Part 11: Hand-to-Hand Combat with a MinotaurXI - Hand-to-Hand Combat with a Minotaur
The catacombs' entrance door is locked from the outside by the Winged Ones guards. It seems that leaving the catacombs by THAT door is not an option.
The catacombs are a maze of rooms that look mostly identical. They're what I'm calling the second exam puzzle. They're also not an especially great setpiece, even if they are memorable.
I'm going to post something kinda cool, though.
This is a map that my mother made way back in the day, back when this game first came out. Each green mark is an exit, each orange mark is a skeleton in the wall. I'm not sure why we marked them, but whatever works! I'm gonna refer to directions relative to this map, so get used to seeing it.
I should note that there is no green mark just left and south of Maze Floor, so there's no passage in that direction.
(From entrance) west, west, north, north, west, west, south, south
We just took the long way 'round, but we're at the NO FLOOR on the far bottom left. Time to demonstrate something...
As he walks through the doorway, Alexander gets a VERY bad feeling about this room.
Every NO FLOOR room is the same. So you need to save often while you're in here, if you're stumbling around blind. You WILL get killed doing so. A lot.
Also for some dumb reason, once you walk into a NO FLOOR room, you can't reload your last save until the death pun pops up.
Back at the entrance. Let's do this proper now. Our first destination is the Skeletons room. So...
north, north, east, east, north
The remains of several unfortunate souls haunt the room. These bones seem more recent than the ancient catacomb bones that Alexander has seen so far. Perhaps they were victims of the minotaur; or perhaps they died while wandering lost in the maze. Three of the skeletons are completely intact.
A lone skull lies on the ground among the skeletons. Where the skull came from is a mystery, since the other remains seem to have their skulls intact.
We need a skull for one of our spells, so... yoink!
From here, the next stop is MAZE FLOOR.
south, west, west, north, west
Alexander is standing in a room with a tiled floor. Except for the tiles directly in front of the doors, each tile bears an engraving. Alexander has a feeling that the unique floor isn't merely decorative
In case you managed to brute force the Cliffs of Logic, the last bit of copy protection in the game is here. Let me just copy from page 35 of the manual...
Three roses laid upon the bower, A scythe for he who cuts the flower, A crown, a dove, most noble race! Thy bones make sacred this dread place.
Given the clue above, it's just easier to show you the answer. As such...
The sharp eyed among you may notice that there's a second solution to this puzzle. Doing it will just get you killed. Believe me, I tried. However, the speedrunning community for this game has apparently found out that if you just hold Alt while you walk straight across the room, the trap never activates.
After reloading, I got this random message. You can hear the sound of something growling in the distance.
Once you cross the floor, the trap deactivates. So if we forgot the skull, we could go back.
The next couple rooms aren't on my mother's map. But they're just leading to a death trap.
Ah! You are a human only and not the monster himself! I heard you coming and thought you were the beast. Did my father send you here to save me?
Why, yes, he did, but how did you...?
Hush! There is no time! I think I have discovered the minotaur's secret exit from the catacombs. Follow me, and we'll both be saved!
This character's eyes don't sparkle. However, this isn't the real Lady Celeste. So it could only be the genie in disguise again. I'm pretty sure this is the last time he tries to murder Alex indirectly like this.
And then Alex dies the same NO FLOOR death as usual. She also has a few more lines if you leave and keep coming back.
There you are! Why do you not follow me? Do you wish for death by the minotaur? Hurry! We can tarry no longer!
Yeah, no. I'm not falling for this again.
So, here you still are! You are a coward and a fool! I leave you to your fate!
Our next destination is SHIELD.
An old, wooden shield hangs on the wall.
Next stop is COINS. We're making pretty good progress so far! But not stopping to show every liminal screen is really helping.
north, north, north, west, west
This is a little devious. If you look really closely, there's some extremely old coins on this skeleton's eyes.
Niches in the wall form stone burial beds. Ancient bones lie crumbling on the unyielding rock. Alexander notices that this skeleton has old coins over its eyes.
The coins mark the last of the items that we need from the catacombs, so now we can just beeline through the rest while stopping to show off every funny death along the way. And because it's been a minute...
The peppermint leaves are the color of dark emeralds.
Alexander fingers a handful of peppermint leaves, releasing a strong smell of mint.
Alexander is carrying a human skull.
Alexander examines the skull and feels a sense of his own mortality.
Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him well, Horatio...
The otherwise plain, wooden shield is embellished with a silver cross.
The wooden shield feels strong and sturdy.
The two coins from the skeleton in the catacombs are extremely old and corroded.
Considering where those two coins have been for the past few hundred years (at least), Alexander prefers to touch them as little as possible.
Try to guess how we're gonna be using each of these items. You may be surprised!
Next stop, GEARS.
east, east, south, east
Crushing Ceiling Panic
It's a trap! The doors have sealed Alexander inside! And the ceiling is coming down!
When I was a kid, this puzzle was terrifying because it felt like you had almost no time at all. When I was recording this, it took between 15-20 seconds for the ceiling to drop, which isn't all that long true, but it certainly felt like an eternity!
With a sudden lurch, the ceiling completes its descent.
And presses Alexander into the floor like a bug under a heel!
This puzzle is actually really easy if you think about it for a second.
In a desperate move, Alexander throws a brick into the grinding gears! The brick is caught between two cogs! The gears shriek and shutter! The mechanism grinds to a halt! The ceiling is stuck! The trap is sprung!
You can also toss the skull in, but doing so will just kill you outright.
We're now done with the first floor. So off to TRAP FLOOR we go!
east, east, north, east
While wandering around, we hear more noises and get this message.
When we walk into TRAP ROOM, the floor instantly disappears and Alexander once again does his best Wil-E Coyote impression.
Zounds! A trap floor!
This is just mean. You can get past all of those puzzles on the top floor, fall down, and find that you don't have the tinderbox from the pawn shop.
Alexander seems to have fallen to a lower level of the catacombs. Wherever he is, the place sure is dark! Alexander can't even see his hand in front of his face.
Once you fall in, you have about 20 seconds to use the tinderbox or else you die instantly.
Alexander hears the scrabble of hooves in the dark room.
Aha! So that's why its dark in here! A torch is out.
I don't remember exactly the how and why, but I know it's entirely possible to be killed by the minotaur randomly down on this floor. I recall it happening most often when you walked into dead ends. He'd just... walk in behind you and you would die. It never happens to me, but I also don't dawdle while down here.
Anyway, speaking of the floor...
It's a gigantic loop, with some offshoots in the middle. We start in TORCH OUT and we need to make our way to the room west of tapestry. There are no items to be found down here, so there's no reason to explore unless you're mapping the place out.
west, west, west, west, west, west, west, south, south, east, east, east
Alexander hears the sound of a wild beast again--this time so loud that the creature itself seems to be in the same room with him. The noises are coming from the other side of the east wall.
Spying on the Minotaur
Alexander puts the hole-in-the-wall on the east wall. The hole-in-the-wall trembles slightly with dread at the clammy feeling of the stones. Alexander peers through the hole-in-the-wall and sees.... Just another room in the catacombs.
Ah, ha! Not just another room at all! So that's why Alexander couldn't find the minotaur's lair! At least Alexander now knows the lair exists...somewhere in the maze on the other side of this wall!
While Alexander contemplates what he's just seen, the hole-in-the-wall, frightened by the minotaur, makes a run for it. Alexander hopes the little creature finds its way home to the Isle of Wonder.
Bye little buddy. Hope you get home some day!
If you don't have the hole-in-the-wall? Too fuckin' bad for you! Also there's a death I actually didn't realize you could get here, as it really only shows up if you ignore the strong hint to use the hole in the wall. So while I can't show screenshots, I can show the text from it.
Too bad Alexander has no way to see what's on the other side of that wall. The sounds shift direction and become louder to the south. The sounds get louder still, now coming from the west.
<Growl> Intruder, eh? URMM, good! Just in time--for DINNER!
Let's not be hasty now....
And then Alex dies. Anyway, we came prepared, so we don't have a game over. So let's make our way to the tapestry! You can also wait too long to look through the hole. In which case it runs off before you can discover the tapestry.
west, west, west, south, south, east, south, east, east, north, east, north, north
Hmmm. This tapestry looks familiar...
Now let's see...I don't feel anything.... AHA! A hidden latch!
This is actually the end of the catacombs. There are no items on the second floor, so as long as you got everything up above, you never have to return once you're done in the next room.
Seeing Lady Celeste
No! I beg of you, please don't hurt me!
<GRRROARR> Your struggles are useless <GRRR>!
It's the minotaur! And he's struggling with a Winged Ones girl--she must be Lady Celeste!
Alexander prepares to take on the minotaur with his bare hands. He steps forward bravely... And is spotted by Lady Celeste!
You there! Human! Help me! HELP
She'll see you and scream for help no matter what you do.
<GROWL> Who dares enter my lair?
I ask you to release your captive or suffer the consequences!
<GRRRROAAARR!> Never! You die, human!
As the minotaur advances in attack, Alexander slowly backs away...
Until he can back away no more!
Now where to, <GROWL> little man?
Several seconds of doing nothing later...
Now you die!
Hand-to-hand combat with a minotaur is, apparently, not a great idea.
It's a minotaur, which means he's part bull. So...
Alexander, his back inches from the fiery pit, tempts the minotaur with the red queen's scarf.
Look here, you bully! Nice, bright red!
<SNORT!> RRRRRED! GRROAARRRRrrrrrrr...!
The minotaur drops from sight amidst the consuming flames. Slowly, his scream fades as well.
Rescued Lady Celeste
Have you been harmed, Lady Celeste? Are you all right?
No, I am not all right! I assume you do not intend to leave me tied up on this vile monstrosity!
Er, of course not. Sorry. Let's see. If you'll give me a moment, I'll have these untied in no time.
<sigh> I can't wait that long. Look, I wear a small dagger just inside my belt. It should be enough to cut the rope.
Oh. All right, I...I've got it, Lady Celeste. Here we go.
Thank you. You may keep the dagger as a gift for saving my life.
That's very generous....
Forget it! Do you mind if we just get out of here now?
And that's quite enough for now!
NEXT TIME: Meeting the oracle
List of Points
+3 - MAZE FLOOR
+1 - Free shield for the taking
+1 - Stealing from the dead
+2 - Putting a brick in the works
+2 - The torch was out
+1 - Hole in the wall
+1 - A hidden latch
+1 - Flipped the latch
+3 - :actually: bulls don't care about red, only motion
Total Points: 115/231
Register of Deaths
Got Wil-E Coyote'd x3
Pressed into the pavement
Eye'm splitting up
Gored by the minotaur