Friday, August 08, 2008

Shove Beyond Zork under rug

I ended up browsing the Wikipedia pages about Infocom several evenings ago, because someone on reddit was talking about games making you cry, and I was apparently the only person who remembered Floyd from Planetfall. (I now see that SicTim brought up the same comment around the same time I did.)

I went over to Beyond Zork, probably the game of theirs I had the most fun with (although not their most fun game -- the distinction is subtle). And they linked to the bugs list for it. Well, they were missing my favorites, so I just had to contribute.

The Bearskin Rug

My favorite object to abuse was the bearskin rug. The bug database told me about a bug that I hadn't known about before -- that standing on the rug could let you move in a blocked direction.

But there was another wacko thing you could do: SHOVE MONSTER UNDER RUG. For many objects, regardless of the size of the object, it gets it out of the way, and you can move around in spite of it.

I cruised through the game trying to shove everything I could see under the rug, and I've made notes below about them. But I'm sure I missed some stuff (especially the fields of Frotzen), so go through yourself and tell me what you see.

SHOVE COOK UNDER RUG. He disappears from the description of the room, and he will be under the rug when you LOOK UNDER RUG. But he still mills about the room, and will stop you from rolling out the onion. You can't otherwise interact with him. If you leave and re-enter the room, the cook snaps from out of the room. (I could swear that you could cheat like this on the Apple II version.) You can shove the onion under the rug, but you cannot get it back, because you cannot lift up the rug. Maybe the weight of the onion gets added to the weight of the rug?

SHOVE MONSTER UNDER RUG. The monster is removed from the room; it cannot attack you and you cannot attack it. Like everything else you shove under a rug, the only way to get it back is to lift up the rug.

SHOVE PTERODACTYL UNDER RUG. A lot like the cook, you can still hear him, even if you cannot see him. See below for what happens if you do this while mounted. :)

SHOVE ARROW UNDER RUG. Cannot do this unless you could normally get to the arrow. But if you do shove it, when you actually pick it up, you'll get the text about ripping it from the pterodactyl's wing, even if the pterodactyl is long gone.

SHOVE EASEL/CANVAS/SAILOR UNDER RUG. Seems to work, but they all still interact normally. Shoving the wood under the rug puts it there, but it will magically float out from underneath it if you don't manually pick it up soon.

SHOVE SELF UNDER RUG. Just like DIP ME IN POOL, self is forever under the rug, or lying on the floor if you pick the rug up again.

SHOVE IDOL UNDER RUG. The craziest thing so far, but you can indeed do it. I've gotten the game to crash by trying to slide the jewel under the rug that the idol was underneath.

SHOVE CARDINAL TOOLBOX UNDER RUG. You can snatch the reliquary immediately. You can win the game pretty quickly if you combine this with the other rug bug to bypass the Christmas Tree Monsters. Toolbox seems to disappear permanently, although presumably finishing the volcano/glyph puzzle will make him reappear.

SHOVE FOOTPRINTS UNDER RUG. You can put the minx tracks there. Wacky, huh?

SHOVE HUNTER(S) UNDER RUG. This resets the minx puzzle. You can restore the minx even if you lost her by disposing of her in quicksand or losing her in the timeline. Each time you stomp out the tracks you'll get 15 compassion points, too.

SHOVE MINX UNDER RUG? The text says she jumps off of it, but it seems she's standing on it. She jumps fully off the next turn.

SHOVE BUTTERFLY UNDER RUG. If you leave and return, it will be lying atop the rug.

SHOVE WORD OF RECALL UNDER RUG. Yep, you can shove the glowing words from the Recall scroll under the rug. Then you can teleport there. If you previously PUT SELF UNDER RUG you will at least have some company. Or you can fight off a monster you previously shoved under the rug; that would be fun, huh? I think the only way to escape is to use the sayonara wand, although the gating scroll might work. The sea chest cannot be opened under here because it is, after all, under the rug. You can summon the pterodactyl, but you can't mount it under the rug.

You can have fun interacting with various objects after both you and them are shoved under. Try the display case, the old woman, the flight of stairs.

You can put the rug in the sea chest, and shove stuff under the rug, and then get the rug. That stuff will be in the chest. All the craziness above and below has just been compounded. Can you try carrying a monster to a brand new area? Is there any other container that's big enough to hold the rug? I don't know.

You can put yourself "in" the pew with the above trick, although you can easily stand out of it.

You can create an infinite loop by shoving the chest under the rug that's inside of it. Same with the pool.

You can also get yourself under the rug by shoving the pterodactyl under the rug and then dismounting. The place will be totally dark unless you light it.

SHOVE SOUTH UNDER RUG. You can shove exit directions, which doesn't seem to do anything as far as I could figure.

SHOVE DOME/CRATER UNDER RUG. Changes the description, but doesn't seem to have an effect. You won't be able to interact with them until they're out from the rug, of course.

SHOVE GONDOLA UNDER RUG. This might make two gondolas be in the room, making it hard to interact with either. "Which do you mean, the gondola or the gondola?"

SHOVE UNICORN UNDER RUG. This empties the stall. The unicorn cannot be seen under the rug, although rubbing the rug reveals something underneath. (This is pretty common.) When you lift the rug the unicorn has disappeared.

Can SHOVE MONKEY GRINDER UNDER RUG, which means you can enter the hall of enchanters. But he will still be present and attacking you, and the fact that he's missing will stop you from leaving, resetting his appearance just like shoving the hunter under the rug. He will continue to beat on you while this happens, though. :(

Cannot shove hurdy-gurdy (while in possession of the grinder) under the rug. The game seems to let you shove the warning nymph, but there doesn't seem to be a change.

THE ARCH: You can get under the arch and shove the arch under the rug. Nothing special seems to happen, even if you leave.

You can put rug in arch and then shove arch under rug. Game freezes in infinite loop, like with other containers.


SHOVE BLACK KNIGHT UNDER RUG. Can shove the black knight under the rug, although the story will proceed as if he were out. If the rug is under the arch when this happens, you can bring him with you on your time traveling adventure. Flinging arrows will stop you from interacting with him. Is there anyway to get him out far enough that your wand of annihilation would be effectivce, like to the present and outside of the arch? Maybe you could use the rug-in-chest trick to get him out.

Can shove the dead prince under the rug, but he will disappear if you travel into the future or the past. Can shove the black horse under the rug, but the story will move him away, just like the driftwood.

Can shove the undead warrior (and presumably the ghoul) under the rug, then travel to the past with him. He won't try to kill you at all, but you can injure him. Would something like this work with the pool of radiance and harder monsters? You can "wake him up" by dropping the rug outside the arch in another time period and re-shoving him under it. You can trap him in the past this way. (I don't think you can do the same with the idol or the pool of radiance, and I don't think the other random areas have minirooms like that. But please test. :> )

Can shove the orator under the rug, but he will disappear from there when the crowd carries him away. I can't figure out how to extend this.

You can shove the minxhole under the rug. In any other time period it becomes the trench. It will go back to its original place, much like the helmet, if you go back to the battlefield.

THE DARK CAVES: SHOVE MIRROR UNDER RUG. They still have the same effect, although you cannot see the effect in this room nor turn the mirror.

SHOVE UR-GRUE UNDER RUG. The ur-grue will no longer chat you up as you exit and enter the room, killing you much faster. You have just enough time to drop the rug, shove the shadow under it, blow the bubble, spin the mirror, and get the rug again, which should kill the ur-grue, but the ur-grue will cast his statue spell and end the game. So it's hard for me to figure out just why the light isn't killing the ur-grue. Any way of extending his talking time. . .?

BUT, with the ur-grue out of the way, he won't stop you from searching the plunder for the coconut. You need to get out of that room fast, though! And an under-the-rug-ur-grue will still destroy light sources.

Fun Facts

By using rug bugs to get the Scrystone without the goblet and the butterfly, you can defeat the ur-grue without ever visiting the Implementors. And to my happy surprise, the coconut isn't in the room if the ur-grue hasn't stolen it. Fortunately, you can go back to the Implementors and go through the story to get the coconut to the ur-grue, and the ur-grue will obligingly steal it even though he's dead.

If you go inside the caves and close the door, the grue will show up, and then you can open the door. It will be paralyzed and look like a lurking presence, and you will be free to kill it. After it is dead, it won't retreat until you make that room dark again.

TOUCH SHADOW after RUB RUG will crash the game! Maybe the game isn't ready for that monster taking any kind of damage.

You can kill the monkey grinder through physical combat. THRUST will do it, and you may need the amulet to help. He dissolves in a puff of smoke.

Even with all the bugs above, you still need to kill either the outline or the grinder to kill the ur-grue, because you need to get the rose. So either use the goblet to enter Frotzen and use the rug to get past the corbies, or use the rug to get into Frotzen and use the hurdy-gurdy to get the rose. (If you want to just win via stealing the coconut from the ur-grue hidden under the rug, you can do it with killing only the outline.)

The white hemisphere seems to be that which becomes the scrystone.

You can analyze potions and scrolls and wands by their proper names even when not identified, and even by their magic words.

You can win the game without the Pheehelm, and not using any of these bugs. If you start with an Intelligence of 29, you can get smart enough to peer into the Scrystone without it. This frees up your money to armor up.


BZ was around the point where I learned that I could hack into games. It seems obvious now, but back in the day it was some giant epiphany for me to realize that I could analyze the stored data on disk (we're talking about floppy disk, here).

I grabbed the RWTS code from the Beagle Bros. and did massive compares across two floppies. Eventually I found out where the vital RPG stats were stored. All the values were stored by some checksum that I couldn't quite reverse-engineer; however, it was quite a literal checksum; you could swap luck and compassion for endurance and strength on a 1-for-1 basis.

There was one good way of using this: you endurance would go up more the less of it you had. (9 - int(endurance/10)) So you could keep your endurance low and let your other stats grow in the meantime. Meaning you could gain 90 status points instead of 57 from levelling up 9 times.

Or you use the infinite compassion bug I mentioned earlier and transfer those points around wherever you want them.

Cash wasn't protected by any kind of checksum of encoding. You could give yourself thousands of zorkmids. (When I first played the game, I couldn't figure out the idol puzzle, so this was how I ended up "solving" it.)

Now, you're probably wondering what would happen if you got the checksum wrong. Well, you'd get this:

A technical nymph appears on your keyboard. 'Shame on you. Bye!' She disappears with a wink.

Wow, that was a surprise. It was like the programmers had left a little message in there saying "you are smart but I am smarter." I felt a little chill in my spine at that, like I had been caught at something. A technical nymph appears on your keyboard. 'Shame on you. Bye!' She disappears with a wink.

Other things to try

What if you are in an object that is destroyed? I'm not sure how to do this offhand, but maybe you can use the volcano. What if you leave "self" somewhere that gets it destroyed.

Can you get the ur-grue into the chest? How about the onion?

Can you get the rug into any container besides the chest? It's hard to get monsters out of their area with the chest, since you can't move it while it's open and you can only open it a limited number of times.

Happy classic gaming!