The Epic CD-ROM Family Adventure: Part 4

Lisa Alexander – Well, we’re back, and Stevenson is still perched in cobwebs. Must be awful for his dust allergies.
Sometimes, I really wish screen-caps could capture the cursor on this game so that you could see the lovely arrows that appear when clicking means you go somewhere. Am I getting too obsessive? (Note: That’s a rhetorical question. Please don’t answer.) These arrows have depth and everything. There’s a very noticeable difference between the arrow to go forward towards Billy’s chest and the arrow we had to go up to the second floor.
At any rate, you move forward to Billy’s chest, and Gonzo and Rizzo pop up in the bottom left corner of the screen to take a look. I’ll let you guess which is which:
“Hmm… I’ll look for a key.”
“I’ll look for a sledgehammer.”
Stevenson perches on top of the chest, and music plays. You know the instrumental bit under Billy’s voice at the very beginning of the movie, when he says “I was Flinty’s first mate, that voyage…” Yeah, that’s the music we’ve got.
Unfortunately, that’s about all we’ve got, aside from a corner of Billy’s bedspread and some lovely grain in the wooden floor and chest. We can click on the chest’s keyhole, but it just sort of stretches and shrinks back, kind of like the door-knocker at the beginning of Muppet Christmas Carol, except that it doesn’t change into anything else. It just makes a little creaking noise. Our only other click-options are to move away from the chest or tap on Stevenson. Obviously, we tap the bird.
He takes a deep breath. “Go find the key! Go find the key! Brawwwk!” And he whistles. Click again, and he repeats the bit I described last time where he tells us he’s allergic to dust. The bird doesn’t have anything else to say, so I guess we’ll move back from the chest.
Billy’s room hasn’t changed much. In fact, it hasn’t changed at all. In fact, Stevenson still says all the same things, including telling us to look in the chest. Funny—doesn’t he know we still don’t have a key?
With our mouse on the door, the cursor turns into an arrow to the right. Click, and the door opens just before we jump back to the hallway. Once in the hallway, we see Billy’s huge shadow downstairs as he moans, “The black spot… The black spot!” But once that’s over and Stevenson perches on the banister, the hallway is once again unchanged. And yes, Stevenson still wants us to go into the pirate’s room. So I guess he’s forgotten about his dust allergy? At any rate, if you or your child has a really bad memory, you could get stuck in an indefinite loop of going into Billy’s room, finding the chest is locked, and going to look for the key.
So we go back to the first floor, where—again—nothing has changed. We still have random laughter and pirates walking past the window every thirty seconds or so. However, Stevenson is no longer telling us to follow the pirate upstairs. Instead, when you click on him, he sneezes. Isn’t that helpful?
Since I didn’t say so last time we were here, I will mention that for some reason when I played this as a kid, I always wanted to go into the kitchen. You can’t, of course, but I always wanted to. It seems like if there’s a doorway that close, I should be able to go through it. Besides, I think I wanted to shoo Rizzo from the 19th-century refrigerator.
What I also didn’t mention last time we were here is that when you move your mouse over the outside door, the cursor turns into the forward-arrow and a green EXIT sign lights up with a little “pop” sound effect. Click, and the top half of the door will open before we are suddenly outside.
Outside, we see Blind Pew laugh as he creeps around the corner. When he and his music are gone, Stevenson perches, and we’re allowed to use the mouse. (Like I’ve said, our cursor disappears when anything else happens on screen.)
Use the sixteenth-note cursor in the top left of the screen to hear trumpets, flutes, and drums in a piratey battle-march. The music drowns out the lapping waves, but we still occasionally hear a ship bell, Blind Pew’s laughter, a seagull, and a barking dog, plus thunder whenever lightning crashes down from a cloud that I think looks like it was plucked out of the “A Whole New World” sequence in Disney’s Aladdin. For some reason, the music also adds in some howling wind that you otherwise wouldn’t hear.
If you really love the thunder and lightning from the Aladdin cloud, you can summon it by clicking on the cloud. If you click on the upstairs window, Blind Pew can come around the corner just like he did when you first came outside. If you click on the Benbow Inn sign, it creaks back and forth. (For the record, this Benbow Inn sign is probably the most boring sign you can click on in the whole game.) If you click on the downstairs window, you can hear some general piratey laughter from inside. You can also click on the top and bottom parts of the door to open and close them, which I find much more amusing than it should be.
But there are two real reasons we’re outside. The first, of course, is to snatch that key hanging from the same wrought-iron as the sign. I have no idea what it’s doing there. It doesn’t seem like a very clever hiding place. The second reason is that message-in-a-bottle sitting on the ground. Yes, we are supposed to click that. Don’t believe me? Let’s ask Stevenson.
On the first click, he looks at the bottle and says, “Wow! That bottle is probably from a far-off island! Huh. Is a message in a bottle the best way to communicate? WRONG! But at least they didn’t call collect. The rates are so high.” He makes a parrot-y noise and returns to his perch.
On the second click, he says, “Right. Okay, if you ask me, I’d use the door! But, it’s just my way. But you’re the boss!” Then he makes another parrot sound and immediately says “Excuse me.” Apparently the parrot noises are involuntary, kind of like hiccups. However, this is the only time he excuses himself for one.
That’s all Stevenson has to say. He apparently has no intention of pointing out the key. Some help parrot. Anyway, you click on the key, it disappears with a sound-effect, and Stevenson shifts his wing with a “Hey thanks!” once again meaning that you have picked something up and put it in his wing.
Getting back to the bottle, I have to warn you before I click on it that I used to avoid these bottles when I was little because they creeped me out as much as Blind Pew. The difference is that now, Blind Pew doesn’t creep me out at all, and these bottles still do a little.
Now, when you click on the bottle, you hear the pop of a cork, and then the message is in front of you, narrated from beyond the grave by Captain Flint. (See? Creepy.) His booming voice has a slight echo to it—almost unnoticeable, really, but it’s enough to make it a little creepier. Anyway, the message goes like this:
THIS be the ghost of Cap’n FLINT speakin’! Ye may not know me, but this TREASURE yer after, is MINE!
(At this point, we hear what sounds to me like some seashells clanking together before Flint continues.)
Ye hear that? Well it’s not castanets! It’s me BONES rattlin’ with RAGE! O’er the SCOUNDRELS tryin’ to claim me gold. Now—heed me words, Hawkins. Keep your eyes open, and yer NOGGIN sharp, and ye JUST might be the one to FIND, the TREASURE. HAHAHAHARGH! If you’re lucky.
That last sentence is delivered in a whisper, upping the creepy factor again. When he’s done, we hear the same music we heard by Billy’s chest. Now, as you can see in the picture, the note is framed with seaweed and a starfish that presumably got into the bottle somehow, but if you look closely you can see that Flint’s spelling is better than his pronunciation, he did in fact sign his name, and his narration skipped one tiny part of this particular note. He says his bones are rattlin’ with rage “o’er the scoundrels tryin’ to claim me gold,” but he writes that his bones are rattlin’ with rage “o’er the thought o’ scoundrels tryin’ to claim my gold.” We can click on any part of the note or bottle to hear Flint read the message again. Moving the cursor anywhere else gives us the “back up” arrow, which means we put the note away in Stevenson’s wing. He doesn’t thank us this time or shift his wings. He’s too busy returning to his perch. Presumably, he was reading the note with us or something.
Now that we have the key and the bottle, we’re free to go inside, find the map, light some dynamite… What, don’t believe me? Stick around. If you’re good, I’ll eventually show you all the goodies Stevenson keeps under his wing.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier

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