The Let's Play Archive

Creeper World Series

by Strategic Sage

Part 175: Elect. Quiz & Tucana (Twice)

Elect. Quiz & Tucana (Twice)

Three more planets, but in a way there's only really one level, and that one is a retread/homage. I'll try to clarify that as we go.

We start with Electricity Quiz, which is a nominee for being one of my least favorite Creeper World 3 levels. That's partly because it doesn't really even properly qualify as one. There's less CW here than there was in Troublesome Trains. I generally try not to be a hater, but I have a hard time being more than marginally polite to this level. It is literally an electricity quiz; that's not a reference to anything or just a quirky part of it or anything. And for those who actually know something about electrical wiring, feel free to mock my foolishness and actually explain stuff.

So first rule; at no point in this level will I be allowed to build anything. At all. Ever. For any reason or purpose. Nothing whatsoever.

We've got this method of pop-up messages to tell us what to do, and obviously scripts (although I'm certain they aren't particularly interesting ones) behind the scenes. The whole level will consist of selecting and destroying 'collectors' - which of course will never actually collect anything - to advance the quiz.

Notice how the text isn't centered? This will get more annoying later. It's kind of a minor nitpick, I admit.

Minor typos like 'multuple' are easily forgivable. When you say things like 'penalty increases with one seconds' my inner grammar nazi starts twitching fairly violently though. I know everyone isn't a native speaker, and it's good enough that I can understand what it means, but still.

This is the only penalty we'll get this level, and it's specifically annoying. Troublesome Trains was light-years better on this, decreasing your score and setting your progress back. Here, it just makes you wait. Literally forcing you to waste time. Yeah it lowers your score too, but who cares with hacked leaderboards? Personally I wouldn't even care without them, but I can see the attraction of setting records if they were intact. A mechanic specifically intended to waste my time though? Yeah, I'm so not a fan of that.

Message box is getting worse - it can't contain all the text. However, I do have to compliment this level here at one point, for giving the player a penalty-free trial. This must be applauded.

This is how the game lets you know how long it is until you are released from the purgatory engenedered by having the gall to submit a wrong answer. Seconds, tenths and hundredths. We'll ... uh ... be seeing some larger numbers than this.

And now, let ... the Quiz ... Begin!!!! It's not hard to see what Switch A is. It's labeled there and it doesn't take much to surmise that we have answers A, B, C, and D. But what about that row of symbols at the bottom? They will never be referenced or used in any way whatsoever. They are there for decorative purposes only, but we'll never be told that.

Also, where the heck is the lamp? Here's one of the major issues I have with this; going into the level, my knowledge of electricity is basically knowing the positive/negative things, current traveling through wires, and knowing that volts and amps measure electricity in some form. I'm not an electrician, to put it mildly, and its just assumed you know what these symbols mean. Guess what? I don't. If I'd sat here and thought about it long enough, I might have eventually deduced that the only thing other than the switches (which they've already identified) on the circuit pathway is that 'X inside a circle' thing, which is a lamp. A couple of google searches later would eventually uncover a wiki for electric symbols (guh) from which I gleaned that this is commonly used for an incandescent light bulb or somesuch.

Ok great, but how is your everyday layman supposed to just know that? We're all supposed to be electricians before we play this? I think some sort of basic 'here's what these symbols mean and what they do' tutorial thingy is quite needed here. But at this point I had no clue what even the lamp was, so I guessed 'B'. Which is wrong, A) short circuit because Switch B is still open and when the current reaches there, bad things happen. I've lost a second now for the rest of the quiz. I'll lose more.

What the actual ... who am I? Where am I standing? How far away is any of this stuff from other things in the diagram? For that matter, am I blind? There's so many things you'd need to know to answer this that aren't answered even if you understand the symbols. Which I don't. I guess again. Wrongly. The correct answer is A) yes, so apparently the breaks in the line on the lower left don't matter, unlike the previous switch answer. For reasons I can't remotely explain, but whatever.

Message box fail even more. Also yeah - I clearly am going to have no chance at this point.

Great googily moogily. '4 seconds to penalty time' and 'gives you a penalty'. What's the second penalty to? Score?? I assume so, but I'm never told. I think it was shortly after this that I went googling, because what the heck ever are any of these things? Deductive reasoning isn't going to tell me what the box is or the two sideways bells going different directions even if I managed to figure out the lamp symbol. For the record, the box is a resistor (which resists the current, heating up but also slowing down the flow) and the other two are diodes (which allow current to flow only in one direction and not the other).

I learned something here. I really like learning things. I just hate, with a capital H - hothothot hate as in rage as in anger as in shattering of inner peace - the way that I was forced to do this. I don't play games to be required to google wiki pages. Just saying.

After multiple fails, I discover the correct answer of A, B, and C. Another lamp will suck up some power, resistor will let less of it pass, and the proper-facing diode forces everything to go through the other resistor. Only the 'right-facing diode', or D, does not accomplish the objective.

I knew that J stands for joules - I did pay attention (mostly) in HS science class - and basically what kwh (kilowatt hour) is. But how to convert volts and amps into those? Yeah, not a clue. Googled. AFREAKINGGAIN! Got a bunch of explanations about coulombs. Super. Still couldn't tell you what those are, and guess what: I DON'T CARE.

Eventually basically found the answer, which is 30 volts x 6 amps = 180 joules per second, then convert that to hours ... 3600 seconds in an hour ... ok thats 648K joules. Divided by the four lamps, don't forget that part, 162K joules. C is the answer. Math is more my natural speed so once I understood how they all relate, it wasn't hard to figure.

Got that one right on the first try! but also, grrrrrrr

KILL.ME.NOW. For reals. I'm gonna be honest, I seriously lost patience at this point. I thought that thing at the bottom is a resistor which blocks current from going by it and redirects along that dotted line going upwards. That really doesn't make any sense with the way the problem works out though, I couldn't find the answer quickly, and I wasn't about to spend any more time hunting around. Just how the heck is a normal person not in a related trade supposed to know any of this happy horsecrap?

I tried to figure it out, and was wrong. Again. The correct answer is 'Both'. Why? Beats the heck out of me.

Still don't know what that dotted-line stuff is.

After one wrong guess and having no clue how to even proceed, I simply hit 'Skip'. Yay, my penalty is up to almost 30 seconds! After this, the quiz ends and I 'win' the level. Survive the level is more like it.

Goodbye, and good riddance. I need more Creeper World in my Creeper World, and that at least we will surely find in the other entries.

Ok then. This is CW1 Tucana. We have two homages to the Tucana level from the original CW. Both of these versions are a little 'off' from the original, partly due to being in CW3 - basically this one is too small and the next one is too big. Odin City took up less of the space compared to our Command Node, which makes it look relatively quite cramped.

Almost a year and a half ago - yeah I've spent a stupid amount of time on this LP - came this when I played that level:

InwardChaos posted:

Remember how I said that I was around when the game first released, and was on forums discussing speed running tactics for levels?
There were no speed running threads for this level, only "How do I survive?!?!" threads.

Well done on beating it.

Tucana is the first level of the second half of the first game, and is a big difficulty spike at the time. If you wish, check out the blather when I played through it way back then


First time I played Tucana I didn't notice that you could hit all the craters with two Mortars, so I built more and shuffled them around. It's a lot harder to do that in the first one which barely gives you enough range from the ridges. There isn't that much creeper going around, but since you have no other protection from it the key is keeping it flowing down into the craters, and regularly killing what's in there. I'd overbuilt and badly spaced collectors here, so I restarted just because it was annoying me.

The battle for space that is especially prevalent in CW1 dominates here. It should be mentioned that relays and collectors, cannons and mortars are all we get. So collectors on every bit of space, and using just the two mortars minimizes the energy required to keep the Creeper at bay. Then cannons to push it back and acquire more energy, etc. My first try at the original Tucana ended up with me in basically a stalemate, able to hold the creeper off but unable to find a way to effectively push it back. It taught me to better utilize my weapons.

This is the other major thing that's different. Being unable to nullify the emitters, you have to just leave cannons in place to dominate them while you move on. This keeps energy supply nontrivial for a bit longer. I don't like the availability of the Forge though. Upgrades were not a thing at this point in CW1, and having access to them means you don't have to work as hard. Although this could just be seen as cutting down on tedium in completing things, since by the time you get to any of the Totems you are winning anyway.

Proceeding in like manner but continually accelerating, we cover the whole map and getting all the totems blows the emitters.

Finally, we come to CW1 Tucana 2X. It is more colorful, and much larger. Slip-emitters are utilized here, and the additional space means a tweak in strategy is required.

I find myself wondering if the map editor/creator has fixed discrete sizes, because the mortars here can't reach the craters from the ridges so you need four instead of two if you want to hit them all. And you do want to hit them all. The proper size to replicate Tucana would require a map between the two used here, so that just makes me curious.

I also ended up eventually slapping down eight Pulse Cannons, one each on all of the approach avenues that the ridges and craters divide the map into, in order to ensure security. Some of these were necessary. I'm not sure exactly how many weren't, but better safe than sorry.

I had a bit of fun with creeper piling up to lap onto the ends of the ridges, which aren't that particularly high. Mortars on the ridges gradually pushed it back to eliminate that problem.

It took more time and weapons, but the push towards the corner totems and emitters was pretty much the same as before. I think a big part of the quality of the original level is simply the energy balance - you need ot use what you have wisely, esp. at first, in order to succeed. If you aren't covering as much territory as possible with Collectors and keeping the creeper away, you'll eventually get worn down. It isn't super-hard, but it requires a certain mastery of the basics of play.

It ended up requiring a mortar and a couple cannons to handle each of the emitters here, and a third cannon before getting some firing rate upgrades in. So the tax that was necessary to keep each one under control is significant, but there's plenty of supply as you expand to handle it.