Part 2: In which Alice gets the lay of the land, practices her French, and gets oddly specific puzzle hints.
Left it is!
Over the hill, I found this quaint mill, conveniently labeled for easy identification. It looks like it's harnessing the power of the mighty Thames to mill grain. I could continue on, but only by getting my best dress soaking wet, so I suppose I'll have to detour through the building. Hopefully the miller won't mind.
There doesn't seem to be a miller, or indeed anyone at all, in the old mill. Perhaps it's the wrong time of year.
By now you may have noticed one of the little tricks the Commodore 64 used a lot of for its graphics. 320x200x4-bit color is 32K, half of the computer's entire memory, so the computer didn't actually offer that option, but there were a number of ways you could get close. One was to redefine the character set. This was very easy to do and gave you 256 8x8 tiles that you could display in any of 16 colors, in regular and inverted flavors; 'Alice in Wonderland' uses this extensively. The exceptions, Alice and the other people she'll meet, are sprites overlaid on the display.
You can climb the chain and jump over the little railing, though all you get for your trouble is a bonk on the head at the bottom.
This is the rear of the mill. There's a bit of hedge keeping me from going to the right here, so I shall continue to the left.
At last, people! I was beginning to worry that half of my menu options would be completely useless.
Come, Alice. Practice your French.
Characters you meet will say hello when you get close. You can carry on a conversation without getting that close if you like, though.
(I speak French? I didn't know I spoke French. Aren't I only ten years old?) Oh, excuse me. Who are you?
I'm your big sister, you little goose.
Oh! I didn't recognize you without your... um... color. I'm very sorry.
Aren't you the sweet little thing?
Um, okay. (Weird creepy stalker vibe here...) Uh, listen, I'm kind of looking for a rabbit hole so I can get this whole Wonderland thing off on a flying start. I don't suppose you've seen it?
If you haven't seen him already, that nice Reverend Dodgson has your parasol. He's in his boat.
Reverend...? Oh, right, Lewis Carroll. And his boat would be?
Don't play the fool with me, dear. You're by the Thames River.
I'm not playing anything! Except this game. Well, I'm trying to, anyway.
Don't be cross, dear. A little French is always useful.
Well, I suppose it couldn't hurt. But I don't have too long. Can you teach me quickly, please?
Remember. The mutton is pleased. Le gigot est content. Good. You may take the tin of candy as a reward.
Oh...kay. If I weren't about to be going into Wonderland, I'd wonder what possible use knowing that sentence could ever be. I think I'll just take that candy and move on.
It is a little tin filled with dried fruits coated in sugar.
Oh, a tin of comfits! How very British of them. At any rate, let's keep going.
Clocks can be found throughout Wonderland, and it's a good thing too, because Alice doesn't own a pocket watch. The passage of time is important for three reasons. One, as previously mentioned, there's a time limit on the game, so you don't want to dawdle. Two, certain events only happen at specific times; I'll mention them as they come up. And three, if someone takes offense to something you say and leaves, they'll tell you when they'll be back; if your business with them isn't finished, you'll have to return then or later. Time passes relatively quickly in Wonderland, so it's a good idea to pause the game if you have some thinking to do.
Well, we seem to have run out of land. I suppose there's only one thing to do--
Right, go-- are you mad? It's the Thames! I'm in my best dress! I'll be lucky not to catch pneumonia!
But you're paying my medical expenses.
Alice, you left your parasol in my boat.
Right now, I wish I left some hot chocolate in your boat. But I suppose I'll need that parasol for some reason or another, so can I have it, please?
I don't have time to tell a story today; but you can find wonders of your own if you look hard enough.
I realize my teeth are chattering, but I'm fairly certain 'parasol' and 'story' don't sound much like each other.
Don't be cross, Alice. Your sister will have sweets and maybe something to tell you.
I talked to her already, actually. Listen, can I get my parasol, or would you rather I sank silently to the bottom of the Thames?
You'll have a story later. Now take your parasol. It may help break a fall.
It is a darling blue silk parasol.
This had better be worth it.
It will be. It will be.
At last, I'm out of that freezing water. And look! That must be the rabbit hole. I can finally get this adventure started!
Oof. You're too big and this door is too tiny for you to enter. (That's the game response if you try to go through the rabbit hole, or any door shorter than your character.)
Maybe if I crouched I could fit inside?
No time for crouching! Onward!
But getting in the rabbit hole is the whole point of--
I'm late. I'm terribly late. I'm disastrously late. Oh, but I'm too young to be a pair of ear muffs.
Oh, I suppose it's a good thing I ran into you before I went into the rabbit hole. I'm sure you have some useful advice. I'll suppose I'll just run down the list, shall I? Who are you?
The White Rabbit, general flunky to her highness, the Queen of Hearts.
Where am I, she asked, knowing she knew the answer better than he did?
This is the last time I ever borrow the Mad Hatter's hat to fly up here.
Borrowed the Mad... Hatter's... hm, I don't remember reading that in the books, but it could prove useful. Why are you doing that? There's a tree right over there if you need to--
What do you care? You're much too big to fit in the rabbit hole--unless you stoop.
I tried to tell him that.
But then you would have missed this scintillating conversation.
Do you even know what that word means?
Of course I--
Without using Wikipedia?
...just go back to talking to the rabbit, okay?
Excuse me, mister Rabbit, but I'm playing this adventure game, and I was wondering if you--
No, don't be silly. I'm much to busy to play. I have to find the rabbit hole.
The rabbit hole? I can help you find that. It's just one screen over--
You'd be a big help if you just got out of my way.
Listen, I can see you're stressed out, but if you'd just calm down, I can--
That's easy for you to say.
I'm trying to help you here, you flibbertigibbet!
Now who's using big words?
What an unpleasant creature. I do hope you're an only child.
Actually, I've got a younger brother.
He's not talking to you.
The caterpillar told me that you can't top a top hat when it comes to answering riddles or taking vacations.
I wasn't talking to you either!
I've got problems of my own.
I can tell.
You're in a bad mood.
I'm freezing in this wet dress!
Relax, I know just the thing to warm you up. More walking!
Wait, this is where we started. If I'd gone the other way, I would have been to the rabbit hole in no time.
And missed the parasol and comfits both. Trust me, you'll need them soon enough.
If you say so.
Oh, and in case anyone was wondering: swimming left from the mill takes you to another screen with nothing but water, then through an invisible one-way path to Dodgson's boat. Swimming right from the boat always takes you to the clock. That's why we didn't bother with it.
Next time on 'Alice in Wonderland', maybe I'll actually get to Wonderland!