Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - By Balloon to the Sahara

Written by TBD

Indiana Jones Journal Entry #3 : I had to convince a Frenchman in Monte Carlo that I'm a ghost, and had to get a discount from a beggar in Algiers in order to take a balloon trip over the Sahara desert. It's been a strange day, but I have one of the stones I need and I know where to go next.

Sophia Hapgood Journal Entry #1: Indy reluctantly agreed that I'll be needed in the quest to find Atlantis. I got us a Sunstone with no help from Dr. Jones. I had knives thrown at me and fell down a hole with Indy exploring a digsite instead of using his whip to rescue me. I'm starting to understand why women leave him after a single adventure.

When we last met our heroes Indy and Sophia, we were given the option to continue with our WITS, FISTS or TEAM. On reading some comments on the last post I've decided to play each path in turn up until the point they converge. And to start off, I'll be playing the TEAM path. 

So let's get to it. Sophia has suggested meeting with her contacts in Monte Carlo and Algiers so let's first go to Monte Carlo.


MONTE CARLO

Now, I'm not sure how big Monte Carlo is, but I'm confident Sophia's reasoning to come to this exact street and hotel contains a flaw.

OK, fair enough. This must clearly be the only place in Monte Carlo with bright lights...

... or not...

Sophia tells Indy to find Alain Trottier and convince him to come upstairs for a séance, then enters the hotel to prepare.

Many people walk around the street (actually only about 6 different people, but they walk fast) and I can stop them and ask them if they know Alain Trottier or if they know anything about Atlantis. It isn't long before I find the guy I'm looking for, and unlike Professor Sternhart in Tikal, Trottier's heard of me. As for why he's out here walking under the only bright light in Monte Carlo...

And I thought convincing him to come upstairs for a séance might be difficult!

When I ask him about Atlantis he gives me a test to prove I've read the Lost Dialogue (a lot of people know what's in this supposedly “Lost” Dialogue.) He asks me what material the Atlanteans used to find Orichalcum. As the option “Amber” seemed familiar, I answered as much and was correct.

Actually I've only read 5 pages, but as long as those pages are all anyone asks me about, I'm good!

I then ask him to come upstairs and choose what seems like the best option, “Madame Sophia would like to trade her wisdom for yours.” He gets offended because he thinks I'm trying to help Sophia steal his secrets and walks away.

I can't talk to him straight away, but after he leaves the screen and returns he'll talk to me again, and I can apologize...

...or not...

Actually, neither apologizing nor telling him off helps. After trying a few times, and trying to give him my magazine, I give up. The taxi won't let me leave without Sophia so I enter the hotel to talk to her instead.

When I tell her Trottier's not being helpful, she gives me a tip.

At least now he talks to me. I continue to say insulting things because I'm enjoying his indignant reactions

Eventually I choose the correct responses and he says he doesn't need her counsel, but he'll come up because he's curious.

Once we get him to the room, Sophia and I talk quietly behind a partition, where I get the choice to let Sophia handle it or try something as Indy.


First, I try being Sophia who starts the séance - I have to choose the correct responses to keep him happy. If I choose incorrectly, he leaves.

I chose... poorly...

Once again, I reload and try other options until I get the right ones – Trottier offers his stone disk (why does he keep it in his pocket when going for a random stroll in Monte Carlo?) as proof of his sincere belief in Nur-Ab-Sal. Then he decides to test us again.

This time to prove my psychic ability, I have to read his mind about what he said to Dr. Jones when they first met.
  1. Why was I taking a stroll?
  2. What is my greatest fear?
  3. What is my greatest need?
I answered all the questions correctly (thanks to all the screenshots I've been taking) but then he came up with a fourth question that baffled me.

Based on the graphics, zero?

Sophia makes a point of saying that all she can do is take a wild guess and I get the option to choose any number between one and five. I choose incorrectly and he leaves again. Before answering I'd looked carefully to see if there was a mirror that showed his hand, or if perhaps Indy could sneak around behind him and look at his hand but I didn't see anything that would help.

I reloaded to when I first entered the city to be certain I had the first three answers right and also to see if he gave any indication of a favourite number between one and five. I was slightly surprised to find that Trottier gave Indy different reasons for taking a stroll the second time. So it seems the three answers to his questions are randomised.

I try again with Sophia, and this time (randomly?) get the correct answer to the 'how many fingers' question.

Now he'll talk to me and asks what words of wisdom Nur-Ab-Sal has for him. I give him the cryptic response of “Wise men know that dreaming is better than doing.” He seems happy with this answer.


Now, Sophia suggests we go to see Omar Al-Jabbar in Algiers where she suspects Trottier got the stone disk in the first place.

But before doing that, I want to see what happens if I try to solve this puzzle as Indy instead of Sophia - this ends up being quite a bit harder than I'd at first thought, but it was fun. So let's get to it.

I reload and this time choose to have Indy do something. Sophia starts the séance, while Indy remains hidden behind the partition, I can use two obvious items, a fuse box and a bed. I take the bedspread and use the fuse box to turn off the lights. Sophia dutifully explains that Nur-Ab-Sal is trying to signal us. I use the bedspread in order to look like a ghost, then walk out into the room, convinced that Trottier will believe I'm the ghost of Nur-Ab-Sal.

Um... Boo?

Trottier leaves and Sophia tells me to stop acting like it's Halloween, but then suggests I can spruce up the costume. I search the area more thoroughly and find a flashlight in a cabinet.

I go back downstairs, convince Trottier to come back up and this time use the flashlight.


Okay, let's combine the two. I put the sheet on, THEN use the flashlight.


Then I try to sneak around in the dark so I can become Nur-Ab-Sal from behind Trottier, figuring that might be more effective.


Deciding that I'd perhaps need something from Algiers to complete this puzzle as Indy, Sophia and I get on a plane as soon as Indy puts the flashlight and bedsheet back.


ALGIERS

We arrive after a long walk from the airport at a street. The first person we meet is a beggar.

Technically that's not a discount, it's a trade

The stairs to the right take me to “Aerial Views” which I'm guessing I'll be using later.

A little further on we find a knife thrower.

I liked this line, and the voice actor delivered it well!

The knife thrower unfortunately can't get any volunteers for his show since 'the accident'. I, of course, try to convince Sophia to volunteer. No matter what I say she won't do it, but she does accidentally give me some subtle hints on what I should do next.

Having subtitles turned on makes this hint a LOT more obvious

Aha! After convincing myself I would have thought of the idea on my own, when we get close to the knife thrower, I PUSH her forward. The knife thrower loves having his new volunteer and ignores Sophia's surprised objections.


As payment for her assistance, the man gives Sophia the knife. I'm sure she was in no danger at all.

Well, maybe a little danger

Past the knife thrower we find a man selling a squab-on-a-stick for 20 dinars. I don't have any dinars and he won't take my jacket or knife, so I'll come back when I have some local currency or something he wants.

Further along we come to a new screen - an antique and souvenir store. Looking at the items I notice a mask that seems useful.

I think I've found the final part of my costume that will convince Trottier to give us the disk.

The shopkeeper gives us the mask for free because it scares off his customers. Unfortunately, he won't talk to us about Atlantis unless we show him we're worth taking seriously. In other words, show him that we have an Atlantean stone disk. I know I could have kept playing the savegame where I got the disk as Sophia, but who wants to do things the easy way?


MONTE CARLO II

So it's back to Monte Carlo to scare Trottier into giving us his disk. Using the flashlight, bedsheet and mask finally gives the costume enough oomph to scare Trottier.


Trottier runs off screaming and we keep the stone disk he left on the table.

So after that quick trip, it's back to the Algiers Artifact merchant to show him we're serious Atlantean artifact merchants/thieves/frauds.


ALGIERS II

Thanks, Omar. Now I'm getting flashbacks to tedious stone collecting in the forests of Kyrandia!

The man confirms that he IS Omar Al-Jabbar, and tells us of a German dig site in the nearby Atlas Mountains, but it's very dangerous.

Game over!

Deciding I'm here to play the game rather than give up. I talk to him again and change my mind.


Omar lends us his map and a couple of camels. We leave town, and after a moment we get an “A FEW HOURS LATER...” title before Sophia and Indy walk back to Al-Jabbar's shop.


As an apology for giving us faulty camels, Omar offers to trade us something for the Nur-Ab-Sal mask he gave us earlier. His first offer is a baseball autographed by Lou Gehrig, though if I take it and look at it I find it's actually signed by some guy called “Ron Gilbert.”

I can trade my new baseball in for something else. He goes through many items, including a voodoo doll with spit all over it he must have found on Monkey Island.

I assume something will be worth 20 dinars to the squib salesman so I try giving him my items.

He won't take my Atlantean Sunstone (a worthless hunk of rock) but when he rejects my baseball he gives me a clue. He won't accept gifts for himself and certainly not in this color. I go back and forth and after offering him something yellow find out that yellow is his favourite colour.

Back at Al-Jabbar's shop, I can now ask him specifically for something yellow, which cuts down on the items he offers. Eventually I find that a golden belt buckle will save the vendor's marriage and I have my squab-on-a-stick.

I take my squab to the beggar and find out what his free gift is. It's a gift voucher!


I go up the "Aerial View" stairs on the right, where a man takes our new voucher and lets us on a balloon where we can see the sights.


He winches us up, and while there I notice that a rope keeps us from flying away. Well, I knew having Sophia volunteer for the knife thrower would come in handy. I cut the rope, we float away, and then I can control the balloon by venting hydrogen or dropping ballast to control my height and direction.


I see a nomad's tent as I fly over the desert so I land near it. I talk to the man, and ask him if he's seen any men digging. He has, and tells me where to go according to my map.


I do this a few times as there are a few nomad tents scattered about. And sometimes I miss the mark and land in the middle of nowhere. It IS a little hard to control and Sophia likes making fun when I screw up.


Eventually, after getting directions from a few locals I find the “X” on Omar's map, and as I approach we get shot at from below. So we land.

This nazi has one second to live

It seemed the nazi who was shooting at us was the only one guarding the camp, as when we check it out, it's completely abandoned. Sophia senses the presence of Nur-Ab-Sal then immediately gets sucked down into a newly formed hole.

I'm proud of my masterful screenshot skills - getting Sophia mid-fall!

Ignoring Sophia's muffled pleas for assistance, I explore the area and find an obvious puzzle.

Anybody want to put money on me finding those items very soon?

I climb a ladder to enter the dark digsite, and find something I found very cool. Because it's so dark, the LOOK verb on the bottom of my screen has changed to TOUCH. I like the vague descriptions of things the game gives me.

I love how Indy, even after touching it, isn't quite confident it isn't a snake.

I take the hose, as well as a blunt wood thing (wooden peg), a clay thing (clay jar) and a sharp wood thing (ship rib).

I also find a generator that needs gas.

When I first entered, the room was pitch black, now it's significantly brighter. This has been happening gradually while I explored. A great way to show my eyes getting used to the dark!

I go back out to the truck and use the hose (sleeping snake?) and clay jar to siphon gas out of the truck. I take my gas back to the generator in the dark tunnel and pour it in. I turn on the generator, and now I have light!


To the right of the room, I find a crumbling wall, and when I use my sharp ship rib on it, I expose a circular mural.


I re-read the Lost Dialogue, and it told me I could open the gate to an Atlantean Outpost by using a Sunstone, 'if sunset made the tall horns red'.

Using the wooden peg and the Sunstone on the mural, I got a closeup of the Sunstone, which I could turn. I turn it until the setting sun is lined up with the tall horns. Then I pressed the peg to open a secret door.


Coincidentally, while in the other chamber, Sophia had found a distributor cap, as well as an amber fish on a string.

We decide that, based on the mural we found, Plato's Greater Colony could be in Crete.

I turn off and open the generator to find a spark plug, then use the spark plug and distributor cap with the German truck.


So it's on to Crete, which we'll do next time.

BONUS JOKE: If I return to Algiers next instead of Crete and go back to the 'Aerial View' platform there is a new sign there stating "Balloon Stolen: Ride Closed."

As for my personal opinion so far - I'm absolutely LOVING this game. It's funny, the story's taking shape, the puzzles are fun to work out and the failures on the way to solving them are also fun - which I've tried to show with the ghost puzzle in Monte Carlo.

One thought I had about the alternate (Indy being a ghost) puzzle in Monte Carlo, I suspect that puzzle was originally part of the WITS path. I'll detail it later, but having done Monte Carlo at the start of the WITS path, there is no real puzzle there at all. My guess is that seeing as this puzzle required Sophia's presence, and Indy's just told Sophia he'd rather work stuff out on his own, her being there wouldn't make sense story-wise for the WITS path. Either way, I'm glad they gave us the alternate way to solve the puzzle.

Session time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total time: 4 hours 25 minutes
IQ Points: 172 of 204 (this isn't exactly accurate, as I'd done the Monte Carlo portion of the WITS and FISTS path as well)
Nazis killed: 1 (crushed to death by balloon basket)

10 comments:

  1. You got every IQ point! The Team path is actually very lacking in puzzles With alternate solutions. For the record, you get more IQ Points for using the Indy-playing-ghost solution over the Sophia solution (which, as a kid, I never managed to realize was even possible, thinking being able to play the seance as Sophia was just a red herring and that the ghost solution was the only one).

    Just so we're on the same page, the 172 IQ Points you have is from you starting the Team path with the 76 points you initially ended the intro With and then solving the Trottier puzzle as Indy, right?

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    1. Woohoo!

      And yep, that's exactly right about the 172 IQ points.

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  2. My thoughts on this part:

    Right, finding trottier is fun but makes no sense at all. Still, the hectic music from the streets, the blueish light of the background, and having 5 or 6 npcs almost running the street seems like a Benny Hill sketch for some reason.

    The motives of Trottier are randomized, as well as the answer to the how many fingers Im holding. That was probably a poor design choice in retrospective. I would have love if the game hinted it a little more. The only way to win that, is to actually save your game mid dialog, and spam the answer until you guess. Yes, its a meta puzzle. Your psychic powers are so strong that you can actually manipulate the timeline in order to find the correct one (at least, that-s the only way it makes sense in a LucasArts game).

    Take note of how the difficulty adjusted a little, now you have more rooms to explore, in 2 different locations (plus dig site), with a little more difficult puzzles. The push sophia into the knives was impossible for me to deduce back in the day (being a 8 year old, with no english skills). You have to do it exactly when Sophia looks the other way to say something like "I don't trust him", not just after finishing the conversation in a normal way.

    The darkness gets adjusted, is one great detail, is this the first game in history that did it ?

    Also, lots of pixel hunting in the dark with the generator, to be fair, the descriptions for touching stuff are fun (feels like a serpent, for touching the hose).

    One of the things that could have been a little better, is the balloon controls. Droping ballast and venting air, controls your direction, your speed and your height, which of course make no sense. Maybe they did it this way to have it working with 2 mouse buttons, instead of having something more complex.

    A little trivia, you can actually land on the dig site if you know exactly where it is, without getting the X on it first.

    One extra detail, when Sophia is in the pit, you can talk to the pit. Now there's something weird, the voice is clearly saying things like "get me out of here indy", but the subtitles are "#@#$@#", like cursing you. Fun that they implemented it differently.

    Crete is probably one of my favorite locations, especially it's main music.

    As always keep enjoying the best game ever made

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    1. I seem to recall the manual explains that the wind blows in different speeds and directions at different elevations, which is why these things change as you drop ballast/vent air.

      What makes less sense is how much ballast that balloon has to contain for you to be able to go up and down as much as you end up doing in this bit.

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    2. I didnt know that ! I love how games back then, had all the controls in the manual, spoiling part of the game instead of having a tutorial or the controls just ingame and ruin the inmersion

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    3. More excellent details. Thanks.

      I think I was lucky with Sophia and PUSHed her at the right time without realising there was a possible wrong time.

      Yeah, I noticed that with the subtitles. It's like they wanted to have her sound muffled but didn't have the technology to make it sound good so they left her speaking clearly.

      The manual does explain wind speed and direction - good catch Adamant.

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    4. Speaking of subtitles, here's a really bizarre bit. Remember near the start of the game where Kerner calls "Fritz"(according to the subtitles)/"Dr. Ubermann" (according to the dialogue) and tells him he's "found the treasure they seek"?
      Well, in the original disk version, there's a third variant, where he calls "Herr Bauer" and tells him to "cable Dr. Ubermann in Berlin".
      I have no idea what's up with that, it's the only difference between these versions I'm aware of.

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    5. You're right, but there's another difference. It's in the finale, so I encoded:

      Va gur qvfx irefvba, Xreare'f svany genafsbezngvba vf qvssreragyl navzngrq guna gur PQ irefvba. Gurl obgu raq va gur fnzr, ohg gur cebprff vf qvssrerag, va bar bs gurz gurl vapyhqrq uvf anmv pybgurf juvyr gur bgure vf zber navznyvfgvp

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    6. Huh, don't think I ever noticed that.

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  3. Man, this looks like a great game.

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