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Encounter (encounter_sol.txt)

ENCOUNTER
Severn Software, 1984
=====================

Solution by Exemptus - June 2020


Overview and general hints:
---------------------------
In this adventure you have to rescue a young girl who has been kidnapped by a
gang of thugs and kept in a house. There is a limit of 500 moves to achieve this
and a score will be given based on the number of actions taken to complete the
game (some of them completely optional) and the moves taken. The game has no
random elements so a given solution will always work.

We are also told that is we trigger the alarm at the house we have 20 seconds to
turn it off. Of course, we are not told how this is done or what activates the
alarm in the first place. Also it is given that we can manufacture some items
and a knowledge of chemistry will be useful. In practice this will be only
limited to making gunpowder and a fuse from components in order to build a bomb.

Some objects require a container to be put into: the black and yellow dusts, the
water and the petrol. There are several containers, such as the box, bag, tin or
bucket, but they are not operated like true containers - they are just a device
to be able to carry the mentioned items, taking additional inventory slots.

Although the limit seems tight, the game can be finished in as few as 120 moves.
The problem is that some versions are bugged and the game will crash in some
circumstances. In the Spectrum version labelled as 1.1, frisking the thug after
killing him will crash the game with a "Variable not found" report. Indeed, one
of the game's internal flags is not initialised correctly. Although it is
possible to finish the game without the mentioned action, points are awarded for
it. It is possible to patch the Spectrum version with the following POKEs:

POKE 23759,241
POKE 23760,102
POKE 23761,107
POKE 23762,61
POKE 23763,176
POKE 23764,34
POKE 23765,48
POKE 23766,34
POKE 23767,58
POKE 23768,234

The POKEs need to be executed before the game runs, for those using an emulator.
With this patch the game will run as intended.

Points are given for the following actions:

Action                                Points
--------------------------------------------
Feeding the meat to the dog             20
Killing the dog with the snooker cue    50
Opening the steel door                 200
Breaking the upstairs window           100
Killing the thug                        50
Frisking the thug                       50
Making the gunpowder                   100
Making the fuse                        100
Making the bomb                        200
Opening the safe                       200
Stopping the alarm after triggered     200
Completing the adventure               200

This gives a maximum possible score of 1,470 points minus the number of moves
taken. Scores into the 1,200 are perfectly possible. The walkthrough below does
not try to minimise moves but follows a reasonable, logical sequence. It is
based on the Spectrum version, although I'm not aware of any significant
differences with other versions.


Walkthrough:
------------
[We begin at the market square.]

E
N
GET KEYS [Keys are always useful]
N
N
E
N [If we go N we will be confronted by the dog, which we are not yet ready for]
GET KNIFE
N
W [Note a barred window can be seen from here]
S
W
GET CUE [This will be extremely useful]
S
GET MEAT

[The bread can also be used to feed the dove. However, the dove has no real use
so we can ignore it.]

S
GET TIN
E
THROW MEAT

[The dog eats the meat. This does not have any effect - we still have to kill
it. We did it for the points. Until we kill the dog, we are unable to move in
other directions.]

THROW CUE [We spear the dog this way - there are other ways to kill it though]
GET CUE
N
N
N
THROW CUE [This smashes the upstairs window]

[The alarm has been activated. We have 20 moves to turn it off, but fortunately
we can do it, as the mechanism is hidden behind a panel in the cellar, which the
keys will open.]

S
E
D
D [Note there is a heavy safe here]
USE KEYS [A red button appears]
PRESS BUTTON

[The alarm is now off. One could have though that the alarm might alert the
thugs in the house, but it turns out there is only one and he's fast asleep, so
there is nothing to be concerned about. By the way, we have dropped the keys
automatically on using them, so we just have the knife and tin in our inventory.
We will need other components, which we will retrieve now.]

N
U
U
GET MATCHES
W
N
E
GET LADDER

[We may think that the ladder is a good option to reach the broken window, but
it turns out it is too short. The only real use of the ladder is to escape the
pit where the yellow powder is.]

S
S
S [Note the abandoned car]
S
S
GET BAG [To put the yellow powder in]
N
E
GET POWDER [Carry it where?]
BAG
CLIMB LADDER

[We are out. The ladder remains in the pit.]

W
S
W
N
GET DUST [Carry it where?]
TIN
MAKE GUNPOWDER [From the carbon and brimstone]
GET GUNPOWDER [Carry it where?]
BAG [Which was emptied after making the gunpowder]

[Now we need some petrol and tissue in order to make a fuse. The petrol can be
siphoned from the abandoned car and the tissue is upstairs in the house.]

N
N
GET HOSE
E
E
S

[We can OPEN CAR or OPEN TRUNK if we wish, but that achieves nothing. The game
tells us to try the trunk, so we can assume other parts of the car are there as
well.]

OPEN TANK
SIPHON PETROL [What shall we use?]
HOSE [Carry it where?]
TIN
N
W
N
U
U

[We are now upstairs, so far unexplored. To the West and North of here there is
a padlocked steel door, which we can correctly assume holds the kidnapped girl.
We can also assume the bomb is for opening the door, but this would be a flawed
assumption, because it is not.]

E
E

[There is an asleep thug here. If we FRISK THUG the game tells us that we should
subdue him first, so we may think of tying him up using the rope, the twine, or
the hose. The game clearly favours more violent approaches, though.]

KILL THUG [I'm game. How?]
STAB HIM [With what?]
KNIFE [Messy]

[But effective - the thug is now dead. It also would have worked to STRANGLE him
using the rope, twine or hose, HIT him with the cue, or even SUFFOCATE him with
the bag. No comment.]

GET KNIFE
FRISK THUG

[We find a pistol, but we are not going to use it, so we'll leave it here. If we
wanted to, we could LOAD it with the three bullets we found in the cellar.]

N
GET TISSUE
MAKE FUSE [Using the tissue and petrol]
GET FUSE [Now we can make the bomb]
MAKE BOMB
GET BOMB
S
W
W
D
D
N
N
E
D
D

[We have to open the safe with the bomb, as it has an object that will allow us
to deal with the steel door upstairs.]

BLOW UP SAFE [Using what?]
BOMB [How shall we light it?]
MATCHES

[The safe is open now. We would have to re-enter the room in order to refresh
the description, but no need: it contains a bottle.]

GET BOTTLE

[Finding out what is in the bottle is not difficult; if we THROW it we will be
told that there is a funny smell and afterwards there will be an acid burn in
the location. So the bottle holds a corrosive acid, which is what we need.]

U
U
W
S
S
U
U
W
N

[Here is the famous door, impregnable to everything but the acid. Actually there
are other possible ways to rescue the girl, such as using the rope to facilitate
her climbing down the window, but I won't go into them. Feel free to investigate
if you please.]

THROW BOTTLE [The acid melts a hole and we can see the girl now]
THROW KNIFE [The girl cuts her bonds]
GET GIRL [She is carryable]
S
E
D
D
S
S
S
S
W

[End of game, with 1262 points if all went well.]