The Let's Play Archive


by Alien Arcana

Part 16: The Volcano, part 2

Previously, on Let's Play Lighthouse...

...yeah, that. Don't hold your breath waiting for me to make sense of this. This single screen is all the explanation we ever get. I'm dead serious.

Unfortunately, there's no way for me to rescue Amanda at the moment. I'll come back for her later.

That doesn't mean there's no reason for me to be here, though!

Control Panel count: 10

See those two steam pipes? The dark one on the left, with the brown stripes, is pressurized. I can tell because when I turn the wheel, the dial moves and I hear hissing noises. (I'm opening and closing the vent.) The silver pipe doesn't make any noises and its dial doesn't move, so it's currently useless.

The right-hand switch and button don't do anything. They must be powered by the silver pipe. However, if I hit the switch on the left...

...nothing happens on-screen. I do hear a dull thud in the distance, though.

Time to go exploring!

Actually, I've no idea how the game expects you to guess the next step. If I didn't know ahead of time what that switch did, I'd have to drive around until I stumbled upon the answer.

Which is right here. This is where that big gate was earlier. The switch I hit lowered it.

This actually makes sense if you know how the volcano is laid out. The rock factory is just behind the wall to my right. But I haven't found a map in-game yet, so I'd have had to draw one up myself... and I can't check my compass from inside the train's cabin.

The tracks past the gate are a sort of switchback loop. By playing with the two junctions here, I can turn Drilltrain around and leave going either forward or in reverse.

I take advantage of the loop to reverse my facing so I can inspect the gate from the other side.

Hey, look at that on the right! The pipe that's hooked up to the gate is dark with brown stripes - the same as the pipe feeding the switch in Amanda's area. I see. That must be how you're supposed to figure it out. Boy, don't I feel stupid!

Except the pipe is only visible from this side.

Beyond the switchback area, the tracks come to an end. I'll have to continue on foot.

This is a really trivial complaint, but... at this particular stop I can't leave through the right-side door. I don't understand why. It serves only to waste five seconds of my time. It would be one thing if there was a logical reason, like if there was a platform I had pulled up to, but I'm going straight ahead.

The volcano has some great atmosphere (har) but it's an almighty hassle in so many ways, big and small. (Further examples coming shortly!)

So what's at the end of the tunnel?

Oh boy. The pipes room. The second-most aggravating puzzle in the game, at least in my book. You'll understand soon enough.

There's a total of seven different pipes here. Each one supplies steam power to a different device in the volcano. Cut the power, and the machine stops working; turn it back on, and it's functional again.

Some of these pipes are already on, and some aren't. Fortunately the sound effects for opening and closing a pipe are different, and I know which is which from my experiences in the rock factory. Furthermore, I can deduce which pipe goes to which device by shape and coloration.

Let's start by unlocking that big door the Dark Being tried to block me off from. What did the pipes running into that one look like again?

Four copper pipes bundled together. That's the one all the way on the right.

What else... right, there was an unpowered silver pipe near Amanda, too. Third from the left.

And I should also see about lowering that drawbridge! Does anyone remember what that pipe looked like? Did we even see a pipe? I don't want to have to drive all the way back out there...

Oh, never mind, there's a map on the wall over FUUUUUUUUCK


Chalk up another entry on "Things I did not know prior to doing this LP." seriously how the hell did I miss that

The map nicely lays out the entirety of the volcano. Amanda's rock factory is off to the right, this big room of pipes is top center, and in the top left... that's the room the Dark Being didn't want me getting to. Looks kind of high-tech. Lots of wires. Laboratory?

The thick black lines indicate steam-pipe connections. So the whole "matching colors and shapes" deal is kind of pointless. (Unless of course the player misses the map like an idiot. )

So, going from left to right...

I'm going to turn on both copper pipes so that all doors are open. I'll also switch on the silver pipe so I can see what the rest of the rock-factory control panel does. That should cover everything.

Wait. No. That covers nothing. By which I mean: all the pipes are now ON. That can't be right.

By all adventure-game logic, there shouldn't be enough steam pressure to keep them all going at the same time. I'll have to switch some pipes off to balance out the three I just switched on.

And now that I think about it, I know exactly which one I can afford to switch off. The crossroads. Look at the map: the way the tunnels loop, I can reach any point in the volcano using only the junctions to change direction. I can use the switchback loop to turn around if I need to. It all fits. That's why the tracks are laid out in such a strange fashion! How clever.



Except none of that is true.

I can turn all seven pipes on and nothing special happens. Nor is there any benefit to leaving any of the pipes off.

The solution to this puzzle is to turn all the pipes on. That's it.

It gets better. Because I want all the pipes in the same state, I have no need to distinguish between them at all. And yet the game gives me, not one, but two methods to identify which pipe goes where.


So how about that side tunnel?

Metal scaffolding? That's new - other than the pipes, most of the structural work in the volcano is made of wood. What's different about this room?

Oh. Ohhh. Of course. That's where the steam comes from. Geothermal power.

This really is Captain Planet: The Game, isn't it?

Doesn't look like I can reach that platform over there. Part of the catwalk has come loose and I can't reach it from here.

Unless... hmm. Maybe an item I'm carrying can help me with this?

What am I carrying, anyway?

Let's see. Aside from the four artifacts (Friendship, Resolution, Knowledge and Hope!) I have: a radio transmitter, some nuts 'n' bolts, Dr. Krick's notes, a compass, an umbrella, blueprints, an S.O.S., an electric whistle, a circuit board, a window key, a lighter, and an alarm clock. Do any of those of that help me out?

Wait, my bad. Did I say "umbrella?" I meant "long hooked stick."

I'll have to send Aunt Thelma a thank-you card.

Ouch, someone beat the shit out of this thing. I don't think it even counts as a control panel anymore. The lever farthest to the right still works, though.

It raises that big metal sphere up where I can reach it.

I've nicknamed this thing "the bathysphere." I don't know what it would really be called. Probably nothing, as I can't believe anyone would be dumb enough to build something like this.

Control Panel count: 11

I really wish I didn't need to do this next part. No way of skipping it, though, so I'd better get started.

Welcome to the absolute worst puzzle in the game. Not because it's complicated, or because it has an obscure solution. Not because it's pointless or underwhelming. Because... hmm. How to explain.

First, let me show you this.

That's a video of me going from one end of the puzzle, to the other, and back again. I am moving as fast as I can. Elapsed time: over a minute.

Keep that in mind.

All the way down at the bottom, there's an iron ball with two pipes running out of it.

Further up the shaft, the pipes split and get tangled with a few other pipes coming in from off screen. In several places, two pipes join and continue upward as one. These points are marked with arrows. There's six junctions in total.

The lever on the left lets me move this manipulator arm around. It only moves at one speed, just fast enough to make precise aiming difficult. It doesn't have a claw on the end; instead there's this bizzare little spinny thing.

When the arm is directly over one of the arrows, the little circle on the right lights up. (Yet another indicator added by the patch.) I can rotate an arrow with the spinner, which is controlled by the star-shaped dial on the left. The steam follows the path of the arrows. My goal is to redirect the steam toward the iron ball.

However, some of the pipes lead to vents rather than anywhere useful. It's hard to see, but that vague blur in the top-right of the window is escaping steam. As long as any of the vents are open, there's not enough pressure to open the ball.

The intended solution is to start at the bottom and follow the pipes up as they split, adjusting only those arrows encountered along the way.

That's the puzzle. Now let me explain why I hate it so much.

To begin with, the pipes are pretty much the same color as the wall they're mounted on. The window I'm looking through is broken up by black lines, too. So I find it all too easy to lose track of the pipe I'm following. When that happens, I have to go all the way back down to the bottom and start again.

Wherein lies the rub: The bathysphere moves like a geriatric snail. Remember how it took me a full minute to make a round-trip of the shaft? Even if I'm only halfway up, that's fifteen seconds down, fifteen seconds back up, just to get back to where I left off. And unlike Drilltrain, the bathysphere stops moving when I release the controls, so I have to hold down the mouse button the entire time.

I'm not good at line-tracing puzzles like this even under ideal circumstances. Add in the pipes blending in with the backdrop, the window frame obscuring my vision, and the bathysphere moving like a geriatric snail, and I'm already prepared to vote this "the worst puzzle."

But wait, there's more! The hitboxes for the arrows aren't centered properly. They tend to be a little ways above or below where you'd expect them to be, and I swear it changes from one playthrough to the next. If the manipulator arm is even slightly off the hitbox, the arrow won't move. The indicator light is completely useless and lights up if I'm anywhere near the arrow.

Meanwhile, the spinner itself blocks my vision of the arrow, so I have to move after each attempt to see if the arrow has turned or not.

And just to add the cherry of insult to the injury sundae that is this fucking puzzle, the dial that controls the spinner doesn't work right. It seems to be programmed for linear movement, not circular - it spins clockwise if I "drag it to the right" and counter-clockwise if I "drag it to the left." It's quite awkward, and it's easy to turn the arrow twice or nudge the manipulator lever by mistake.

In summary: Fuck this puzzle. Inside the metal ball is a prize.

> Got Artifact of Courage(the second of six)

I guess it's not just the artifact of Hope that can phase through glass.

One long, boring trip to the top and I can finally get out of this stupid place. Freedom!

You might think I should take the map with me. Unfortunately, I can't. It's not an inventory item. Maybe it's superglued to the wall. Whatever. I didn't find it before, and I don't need it now, so I'm not really bothered. I'm done with the bathysphere, nothing can keep me down!

Drilltrain! I'll never call you slow again. Let's get the hell out of Dodge before I get sent back down there aga-


Remember when I said this two chapters ago?


[...] when I replayed the game as an adult, I recognized enough of the game to cruise through without trouble, with two exceptions.

This is the second exception. Back then, I had retrieved the Artifact of Courage, driven out here, and discovered the gate was back up. Which confused the hell out of me.

My natural conclusion was that I'd fucked up the pipes room somehow, so I went back and confirmed that everything was ON. Then I revisited the gate. Still up. I then tried turning other stuff OFF, in case I'd misremembered and there really was a limit on how many you could have running at once. Eventually I turned off everything but the gate pipe itself. Nothing.

I concluded that I had trapped myself. I had an earlier save, but... well... that would mean doing the bathysphere puzzle again.

A few days later, I realized what I'd done wrong. Think back: what was I actually doing down there by turning the arrows? Redirecting steam pressure to the ball. More importantly, I was redirecting steam away from a bunch of pipes leading up...

Let us never speak of this again.

If it seems like I've spent a lot of this update complaining... my apologies. The steam-pipe complex is my least favorite part of the game. I'll keep the whining to an absolute minimum from here on out - promise!

So. Ready for the final showdown?

Let's boogie.

Hmm, the Dark Being doesn't seem to be in right now. Maybe it's not time for the big confrontation yet.

But someone else is! Hello again, Dr. Krick.

Control Panel count: 12

He seems to be unconscious. Maybe I can use this to wake him up?


Say, this place looks really familiar. Wasn't this the room where-