11. Transylvania

by Garry Francis, Sydney, Australia

 

Issue 20

Mar/Apr 86

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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.

The game

"Velcome to TRANSYLVANIA! Von't you please sign the guest register? ..." That sounds like a reasonable request. You sign your name.

"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 that.

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 Transylvania.

Others in the series

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.)

A gripe

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 timing routine.

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 goodbye.

Hints

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.).

Transylvania hints

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 the forest?
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?
39

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

1 WOODEN
2 SEE
3 SOMETHING
4 PUSH
5 IT
6 SANDWICHES
7 VAMPIRE
8 SOME
9 READ
10 HOW
11 CRYSTAL
12 NOT
13 FROG
14 AGAIN
15 !
16 GETTING
17 RED
18 NOTHING
19 TRY
20 THAT
21 THE
22 DROPPING
23 SEARCH
24 ABOUT
25 HAVE
26 WHAT
27 BALL
28 ARE
29 RIDE
30 ONE
31 HAD
32 SIGN

33 OF
34 CLOSE
35 ALONE
36 KEY
37 HELPS
38 SEDIMENT
39 TRANSPORTATION
40 WEIGHT
41 LADDER
42 CASTLE
43 TWO
44 CROSS
45 GOBLIN
46 WIZARD'S
47 SHOW
48 OBVIOUSLY
49 IN
50 REMEMBER
51 DO
52 CLOAK
53 (ANAGRAM)
54 CEMETRY
55 HAS
56 ?
57 AMMUNITION
58 HOLY
59 CABIN
60 ROOMS
61 ENCOUNTER
62 AFTER
63 YOUR
64 HERRING

65 WATER
66 CROAKING
67 DISSOLVE
68 KIND
69 CAN
70 WAGON
71 BOOK
72 STICKY
73 WOULDN'T
74 IS
75 LATER
76 SHOOTING
77 THIRD
78 WHO
79 STAR
80 COFFIN
81 RETURN
82 YOU
83 BROOM
84 A
85 STAKE
86 WEAPON
87 GOT
88 AROUND
89 NO
90 AND
91 HIS
92 SATURN
93 IMPENETRABLE
94 SHOOK
95 THERE
96 OPEN

Help wanted

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?

Next issue

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 address below.

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