Quendor is a reasonably small place, and frankly I haven't bothered mapping it because the various sites are fairly easy to remember (and also because certain locations generate random maps). The locations that I've visited so far include:
- A seaside town with a pub (containing the cellar from my previous posting)
- An abandoned lighthouse with various monsters and a mysterious chest at the top guarded by a multi-eyed monster (see below)
- A village called Accardi-by-the-Sea with a weapon shop and an abandoned magicians' guild hall
- An eerie forest with two difficult monsters: a cruel puppet and a hellhound
- Gurth City, which contains Ye Olde Magick Shoppe [note: I found out recently that "ye," when used this way, was actually pronounced "the"]
- A swamp containing gasses and mists, including an evil Eldrich Vapor who tries to steal your stuff, and a wounded pterodactyl
- The town of Borphee, which contains a stable (with a sad unicorn) and an armor shop
- A jungle, accessible by jumping off a gondola during an amusement ride, full of strange beasts and an unreachable jewel
There are treasures, including scrolls, wands, and potions, scattered randomly throughout these areas. Once you find them, the associated shop will identify them and buy them. Shops also sell useful items. I've restarted a couple of times, and sometimes items I found on the ground in one game are in the Magic Shoppe in another, and vice versa. Earlier Zorks didn't have this randomization at all.
My big victory of the day was figuring out what to do with the onion. The whole cutting-an-onion-and-crying thing seemed obvious, but I didn't know who would benefit from crying. I took it to a depressed unicorn and cut it there. I don't know why I thought it would help. Naturally, it just made things worse.
Rolling a giant onion up to a depressed unicorn and cutting it to make her cry ought to send you directly to adventure-game Hell.
I thought I'd try it on the cruel puppet next. Maybe he wouldn't be so cruel if he was sad. But it just made him more cruel, and then he killed me.
So I decided to give up on the onion for a while and concentrate on how in the world was I going to defeat the monster at the top of the lighthouse: the Dornbeast, a fearsome creature with 69 eyes--69 "sensitive eyes," as the manual explains. I mean, what an annoying game, right? Giant onions... beasts with 69 sensitive eyes... how am I ever going to get through this game without a walkthrough? Yes, I have become the Homer Simpson of adventure game playing:
As embarrassingly long as it took, I did ultimately figure it out, distracting the dorn with onion fumes long enough to get the chest he was protecting.
I ignored the chest's warning, written on a brass plaque, not to open it. I was teleported to a land of unicorns who were not at all happy with my presence and banished me back to the real world. Just for fun, I opened the chest and visited again, and I--or, I should say, Adamantyr--had one of the more memorable deaths of any adventure game:
Well, if the chest takes the person who opens it to a land of unicorns, it seemed I had a sure way to help one unhappy unicorn locked in a stable. Sure enough, she used it to return home, and I got a boost in compassion for my troubles. I also got a boost in luck when I (as clued in by the manual) kissed her horn.
The chest seemed like a good way to get rid of enemies, so I tried giving it to the cook, the cruel puppet, and a group of bandits to no avail. With the monkey grinder, though, I hit paydirt. (I should have realized this from the manual's description that monkey grinders "suffer an illiteracy rate of 103%.")
With the monkey grinder gone, I was able to get his hurdy-gurdy (yes, another word I will never again get to type in any other CRPG review). An interesting device, it has six settings: eye, ear, nose, mouth, hand, and clock. When you point it to one of the settings and turn the crank, either something good or something bad happens related to the setting. For instance, if it's on "ear," you might hear beautiful music or a horrific cacophony.
The cruel puppet and the hellhound both fell to a Rod of Annihilation that I found somewhere. Getting past them, I came to a boulder with a riddle:
Never ahead, ever behind
Yet flying swiftly past
For a child, I last forever
For adults, I'm gone too fast
What am I?
The CRPG Addict knows the answer to that one only too well. The correct answer causes the glade to erupt in a "pool of radiance." I'm sure it's just a coincidence.
Beyond the forest, I found a rope bridge called "Zeno's Bridge." It's a cute joke:
If I wasn't already aware of Zeno's Paradox, I might learn about it from this game, so chalk another one up to "What Have You Learned?"
So, how to get across the bridge--if there is a way, and it's not just a joke--is one puzzle I haven't figured out yet. The others keeping me occupied are:
- A wounded pterodactyl with a whistle around his neck. He won't let me come near him.
- There's an hourglass in the magick shoppe for 1000 zorkmids. I've sold everything I'm comfortable selling, and I only have 121 zorkmids. I have no idea where you get so much for the hourglass, or even if the hourglass is all that important. (I spent 100 zorkmids on a sword, but I'm not sure if that was really a good investment; I seemed to be doing okay with my dagger.)
- On an idol in a jungle is a tear-shaped jewel, but every time I try to climb up to it, the idol overbalances and I fall inside of it. My stick of levitation is exhausted, so I can't use that.
- I have a bunch of wands, staffs, and rods, and I'm not sure which ones I really need to keep to solve puzzles and which ones I can sell. My inventory is getting pretty full.
- In one place, a bunch of hunters ferret out a minx and take it. I have the impression that I need the minx for something, as the manual mentions them, but I can't figure out how to stop the hunters form getting it.
- There's a trail blocked by "Christmas Tree Monsters" (see below). Getting past them involves something to do with inscribing a glyph, or perhaps finding a caterpillar.
If you want to hint me on any of these, give me very light hints, not outright spoilers, please.
On the plus side, I keep getting to rescue animals. This episode was a little heartwarming. My compassion is going through the roof. (Technically, I'm not sure what that does for me.)
One final mystery: I ended up naming my sword "Elzair" to close out my "Guess the Game" obligations. But my first attempt was to name it after frequent commenter Xyzzy. When I tried that, I got:
A hollow voice says, "Fool! That name is reserved by the Implementors. Choose another!"
What are the odds that the handle of one of my readers is a "reserved word" in a 23-year-old game? Assuming that reserved words are commands, I just typed "Xyzzy" in the command line, and the game said, "A hollow voice says, 'Fool!'" What's the in-joke that I'm missing? I'm afraid to Google it for fear I'll get spoilers.
This may not be a "real" CRPG, but I'm having a lot of fun with it. As in previous Infocom games, the quality of the writing is excellent, the humor witty, and the puzzles original. It's hard to ask for more.