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Missed Classic: Trinity - Fly Me to the Moon

Written by Joe Pranevich



Trinity continues to impress and depress me. Last time out, we witnessed the unexpected destruction of New Mexico thanks to a more powerful than expected nuclear test at the Trinity site. My guess was that we had finally found the “plot” of this game: to find out what interfered with the original test and put it right again. Do we have a time-traveling saboteur? Could he be related to that voice that keeps whispering bad “gnomon” puns in my ear? I have no idea, but it feels good to finally be discovering the plot after so much semi-random exploration.

At this point, I am most of the way through. I’ve solved (perhaps) four of the seven areas including Kensington Gardens, the South Pacific atoll, the Siberian steppe, and Nagasaki. Still to be conquered are an outer space segment, an unknown area, and the Trinity test site itself. I also know that I need to find a lizard for a magic potion, recover a magnetic meteorite from an impact crater, and maybe even deal with an injured wight. When we do these “Missed Classics”, we aim to close out games in three posts. I hope I am not disappointing too many people when I say that we will have this one and at least one more, depending on how writing about the endgame goes.
“Ice ice baby. (Too cold, too cold.)” - Rob Van Winkle

To recap a bit, last time around I attempted to explore the second mushroom but ended up transported into orbit and a very quick death. I worked out with some experimentation that I could ride a soap bubble from the “Bubble Boy” in the wabe through the mushroom door and this would make surviving in space possible, but even then I could not work out how to get to a satellite that I see whizzing by before my eventual death. Having given this some thought, I am convinced that the magnet rock is my best bet since that may allow the bubble to steer itself towards the satellite. I’m a little unsure of the specifics because it seems too small and the distance seems too great for this to actually work, but this is a game with a 40-foot tall boy blowing bubbles so I’m willing to suspend disbelief. Digging around the rock didn’t work and I think that I need to cool the rock down somehow, but I do not know how.

My first thought was to carry water to it. We have ample water nearby in the river and bog, but no watertight container. You’d think the cottage would have a cup or something, but you’d be wrong. The only other water I can find is the frozen icicles on the ceiling of the ice cave. With some experimentation, I discover that I can throw the axe to knock one down! I also score one point, so I must be on the right track. Unfortunately, the ice melts quickly and there is no way to get it to the meteorite without it melting.

As puzzles go, this was fun since I realized very quickly that we had four turns before the icicle would melt. The time-box helped to narrow down where we had to explore and I realized that it would re-freeze if we take the icicle to the top of the triangle at the center of the world. From there, I can make it to the crater only if I follow the exact shortest path. Still, that is not hard considering my experience at adventure game mapping and I place the cold icicle on the hit rock. It sputters and steams a bit, but the end result is that I lose the icicle but gain a magnet rock. Score!


Worked about as well as Reaganomics. 

The Final Frontier

My thought from last week was that once I made it to the satellite, I could board it. I had in mind something like the ISS (which had not been invented yet in 1986) or a half-remembered scene from Moonraker (not yet a decade old at that point). The good news is that the magnetic rock took me to the satellite as I expected, but once there I found nothing to do. There was no airlock or entrance hatch, only an automated defense satellite and an oncoming nuclear missile. The voice in my ear managed a Star Trek pun (“where gnomon has gone before”), but that doesn’t help much.

One thing that changed is that I am now on the satellite and it is firing maneuvering thrusters to position itself. In the process, we are getting closer and closer to the white door. This is good since it means a way out! This is bad once you remember that the white door is the location of a nuclear explosion and the fact that we are going towards it means that this satellite will likely be blown to bits soon. Just before the missile hits, when the white door is closest, I pop the bubble with my spade. Instead of being suicide, the sudden pressure forces me to spring towards and through the door before I die of exposure to the cold of space. I still accomplished nothing, but at least I know how to get back to the wabe. I try the sequence again and again to find anything that I missed, but come up empty. Whatever I am supposed to do there, I don’t think I am doing it yet. I restore.


 
Skink: noun; a smooth-bodied lizard with short or absent limbs, typically burrowing
in sandy ground, and occurring throughout tropical and temperate regions.

Tunnel Vision

One low-point last week was that I could not find the third mushroom, despite the fact that I had found it and wrote about it a post or two before. What happened? It’s a combination of my writing being behind my playing, but also because I simply didn’t keep the whole game in my head. I forgot that I saw it there even though I had it in my notes. In my defense, I was certain that the ossuary was underground and there was no way a magic shadow could reach there. Let’s just say that I could have explored this area a while ago if it had not been for this mistake.

Passing through the door, I emerge at the eastern end of a long dark tunnel. This also happens to be the end with a nuclear bomb that will no doubt explode in a few minutes. In classic text adventure style, there is a disused lantern on the ground that I grab. Exploring west, I discover a walkie-talkie and a skink. If you are like me, you may have no idea what a “skink” is and may have resorted to Google. If so, you would have learned that a skink is a variety of lizard. I finally found my lizard! Or rather, I had found him because he immediately rushes off to the west. Before engaging in pursuit, I muck around with the walkie-talkie by extending its antenna and listening to some static. The signal doesn’t reach well into the tunnels and the only word that I can make out is “eight”, although eight what will have to remain a mystery… but I’d better hurry.


“Earth below us / Drifting, falling / Floating, weightless / Calling, calling home”

Just to the west is the end of the line as the cave is sealed except for a tiny, lizard-sized crevasse. The skink runs there to hide immediately and I have no obvious way to get him out. This leads to a nifty little puzzle of “catch the skink” that goes something like this:
  • The skink will flee from light, either the splinter or the electric lamp that I found in the tunnel. He’s like a peaceful grue in that respect. 
  • I can force him out of the crevice by dropping my splinter of wood in; it is too narrow to do the same with the lantern. Doing that causes him to race past me down the eastern tunnel I never see it again.
  • If I (after a restore) place the lit lantern in the next room and repeat, the skink runs there and then immediately back. He’s disoriented by all of the lights so I can pick it up! 
  • Unfortunately, it wiggles out of hands nearly immediately although I get 1-2 turns to do something else with it. I try putting it in the bag and birdcage, but neither do the trick. 
  • With no other option, I resort to killing the skink in the brief time that I am able to hold it. Killing it is vividly described, down to the way that your hand aches as you choke the life out of its innocent lizard body. For all the implied death in this game, killing this creature-- that would die in minutes anyway-- hurts.
I race back through the door before the bomb explodes and take stock. I have to use the new lantern to pass the wight; much like in Zork, the lantern only lasts a few turns so I need to carefully turn it off and on when I need it. I drop the lizard carcass into the potion and… absolutely nothing happens. Did I need a fresh lizard? I play through the tunnel segment again and again but find no way to capture the lizard and keep it alive. I resort to taking a hint-- my first for this game. The answer is that I was supposed to put the lizard in my pocket! It had no problem escaping from a paper bag, but a pocket? Sure. When I place it inside, the lizard calms down and seems to be happy to be carried. I return to the cottage and drop it in, but the same “nothing” happens and I get no points. What am I getting wrong?


I should have listened to you!

I take a second hint and discover that I missed or misinterpreted one of the magpie’s messages: “Killed in the light of a crescent moon." That is obvious in retrospect, but I did not connect it with the lizard in specific and forgot about it entirely until now. Since I have to murder my lizard, where can I find a crescent moon? The tunnel section could have been at night, but since killing it there didn’t work I am going to guess not. All of the other time periods have been daylight hours. Thankfully, the answer is obvious since there is one area that I have not “won” yet: space!

I ride my bubble back to the final frontier and verify that the moon is in fact a crescent from my perspective. I murder the lizard with the same heart-wrenching scene, but at least I got points for it. I follow the rest of the puzzle as before to dock with the satellite, ride it back to the white door, and then pop the bubble just before orbital armageddon. (Speaking of which, why would they bother to have nuked orbit? The satellite that I was on seemed like it fired lasers at missiles as an orbital defense system. That part makes sense, but nuking it seems overkill since a laser-satellite would be just as destroyed if you fired a conventional missile at it. I guess when all you have are nuclear-powered hammers, everything looks like a nail.) I drop my freshly killed lizard into the cauldron and it begins to smoke and bubble. I leave quickly and the cottage explodes, leaving nothing but the charred remains of the book and maps plus one intact cauldron. At the bottom of the cauldron is my reward: a single emerald.


It's kryptonite without the aftertaste.

I check my list of open puzzles but I have just about reached the end. All that remains is helping the wight and heading off to Trinity, but alas I think my own pity for the injured wight is my own and not Moriarty’s. What’s left? Eventually, I notice the color of the two boots on “my” corpse are red and green, the same as the colors of the two jewels that I have been (knowingly or unknowingly) chasing after, a red ruby and a green emerald. I also recall that there are recesses in each boot where you could hide something, but I never found anything that fit. I stick my new emerald in the green boot and it is absorbed instantly. The boot seems to hum with newfound power and tiny wings sprout from the heel. What does that give me? Flight? Speed? I’ll have to get the matched set to find out.

Following the same path in my previous post to disguise myself as a corpse to ride the ferry, I slip through the mushroom door to the Trinity site. Before I go, I have a small crisis that I have far too many objects to carry at once and no idea what I will need on the other side. Should I take the axe or the spade? The walkie-talkie? I will have to restore if I bought the wrong kit, but clearly knowing what to bring is part of the “fun”. Once at Trinity, I wait for the guards to leave and meet up with the roadrunner at the bottom of the tower. He hands over the ruby and I install it into my other boot. I get the same message about hidden power and little wings but nothing else obviously happens… until I try walking north:

Woosh! Desert streaks past in a dizzy rush of color.

I have super speed! Since last time out, the bomb exploded after only a few turns, I’ll likely be able to explore more of the site and maybe, finally, figure out what this game is all about. But all of that will have to wait until next time when I (probably) will wrap up the game and provide a final rating. Note that as I end this session, I have 71 points which is only one more than what I had before. I’m worried that I forgot something since I did more than one point’s worth of new stuff but if so it should be obvious soon enough.


Time played: 2 hr 30 min
Total time: 10 hr 10 min

Inventory: bag of crumbs, small coin (20p), red boot (with roby), blue boot (with emerald), bandage, burial shroud, credit card, wristwatch, birdcage with lemming, broken coconut, spade, silver axe (not all carried with me to Trinity, but which I can fetch if needed)

Score: 71 of 100

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