Asylum II: Stubborn like a mule

From The Adventure Gamer

Written by Will Moczarski

Last time I thought I’d made a pretty good run through Asylum II – the game seemed as tedious but a lot easier than part one, that is until I was confronted by one of the guards who told me that my escape was not to be this easy. The difficulty ramped up after that and the events that followed left me scratching my head more often than not. My new goal was to rid the asylum of the “master mystic” and present the guards with some proof of my achievement in order to be allowed to leave.

Part two, session one

With the ivory key in my possession I was able to enter all of the rooms in the actual ward but most of them turned out to be empty. However, some of the doors led to corridors, and those led to another ward. This one had seven corridors rather than six, and again there were are lot of empty rooms as well as some non-player characters. Beyond the ward there was another maze, and it made me realize that this game is huge! I took to mapping and came up with the following puzzles on my first run:

  1. Instead of heading straight to the heptagonal ward, I could also try and make a detour to the northern side of the narrow corridor connecting the two wards. I encountered some rats there but sadly this ain’t no CRPG, so there was no way of killing them for experience points. Instead, an exterminator came out of nowhere and killed me. At present, this is a dead-end for me.
  2. I found the exterminator in his office. He throws me out immediately but the game gives me a hint and advises me to tiptoe next time. I remember that “tiptoe” unusually was one of the verbs in part one, so I tiptoe the hell into his place and he doesn’t notice me at all. Maybe I could inconvenience him in some way to keep him from killing me like a rodent, at least if the exterminators are both the same person.
  3. There’s a terrorist sitting in his cell, seemingly guarding a vending machine. He won’t let me use it and I’m unable to interact with him in any meaningful way. If this was a Lucasfilm game, I would assume that I needed the grenade from the first game but sadly it’s not.
  4. In the northeastern part of the maze, I run into a bunch of revolving doors. One of the other Continuum games had one of these, too, although I don’t remember which one. This time they work a little differently, though, and so far I haven’t figured out how.
  5. Also in the maze there’s an electric catapult. I remember that I used the catapult to flee from the asylum in the first game but I haven’t found out how to interact with this one.
  6. In some other part of the maze, I slip on a banana peel when I try to pass through. Nothing else happens but I reckon I might break my neck if I do it too often. I can’t seem to pick it up, so maybe I’ll attempt to die from it just for the sake of it. Also, it seems that every William Denman game contains a bit of cartoon logic.
  7. One of the people in the second ward is called Emmett the fix-it man (the game calls him Emmit but I may have found out what this refers to, see the end of this post). I can’t tell if this is bicycle repairs or organized crime but anyhow he won’t talk to me. I can hear him whistle when I pass by his cell but I don’t know if that’s a relevant clue or just flavour.
  8. In the southern part of the maze there’s a graffiti warning me not to enter the parts that lie beyond (“beware these halls!”). I haven’t ventured there yet but I swear I will.
  9. There’s a philosopher who has possibly the only puzzle I already understand in this second part of the game: He needs a book on law; maybe he wants to argue his way out of this place. I can’t say I’ve got one but this sounds like a typical fetch quest to me.
  10. There’s another fetch quest: An entomologist tells me he needs some specimens. This is odd because I can already hear the sound of a thousand tiny feet from outside his door. What is he building in there? We have a right to know!
  11. The only items I was able to pick up are a rope (always useful) and a rodent suit. Maybe I can befriend the rats once I got rid of the exterminator? Or can I scare him senseless by wearing the suit? 
  12. There are still a lot of doors that I can’t open with the ivory key; I’m also vaguely afraid that I’m missing something in one of those empty rooms. I wouldn’t put it past the designer of this hellish game, not at all.

Part two, session two

In my second session I attempted to tackle the above puzzles roughly in order. The exterminator and the rats seemed to be connected, so I picked up the rope and the rodent suit and attempted to do something with them. Wearing the rodent suit does nothing, even if I tiptoe. However, I can use the rope to tie up my foe which is strangely satisfying. I will probably be able to explore the corridors without interference now. Right? As if. A horde of hungry rats attacks me, so maybe the rodent suit is there to fool them and not the exterminator? Yes. I can now roam freely among the rodents. My wildest dreams have come true.

Moving on, I can indeed explore and map the corridor now. And what can I say, another veritably large maze awaits me. Behind a couple more empty rooms, I can hear the theme from Star Trek from outside another door. I unlock the door with my trusty ivory key and find someone looking like doctor McCoy who throws me out right away. Another NPC puzzle? Did they lock up the real McCoy (apologies for the pun) because they took him to be insane? It is kind of funny, I have to admit, but where does the music come from? Is McCoy permanently whistling a theme music he couldn’t even know as it’s not actually part of his universe? I am probably overthinking this.

The real pain in the neck about this encounter is that McCoy doesn’t only throw me out, he teleports (beams?) me to a completely different location, presumably somewhere in the heptagonal maze. I am not inclined to find out because it might be randomized. Instead I restore back to before entering his room. It doesn’t surprise me that the rat maze (a throwback to Rat’s Revenge, maybe?) is not simple, either. After a while, I stumble upon McCoy once again, albeit seemingly in a different location: seemingly is the keyword, though, as the map loops back on itself at some unmarked point.

A bit later, I find a door I cannot open. Clearly, there is a room behind it (all of the rooms take up two squares and that’s exactly the extent of the missing space on my map) but I can’t seem to enter it yet. To be fair, I’m not carrying the steel key as it has been of no use for quite some time now but would the game really be this cruel? Am I even asking this question?

I leave the door alone for now and explore the area north of McCoy’s cell. The whole rat maze appears to be very symmetric, mirrored along an imagined middle axis. This means there are five more doors just to the north of the five rooms I’ve already explored. The fifth room contains some mystery object but I cannot find out how to interact with it in any way.

Caption contest: Does anybody know what this is supposed to be?

That’s all I come up with in the rat maze, so I decide to try and map beyond the revolving doors as well as beyond the graffiti warning me to “beware these halls” before going back to the terrorist. And now I know why I should beware those halls: they are simply unmappable. I start several attempts to map the area but it appears to be crammed with teleporters that trigger when I just turn around and don’t move forward. Maybe there are even some spinners involved. After several failed attempts I discover that no matter what I do, I always get to a place where the game tells me to “look down”. This is a clever in-joke for those who looked up in the first part of Asylum (a piano drops on you and kills you but you need a note saying “look up” to make one of the inmates look up and thus solve a puzzle). Looking down reveals that there’s a knife lying on the ground. I pick it up and exit the area the way I entered it: through trial and error. As I didn’t manage to make a map, I just hope that there’s nothing more hidden inside that most vicious of mazes.

Further east, I rediscover the banana peel and slip on it again. This time, I notice that it’s in a box so I can probably pick it up as an item. Also, a lawyer comes running this time as soon as I have slipped. He tells me to sue and gives me (or rather drops it on the floor) a book on law. Is this event randomized? I restore and try again, and it happens again. Did I have to do anything first for this to be triggered? The law book consists of “legal case studies. Very boring!”, the game tells me upon examination. And I already know what I will need this for: Didn’t the philosopher need a book on law? It seems like I’m on a roll again – finally!

And wait, there’s more! When I examine the banana peel, I discover a caterpillar. Naturally, this must be what the entomologist is looking for. It feels good to get some things done for a change. Finally, I find five more rooms in the southeast corner of the maze – seems I wasn’t close to being done with mapping after all. Three of them are empty, in one of them there’s a picnicker humming a tune, and in another one there’s “someone […] programming nearby.”


Run/stop for your life!
Oh, it’s you! Can I give you some “feedback”?

It turns out to be William Denman, the “author of Asylum II”. Talk about breaking the fourth wall out of the blue. Quite fittingly, the next part is once again very painful. I’m sure the author wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. While mapping, I run into another revolving door, and another, and another, so I decide to tackle that beast for good. After a while and many screenshots, I find out that they work just like revolving doors in the real world. Who would have guessed? Well, at least sort of. There appear to be four quadruplets of doors spinning me around and seemingly randomly dropping me in one of the adjacent corridors. Sometimes I would get caught in the middle and run right into the next revolving door. It’s disorienting, to say the least, and even the screenshots don’t help me much with mapping. At one time, the door in the northeast (I think) drops me in the middle which is where I find the reason for this whole conundrum: a jar. Because I’m carrying the caterpillar, I cannot pick it up, but I mark the middle of the revolving door section with number 29 and move on. (It was not the door in the northeast and I just didn’t have a clue where I was; see below.)

My map now seems to be complete. Apart from three new puzzles – the mysteriously locked door, William Denman and the picnicker – I still need to take the book to the philosopher and hand the caterpillar to the entomologist. Also, I don’t know what to do with the terrorist, the fix-it man, and the electric catapult. Let’s go there next time, shall we?

Part two, session three

I take the book on law to the Cartesian philosopher who runs away and leaves behind a Nirvana scroll. Unfortunately, I cannot read it, and “only a mystic could”. This means it might well be a key item for overcoming the final foe of this game. My subsequent visit to the entomologist is not crowned with the same level of success – he is overjoyed when I hand him the caterpillar and parades his collection of army ants but alas, they rip me to pieces. This is where I’m stuck. I also try to attack the terrorist with my knife but only get picked up for violent behavior. Furthermore, I try to catch one of the rats for quite some time but that doesn’t pan out either. I don’t even think it’s possible but you never know with this game. After quite some time, I notice that I’m not carrying the jar (I didn’t pick it up because my hands were full, remember?), so I go and retrieve it from the hell of revolving doors once more. This turns out to be a major pain and takes me about forever. I have to try out all of the revolving doors before I stumble upon the right one again (it was not the one in the northeast and my notes were thus wrong), and there is only one that will take you to the jar.

And even when I am finally holding the jar, it’s really difficult to get back out of this maze of revolving doors. I feel like Amanda Plummer in The Fisher King. I guess I could map the outcome of each revolving door by carefully saving and restoring every few seconds but I’d rather waste my time by walking around randomly until I recognize some part of the maze. At least I know now that I got really lucky the first time I found the jar.

You can’t imagine my relief. Trust me, you can’t.

At least it works. Yes! I let out a scream of joy. It was not all for nothing! But what do I do with a jar full of killer ants? I study my map and my puzzle list and it immediately becomes obvious: Let’s spoil that little picnic, shall we? Well, the ants don’t only spoil the man’s picnic, they rip him to shreds. That’s right, they do. I can now proceed to steal his lunch and the game has once again managed to make me feel bad. William Denman games will do that to you every so often, I guess.

Now it’s time to draw the balance. I still haven’t figured out what to do with either the programmer or the terrorist. Also, I haven’t found a use for the electric catapult. Moreover, I don’t know what to do with Emmett the fix-it man and I don’t have a clue about doctor McCoy. On a hunch, I look up “Emmett the fix-it man” on Google and come up with Emmett Clark, a character on The Andy Griffith Show. That’s neat but doesn’t help me much right now. The game spells him “Emmit” but it still might be a reference. I try to give my lunch to both Emmett and McCoy but they still throw me out before I can even type anything. This is where I give up. After eight hours, I am stumped and don’t really know where to go next. I have decided to put up a soft request for assistance at this point so if you can give me a hint in rot13 what I should do with either the terrorist, Emmett, McCoy or the catapult, I’d appreciate it. I’ll poke around at the game on my own some more before un-rotting the hints but at this point I’d be more than happy to have a backup plan before diving back into this hellhole of a game.

Session time: 8 hours
Total time: 14.5 hours

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There’s a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no CAPs will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one.

Med Systems Marathon Overview:

(a) 1980 Summary [P1]
(b) Reality Ends (1980) [P1] [P2]
(c) Rat’s Revenge [P1] / Deathmaze 5000 (1980) [P1] [P2] [P3] [P4]
(d) Labyrinth (1980) [P1] [P2] [P3]
(e) Asylum (1981) [P1] [P2] [P3] [P4]
(f) Microworld (1981) [P1] [P2]
(g) The Institute (1981) [P1] [P2]
(h) 1981 Summary [P1]
(i) Asylum II (1982) [P1] [P2]

Jyym & Robyn Pearson Mini-Marathon Overview:

(a) Curse of Crowley Manor (1981) [P1] [P2]
(b) Escape from Traam (1981) [P1] [P2]
(c) Earthquake – San Francisco 1906 (1981) [P1] [P2]
(d) Saigon: The Final Days (1981) [P1] [P2]

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