Username: Password:
RegisterForgotten Password

Never Trust a Blonde (never_trust_a_blonde_wt.txt)

NEVER TRUST A BLONDE
Custom Cables Incorporated, 1983
================================

Solution by Exemptus - August 2022


Overview and general hints:
---------------------------
We are a hard-boiled private dick in the Big City, down to our last financial
reserves. Suddenly, a Kate Mulligan shows up in our office, saying her brother
had been kidnapped and the police must not get involved, blah blah. She wanted
us to deliver the ransom money to room 722 of the Parry Hotel and bring the lad
back to the office. We had an odd feeling about the whole thing, but we need the
money and we never could deny a blonde in distress...

In case the scenario is not blatant enough, this is an attempt at a typical
"detective noir" adventure, with all the trimmings, and probably the largest
and most complex game by Elfin Software. I say "probably" because there are a
few games that are missing in action. But, regrettably, this being Elfin, the
code is just awful and full of bugs. It is not such a bad case as "Lost Over
Bermuda", but the bugs prevent the player from completing the adventure. Which
is a pity, because the game could have been semi-passable otherwise.

I have managed to fix the critical bugs. Since the game is unprotected, it is
enough to BREAK it, type the following lines and RUN it again:

1852 GO TO 1900
2412 FOR I=1 TO 6: IF I(I)=41 THEN LET I=6: GO TO 2414
2414 IF D<=0 THEN GO TO 5560
2415 IF I(6)<>0 THEN PRINT "YOU DROP THE CUTTER ON THE FLOOR AS YOUR HANDS ARE
FULL.": LET D=D-1: GO TO 12
2416 LET D=D-1: FOR I=1 TO 10: IF O(LC,I)=52 THEN GO TO 1163

Please mind that these fixes still do not mend all the bugs in the game, only
those that prevent game progress. There are perfectly logical things in the game
that do not work as intended, but all can be worked around in one way or other.
Feel free to produce your own fixes for the other code shortcomings, but the
above are enough to have a game playable to the end.

About the game itself: works as other Elfin jobs, with GO <direction> for the
abbreviations NESWUD, EXAMINE and SEARCH work differently, exits are displayed
but they may be redundant, characters can be QUESTIONed, and six inventory
slots. Some differences are a lot more unusual verbs are used in this one for
particular puzzles, with CHECK, DRAIN, or FORCE being some of them.

The goal of the game, as it often happens in the genre, is to exonerate
ourselves of the complications of the case, since we'll find we are implicated
in a criminal affair, and our blonde client was neither blonde nor truthful. It
will be necessary to gather and present six pieces of evidence that patch the
case together for the police.

There is no randomness, so the solution will work if followed to the letter (but
the game needs to incorporate the above fixes). An odd quirk in the design is
that no care has been put into ensuring that things are done in a logical order,
as we could do things "out of sequence" and give way to really weird events that
make no sense as they depend on things that haven't happened yet. The solution
maximizes narrative logic, although it is neither the shortest nor the most
natural.


Walkthrough:
------------
[We begin in our office. Remember that our task is to deliver the money given to
us in a briefcase to room 722 of the Parry Hotel and bring back the kidnapped
brother. We'll see how that goes. Our office has a desk with mandatory ashtray,
the briefcase left by the blonde and $50 in cash. Our client just left.]

GET DOLLARS
GET BRIEFCASE
OPEN BRIEFCASE [It is filled with nothing but paper]

[Oops. Something is wrong - the ransom money is not in here. This smells like
fishy business. We took the case so we'll have to investigate, but we'll have to
take precautions. The blonde was a smoker, so maybe...]

DROP BRIEFCASE
EMPTY ASHTRAY [A cigarette stub appears]
GET CIGARETTE STUB
EXAMINE CIGARETTE STUB [It is monogrammed with the initials F.D.]

[F.D.? Certainly not Kate Mulligan. Suspicious. The desk can be SEARCHEd to find
our trusty gun, which we would normally take for protection, but, as it turns
out, most problems have more than one solution and it is possible to solve the
game without firing a single shot, so we'll break character and save the
inventory space. The cigarette stub we'll keep, as it's one of the 6 pieces of
evidence we'll need: it proves that F.D., whoever that is, is somehow connected
to the blonde.]

GO N [Corridor; there is a pot plant and a pay phone]
EXAMINE PAY PHONE [Someone left a dime here]
GET DIME [Some small change may be useful]

[The port plant can be CHECKEd for our silencer, which we obviously hide here
because reasons. Since we don't need our gun, we'll leave the plant alone. The
silencer is needed if we are going to shoot our way forward, but that would be
two wasted inventory slots.]

GO E [Foyer; the janitor is here]
QUESTION JANITOR [He wants $10 before he gives any info]
PAY JANITOR [He says a classy redhead just came down and left in a limo]

[A redhead, eh? So our client is playing some kind of game. We have a bad
feeling about this.]

GO E [Street]
GO S [Outside the Parry Hotel]
READ POSTER [Private dick implicated in kidnapping of heir]

[Hey, what do you know - our client has pulled a fast one on us after all. Let's
see what the papers say.]

EXAMINE NEWS STAND [Shows a slot for the daily, luckily we have change]
INSERT DIME
GET NEWSPAPER
READ NEWSPAPER [Paul Mulholland has been kidnapped]

[There is also a picture of Paul with his stepmother, who looks like our client.
So Mrs Mulholland has arranged this little charade for us, kidnapped her stepson
and implicated us. This will be bad for business. Now we have to clear our name
and still somehow deal with the kidnapping. The hotel is here - why were we
given a room number to deliver the fake ransom, though? That does not check out,
but since we are here, let's investigate.]

DROP NEWSPAPER
GO E [Hotel foyer]
EXAMINE LIFT [There's a notice]
READ NOTICE [Out of order, so no lift for us]
SEARCH RECEPTION DESK [An annoyed clerk appears and glowers at us]

[At this point we can PAY CLERK to be told that room 722 was booked under the
name of Slade, but that gets us nothing as it's bound to be a fake name. Better
save the dough.]

GO N [We find room 722, presumably after a long climb up the stairs]
OPEN DOOR [Locked]

[Maybe it's not a good idea to knock. We don't know what's in there. We could
try another way.]

GO S
GO W
GO S [Back alleyway behind the hotel]
EXAMINE FIRE ESCAPE [Rusty, but should be sturdy enough]
SEARCH TRASHCANS [Yay, classic dumpster diving; we find a plastic card]

[The plastic card is probably the most useful object in the whole game, but for
the time being we'll leave it here and pick it up later.]

GO U [On a balcony, outside of room 722]
EXAMINE WINDOW [We can see Paul Mulholland tied to a chair, and a gangster]

[The gangster seems to be snoozing on the bed, so maybe we'll get lucky if we
go quietly.]

OPEN WINDOW [The gangster doesn't notice]
GO W [Into room 722]
GET PAUL MULHOLLAND

[Several things happen at once: the lights go out, we are clobbered, fall to the
floor and lose consciousness. When we wake up, Paul is dead (so is the gangster,
apparently) and we can hear sirens in the street. Now we are truly in a pickle.
So this was the plan - the lady basically has arranged for her stepson and heir
to the Mulholland fortune to be offed in our presence. She gets to inherit, and
we get the Hot Seat as the patsy. I told you this was going to be bad for
business. Now we need to act quickly.]

SEARCH BODY [A book of matches]
GET BOOK OF MATCHES
GO E [Out the window again, no time to lose]
GO U [Up to the roof, to have a few moments to think next steps]
EXAMINE BOOK OF MATCHES [It is from the Kurly Kat Klub]
DROP BOOK OF MATCHES

[A slim clue, but we'll have to pay a visit to the Kurly Kat Klub later.]

EXAMINE WATER TANK [We can see a tap and a package under the water]

[This is an ill-programmed puzzle, but it turns out the flawed code allows us to
bypass the puzzle entirely. I'm solving it the intended way, though. There's a
package in the water tank we can't immediately retrieve. Why would anyone throw
something there in a hurry?]

EXAMINE HOUSING [There's a door on the other side of the lift housing]
EXAMINE DOOR [We can see a bolt]
DRAW BOLT [Only time the verb DRAW is used, but no other verb works]
OPEN DOOR [A way east opens]
GO E [Inside the lift housing; there are wires and "boxs" here]
MOVE BOXS [The odd spelling does not prevent us from finding a square key]
GET SQUARE KEY [This is the key to the tap]
GO W
DRAIN WATER TANK [The water spills out and forms a puddle]
DROP SQUARE KEY
GET PACKAGE [Now we can take it]
OPEN PACKAGE [A notebook]
EXAMINE NOTEBOOK [It is a sort of diary]
READ NOTEBOOK

[Interesting: it is Carlo Rambaldi's (noted thug for hire) account of jobs and
payments - and the last entry is the knifing for $10,000 of P.M. hired by F.D.
So, P.M. must be Paul, and the famous F.D. is the one who arranged his death at
the hands of Carlo. It would be profitable to pay a visit to Carlo - maybe the
book of matches was his? In the meantime, this notebook is another valuable
piece of evidence.]

GO D
GO D
GET PLASTIC CARD [Let's not forget this]
GO S
GO W [Hank's eatery]
DROP CIGARETTE STUB

[Hank is a trusted friend. We can leave the evidence in his custody, it will be
safe. The notebook we'll need for the moment, as it will be necessary to
confront Carlo with it.]

GO W [Outside the Kurly Kat Klub; there's a bouncer]
PAY BOUNCER [He confirms that Carlo is inside the club and lets us pass]
GO W

[Carlo is a tough cookie. We could QUESTION him but he'll probably react by
making our face like the map of Norway with his trusty knife. We'll have to
approach him Mike Hammer style.]

HIT CARLO [Carlo collapses at our feet]
QUESTION CARLO [We need to have the notebook for this to work]

[Carlo spills the beans: he says to get a cab E to get to Frankie Diago's house
(the famous F.D., no doubt, probably a local mafioso). Going S will take us to
the Mulholland estate and walking N of here is the office building where Truman
Carson works. We don't know who Truman Carson is, but Carlo is singing like a
bird, so he must also be part of this little cabal. We have plenty of work to
do.]

GO E
GO E
DROP NOTEBOOK [Safe with Hank]

[All right, let's see that nearby office of Truman Carson, whoever he is.]

GO W
GO N [By office building; this must be the place]
OPEN DOOR [Locked]

[Here is where the plastic card shows its usefulness, as it can spring any
door's lock. We have to be careful in this location, because due E is the police
precinct, and unless we have all the evidence, we'll be tried and convicted, and
that'd be game over.]

FORCE DOOR [Unlocked]
GO W
GO W [Mollie Morgan is here, and a door]
GO W [Carson's office]
SEARCH DESK [A paper tells us that Carson lives W of the cab rank]

[Nothing else to be found here. The safe is impregnable and won't ever open, and
we'll have to pay Carson a home visit if we want to know how he is implicated
in this ploy. Backing up.]

GO E

[Mollie Morgan is a quaint old lady, but also a useful stool pigeon. It's likely
she'll know a thing or two, so let's apply some grease.]

PAY MOLLIE

[Mollie tells us that Otto Claxton, a photographer, took a photo of Carson with
a redhead, and there's probably a print in Claxton's files. That would prove
Carson's involvement with the affair. Mollie also produces a key to the studio,
but due to a bug I didn't bother to fix, the key does not work. Our plastic
wonder does, though.]

EXAMINE DOOR [It's Claxton's studio]
FORCE DOOR
GO S [Photo studio]
SEARCH PHOTO FILES [Aha! a photo of Carson with Katia Mulholland]
GET PHOTOGRAPH
GO N
GO E
GO E
GO S
GO E [At Hank's again]
DROP PHOTOGRAPH

[That's three pieces of evidence collected, another three to go. It occurs to us
that it's likely we'll have to do some breaking and entering, and for that some
tools might be useful. So we'll do a little diversion to go shopping first.]

GO E
GO N
CHECK TRAFFIC [This allows us to cross the street]
GO E [To O'Grady's hardware store]
BUY GLASS CUTTER

[It pays to be prepared. In this case the cutter and the plastic card will allow
is a stealthy entry anywhere. There are other ways to manage matters, but this
is the most efficient.]

GO W
GO S
GO W
BUY STEAK [The steak will also be useful later]
GO W
GO S [Cab rank]

[At this point, if you have followed the walkthrough, you should have the
plastic card, the glass cutter, the steak, and $18 exactly.]

ENTER CAB [The cabbie demands $10 in advance]
PAY DRIVER [This opens all directions]
GO W [Let's visit Carson's first]
BREAK WINDOW [This would usually alert the cops, but with the cutter it doesn't]
GO S [Carson's study; there's a globe here]
BREAK GLOBE [A will was inside]
GET WILL
READ WILL

[Aha! We begin to see clearly. Carson is the Mulhollands' lawyer. He drew a will
from Jason Mulholland leaving everything to his son Paul. His second wife Katia,
our blonde/redhead, plotted to bump off her stepson and inherit herself. This
will is therefore valuable evidence.]

Go N
Go E [Cab rank again]
Go E [Now let's see about Frankie Diago]
BREAK WINDOW
GO S [Hallway]

[To the E is Diago's study, which has a cleverly concealed alarm in case any
pesky private detectives show up. There's a hidden switch to deactivate it,
though.]

GO W [Bedroom]
SEARCH BED [A switch appears]
PRESS SWITCH [No apparent effect, but the alarm is now off]
GO E
GO E
SEARCH DESK [There is a hidden button]
PRESS BUTTON [A secret drawer opens]
GET ACCOUNT BOOK
READ ACCOUNT BOOK [Payments from a private, numbered account]

[Betting where that account comes from, this implicates the Mulhollands. Just
something else is needed that directly links Frankie with Katia.]

GO W
GO N
GO W [Cab rank]
GO S [Outside the Mulholland estate; there is a wall here]
CLIMB WALL [We can see a large garden]
GO S [There's a guard dog here]

[You see why we brought the steak with us. Hank's are the worst steaks in town, 
but guard dogs are seldom gourmets.]

FEED GUARD DOG [The doggo is our best friend forever now]
GO W
GO W [Rear of house]
BREAK WINDOW
DROP GLASS CUTTER [No longer needed]
DROP DOLLARS [Same; besides, $8 is a fair price for the bother]
GO W
GO S [Hallway]
FORCE DOOR
DROP PLASTIC CARD
GO S [Katia's bedroom]
SEARCH WARDROBE [We find some letters]
READ LETTERS [Correspondence between Frankie and Katia, totally incriminating]

[We have everything now; just back to Hank's for the other three pieces of
evidence and off to the precinct we go]

GO N
GO N
GO E
GO E
GO N
CLIMB WALL
GO N
GO N
GO N
GO E
GET CIGARETTE STUB
GET NOTEBOOK
GET PHOTOGRAPH
GO W
GO N
GO E

[The evidence is conclusive and the police see we have been framed, and
therefore we found the murderers, solved the case, and can go home scot free
with thanks. What did we expect, a medal?]

[End of game.]