by Daniel V. Horn II
They say when life deals you lemons... make lemonade. Well, just how often can one game player be made into lemonade before he wants to fight back!!!
I've been chewed on by the best: giant mice, alligators, evil slime, and yes, even attacked by a tumbleweed! Well it's time for Underlemon to do some of the squeezing, and I have just the plan.
In this column I'll be delving into the hidden world that is never seen by the ordinary game player. We will be discovering tips, hints, bugs, and program "switches" that permeate most, if not all, computer games. We'll call on a number of agents--denizens of deep adventure--in our continuing struggle against low point games or to help us elude some alligator's pallet.
Let me introduce this month's investigator: Colonel Hogan Klink III. He's here to illuminate one of the more difficult programs on the market, Castle Wolfenstein from Muse Software.
The plane bucked and kicked through the low-hanging, moisture laden clouds over Germany. Altogether a bleak night for flying. I was to bail out into the darkness, dropping into the wooded perimeter around the Castle Wolfenstein, a Nazi stronghold and the center of operations for "Rheingold." My assignment was to penetrate the enemy fortress and escape with those plans and my life. In that order.
The drafts played havoc with my chute; I drifted uncontrollably and I had barely touched down and unharnessed when a German patrol surrounded me and marched me into the cavernous interior of the Castle Wolfenstein. So far, the enemy were playing right into my hands. They threw me into a holding tank where I met the weakened, tortured remains of their last victim.
He gave me the only help that I'd receive in getting back out alive, a Mauser pistol with a ten-bullet clip.
At the first opportunity I eluded my keepers and set off through the castle. Guards patrolled the corridors regularly, posted in every room. I had only been free moments, when my presence was discovered. I raced down a corridor and waited for an opening. I got off a shot and put it into the nearest guard. That alerted the others. The guard in the other room started into mine. I positioned myself just around a corner and as he came in ... bang; one less guard to worry about.
After searching the bodies I found grenades and keys. These, and a lot of luck, helped me onto the next floor of the castle but in getting there I discovered a few hints that may help some of you in your escape.
Grenades will blow holes in walls, and you can shoot through these holes. I found this out as I missed a throw at a lone S.S. Officer and hit the wall instead. In most cases the Stormtroopers will need to be blown up with grenades. Keep this in mind when you are getting low.
Shooting a guard in a doorway is a great way of keeping other Nazi guards away. The others won't be able to cross over the body.
One of the most important elements of the game is surprise. Disguise yourself from the guards. Take a look in the chests at the beginning of the adventure and get yourself a German uniform as soon as you can. Beware, the S.S. are not fooled by your uniform.
If you are in uniform, but out of bullets, there is a way of getting a full clip... try holding up a guard. Stand in his way, draw your gun when he moves toward you and then search him. Incidentally, you will still have to shoot him, but all's fair in love and war.
Castle Wolfenstein rewards you with promotion if you escape alive. But if you're smart you will go for the plans Operation Rheingold (found in one of the hundred or so chests in the castle) right from the beginning. Every time you exit the castle with the plans, you get a complete promotion to the next rank. But if you don't carry those important plans out, you rise in rank at half speed. Speaking from experience, this castle is too hard to escape. Don't waste your time getting out without those plans!
The one trick that saved me the most time and effort in Castle Wolfenstein is one that should be used, depending on the nature of the player, only in the most desperate circumstance. I speak of a trick that I learned while playing the Apple version of the program. It works the same way on the Atari.
The instant I was caught or shot, I "popped" the disk drive door. The "dead" or "caught" record is not written until after the screen display is shown, and during that instant you can open a disk door. This will leave all pointers set up in the program to the room you just left. When you reboot the game, you'll find yourself in that same room, but you're neither "caught," nor "dead." Cheating? Maybe. But popping the drive saves you all the time required for the program to generate a new castle and for you to wander through it's introduction. There's nothing like a second chance.
One thing I would like to point out is that this process may damage your program disk. Nobody likes the hassle of sending a disk back to the company. Besides the game is designed with a goal that requires a long time to fulfill and you only cheat yourself by defeating the machine.
I'll leave it to you to discover hundreds of other clues to Castle Wolfenstein. The hints here will make the game a little more interesting and give you a firmer idea of how to play the game. Remember, give the S.S. a wide berth ... they are deadly and are armed with machine guns, not just pistols!
Next month we'll uncover some of the secret "switches" that are becoming more and more common in computer games. Some of the programs we'll look at are "Preppie!," "Caverns of Mars," "Mouskattack," "Super Breakout" and "Sea Dragon." So if you don't know how to activate the switches in these games, I'll see you next month.
P.S. If you find failures and/or features in your programs please feel free to send them in to Hi-Res, and after testing them maybe you can turn the failures into features. If you're caught in some web of programmer deceit--a room without windows or doors, maybe I can help you find the key. Let me know.
Dan Horn is an Adventure enthusiast. He works at Scott Adams, Inc., where he manages the Technical Division.