This week, we're tackling Jailbreak, Roger M. Wilcox's third TRS-80/Windows adventure, originally written in 1980 and converted to Windows in 2012.
This one, as the title suggests, is a prison-escape adventure, and it's very straightforward.
If you want to play it yourself, all of Mr. Wilcox's Windows games are available at his website. It doesn't take long to play this one, and it's not difficult, and I always encourage readers to check these games out directly. Beyond this point, my comments will intentionally give away everything I experienced in my playthrough. In other words, there are doubtless...
***** SPOILERS AHEAD! *****
Jailbreak begins with less preamble than Wilcox's earlier games -- we're in a jail cell, behind a locked door, with a =Security guard= and nothing in inventory. KILL GUARD yields Be more specific as to how. CHOKE GUARD, HIT GUARD, KICK GUARD and STRANGLE GUARD don't work. PUSH GUARD returns You can't press a "guard"!
We can't UNLOCK DOOR because, of course, You have no keys! There are no EXAMINE or SEARCH results available. There aren't many options at all at this point in the story, so I finally tried HELP and received The hint is "ventriloquism." And yes, THROW VOICE works -- The guard, hearing the sound, runs to the north. In doing so, he drops his keys. Remarkably sloppy security in this place, it seems.
Now we can access a long hallway. There's a roll of money in an office to the south -- not sure what sort of prison this is -- and of course the security guard is still lurking about at the north end of the hallway. GIVE MONEY yields, mysteriously, That is one thing that can't be shown -- so GIVE must be a variant of SHOW as far as the parser is concerned. BRIBE GUARD is not recognized, nor PAY GUARD.
LOOK in the office yields Search and ye shall find. SEARCH discovers an eastbound secret passage. (SEARCH OFFICE does not work, however.) The secret passage leads to the Arms Room where a loaded revolver is available. We SHOOT GUARD, and The guard, unprepared for the attack, dies -- also odd, since we spent quite a bit of time loitering around behind his back, thinking about ways to kill or bribe him earlier.
SEARCH GUARD produces You found nothing special. Maybe you should frisk him. FRISK GUARD reveals a small button on his belt. We PUSH BUTTON and You hear a small whir from the east.
To the east is the Round Room, where we find a disguise kit and an open wall to the east (likely opened by the button on the guard's belt.) We can WEAR KIT to be disguised, and WEAR BADGE found in the next room also.
Next, we arrive in the Warden's Office, where the =Warden= blocks passage, except with the disguise and badge on he presents no obstacle. With the keys we used earlier, we can unlock the prison's exit door.
Outside the prison, the endgame wraps up quickly. We can visit the Judge in the courthouse, stop by an open field, and shop at a general store where a salesman has a shovel on offer. We BUY SHOVEL, DIG in the field, and we have some new *Evidence*. Then we SHOW EVIDENCE to the judge, and the game is over with our innocence declared (apparently justice is swift in the game's world, but news of our recent murder of a prison guard spreads slowly!)
Wilcox wrote a number of these early games in a short period of time, and most of them are simple. Jailbreak is actually even simpler than his first two, but I enjoyed playing through it as a quick evening's diversion and I will continue to work my way through his surviving games.