Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Adventure of the Week: Space Traveller (1980/2013)

This week we're returning to the recently rediscovered works of Roger M. Wilcox, whose Space Traveller was written for the TRS-80 in 1980 and has been converted to Windows in 2013.  This is actually Mr. Wilcox's fourth adventure -- there's some been confusion about which ones were written when, but the order has become clearer as he has recovered and converted more of his old adventure games.

Space Traveller is another basic treasure hunt adventure, with a slightly sci-fi setting and a number of simple puzzles that rely more on thorough searching than anything else.  As with the other Wilcox adventures, they are freely available at his website, so interested adventurers are encouraged to play this one before proceeding with my notes below.  As always, my documented experience is guaranteed to introduce...

***** SPOILERS AHEAD! *****

We begin on Planet X with nothing in inventory, standing near a Large cylindrical transport.  The intro hints at some special-case verbs we will probably need and might have a hard time guessing - STICK, SWING and PLUCK -- though in my playthrough I never actually needed these verbs.

The transport itself contains a panel of three buttons and an Airtight space suit (those non-airtight space suits being considerably less useful for space travel.)  The buttons are labeled Q, X and EARTH.  We should probably spend some time on Planet X before we go anywhere else... except the only other location here is the Score Room, so we'll have to do our treasure hunting elsewhere.

We don't have to wear the suit while we travel to Planet Q, but stepping outside without it establishes that The air is unbreatheable [sic]!  You're dead!  Planet Q is described as orbiting a white dwarf, and it's a maze with few discernible landmarks, so we should probably come back here after we acquire some droppable inventory items to assist with mapping.

Planet Earth features a Grassy field, near a Deserted hat store, one of those oddly specific adventure game businesses which, as is often the case, contains a single item, a small hat.  We can WEAR HAT, along with the space suit, for the ultimate in inconspicuous space travelling attire.  There's also an empty field.  We can attempt to DIG in either field, but we need something with which to dig.  Fortunately, we can SHAKE HAT, and Something falls out.  It's a Six-foot shovel!  Okay, then.  Not the strangest solution in the annals of odd adventure game moments, but it's up there.

Digging in the empty field leads to an underground labyrinth.  It contains the Room of the Sacred Door, but we don't have a key for the actual door at the moment.  Fortunately, we can GET RUG in a nearby Very unused room to find the Large key, and now we can visit the Treasury Room, where a * Treasure chest * can't be opened (There's no keyhole in a chest!) but can be carried along as a complete unit.

We can also DIG in the grassy field to find an iron box -- it can't be OPENed unless we're carrying it, but after we pick it up we can find a * Diamond ring * inside it.

Let's stop off on Planet X and drop our two treasures off -- on a scale of 0 to 100 we now rate 40 points, so there must be three more to find.

We can map Planet Q out a bit now.  There still aren't any obvious landmarks, but as it turns out we just need to find all five above-ground locations and do a lot of digging.  We can open a grave in one spot that contains a * Silver coin *.  We can dig in another location to find a * Golden bafoon * -- I don't know what that is, but it's clearly valuable -- buried just under the surface.  And a Dead body turns up in another location -- where it shouldn't be, we are told.  If we drop it in the grave, then The body thanks you, and drops something at your feet! which turns out to be a * Platinum sword *.

We've got five treasures now, and with a quick trip back to the score room, victory is ours!

Space Traveller is a very simple, old-fashioned text adventure -- but there's nothing wrong with that.  I'm enjoying the Wilcox games and will continue to work my way through them as time goes on.  I encourage anyone looking for a quick, pleasant little adventure game to do the same.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I'm the author of _Space Traveller_. I've been in e-mail communication with Stillgaming ever since he found that ornery bug in _Interstellar War_, but I thought I'd clear something up to the readers here:

    The initial message, "I know the verbs STICK, SWING, and PLUCK", is actually a bug. That message belongs to a different adventure of mine called _The Vial of Doom_. In my haste to convert these games from TRS-80 BASIC to .NET 4.0, I used my _Vial of Doom_ source code as a template for my other adventures. Usually everything vial-of-doom-specific gets taken out, but occasionally one of these artifacts slips through. In the case of _Interstellar War_, there were phantom references to a mummy. In the case of _Space Traveller_, it's the intro message that never got changed.

    I have since removed this message about "Stick, swing, and pluck" from _Space Traveller_. Any of you who come to my site and get the latest version of _Space Traveller_ will not see that message.