Scorpion's Tale #9 (Cutthroats)
Feature by Scorpia
Computer Gaming World Volume 4 Number 6 (December 1984)

WARNING! Scorpion's Tale contains hints on solving computer adventure games. If you don't want help, don't read on. You've been warned, friend!

Holiday season is here! The time when Santa leaves all those little diskettes full of fun under your Christmas tree, and friends and family gather in front of a warm computer, to play adventure games! Santa visits us here at the Tale, too, but he's always been a little puzzled by Fred; he can't understand why Fred always asks for broken lightbulbs.

Ah well, time to get on with the business at hand, so settle into your favorite chair by the fire, and we'll talk about treasure-hunting in the deep blue sea! Ready? Then let's dive into Cutthroats!

The first thing to do is open up your little book of shipwrecks, and look at the map. You'll see four wrecks are marked off, but that's something of a red herring. There's really only two of them that you can explore, and which one you get is determined randomly by the program. Still, you DO get two ships to play around in, and that should keep you busy for awhile.

When you boot up the game, you have to sit through a long explanation of how you came to own the book. There isn't any way around this, it will just come scrolling out every time, so be prepared for that.

So, here you are, expert deep-sea diver, in a dingy hotel room, on the equally-dingy Hardscrabble Island. What next? Well, it would be a good idea to check out what's in the room, and what you may have on you at the time. Reading the note is also helpful; it tells you where to go next

When you get there, you might as well sit down and wait awhile (there's a lot of waiting in this game, so get used to it). If it happens that Weasel doesn't show up, you made a mistake back in your room. Think about the various items you found there, and see if that gives you any ideas. Ob, and keep an eye on the time; that's important! IT anything strange happens around 8:20, you probably forgot to do something when you woke up.

So, Weasel arrives, but now it looks like there's a change in meeting places, and you'll have to trek off to another spot on the island (of course, you ARE mapping this out, aren't you?). The one thing to watch out for is McGinty; he can really louse things up for you if you aren't careful. I'll give you this bit of advice: remember that he can see everything you carry, except the money in your pocket.

Well, here you are at the new meeting place, and you'll have to wait some more until everyone shows up. At last, everyone gets there, and you finally find out which wreck you're diving for! Johnny will show you an item. Quick reference to the shipwreck book (the one that came with the game) should tell you which ship it's from. Saving the game from this point on will keep the wreck the same, and it's a good idea to save here, anyway. Just in case you make a mistake later.

However, you're not quite ready to dive yet! Johnny wants some proof that you're really in on this deal, and you'll have to go get it And you'll have to meet him again in yet another spot. Which means (you guessed it!) more waiting. But, all things come to those who wait, and after meeting Johnny again, you finally go to the Outfitter's to do some shopping.

This is the time to look at the tide table/price list that comes with the game. There's quite a few things on it, but you won't need most of them. What you will buy depends on which ship you're-diving for, but in any case, you'll have enough to get what you need. Read the list carefully, and do some thinking.

Now, it just so happens that McGinty will be there when you arrive. What you do while he's around is very important; doing the wrong thing can blow the game right there. Be patient, and choose your actions wisely.

All right! You've bought everything you'll need (or think you'll need!), and you don't have to get to the boat right away. What to do? Hmmmm...maybe you should take a stroll around the island, and visit a few places you haven't been to yet. Never know what you might see!

When you get to the boat, there will be some more waiting to do. The delivery boy has to come by with the supplies, and the rest of the crew has to arrive, as well. While you're waiting, you may as well poke around the boat and see what's there. There is also a certain item you may want to put somewhere for safe keeping, and this is a good time to find a place for it.

Once Johnny is on board, you can give him the coordinates of the ship, and then you'll be off. Take a nap, and by the time you wake up, you'll be at the dive site. Since there are two wrecks, one that requires scuba gear, and one that requires deep-sea gear, we'll look at them one at a time, scuba gear first (oh yes, if there's anything special you want Johnny to know, this is a good time for it).

Once you're all decked out in your scuba gear, and you're sure you have everything, dive in. Splash! Just keep swimming down, until you reach the wrecked ship. Along the way, you may find yourself bothered by a fishy nuisance, but the right item will take care of that.

Getting into the wreck is easy; just go into the hole. You might want to save the game here, and just look around the ship to see where everything is, and map it out. In one room, you'll find breathable air; remember where that is, it's important.

Sooner or later, you'll find a door with a sign on it. Take a good look at that sign, it says the room beyond is a. . . mine locker? Gulp! However, it's quite safe to open the door and go in. Just be very careful about what you touch in there, and how you touch it.

Look around in there, and everything seems to be ok, except for one mine that's loose, and floating in front of a hole in the ceiling (don't ask how that happened without the mine going off!). The trick is to get the mine away from the hole, without blowing yourself to tiny bits. If you remember what mines are made of, the solution should come to you sooner or later. It's an attractive one.

After that, it won't take you too long to find the safe, and remove the contents. Now comes the fun part. The case is starting to fill with water, and the contents will be ruined if the water level gets too high. What to do? Well, you better get that case out of the water, pronto! And then you have to get the water out of the case. Too bad that crack is so small; if it was a bit larger, you could probably pour the water out...

And that's pretty much it for this wreck; the other one is a bit more interesting! Also more dangerous, because you can't just swim around, you have to walk around in the diving suit, with an air hose trailing behind you. If anything happens to that hose, you won't be coming back up again.

As with the other wreck, you just keep going down till you reach bottom. When you reach the wreck, go through the hole as you did with the other one. Crash! Oops, looks like the ladder broke...and you can't just swim up. Well, maybe you'll find a way out later. For now, just go along through the ship.

One room that's interesting is the one with the bars on the wall. Another place that bears examining is the one with the piled-up bunks, behind which is a door. Now, if you could just get those bunks out of the way, you'd be able to continue. Wonder how you could move those bunks? And, even more important, keep them out of the way?

Once you've done that, you can proceed to the room beyond, which has a ladder going down. Of course, you're a little nervous about using it, considering what just happened with the other one, but you don't have a choice, so down you go! Crash! Talk about deja vu! Fortunately, this ladder isn't totally destroyed, but you can't climb back up again. At least, not at the moment.

So, you might as well go on. Err, well, maybe you don't want to, since the next room houses a giant, sleeping squid. Hmmmmm. Now what? If you remember the saying about "sleeping dogs", you shouldn't have a problem.

In the next room along, you find...a chest! Wow! Could this be it? Maybe. Why not leave it for now, and continue on? The next room doesn't look too promising; all it has in it are some skeletons. Still, best not to take anything for granted here!

And in the last room is...another chest! However, now you have a little problem. You can only ge! one chest back to the ship above, and you can bet your little pink diving booties that only one of these chests has something worthwhile in it. Which one? Well, there's the hard way (trial and error), and the easy way (if you have the right thing with- you).

Once you know which chest is the right one, you have to get it outside the ship. This is pretty easy, actually, just look around..but be wry careful! Now comes the hard part, getting yourself out and back topside.

When you think about it, though, it really isn't all that hard, after all. First you have to get back up to the middle deck. The partly-broken ladder is almost in reach; if you were just a little taller, I'll bet you could make it.

After that, you need to make your way up where the other ladder used to be, the place where the mast with the rope is. This one is a little trickier. The ladder is gone, so you can't use it at all. But, if you could do something about that rope? However, the rope is a bit out of reach. Still, if you looked carefully at everything you saw along the way, you should have an item with you that will help you now. And once you're back on the top deck, you just have to go up, and you're done! Congratulations, you can retire at an early age!

Until next time, happy adventuring! The Scorpion's Tale is copyrighted ©1984 by Scorpia. all rights reserved.


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