I was lying in the sun wondering what to write about
for this month's Adventure column when the temperature suddenly dropped
and the sky clouded over. "Oh, oh. Looks like we're in for a storm,"I
said to myself.
As I moved inside and settled down at my desk, a
nerve shattering crack of thunder broke the summer silence. Then
down came the rain. And the hail.
As it happened, it was only one of our typical
summer thunderstorms and the frenzy was short lived. However, while
the sky was dark and the rain pelted down, it reminded me of the
inevitable thunderstorm in all those B-grade horror movies. Do you
know the ones I mean? They're always set in an eerie old mansion or
a castle with a cemetery and the story involves vampires or
werewolves. Aha! That's just what the Adventure column needs for a
change. A good, old fashioned horror story. And Penguin Software's
"Transylvania" fits the bill perfectly.
"Velcome to TRANSYLVANIA! Von't you please sign the
guest register? ..." That sounds like a reasonable request. You sign
"And your next of kin?" Oh, oh! You don't like the
sound of this, but you type in your next of kin's name nevertheless.
"Far away a clock strikes 12..."
You have just begun playing Transylvania. The object
of the game is to find and rescue the Princess Sabrina before dawn.
If you're an old, die-hard Adventurer, then you've probably rescued
more Princesses than most people have had hot dinners. One more
should be a piece of cake, so you set off full of confidence.
Almost immediately, you're being taunted by strange
sounds in the forest. "You hear moaning noises in the distance ... A
witch's cackle cuts through the still air of the night ... A strange
ghostly shape floats past mournfully crying 'GARRY, GARRY' ..."
Sooner or later (and more likely sooner than later), you'll
encounter the werewolf. If you hang around longer than one move,
he'll have you for dinner, so you'd better move off as soon as he
appears. Unfortunately, he keeps popping up all over the place and
you'll soon grow to dread his untimely appearances. Therefore, your
first aim should be to kill the werewolf. This won't be too
difficult if you remember your horror movies and you can find the
relevant items to carry out the task.
Once free of the werewolf you can explore the
enchanted forest and its surrounds at your leisure. When you venture
into the castle, you'll encounter another of Transylvania's
distasteful inhabitants – the vampire. Unlike the werewolf, the
vampire can easily be kept at bay (if you remember your horror
movies), but is that the right thing to do? I'll let you ponder on
And so it goes on. If you like all those awful
B-grade horror movies of the 1950's and 1960's, then you'll love
Actually, Transylvania is only one of a series of
Adventures available from Penguin Software. The others are The
Coveted Mirror, The Quest and Ring Quest. All are illustrated
Adventures in much the same vein as others that I've reviewed in
this column. At the time of writing, only Transylvania and The Quest
are available for the Atari. However, this may change in the future.
I recently discovered an excellent little
Adventurers' newsletter called "Questbusters". The November 1985
issue had a review of a sequel to Transylvania. It is called
"Crimson Crown: Transylvania II" and has more illustrations and
harder puzzles than the original. It is also the first Adventure
written with "Comprehend", Penguin's proprietary Adventure
development system. Comprehend allows easier conversion to various
computers and also has an advanced parser for full sentence input.
Apparently an Atari version of Crimson Crown is underway and The
Quest and Ring Quest are being rewritten for the Atari using
Comprehend. I can hardly wait! (Incidentally, for anyone interested,
Questbusters is a very authoritative 12 page monthly newsletter
covering news, reviews and classified advertisements for die-hard
Adventurers and fantasy role playing gamers. International
subscriptions are US$22 per year from Questbusters, 202 Elgin Court,
Wayne, PA 19087, U.S.A.)
Unfortunately, I do have one gripe about
Transylvania. When I tried to boot the disk, it just refused to
load. I disassembled the boot sectors and found that this failure to
load was probably because of an oversight in a timing routine in the
copy protection. Without digging too deeply, it appeared that the
program would have worked alright on an NTSC system which updates
the real time clock 60 times per second, but it would not work on a
PAL system which updates the clock 50 times per second. I have since
bought The Quest and found that it had the same problem. In both
cases, I overcame the problem by changing one byte to bypass the
I have notified Penguin of the problem and, quite to
my surprise, they quickly responded that the technical department
had been informed and would work on a solution to the problem. In
the meantime, if you buy Transylvania or The Quest and you encounter
the same problem as I did, just change sector $05 byte $41 from $A9
to $60 (assuming the bytes within a sector are numbered from zero
and all values are hexadecimal). Alternatively, just run the
accompanying BASIC program and you can kiss your loading problems
Transylvania has fairly logical puzzles and I found
it fairly easy to solve. If you have any problems, I can think of
four sources for you to turn to. Firstly, you can refer to my usual
hints at the end of this column. These are coded in the same way as
usual and should help you out with most problems without giving you
a straight out answer.
Secondly, you can write to Penguin Software at the
address given in the documentation and ask for the Transylvania hint
sheet. This is very thorough. You first look up a keyword (like
werewolf) which gives you one or two numbers. You then look up the
question corresponding to the number. There are 32 questions
altogether. Each question has three hints ranging from vague to very
specific. Both questions and answers are coded to avoid revealing
too much. For example, question 1 reads "VCK RC W YWZZ HVS
KSFSKCZT?" which must be decoded using a slip code to reveal "HOW DO
I KILL THE WEREWOLF?". As I didn't receive my hints until after I'd
finished the game, I didn't want to manually decode all 32 questions
and 96 hints, so I wrote a little program to help me out. This is
included at the end of this article. You can also use it with the
hints for The Quest.
Finally, you can get a complete solution in "A
Shortcut Through Adventureland" by Jack Cassidy, et al (Datamost) or
"The Book of Adventure Games" by Kim Schuette (Arrays, Inc.).
1. Can't read the writing on the stump?
67 21 38
2. Can't get past the rock slide?
5 74 93
3. Can't kill the werewolf?
25 82 87 84 86 56
4. Still can't kill the werewolf?
25 82 87 8 57 56
5. Still can't kill the werewolf?
96 21 80 49 21 70
6. Does the eagle keep taking you to another part of
95 74 18 82 69 51 24 5
7. Can't get past the cat?
96 21 80 49 21 70
8. Don't know what the broom is used for?
9. Don't know what the bread is used for?
17 64 6 56
10. Can't climb the ladder?
82 28 48 12 35
11. Can't get the ring?
78 94 21 41 56
12. Can't find the vampire?
19 21 42
13. Still can't find the vampire?
19 22 3
14. Can't kill the vampire?
19 21 1 85
15. Can't find the wooden stake?
95 74 89 1 85 15 19 21 58 65
16. Can't find the holy water?
95 74 89 58 65 15
17. Still can't kill the vampire?
28 82 16 44 56 47 21 7 10 44 82 28
18. Can't open the sarcophagus?
19 14 75
19. Can't catch the flies?
20 74 84 72 30 15
20. Can't open the door in the cave?
95 74 89 36 15
21. Still can't open the door in the cave?
23 21 46 52
22. Can't get out of the cave?
82 73 9 24 5
23. Can't find the wizard's cloak?
29 21 83 90 9 21 32
24. Still can't find the wizard's cloak?
95 28 43 60 49 91 59
25. Still can't find the wizard's cloak?
92 37 53
26. Can't find the elixir?
21 45 55 21 36
27. Can't get the key from the goblin?
26 74 21 13 66 24 56
28. Haven't found where to use the key?
19 21 54
29. Still haven't found where to use the key?
4 63 40 88
30. Can't help the statue?
50 21 11 27
31. Alien got you baffled?
81 62 82 2 84 76 79
32. Can't open the sarcophagus?
25 82 31 84 34 61 33 21 77 68 56
33. Can't break the spell on Sabrina?
50 21 71
Just before finishing up this month, I've got a
couple of requests of my own. One Adventure that I'd love to cover
in the near future is Asylum. (Great game!) Unfortunately, I haven't
been able to solve it. If anyone knows how or where to get the
magnet or the platinum card, please let me know! First in with the
correct answer gets a free disk of Adventures!
Some years ago, SoftSide magazine had a thing going
called the "Adventure of the Month Club" where you paid a six
monthly subscription and they sent you an Adventure every month. I
was in the club for about 18 months, but I missed out on the very
early Adventures and one of the last ones. When I tried to buy these
from SoftSide, they told me that they weren't available for the
Atari. However, thanks to a Page 6 reader, I have now discovered
that they were lying to me! As SoftSide is now kaput, I must turn to
Page 6's readers for help. Does anyone have the old SoftSide
Adventures? I'm looking for Jack the Ripper, Crime, Around the World
in Eighty Days and Jack the Ripper II (if it was ever released). I
can swap for others in the series or buy them outright. Any offers?
That's all for this issue. Next time around we'll
probably do a little hitchhiking. If you've got any comments on the
column or requests for future topics, just drop me a line at the