously obtuse. My current plan is to cheat like mad, and knock this game off in one more post. I'll be happy to see the back of it.

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