From The Adventure Gamer
Ernie Eaglebeak’s Journal #4: This contest is never going to end. It is contest on contest on contest to battle for the right of coming to Fort Naughtytail for the next five years. Our opponents, the cow wizards from the GLY fraternity, are stronger, more handsome, and frankly better at all of the test, but they are not as keen as us on cheating. I mean, they are not as wise as we are. Or I am. It is not as if any of my brothers were doing anything to help. But here we are now, having beaten them at weight-lifting, partying, sand castle building, belly flop jumping, drinking contests, bull fighting and even on an improvised bar brawl. I am starting to feel like Hercules, being tasked with my own naughty version of the twelve tests.
Oh, almost forgot. I think I have made a new friend. The sheriff and I are becoming quite intimate and I think he is getting more and more fond of me. Only time will tell.
Last time I was complaining about finances when I was just about to tackle two contest, the belly flop and the drinking one. Spoiler: I’ve beaten them and two more contest.s However, some of the challenges ahead have been a pain in the ass. So allow me to tell you how much I hate casinos in adventure games or a not very intuitive puzzle.
Solving my financial crisis
After hitting my head against the wall for a while and realizing that I was going to be very money constrained or plan very well how I had to buy and sell every item available, I decided to read Ilmari’s suggestions about how to ease my financial problems. The clue that got me the solution was that I had to “uncrook” the casino. Oh boy did I feel stupid after reading that sentence. You can UPPSSY (spell of opposites) the casino from the plaza to make it straight. Simple. Efficient.
|Perfectly balanced as all things should be|
I don’t think you quite know my relief when just after re entering the gambling house I won a bet on the roulette. I won. Tears of joy running over my face. My economy was not going to be a problem anymore. I quickly reloaded to the first day to have the biggest amount of gold and time and beelined my way to buy the UPPSSY spell and go to the casino. With almost 400g this was not going to take too long. Then I realized that the maximum amount of cash I could bet was 10. And then I lost a bet.
After some reloads, I checked and there is a maximum amount of gold you can bet that is roughly 10 * the number of days spent of the island. So in day one it is 10 and in day four, the day of the diving contest, it is 40. The longer you play the game, the less money you have but the easier it is to recover due to the increase of the amount you can bet. However, I find this stupid.
The spell only allows you to win, but doesn’t make you automatically win. So, you still have to play a game with little to no strategy and without the possibility of saving inside the casino. But you can save just outside in the plaza. So no matter how much you are allowed to bet, you can get an incredible amount of money in short time simply by betting continuously and some save scumming, as in any other adventure game with this kind of mechanic.
In the end, playing in the casino is simply not fun. Taking into account that each bet takes a turn which is translated to 5 minutes of in-game time, the most efficient time-consuming way of gaining money is continuously bet on the Moth Coocon gate which pays 48:1 on the roulette, as the other games are even more random and with little reward.
|How happy would had I been if only I could have won always|
David Sirlin is a game designer I follow, mostly centered around fighting and tabletop games, and has several articles on playing to win, and one of the things he states is that no matter how unfunny and boring a way to win is, player will often tend to opt for that way of playing instead of playing the “fun” way and that it is the designer’s fault to allow the boring way of winning. For what I have seen, I think he is right. But in this case I can’t even see the fun in playing “the right way”. What makes a developer put such a boring mechanic inside her game when I am pretty sure even she finds it tedious? In this specific case, the casino “uncrooking” puzzle is quite clever, even if I was not capable of solving it unassisted, and it should have been enough to simply allow you to always win once solved.
In any case, I decided to play from day three, before the sand castle contest, and play from there as that allowed me to optimize the time spent exploring the old wild west town and the undersea sections as well as providing me with 2k5g in just two bets and some of my real life time, which is enough to buy everything I had seen except for the diamond ring in the pawn shop, which cost 15kg and I wasn’t not up to the task of earning such an amount. I really hope that there is a puzzle to get that one or that the ring is not needed at all.
|Have I told you how much I like these title cards?|
Going back on the contests, our first problem was the diving contest. The first thing I tried was to test my theory that wearing the male roc plumage would do the trick. And it did. My first test at the plaza made the female Roc drop me at the beach nearby. The second one at the pool dropped me at the pool. There you go. And you only have to have it with you, you don’t need to wear it.
So I waited for the contest, and as soon as the last YU had jumped I blew my roc call and won the contest on 180 to 175.
|I love it when a plan comes together|
Although that allowed me to win, it didn’t satisfy me. If you try to jump from the diving board, Moe doesn’t let you and the game had made a point of letting other Pharts be the stars of the contests with a little help. So I reloaded and gave the plumage to Ralph, the first of two divers, blew the call and saw a very similar result. Then tried again with Vince, the other diver. See for yourself:
I reloaded to try to talk with the Pharts and take a look at them to see if I had missed some clue but the only thing I noticed, apart from Ralph being the jock of the group and Vince the “I-would-drink-even-the-water-of-the-plants” (a not very understandable translation of a Spanish saying, sorry) type, the only thing is that if you do nothing, Ralph tries to actually dive while Vince tries to chicken out and falls from the board. But that’s OK, I think even with that I don’t think this is too much of a leap once you understand how to beat the contest.
However, this showed me that there are many possible resolutions of each contest: lose, win, win by a lot. I wonder if in my previous contests I got the highest score or not. And not only because it means more points for my e-ego. But also because wrecking the pool had the sheriff arrest me once again. Getting of jail was quite easy actually, I though KITCHEMY (lead to bread) would allow me to escape, but in the end it was my trusty UPPSSY, most well spent gold ever, the one that did the trick.
Drinking away my problems
|I am starting to feel like they don’t even try to have these related to what happens in each chapter|
The other problem I described in my previous post was the mixing and drinking contest, although I was pretty sure I had the solution to the second part in the absorption pill from the surf shop. For the first part, my only clue was the portable mini bar I had found undersea which I went on my way to repair. That didn’t get me too far.
Having no idea what to do to win that contest, I started to spend some time looking at the things I had found. Then I proceeded to look them with google by my side to translate some words, mostly concerning the alternate versions of my spells. For example, I had no idea of what a dungaree was, but as soon as I saw a photo of one of them, I managed to create a pair of blue jeans using the VOY (create dungarees) spell on the denim. And as soon as I used the SPURJ (enlarge wee fruit) in the only fruit in the game, a strawberry, made a giant strawberry. FOY (create daiquiri) on the fruit transformed it into a giant daiquiri. Seems easy, but took me quite a bit of time to reach this point. And then I had gone and made it all happen in the plaza, with the added problem of having to move the giant daiquiri to the bar. RELOAD!!
|Now that’s what I call anything but a daiquiri. A dry whisky at best|
The second part was a matter of eating the absorption pill and drinking all the daiquiri. 200 to 175 for the mixing, 250 to 200 for the drinking. NEXT!!
The one that almost made me quit the game
|They are not even trying anymore. Neither am I. Do you know
how difficult is to write something new about these cards?
The next contest is a wet t-shirt one. Just after finishing the drinking contest, the judge gives two t-shirts to each team, so they can find two girls to represent them the following morning. In the case of the Pharts, Ralph and me got the t-shirt. And apparently Ralph already had a beauty waiting in line for the contest, so it fell on me to find what would surely make us win.
To be honest, I expected this to be somewhat similar to the party event so I tried to see if anything had changed the next morning and I would miraculously meet an interesting woman for the contest. No. So I went to the contest hoping to find someone there. No. Maybe Ralph’s chick, Mona, would be enough? No. Although the dehydrated falsies helped her to get more points, it wasn’t enough and made her a bit angry. Not that it matters, but it is not a classy move. I UPPSSYed the opponents, because after the casino I like to at least try once to UPPSSY everything I find, and made them flat as a board, but they simply exchanged them for other girls with a more prominent front. Somehow I don’t think there were that many girls involved in the development of this game.
|Actually, seven out of twenty something cast members. Not that bad|
In any case, it was clear to me that I had to bring a girl to the competition and that either I had already met her or I hadn’t find her. And in that second case it could be because it was a new event tied to that day or an unexplored area.
The only girls I knew at the moment were the waitress at the restaurant, Scarlet in the blue mansion, the mermaid and the four wrestling girls that occasionally fight at the bar. None of them wanted the shirt, but the game made a point of indicating that one of the wrestlers, Roxanne, was… erm… not as naturally gifted as her counterparts, at least in… erm… front size. In fact, she is the only one that gives a glance at anything that you try to give her.
I already told you about the wrestlers, but I didn’t give any details. The same scene occurs every time they fight at the scheduled hours. First fighters are Jessica and Victoria, and the match is solved quite quickly. Next fighters are Roxanne and Lucinda, the former champion. This fight seems to gather more interest and there is a point where Roxanne almost pins Lucinda, but the hot fudge sauce they are fighting in allows Lucinda to escape and win the match, with Roxanne leaving very angry.
|Which reminds me. Do yourself a favor and watch Glow. My wife and I loved it|
In the end, either I had what was needed or there was a way of getting it. After a few hours of trial and error and trying to combine things, the old use thing with everything, and giving things to Roxanne only one thing worked. Giving her the suction cup-covered gloves.
|How does that even work?|
I can’t tell you how pissed I am at this puzzle. I don’t know, maybe I am too dense but I don’t see how that works. It shouldn’t. And up until now I have been quite happy with the game. I think the puzzles are fair, the game does a good job of giving you hints about how to solve the puzzles or at least it not that big a logic leap to get to the solution. But this one? Am I being unfair because I spent quite some time brute forcing it?
|You know, the contest requires you to ACTUALLY wear a shit|
In any case, Roxanne wins and declares that she is sick of the bar and that now she is leaving for good, but she agrees to help Ernie in the contest. Giving her the falsies helps, but not that much. UPPSSY’ing her …
|I predict a lot of back pain in your future. And your face doesn’t look good either|
Giving her the falsies after that increases the score, but the combination that gives the most points is giving Mona the falsies and UPPSSY Roxanne. 390 to 300. NEXT!
|And now I am copying their titles. How low have I fallen?|
After finishing the contest, Roxanne runs away with some boys she has attracted with her new and shiny… personality. I don’t think she would have had any trouble before but that’s OK, game. Your narrative. In any case, we are left with a water jug in the floor and an appointment at the arena the very same day. Going to the arena beforehand, we can meet Snorty, a bull that is going to beat the crap out of Ernie for sure.
|But I am Spanish. I can win this one straight because
we are all trained from childhood in bullfighting!!
As I mentioned in a previous post, when you look at the laxative bottle from the grocery store, it says it can beat a bull. And even I can take such a hint. So the problem now was how to give the laxative to the bull. Seeing as I got a water jug and there was a water trough in the arena, the solution seemed simple to me. Fill the jug with water from the Stream of Consciousness, fill the trough, mix with the laxative. Well… that’s mostly right.
When the time comes, the Pharts took straws to see which one would battle the bull. Guess who was randomly chosen?
|I don’t think this one is as random as the gambling house. At least I get to keep the straw|
The YUs started the contest with Machete taking a red cape and trying his best at bullfigthing. His best was not that good as he was kicked in his second pass. Now it was my turn to shine, but Earnie didn’t agree and after some waving of the red cape the judge stopped the fight before the bull killed me.
So something had gone wrong. Reviewing the screenshots I noticed the bull drinks between each cape pass. OK, let the bull kick the crap out of Machete and then put some laxative in the water. But then the bull didn’t let me get near the water once he was outside the bullpen. Luckily, the BIM spell (produce soft mocus) came to the rescue. For having said that I saw no use for the alternate version of the spells in my previous post, they sure have come handy in this one.
Casting the spell on the bull gave me some time to drop the laxative in the water and then after some cape passes the bull ran away desperately seeking somewhere to unloose the caboose. This shouldn’t make me win any bullfighting contest as those are “judged” based on how well you make the cape passes but I will take it. 450 to XXX.
|This is the only bullfighting I like|
Sadly, there was a certain someone with a badge that was pissed with having a bull running wild through the town. It is now becoming tradition to end up in jail after each contest but this time the jail had been magically isolated so no spell could take me out and there was no magical rat to out me this time. Looking around, the description of the jail stated that the floor was dirt, and trying to dig into it was not allowed with my bare hands. But it was the right solution if I used my shovel.
And with that we end this post. The next step is getting to the dance club with the boys for some off-contest fun and a body-surfing contest the next day which I don’t know what it will require of me. In the meantime, here are some things that were earlier still open to solution, but which I solved mainly while trying to do something about the wet shirt contest.
- I got to caster level 5 by pulverizing the pearl inside the oyster I found undersea. The guild gave me yet another quest to find the Great Seal of the Naughtytail Guild that was lost during a shipwreck. Just outside the lighthouse I found a collar with the initials GSofNG which I didn’t associate at the moment, but now I realize they are related and they are looking for an actual seal, the animal. This pun has my Seal of approval
- Still no luck with the giant squid in the mine. The medallion did nothing and I even tried to use the collar thinking about the Great Squid of Naughtytail Guild. I am an idiot.
- While revisiting every location with the old “take all” approved method of not missing anything I discovered the rummy at the groggery sells you its key for 500g. The key has an inscription reading BMMB and some number. I was a bit lost at first, but while looking for clues in the screenshots I noticed the banker refers to the BMMB bank. It is a safe box key. I am definitely an idiot. On the other hand, the box contained two level 5 spells but they are opposites of each other so I can’t transform them into more spells
|And I finally found a use for you. Now you can get to
the pile of screens I won’t even get by anymore
- Eating the slimfish makes you go thinner and after some turns pass you become normal again and very hungry. I suspect this could help me get out of prison again
- Still no luck with the closed door at the aquarium
- I think I found out where the plate of magical mushrooms came from. I no longer have the kaleidoscope. Why it transformed into a plate of magical mushrooms is anyone’s guess but they do make you see everything in weird colors so there is that
- You can UPPSSY the boot into a left boot. What is it with this game and lefties?
- When you give the roc plumage to Vince, he tells you that it belongs to a Loosexa Wingus Maxima, the very same term used in the treatise for the “irreversible” condition. Dropping the pimento moss and the spellbook in the roc nest reverts the RATTAN (shell mutation) spell to RATANT (spell mutation). So I RATTAN’ed the conch, the egg and the oyster to get the couch with the seahorse, an broken eggshell and an aster respectively before reverting the spell
- 1514 pieces of gold
- Auburn tube, umber tube, sienna tube, brown tube, tan tube, beige tube, sepia tube
- Bathing suit (worn)
- Blue jeans
- Broken eggshell
- Confirmation Letter
- Deflated pool float
- Glasses (worn)
- Golden Seahorse, Soggy seahorse, Sweet smelling seahorse, fuzzy-feathered seahorse
- Greasy food
- Instruction Sheet
- Left-handed ratchet
- Medallion (worn)
- Miner’s torch
- Nose shield
- Numbered key
- Oyster (pearl inside)
- Package of breadsticks
- Plate of magic mushrooms
- Roc Caller
- Rust Spray
- Short straw
- Spare tie
- Spell book
- Text book
- Water jug
- Diamond ring (15000g from Pawn Shop)
|Level 1 spells|
|BIP (produces soft music)||BIM (produce soft mucous)|
|FOY (create daiquiris)||VOY (create dungarees)|
|Level 2 spells|
|FRIMP (levitation)||FRUMP (legislation)|
|SPUNJ (enlarge tree root)||SPURJ (enlarge wee fruit)|
|Level 3 spells|
|RATANT (spell mutation)||RATTAN (shell mutation)|
|PEAWEE (regression)||POWWO (digression)|
|UPPSSY (spell of opposites)||DOWNSY (spell of opossums)|
|Level 4 spells|
|KITCHEMY (lead to bread)||BOTCHEMY (peel to steel)|
|Level 5 spells|
|HISINFISA (deflation)||HUFINPUFA (inflation)|
|HUFINPUFA (inflation)||HISINFISA (deflation)|
Session Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 16 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 points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please…try not to spoil any part of the game for me…unless I really obviously need the help…or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I’ve not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!