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Afghan Attack (afghan_attack_wt.txt)

AFGHAN ATTACK
Southern Software, 1985
=======================

Solution by Exemptus - December 2020


Overview and general hints:
---------------------------
This game is a strange derivative of a classic text adventure laced with
tactical simulation. There is not enough of the latter to consider it anything
other than an adventure, but it is highly non-standard.

We play as the commander of a special British paratroopers force sent to
Afghanistan in the early 80s in order to disrupt Soviet military operations near
Kabul. Four paratrooper groups come with us, each led by an officer; and we also
have tactical air support from a helicopter. The names of the officers are:

* Grant (sergeant): trooper support
* April (sergeant): trooper support
* Marsh (corporal): trooper support
* Tate (corporal): trooper support
* Travis (flight lieutenant): helicopter pilot

Part of the difficulty of the game is that it is necessary to know these names
in advance, since we have to issue orders to the men. The first four are given
in-game, but the pilot's name only shows in the instructions. Without it, there
is no way to solve a couple of puzzles.

But there is also a certain intrinsic difficulty: as part of the game's verbs we
can also DEPLOY troopers, through their group leaders, and they will remain in
a fixed location until new orders. If we revisit such location later, the paras
will rejoin us automatically. In this sense, the troopers work a bit like
objects, showing up in our inventory, save that their presence will be noted at
each turn should they be in the same location as us. There is a radio in the
game that allows remote communication with the deployed troops, and needs to be
DISTRIBUTEd first (odd choice of verb, but at least we are told this). Troopers
can also be given specific armament, although other essentials (like ammo or
gas masks, where provided) are automatically managed. Orders can be issued by
preceding the command with the name of the officer. As can be expected, this
makes for very awkward syntax with a two-word command parser such as the Quill.
This does not help in terms of difficulty.

As you can imagine, this makes for a potentially very complicated game, as we
can deploy troops in any location and arm them individually in order to overcome
the tactical problems. However, this is only leveraged by the game in part 2;
in part 1 there are a few situations which require precise positioning of
troops, but how to do this is quite apparent once we draw a map and pay
attention to descriptions. Part 2 is much more difficult in this regard.

Another unusual feature is that the inventory is infinite for all practical
purposes, so we can carry with us any objects we come across. This is natural,
as we have troops with us that can carry a lot. So object juggling is dispensed
with, making life easier for us.

The game comes in two parts. As usual, a code given on completion of part 1 is
required to load part 2. SCORE gives an overall score for the whole adventure,
not independently for each part: in part 1 we cannot get more than 25%, and it
is necessary to get that score in order to complete part 1, or it would, but a
bug makes it possible to bypass some of it. We won't take advantage of this: the
walkthrough provides a solution to most of the puzzles intended to be in our
way. The game is completely deterministic and there are no random events.

The fact that we play a British group of troopers is key: we are supposed to
support the Afghan rebels who offer resistance to the Soviet army. At a certain
point in the game, it is necessary to identify ourselves as British in order to
avoid an inconvenient death.

Time plays an important role in part 2, as there are events which happen
regularly at given times, and the command T gives us the time of the day. The
time is not realistic, as it simply advances by one hour per turn, but this does
not really matter.



Walkthrough:
------------

*** PART 1:

[In this part, the objective is to kill the Soviet general who is in charge of
the local operations. We have weapons, but not really powerful ones: it will be
necessary to get them from the local rebels first, deal with the Soviet troops
patrolling the area, and then find the Soviet base of operations, enter it and
dispose of the general. Drawing a map will be very useful, as location exits are
not always noted.]

[We begin in our helicopter, which arrives at the base camp. Our group leaders
introduce themselves. Note that while we are at the base camp, we cannot wander
on our own until the troops are ready.]

OUT [of the helicopter]
S
S [Into the medical tent, where we are given a first aid kit]
N
SW [Troopers stand to attention - from this moment we can wander off camp]
GET FLARE
NE
SE
OPEN CUPBOARD [Here we find our armament]
GET M16 [standard issue rifle]
GET BAYONET [no need to fit it to the rifle, apparently]
GET GRENADES [ordinary hand grenades]
GET GUN [our hand pistol]
NW
N
E
E
S
S [A clearing with a separate tent]
E
GET AMMO
N
GET RADIO
DISTRIBUTE RADIO [Now we can remotely communicate with the troopers]
S
W
N
N

[Here we make a detour, as we need to meet the local rebels.]

NW
E
N [The rebels ambush us]
LOWER WEAPONS [Better to obey directions, or else we'll be massacred]
E
E

[The rebel chief appears, curses in Russian, and hits us. This might make us
think he's working for the Soviets, but no, he's just taken us for one of them,
so he's trying to proffer insults. These rebels are not very discerning. Better
clarify the situation, or else he'll shoot us without any ceremony in a couple
of turns.]

SAY BRITISH [The chief is much more friendly now, wants to show us something]
N
N

[This is the rebel's arms cache, which has some heavy weapons. We would of
course want to get our hands on this stuff, but we cannot for the time being.
The rebel village is obviously very poor, so it's likely they'll feel more like
sharing if we bring them something useful first.]

S
W
S
W [Here are our troops waiting]
GET M16 [The one we lowered earlier]
W
S
SW

[It is to be noted that we cannot go back the way we came - a roundabout way has
to be taken, but we'll end up at camp anyway.]

NW
SW
W

[Here there is a hidden minefield, which is supposed to be a puzzle, but it does
not work because of a bug, so we just ignore it.]

W
S
SW
SW
SW
SW
S [Back at camp]
W
NW
SW
W

[We are in an abandoned building. We need one of the floorboards in order to
bridge a gap much later in the game. Even if we surmise this, the command needed
for this is a bit improbable.]

PULL UP FLOORBOARD [We find a hidden machete as well]
GET MACHETE
GET FLOORBOARD

[The machete allows us to hack through the bramble vines in one of the locations
back from the rebel camp, so we can go NE if we wanted to, but there is no need
to ever go in that direction.]

E
NE
NW
N
NW [Entrance to a cave]
W
W [There we hear voices]

[If we go W, we'll find the voices come from a Soviet patrol which will shoot on
sight. It is possible to kill this patrol in one of several ways, but we'll
choose the one that maximises our score. This involves a bit of a cross-fire
ambush and is our first opportunity for tactical play. If we draw a map of the
zone, we find that the location the Soviets are on has two overhangs to the
north and south where we can station our troopers, so the Soviets cannot go for
cover when fired upon.]

NE
NW
SW
DEPLOY GRANT [We station Grant's men here]

[From this location, which is immediately above and to the north of the Soviets,
it is possible to kill them just by lobbying a grenade, but this does not give
us any points.]

NE
SE
SW
SE
SW [Note the horseshoe rocks for later: this overlooks the trail below]
NW [This location is directly above and to the South of the Soviets]
GRANT OPEN FIRE [The Soviets react to shoots from the north and take cover]
OPEN FIRE [But now we open fire from the south and kill them; score is 5%]
SE
NE
NW
W [We find army blankets and two C15 nerve gas grenades]
GET BLANKETS
GET C15
E
NE
NW
SW [Grant and his men rejoin us]
NE
SE
SW
E
E [Out of the cave]

[The blankets might be appreciated by the rebels, so we go back to their
village.]

N
N
SE
SE
E
E
E
NE
E
N
E
GIVE REBELS THE BLANKETS [Score is now 10%]

[We are now invited to take whatever weapons we need, which we happily do]

GET BLOWPIPE
GET MORTAR
GET SAM
GET M60
GET GASMASKS [These are automatically distributed so everybody has one]
W
W
S
SW
NW
SW
W
W
SW
SW
SW
SW
S [Back at the camp; now armed to the teeth, we can continue beyond the caves]
S
SW
S

[We appear at the flat rock on the south side of the Soviets we ambushed before.
It does not make a lot of sense from a mapping standpoint, but it is a nice
shortcut.]

SE [The horseshoe plateau we noticed earlier.]
GRANT BLOWPIPE [Give the blowpipe launcher to Grant; yes, the command is weird]
DEPLOY GRANT

[The idea is to position a squad here so they can surprise a Soviet patrol we
will come across in a minute on the trail below and to the south. Some of our
troopers will harass the Soviets from below so they are forced to go east,
where the ones we just stationed here will surprise them with a blowpipe missile
once they come within sight. The radio is needed for this in order to coordinate
the timing.]

NW
W
S
SW
S [We are on the trail below now, and here are the Soviets]
DEPLOY APRIL [Unless we quickly deploy here, the Soviets will fire on us]
APRIL OPEN FIRE [Being under fire from stationed troopers, the Soviets go east]
OPEN FIRE
OPEN FIRE [We are not hitting them, but it doesn't matter; they have gone east]
OPEN FIRE [Just making time...]

[At this point, a radio message from Grant should reach us, reporting a visual
on the Soviets from above and requesting instructions. If it does not show for
any reason, wait a couple more turns.]

GRANT FIRE BLOWPIPE [Score is now 15%, and the Soviets are no more]
N
N [Grant rejoins us]
NW
W
S
SW
S [April rejoins us]
NE
E
SE
E
E
E
NE [A couple of ropes with hook and hoop attached are here]
GET HOOK
GET HOOP

[Another bug: the names for hook and hoop seem to be the other way around. It
does not really matter as we do not need to keep them apart; if one does not
work, we'll try the other.]

SW
W
W
W
NW
W
SW
W [Looks like the path is blocked, but we can bypass the rocks with the rope]
THROW HOOK [It clasps onto the rocks]
PULL HOOK [This secures the rope]
U
E
E
E [A hole has been blown into the path, but we can overcome the obstacle]
DROP FLOORBOARD
E
E
E
E
E
E
N
E
E
N

[A gorge is here, and an upcast comes from below from where we can hear dull
Soviet voices. It's clear we have to go down the upcast, but we have to take
care of the Soviets below first.]

WEAR GASMASKS
USE C15 IN UPCAST [We hear choking]
HOOP POLE [A bit awkward as a command, but is what works]
D [Apparently, the C15 is not totally lethal]
KILL GUARDS [With the bayonet]
GET EXPLOSIVE
W
W

[We notice a hexagonal pillbox gun from here. If we go outside, we will be
obliterated for sure. Luckily we had two of these blowpipe missiles, which will
do nicely.]

GRANT GIVE BLOWPIPE [We had given the launchers to Grant, but he used only one]
FIRE BLOWPIPE [The pillbox gun is destroyed, so we can go out]
E
N
N
N [Apex of the mound]

[We notice that there is a shaft entrance, but is blocked by the armoured door.
The blowpipe missile was obviously insufficient to blow this up, so it's time to
use the helicopter. Remember the flare we took near the start? Here is where it
will come useful.]

LIGHT FLARE [We have to do this where the helicopter is to strike]
S
S
E
S
W [We have to get back, as Travis won't fire while we are near the target]
TRAVIS FIRE [Score is now 20%]

[The explosion blows up the mound, but Soviet jets are also incoming as they saw
the flare. We need to retreat into the safety of the tunnels.]

S
E [We hear a loud roar, then silence - we can go back]
W
W
E
N
N
N [There is a ladder now]
D [We hear the sound of guns cocking below]
DROP GRENADE [This takes care of the Soviets below]
D

[We hear the familiar five tones of the Close Encounters of the Third Kind film.
This is a code, as we need to reproduce the notes in order to enter the
Soviet general's meeting room. We need to get something before that.]

SE
E
NE
GET ARMOUR PIERCING MISSILES
SW
W
NW
NE

[Here is the door to be opened, with the corresponding keypad. It has buttons
labelled as notes (G1 means G an octave lower). We are supposed to enter the
five notes heard before in order to open the door, but because of another bug,
the door is never closed, so we can g E without doing anything else. However,
this does not make the general appear, so we cannot complete this part until the
code is entered anyway. This is the typical silly flag bug that should have been
caught easily in the playtesting, but slipped by.]

[And, by the way, the notes are A B G G1 D, at least in the key played here.]

PRESS A
PRESS B
PRESS G
PRESS G1
PRESS D [The door swings open, which means it was supposed to be closed.]
E

[We come face to face with the Soviet general, who immediately points a revolver
at us. Unless we do the right thing, we will be dead in the following turn.]

PULL PIN [From the second hand grenade, of course]

[The general realises the grenade will blow him up if he shoots, so he lowers
his weapon. Now it's our chance.]

PUT PIN [The general lunges for us with a knife]
OPEN FIRE [Score is now 25%]
EXAMINE CHAMBER

[We find a plunger, leads, and a detonator with wires, and part 1 is now
finished. The code for part 2 is given as EDOC.]


*** PART 2:

[In this part, more tactically complicated, we have to disrupt the Soviet
convoys into Kabul, cause general havoc to their operations, find out what the
Soviet military plans are, and relay the intelligence to NATO headquarters.]

EDOC [We enter the code to begin]

[We begin at a position near the E/W supply road into Kabul. Again, a map helps
considerable when planning actions. The first thing to note is that Soviet
convoys show up regularly in the road north of us, coming from the west. If we
are anywhere near the road we will be told when a convoy approaches. Disrupting
the convoys is very difficult, as they are protected by some jets, a helicopter,
a couple of armoured trucks, and hundreds of foot soldiers armed to the teeth.
Each of these obstacles has to be dealt with sequentially, and a *lot* of trial
and error is necessary to determine the right sequence and timing of actions.]

[The basic outline of the plan is to place the explosive we found in part 1 in
a handy location just below the road, then blow it under the convoy. But we will
be immediately killed unless we disable all the other protections beforehand. We
know what these are because we will be killed by each of them in sequence. If we
try this, we can see that the foot soldiers kill us first, then the jets, then
the helicopter, then the armoured trucks, then the tankers, and lastly the rest
of the troops in the convoy vehicles. So these threats have to be neutralised in
this order.]

SW
W [We come to a path with a complete view of a narrow gully]

[First the foot soldiers have to go. It is worth spending some time just studying
the movements of Soviet units. If we do so, we find that the foot escort comes
through this narrow gully to the side of the road: an ideal place for an ambush.
But there are hundreds of soldiers versus just fifty of us, so we have to ensure
we have tactical superiority by deploying our men in suitable positions around
the gully. The deployment positions are fortunately clear.]

SW
W
DEPLOY TATE
E
DEPLOY MARSH [At this time, we see the Soviets march down the gully below]
T [It's 7 o'clock; this is just a waiting move for the Soviets to pass]
D
NE
NW
S
W
DEPLOY APRIL
E
DEPLOY GRANT [All our troopers are now in position]
D
NE
NE
SE
SW
W
DROP M60

[We are now in position, since from this place we can cover the whole gully with
M60 fire. Note that this won't be enough to subdue the Soviet troops: it is
necessary to first drop some grenades from above to distract them.]

T
T [the Soviets show up now]
DROP GRENADES
OPEN FIRE [We massacre the Soviet troops; score is now 30%]
GET M60

[Next, we gather our troopers and start deploying them in the positions that
will be needed later to assault the convoy. For this, each group will need a
specific weapon and place from where to act. Which group needs which weapon is
also a matter of trial and error.]

SW [Marsh rejoins]
W [Tate rejoins]
D
NE
NW
S [Grant rejoins]
W [April rejoins]
D
NE
NE [This overlooks the road from the south and is where we need to deploy Tate]
TATE SAM [We give Tate the SAM missiles for the helicopter]
DEPLOY TATE
T [If all is timed OK, you will see the convoy pass and not notice you]
N [On the main road; if you see a convoy coming, wait a bit]
W
NE [We begin to ascend the rockface to the north of the road]
NW
NE
N
NE
NW
NE
N
E

[We are at the top of the rockface, overlooking an airfield to the north that
the Soviets are currently using. We can see the jets that escort the convoy
stationed there, and this is an excellent place from where to destroy them. For
this purpose we will use the mortar shells.]

EXAMINE MORTAR [We see it has a dial with 500 / 1000 / 1500 / 2000 markings]

[We are told that the dial raises the tube, so it sets the distance for the
mortar shells. Since we are high up and away, we have to set this to the
maximum.]

SET MORTAR TO 2000
FIRE MORTAR [Score is now 35%]

[Jets done. The next obstacle is the helicopter, but Tate will take care of that
as already positioned. Next up is the second armoured truck (the first one will
go with the TNT explosion), for which we will also use the mortar. If you
remember, we had two shells. Only this time it needs to be shot from a different
site and by April, as we will be busy elsewhere.]

SET MORTAR TO 1000 [Shorter distance]
APRIL MORTAR [We give the mortar to him]
W
S
SW
SE
SW
S
E
E [Small plateau concealed from the road - an ideal vantage point]
DEPLOY APRIL
W
W

[Next will be the convoy personnel, but we can use our own helicopter for that.
Remember Travis? He is still active and ready to be called. We have to call him
shortly before we need him, as his fuel is limited. And that leaves us with the 
miscellaneous Soviet soldiers, which will be wiped out by a few rounds of M60
by Corporal Marsh, once we position him appropriately.]

MARSH M60 [Give M60 to Marsh]
SW
SE
SW
E
E [In this point the main road is crossed by a path]
N
NW
SW [Another fine place to shoot from]
DEPLOY MARSH
E [Damp trench]
D [Hollow under road]

[Here is where we place the explosive. We keep Sgt. Grant with us, as he will
be needed in the OK Corral that is about to take place.]

DROP TNT
SET FUSE TO TNT [The explosive is primed now and ready to detonate]
N [The lead from the plunger to the TNT rolls out]

[Now we need to wait until the convoy is about to appear. This may require
several waiting moves, as we will see the convoy approaching at 3 o'clock. At
about 2 o'clock we should call Travis.]

T
T
T
T
TRAVIS ATTACK [Travis is on his way with the helicopter]
T [It should be 4 o'clock and the convoy is passing through this very instant]

[Let's roll!]

PUSH PLUNGER [The TNT explodes, obliterating the road and an armoured car]
TATE FIRE SAM [Tate fires his SAM and destroys the Soviet chopper]
APRIL FIRE MORTAR [April shoots and the second armoured car goes up in flames]
TRAVIS SHOOT TANKER [Travis sends the tanker to kingdom come]
MARSH FIRE M60 [Finally, Marsh mops up any remaining Soviets on the road]

[Score is now 50%. Not bad. We cannot rest yet because another armoured vehicle
will show up from the west in no time, and we need to deal with it. We still
have two armour piercing missiles we haven't used.]

W [Marsh rejoins us]
SE [Back on the road, now unusable]
S [Tate rejoins us]
N
W
SW [We hide in the gully entrance]
T
T [Wait until 5 o'clock]

[At 5 o'clock, a new armoured vehicle should show up in our visual from the
gully, escorting a nuclear missile carrier. That missile is definitely something
we are interested in investigating.]

FIRE ARMOUR PIERCING [The vehicle goes kaboom]
NE

[The missile carrier is stuck here, as there is not enough room on the road to
turn. It is a big vehicle, and we can now climb on it. Mind that we could fire
the second projectile at the carrier and destroy it, but then there is no way to
complete the game.]

U [Hmm, an upcast - we know how this goes]
WEAR GASMASK
C15 UPCAST [To drop the C15 grenade down the upcast - syntax is more terse here]
BLOCK TUBE [To prevent ventilation; the hatch bursts open and a guard slumps in]
IN
GET KEY [This probably disables the missile]
U
NE
UNLOCK PLATE [We see several coloured wires, but we don't know which to pull]
SW
IN
ASK WHICH WIRE [In case of doubt, ask - the guard is not in a position to lie]
U
NW
PULL GREEN [Score is 55%]

[The missile is disabled now. There is a warhead conventional explosive here
that we could put to good use, since more Soviet forces could well come from the
west. There is a tunnel further up the road that we can block in order to
prevent this and permanently disrupt operations. In order to block the tunnel
for good we need to explode the still semi-intact oil tankers with the warhead
explosive, so we need to pick it up now that it's decoupled from the missile.]

GET WARHEAD [Score is 60%]
SW
D
E [Both tankers are still here]
IN TANKER
W
W
W
W
W
W [In the tunnel now - further west we'd be surrounded by Soviet tanks]
OUT TANKER
E
E
E
E
E
E
IN TANKER [Repeat the move with the second tanker]
W
W
W
W
W
W
OUT TANKER
DETONATE WARHEAD [We set a timer]
DROP WARHEAD [We set it by the tunnel wall]

[All is ready now - we put some distance between us and the tunnel.]

E
E
E [The tankers explode and the tunnel is blocked; score is 80%]

[Now we can investigate the east end of the road, which we couldn't before. We
also could get April to rejoin, but his men are not needed in the successive -
only Grant's are, so there is no need.]

GRANT ARMOUR [Grant will need the remaining projectile later]
E
E
E
E
E
E [Road bends to the NE here]
NE
NE [Oops, there is a bridge further on with a tank]

[The tank will undoubtedly shoot us. There is a path to bypass the bridge
immediately to our north, but when we emerge east of the bridge the tank will
also fire on us. The way to proceed is send Grant to the other side to hide and
use his armour piercing missile on the tank while we distract its attention on
this side of the bridge.]

N
NE
SE
E
E [This place is secluded and has good view of the road, we'll leave Grant here]
DEPLOY GRANT
W
W
NW
SW
S [The tank sees us - Grant reports the tank is in his sights now]
GRANT FIRE ARMOUR PIERCING [Score is 85%]

[Last obstacle is removed. We can continue east.]

E
E
N [Grant rejoins]
S
E
E [Oops, we fall into an ambush]

[We are surrounded by Soviet forces. There is no way to avoid this and we need
to be captured in order to complete the game, so we surrender.]

T [Waiting move - we are captured and fall unconscious]

[We wake up underwater. We are about to die, so we swim upwards. Apparently we
have been chained in a water tank.]

U
SE [Only direction which keeps us alive - there is a platform here]
U [There is a grating above, but the chain will stretch no further]
T
T
T [Wait until 4 o'clock, or a few turns - we are taken out and sent elsewhere]

[We find ourselves sat at a table with Grant, two Soviet guards and an officer.
Grant seems to have been tortured. The officer finds it amusing to play Russian
roulette with Grant and us instead of executing us directly. This offer an
opportunity to attack and escape, but the following sequence requires careful
timing. Sadly, we no more know of the other British officers - we have to assume
they have fallen in the line of duty.]

GET GUN
PULL TRIGGER [Empty chamber, and so is Grant's]
GET GUN [The barrel has not been spun, so it's likely now it will have a bullet]
OPEN FIRE [We guessed right]
KILL GUARD [Score is now 90%]

[We escape the room with Grant down a maze of tunnels. This is a very small maze
and the only other place of note here is the Comms room, which is easy to find.]

SE
NE
S [At the Comms room]

[There is a top brass Soviet general here who attacks us. We happen to need him
alive, as only he has the knowledge of the Soviet military plans we seek, but we
need to defend ourselves. We also get to use one of the objects we had from the
start of the adventure and had not yet found a use for.]

WOUND GENERAL [We shoot him in the leg, which disables him for the time being]
INJECT GENERAL WITH VALIUM [This calms him down]
INTERROGATE GENERAL [He spills the beans]

[Now we know that the Soviet plans are to invade Pakistan and where the support
for the invasion is located. We need to relay this intelligence to NATO.]

TURN DIAL TO NATO [Awkward command, but works]
INVASION COORDINATES [Score is 100%]

[End of game.]