The Let's Play Archive

Torin's Passage

by Blind Sally

Part 32: Torin's Passage II - Bopping Your Boogle

32. Torin's Passage II - Bopping Your Boogle

Ahem, okay, now where were we--

Oh, yes, Torin is reunited with his family while Lycentia looks on longingly.

Great, and now--

Wait, what!? That's it?

Huh, okay.

(Listen to the credits if you aren't already. They are awesome and sound a little like the theme from Superman).

Well, I guess that's it. So, let's talk about unresolved plot threads. "Hold on a tic," you say, "shouldn't we save those for the sequels?" Sadly, there aren't any. There were GOING to be sequels. A number of them, in fact. Unfortunately, the market for adventure games took a down turn after Torin's Passage was released. Sierra decided to cut its losses and no further Torin games were ever made. Which is too bad, really. There's a bunch of dangling ideas that would have been great to explore in further adventures.

Actually, before I go any further, let's dig into the Design Docs for Torin's Passage. Not every game releases their design docs, and not all of them are as detailed as they are. They're a pretty awesome resource.

(If you're interested in reading it yourself, the 76-page document can be downloaded off of Al Lowe's website here

First, let's look at the game's intended back story. Oh, it's there in the game. However, I don't feel it's adequately explained. This may be due to incompetence, game limitations, or who knows what--it really doesn't matter. Maybe the developers expected to fully flesh out the back story in the sequels. Regardless, the intended back story isn't entirely clear from playing the game:

Torin's Passage Design Document posted:

Pecand was next in line for the throne until his older brother, King Heuron, finally had an heir. Realizing his chance at succession was now slim, Pecand waited until the court left the castle for its annual summer visit to the royal lakeside retreat. There he would murder the entire royal family. As he prepared a deadly potion, the baby Torin became fussy, so his nanny took him for a walk outside on the adjacent terrace. Pecand sneaked into the royal bedroom, did his dirty deed, and escaped back to his chambers. But the evil green "smoke snake" vapors missed the child.

See, minor details, but unclear in the story. The King's name, for one. The fact that that couple WERE royalty. They seemed to be wealthy, but royalty? Hmm. Also, the fact that they were in their summer home, or even the particulars of Pecand's plan. Not a huge deal, but the particulars of the murder plot become an issue upon closer scrutiny.

Torin's Passage Design Document posted:

The nanny, Lycentia, saw the vapors before re-entering the chamber, realized treachery was afoot, then quickly fled through the countryside with the child, fully intending only to keep him from danger. Soldiers found her protecting the child in a barn. Although the Arch-Authority, Kurtzwell, could find no evidence of Lycentia's involvement in the murder, she was found guilty of kidnapping. To protect the baby, Lycentia was banished to The Lands Below, with a magic collar placed around her neck that would strangle her should she ever return to the surface.

Kurtzwell didn't believe Lycentia acted alone. He correctly suspected Pecand, but had absolutely no proof. Therefore, Torin was still in danger--but from whom? To protect the child, Kurtzwell had it placed with a cooperative couple on a distant farm, after convincing the Council of Authorities that Pecand should be denied the throne as long as the boy lived. "When the child reaches maturity, he shall become the next and rightful King. In the meantime, the Council of Authorities will prevail."

That bolded bit seems really important to me. It's clear that Kurtzwell was meant to be a bigger character, and he might as well have been in the sequels. His actions create a lot of ripples in the Torin's Passage universe. I mean, Lycentia probably would never have become an evil sorceress if she hadn't been prosecuted so severely; she saved Torin's life, life banishment seems a bit much. But here, it seems pretty important that Kurtzwell be suspicious of Pecand. The question has come up in this thread: why didn't Pecand just kill Torin in The Lands Above? Why did he bother to involve Lycentia and send him to The Lands Below?


Torin's Passage Design Document posted:

Lycentia is bitter and filled with resentment at her unfair punishment. After all, she was only trying to do her duty: to protect the child. She grew older, fatter, uglier, an increasingly bitter in The Lands Below. She eventually turned to the dark side, becoming a powerful sorceress in a futile attempt to remove the magic collar in order to return home to The Lands Above.

Meanwhile, on the surface, after fifteen years of searching, Pecand finally learns the whereabouts of Torin, but knows if the boy is killed outright Kurtzwell will surely suspect him. So instead, he contacts Lycentia and negotiates a deal: if she will help him gain power, he will remove the collar from her neck and grant her the freedom she desires. All she need do is place some farm couple under a magic spell. Then when he's the new Arch-Authority, he'll release Lycentia and allow her to return to The Lands Above. As a bonus, she'll also get revenge on Kurtzwell, whom she hates.

Sensing a double-cross, Lycentia agrees to Pecand's offer, planning to double-cross him once she gains her freedom. Disguised as a beggar, Pecand hides near Torin's home, while Lycentia casts her spell on his parents. He tells Torin, "I saw the whole thing!" He drops the information that someone named Lycentia is responsible. As Pecand predicted, Torin, headstrong and cock-sure, immediately vows to save his parents. "I'll find that evil sorceress and force her to break the spell! Even if she is in The Lands Below!"

Pecand smiles beneath his disguise. Once in The Lands Below, Torin will be an easy target for the legions of robbers, thieves and ne'er-do-wells rumoured to live there. But even if he does survive the journey, Lycentia will easily handle this foolish boy. But really, either way is acceptable, as Torin will eliminate himself of his own volition and Pecand will be totally involved. "And at last I will finally assume what is rightfully mine: the throne of The Lands Above!"

Yeah. This detail seems important in establishing Pecand's motivation. Not his motivation for wanting the throne, but motivation for making his plot so damn complicated. Fearing Kurtzwell's reprisal? That would have been more believable if we knew more about Kurtzwell. Sending Torin to The Lands Below in hopes that he'll die in the attempt or at Lycentia's hands? Okay, now it makes more sense. His last ditch attempt at murder makes more sense as well. Plan A and Plan B failed, okay, fine. With Torin in the Null Void, why NOT risk getting his hands dirty?

Ah well. Continuing on--

Torin's Passage Design Document posted:

The theme of Torin's Passage is "achieve your dream." Torin's personal growth, from an unsure adolescent to an accomplished adventurer and hero, comes in spite of his early self-doubt. This emphasizes the "rite of passage" aspect of the game. Along the way, he overcomes prejudice and grows mentally, spiritually and physically. By getting to know the people of The Lands Below, he fines they are far from the savages his own people made them out to be. In future games, he will be instrumental in re-uniting the five worlds into one country.


This is alluded to when the phenophace statue talks to Torin in Escarpa. It mentions an the old king "Tor" who united the worlds. Who wants to bet money that Tor is Torin's ancestor? No, no one willing to take that bet? Doesn't matter, no sequels were made.

So let's talk about the unresolved plot threads.

(1) Torin - Now King Torin, I presume. I kind of wish we got to see some sort of coronation ceremony at the end, but maybe they were planning to save that for the sequel. The idea of you having to unite the five lands together is an interesting one and could have made for some fun game play and diplomacy situations. Alas, it will never be unless for some reason Al Lowe decides he wants to start a kickstarter for it or something. The odds of that happening? Well, I don't think it will. Torin's Passage was NEVER as popular as Sierra's other titles.

(2) The Birthmark - I'm annoyed that this popped up conveniently and was never mentioned again. I get that Lycentia would have recognized such an odd birthmark, being Torin's nanny and all. But was that mark unique to Torin? Was it something that appeared on every member of the royal family? Did Pecand have it? Did King Heuron have it? Why!!!

(3) Lycentia - She is left on the saddest of notes. Standing there, forever an outsider. She has been wrongfully accused of trying to do harm to a boy whom she loved. She has been ostracized and banished to a far off place. She grew bitter, and spiteful, and fat, and ugly. Her health deteriorated. She was finally "rescued", freed from her prison and her collar, reunited with the boy that she gave up so much for--for what? She is still an outsider by the end of the game. She freed the Fahrmans and returned Torin home, but she doesn't get to be part of the group hug. She's saved Torin's life more than once by this point, but no hug. This is super, super depressing. Of course, the design documents reveal something the game failed to recognize:

Torin's Passage Design Document posted:

Group hug, with Lycentia smiling on from outside the circle. Hold a beat before Boogle pops up in the middle with Torin. Freeze.

Roll major credits. Fade to black.

Okay. This is better. Lycentia is happy. She is at peace. This is better than her looking on forlornly while the Fahrman's enjoy a happy moment. The problem is in the way she was animated. So yeah, if that scene put you in a low mood, cheer up. Lycentia was indeed happy in this moment.

(4) Leenah - I honestly expected some more resolution here. Torin promised to see her again and yet there is no way at all to reunite with Leenah once you travel through that phenocryst. I assume she was going to be a major part of Torin's Passage 2. Uniting Escarpa with The Lands Above probably would have involved some sort of marriage to Leenah. I dunno, I'm just postulating at this point, but I could see it. King Torin is now tasked with providing a suitable dowry for the Escarpan royal family, or maybe he has to pass some sort of Escarpan obstacle course of marriage. I dunno. It's just weird to leave the love interest hanging like that, but I guess with four-expected sequels--

(5) Asthenians - I want to know what happened to them. The design docs talk about how they mysteriously disappeared. How they were militaristic, yet fun-loving. The cannonball machine is proof of that. Did they blow themselves up with some sort of joke-WMD? When I first played the game, I figured everyone was hiding from Torin. The destroyed race that the design docs suggests to is certainly darker and is something I would have liked to seen explored. AGAIN, four-expected sequels--

(6) Torin's Tenebrous Arrest Record - I want to know what would have happened in the sequels when King Torin, known plant-crusher and musician-impersonator, reappeared in Tenebrous with some silly notion of unifying them with the rest of the nested worlds.

Anyways, I don't have much more to add to that. Thanks for reading along with this LP. I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope you enjoyed Torin's Passage. I leave you with my favourite part of the design doc, the "Rejected Game Titles." (It's where I got the name for this thread and post):

Torin's Passage Design Document posted:

passage to greatness
The Passage
Rite Of Passage
Worlds Within
The Worlds Within
Five Worlds Within
The Journey Within
The Journey
Worlds Within Worlds
Worlds Inside Worlds
The Worlds Inside
Five Worlds
Tales of Stratasia
The Crystal World
The Night Of Day
The Hidden King
Into The Endless Dusk
When Worlds Coincide
The Forbidden World
The Inner World
Secret Of The Inner World
Secret Of The Inside Worlds
Secret Of Stratos
Tales Of Stratos
The Lands Below
The Lands Above, The Lands Below
The Lands Above, The Sky Below
"The Sky Above, The Sky Below"
Strata: "The Sky Above, The Sky Below"
The Five Worlds: "The Sky Above, The Sky Below"
Torin: "The Sky Above, The Sky Below"
Torin's Quest
Torin And Boogle
Torin Of Strata
The Crystal King
Crystal Kingdom
The King's Crystal
The Unknown King
King Of Five Worlds
Torin Of Five Worlds
Five Worlds Of Strata
Family Quest
Another Quest
In Quest
Re Quest
The Game Formerly Known As Quest
The Game With No Name

Planet Names:
ctenosphere, ctenolus, lamina, mantle, passage, Strata, stratos, tylosis, solum, thelium, tunica,

"Coming Fall '97: The Lands Above II--Bopping Your Boogle!"

Now, if you haven't seen it already, may I direct you to Nidoking's Torin's Passage LP. I've tried to avoid watching too much of it for fear of having it influence my LP too much, but what I have seen is great. In fact, there are some parts of my LP that would never have been completed if Nidoking hadn't first blazed that trail. (See what I did there? "Blazed"? The section in question was the Asthenia lava maze easter egg? No? "Blaze?" Fire? Lava? Ahh... I'm punned out, thanks to this game). It's also a video LP. So if you enjoyed my LP but felt there was something lacking, like, say, voice acting and full-animation, you should absolutely check out his LP. For my own part, I'm going to go watch it in its entirety now.