Scorpion's Tale #7 (Sorcerer)
Feature by Scorpia
Computer Gaming World Volume 4 Number 4 (August 1984)

Good to see you again! Step right in; I've been expecting you, and your usual chair is waiting. What's that? Oh, the dwarf behind the bar? Fred is off this week; he's attending the National Grue Convention being held in Colossal Cave (they've reserved the Dark Room, of course!). Seems they're trying to get up a petition to ban electric lights this year. Ah, but that's not what you're here for, is it? Settle in, and we'll talk about the trials and tribulations awaiting you as a Sorcerer.

Now, the first thing is, don't panic! Just because you see a nasty, drooling, deadly hellhound coming right at you, is no need to be worried. This time, it's only a dream (lucky you!). When you wake up, however, it will be a different matter: you're in the dark. But, if you've already been through Enchanter, you should know how to shed a little light on the subject.

So, now that you can see what you're doing, it's time to get up and look around the place. You'll soon notice you're quite alone here, and you won't be able to leave; at least, not by the front door. But we'll come to that in a little while. In the meantime, do some snooping in the various rooms. You'll find a few helpful spells, and a few other interesting items, as well.

For instance, Belboz's room is worth looking into. While you're doing that, listen to the birdie, and make sure you check out everything! When you leave, you should have Belboz's journal. If you don't, you missed something, and you'll never get out of the Guild Hall.

Another place you don't want to miss is the storeroom. Pay special attention to that matchbook, and what's written on it. The ochre vial is also important, so make sure you hang on to that, too (the calendar? Well, you can't eat the dates, hehehe, so you can leave it if you like). And that receptacle in the lobby, now what could that be? ("Letters, I get letters...")

Once you've found everything there is to find on this level, and the mail has arrived, it's time to go look in the cellar. Aha! There's a mysterious trunk here, with some buttons on it. I'll bet ifyou pushed the right buttons, the trunk would open up (and I'll bet if you push the wrong ones, you'll never get it open!). So, how do we get it to open?

Well, notice the colors of the buttons? Do they remind you of anything? No? Better look over all the goodies that came with the game, very carefully! (You might find yourself going in circles here). Once you realize what the colors relate to, and which colors are important today, you should have the trunk open in no time.

And what's inside? Looks like a scroll to me. One ofthose un-Gnusto-able scrolls, in fact. Read it carefully before using it; you only get one chance, and you don't want to blow it (of course, you saved the game first anyway, right?). There really is only one logical choice, so take some time to think about it.

Ok, so now you're out of the Guild Hall.... and standing in the forest, just like in the dream. And sure enough, there's the hellhound bearing down on you! Better get a move on (no, don't climb the tree!), it's for real this time! Once you get to the forest edge, you'll be safe.

From here, you have quite a few places to explore and things to do. There's no way past the magic minefield, so don't even bother trying; instead, try climbing down the snake hole (the snakes are hiding today), and making your way to the Chasm Edge. There seems to be something on the other side, but the chasm is a bit too wide to jump. However, there is a way across, and it shouldn't take you too long to figure out how (review your spells, if necessary).

Well, will you look at that? A tree full of Zorkmids! Or.... is it? Surprise! It's just an illusion, and all you end up with is, sigh, one grubby little coin. But, it's better than nothing, and you certainly will be needing it! In fact, you'll be needing it twice, but we'll talk about that a little later.

By the way, throughout the game, there will be times when you start to feel sleepy. Don't worry about that; most anyplace is safe enough for you to stretch out and nap awhile. However, I would not suggest using either the riverbank or the drawbridge for a bed!

Speaking of the riverbank, let's trot on over there now. Just looking at it, you'll probably get the idea that swimming isn't the best thing to do here. You'd be right. Time to check your list of spells, and see which one might do some good. Just remember to move fast (hopefully, you'll go in the right direction); nothing lasts forever!

The fort is another interesting place to visit. There are two items in this area that you'll be needing later, so take a good look around. The cannon, of course, is an obvious hiding place. However, getting to the scrolls in the barrel seems impossible (hope you have some bandaids handy!). What can be done? Perhaps a look at your handy Infotater might help. Especially when you think about what you found in the vicinity of the river!

The other item is a little less obvious. But, since there aren't many rooms or other objects in the fort, you shouldn't have too much trouble finding what you need. Just be careful not to overlook (or underlook!) anything.

Now it's time to go underground. Of course, you've been making a map as you go along (haven't you?), and you've probably spent some time down below already. If you haven't, just poke around down there till you come to the Toll Gate. Here you give up your Zorkmid to get by, and, continuing further on after that, you'll come to the infamous Glass Maze.

Actually, the maze is not all that hard, although trying to get through it could drive you batty. When you make it out the exit to the Hollow, you'll find a scroll there. However, NOW you have a problem. Two, in fact. For one thing, you can't take the scroll back with you through the maze. For another, the maze will change as soon as you pick up the scroll (oops!).

Now what? Well, first, the answer to the scroll problem is really pretty simple. The solution is right there in the Hollow, practically staring you in the face. Think about it. The maze is another matter. There are, in fact, two ways out. One is quick and dirty, the other long and hard. The hard one is finding your way out through the new maze, which can be done, but it will take awhile (if you do this, you'll have to learn a certain spell several times before you enter the maze).

The other way requires using one of the spells you found in the Guild Hall. If you've played around with that one at all, you know that it will always take you back to the place where you cast it, so if you're going to use it here, best cast the spell before entering the maze.

Ok, so now you're out of the Maze, and you have the scroll. But, you need a Zorkmid, so you can enter the Amusement Park (don't ask me what an Amusement Park is doing down here!). The tree is gone, so you can't go there for one. However, don't despair! There is a solution.... it just requires a larcenous turn of mind, and quick fingers.

Once you have the coin, it's time to visit that strange Amusement Park. Give your Zorkmid to the gnome and enter. You'll find some rides here, as well as a Haunted House. What you really want, though, is that arcade at the far end. If you could just hit one of those cute little bunnies, I'll bet you could win a prize. You can't do that on your own, but you should have something with you that will help.

When you get your prize, take a look in the Carving Room (no, it's no? the place to cut up turkeys!). One carving in particular stands out. Look over your spells; you will need TWO of them here. When you've used the right ones properly, you will be able to progress into the Sooty Room.

Now, you are about to embark on the strangest part of this adventure. The Sooty Room leads to the Coal Bin Room, and here you will find breathing to be rather difficult. You'll need a potion here; I sure hope you did the right thing with the matchbook!

But the real surprise is when you meet.... yourself! Your Older Self, in fact, sliding into the room from a chute above. Listen carefully to what your twin tells you, you'll need that information. Also, remember that you're dealing with yourself here, so act accordingly (remember the Golden Rule?).

After your twin dives down the lower chute, you can proceed on to the Dial Room. Opening the door in here should be no problem, and you will soon find yourself in the Shaft Bottom. The rope is important, so take that before you climb up to the mine.

The mine is a small (really small) maze of sorts; what would an Infocom be without one? It shouldn't take you long tOJllap it out (it better not; your potion won't last forever!). Along the way, you'll find a timber; take it with you, because you'll need it soon.

Eventually, you'll come to the chute top. This is the one your Older Self came down a little while ago. However, before you can slide down yourself, you must find the way to the Slanted Room. You have the rope and the timber, which is all you need. All you have to do is figure out how to use them, so experiment a little there (it's a good idea to save the game, since it's likely you won't get the solution the first time).

In the Slanted Room, you'll find a scroll with a rather odd spell. It's meant to be used right there. Read room descriptions carefully before and after you cast the spell. You shouldn't leave empty-handed.

When you do come down the chute, you'll be back in the Coal Bin Room, and here you will see your Younger Self (I said this was the strangest part of the game!). This is a critical moment. If you don't do exactly the right thing here, you will cease to exist. Think back to what happened when you first entered this room, and do likewise.

Now it's time to go down the lower chute, before you choke. Ah, air again! You've made your way to a lagoon. In fact, you're probably pretty dirty from all that messing around in the mine, so why not take a swim and wash up? You might even find something of interest!

Ok, you're just about ready to face Jeearr. He's close by, as a matter of fact. You just have to get past the nasty-looking vines (should be easy), and into the cave. Ummm, well, there's those grues, too. You'll have to have a way of dealing with them. And in this case, light won't work (uh oh!).

Once you pass the grues, you will come to three doors. Two of them lead to very unpleasant consequences; the third will bring you to what you've been looking for: your showdown with the demon. So, before you open that door, you had best be prepared. You will need to protect yourself first; do that before you open the door. When you see what's on the other side, you'll know what other spell you need. Don't waste time, do what you must, and quickly! Congratulations, Sorcerer, you are now the leader of the Circle!

Whew! That's enough of magic for now. Next time, we'll come back to more mundane matters (so to speak!), when we take a look at solving a murder in Deadline. Until then, happy adventuring!

For those of you who need some extra help, there are 3 ways to get in touch with me:

By mail: send a self-addressed, stamped envelope, along with your questions, to: Scorpia, P.O. Box 338, Gracie Station, NY NY 10028.
On the Source: SMAIL to STl030.
On CompuServe: GO GAM-310.
This column is copyrighted 1984 by Scorpia.
All rights reserved.


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