Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Cottage: Nine Floors, Zero Clues

After mostly exploring the wilderness in my last post, I've moved onto the interior of the titular cottage.  This gave me a taste of this game's idiosyncratic method of navigation: it uses compass directions when you're outside, and the commands LEFT, RIGHT, FORWARD and BACK to move around inside.

To be honest, this wasn't as irritating as I had thought it would be.  The big sticking point I had was whether the directions would be fixed or relative to your own position.  What I mean is, if I enter an area will FORWARD and BACK always take me to the same place, or will it change depending on which entrance I came through?  Thankfully, the directions are fixed.  It doesn't make much sense, and it doesn't really justify not using compass directions, but it does make mapping easier than it would have been otherwise.  Relative directions could work in a game where the geography is well-defined, but The Cottage is definitely not that game.

I had a moment of panic early on when I stumbled into a lift, and saw that the cottage has 9 levels.  This gave me some horrible flashbacks to the sprawling size of Acheton, but I don't think that this game is all that big.  The geography twists and turns a lot, though, and it's almost impossible to know what floor you're supposed to be on.  There are loads of paths between levels aside from the lift, and a combination of terse language and general weirdness can make it rather difficult to navigate.  I feel like I've mapped most of the cottage interior (about 50 areas), although there is definite room for expansion.  I've found the lift entrances for levels 1, 2, 4, 8 and 9, so there are obviously floors I haven't been to yet.

Some places and points of interest within the cottage are as follows:

  • One room had a curtain, which I was "too weak to move".  Setting aside all discussions of my actual strength, I was able to get through by solving a few puzzles.  In one room I found some keys, which I used to open a case in another room, which gave me a sledgehammer which I used to break a glass box in yet another room to get some scissors.  With those scissors I cut through the curtain, and behind it I found a room full of animals.
  • I wasn't able to enjoy that Animal Room for long though, because I was transported to a random location.  There's a lot of that in this game.  One minute you're happily exploring, the next you're just somewhere else, and it can get very annoying.  This is part of the "general weirdness" I was talking about above, and it's not always apparent why it's happening.
  • When you die, the game gives you the option of being resurrected.  If you choose YES, you find yourself at the bottom of a grave with a priest looking down at you, all depicted in ASCII art.


  • In one room I found a phone that was ringing.  Upon answering it, I was asked for my name, and then congratulated for finding a phone.  There are phone sockets throughout the house, so I'll have to try plugging it in at various points.


  • There's an old man in a dark room, who refuses to let go of his pearl necklace and water bottle.  I tried to kill him, but he noticed the vicious gleam in my eye and ran away.  Elsewhere I found a smelly cucumber, and I'm going to try giving it him, because I'm pretty sure that's the sort of thing an old man would want.
  • The lift has an engine room.  At first it was empty, but later on I followed a lift repairman inside and saw an open hatch in the ground.  This led to a "vestibule", where a guard with a bejewelled halberd was stationed.  I subsequently got lost and couldn't find my way back here, so I'm not sure what the guard does, if anything.
  • In one room is a dark window, which I broke to find a crowbar inside.  Unfortunately, the noise attracted a fellow named Thorvald, who took the crowbar as payment for the window.  I've met Thorvald in a number of places, and it seems that he might be a sort of antagonist for the whole game.  I've been in his bedroom, as well as that of a fellow named Osvald, who I met in the kitchen.
  • One room has an "automatic machine", which asks you to deposit items in exchange for points.  I suspect that this is where you place the game's various treasures.  It asks specifically for a "picture", so it might be that I need to deposit the treasures in a specific order.  The second time I went there I was killed by a bomb, so it seems you only get one crack at it.
  • There's Staff Kitchen, in which I encountered Osvald as well as a very angry faun who tried to kill me with a knife.  Afterwards the floor collapsed, dumping me elsewhere.  It's another one of those "transported to a random location" bits I mentioned above.

And no,  have no idea what "quarking a fraktyl" means.

  • Speaking of fauns, there's a room I can't enter because one of them keeps stepping on my feet.  Maybe I need better shoes?
  • I found a room that was labelled Big Turning Labyrinth, and promptly got the heck out of there.  I hate old-school adventure game labyrinths, so I'm leaving this until last.
  • In a similar vein, there's a bit where a boiler explodes and opens a hole into a large cavern.  It had the makings of another maze/labyrinth, so I've ignored that as well.  I hate mazes, you guys.
  • This may have been a fever dream, but at some point I stumbled into a lengthy performance of the Muppet Show.  I can't remember where it was, and I didn't get a screen-cap.  It was very late at night, so I can't be sure that it actually happened.  It was very weird.

So far I'm not really feeling this game.  It has a lot of stuff going on, but none of it really seems to fit together, and the wacky geography is frustrating.  I'll keep up with mapping, and hopefully will have explored the whole game before my next post, but let's just say that it's not doing a great job at pulling me away from Breath of the Wild.

6 comments:

  1. Been giving the game a try for the last couple days (though I've played the Swedish version, not the English translation). Managed to get 222/307 points so far, so I've managed to figure out most of it and solved most of the puzzles I've encountered. The puzzles themselves aren't all that difficult, but you might want to try the HELP command, it tends to give you a hint if used in a room with an unsolved puzzle.

    Oh, and that maze is terrible. I still don't fully understand it.

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  2. Also, I managed to find a bizarre "exploit" (it feels too obvious to be unintentional, honestly) where you can get an infinite amount of faun shoes, and thus an infinite amount of coins you can keep tossing into the point machine until you win the game. The game is odd.

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  3. Actually scratch the above, I'm fairly sure it's a coding error, and as such probably exclusive to the DOS version I'm playing. Slight (but very vague) spoilers if you're not this far yet: Vs lbh ybfr ng gur fybg znpuvar, gur fubr jvyy creznaragyl qvfnccrne, vs lbh jva vg jvyy erfcnja va n cynpr jurer lbh pna trg vg onpx naq gura tb cynl gur fybgf ntnva. Guvf jnf cebonoyl zrnag gb or gur bgure jnl nebhaq.

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    Replies
    1. I'm pretty sure that's a coding error. When I play it, I'm still able to get the shoe when I lose, but not after I've won the coins.

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    2. From your most recent post, it seems they changed the way you get the shoe back for the DOS version anyway. In that version, if you win on the slot machine (which seems to be a coding error, and that this was meant to happen if you lost) the shoe will end up in the possession of the guard, and can be retrieved using the same method you use to get the halberd.

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    3. Okay, that might be true in the version I'm playing as well. It's possible I just haven't been down there after losing the shoe.

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