Hercules! — 16 of 16

Leo Weinreb

Release 1

Chapter 15 - Hint System

Include Basic Screen Effects by Emily Short. Include Menus by Emily Short. Include Basic Help Menu by Emily Short. Include Punctuation Removal by Emily Short.

Table of Basic Help Options (Continued)

"Hint System"Table of Labors----
"Acknowledgements"--"The first full (very very very) rough incarnation of [Italic type]Hercules![Roman type] was written in 2016 or 2017 by me, Leo Weinreb, while attending the University of Chicago. It was the first game I ever designed.[paragraph break]That proto-version involved only two playtesters: Anton Bures, my father, and John 'Chip' Lekberg, a friend from school. Since then the game has gotten smoother and kinder, exploded in scale and complexity, and been amended with crucial and thorough revisions.[paragraph break]These indispensible improvements are all thanks to a small but dedicated group of people who took time out of their busy daily lives to help me make my game the best it could possibly be: my dear parents Anton Bures and Jenya Weinreb, my friends Chip Lekberg, Emily Watzl, and Rhiannon Hoffman, and some absolutely brilliant volunteers from the Interactive Fiction Community Forum: Mike Carletta, Christopher Merriner, and Garry Francis, whose suggestions and playthrough edits were essential in allowing me to put forth a more polished finished product. I am eternally grateful to all of you. <3"--

Table of Labors

"What do I do at the beginning?"Table of Whattodo""hint toggle rule
"How do I retrieve my inhaler?"Table of Inhaler""hint toggle rule
"I keep getting anxiety attacks!"Table of Anxiety""hint toggle rule
"How do I slay the lion?"Table of Lion""hint toggle rule
"How do I destroy the hydra?"Table of Hydra""hint toggle rule
"How do I capture the hind?"Table of Hind""hint toggle rule
"Help! I can't scale the mountain!"Table of Mountain""hint toggle rule
"How do I capture the boar?"Table of Boar""hint toggle rule
"How do I clean these disgusting stables?"Table of Stables""hint toggle rule
"How do I slay the Stymphalian birds?"Table of Birds""hint toggle rule
"How do I get the Cretan Bull?"Table of Bull""hint toggle rule
"Help! I'm trapped in a Labyrinth!"Table of Labyrinth Maze----
"How do I steal the mares of Diomedes?"Table of Diomedes' Mares""hint toggle rule
"How do I get rid of the yellow-spotted lizards?"Table of Lizards""hint toggle rule
"How do I obtain Hippolyta's girdle?"Table of Girdle""hint toggle rule
"How do I steal cattle from the monster Geryon?"Table of Cattle""hint toggle rule
"I'm stuck on one of the final puzzles!"Table of Final Tasks----

Table of Anxiety

"Yes, that'll happen from time to time."a number
"Your anxiety will prevent you from doing a number of things at various times. But there's an easy way to circumvent that."
"Your inhaler was left at home, so that's out of the question."
"Have you noticed what it says when you get an uptick or spike of anxiety?"
"Hercules isn't sure you're going the right way. And it's always right before you enter certain rooms at certain times."
"Have you tried... not entering those rooms at those times?"
"Have you checked your list?"
"If you try to solve the Labors in order, anxiety will not hinder your progress through the game. If anxiety hinders you on a certain direction or puzzle, try again when you're further along with your list."

Table of Inhaler

"Oh no! Looks like you've remembered your allergy medication, but not your inhaler. What are you going to do?"a number
"Have you tried running back to your house to get it?"
"Your house is west of the Main Road where you started."
"No, guess you can't go and fetch it. Have you tried praying?"
"Glad to see you back here again! Okay, maybe you can just make some Albuterol yourself?"
"Hmm... you have to go step-by-step it seems... what are the ingredients to Albuterol?"
"A doctor would know. Is there a doctor nearby?"
"No, but your cousin's a king. Maybe he would know a good doctor?"
"No, he wouldn't. And even if he did, he wouldn't tell you."
"You can't find a doctor. Too bad."
"You're going to have to complete the game without your inhaler! A tall order, but I think you can do it. :)"

Table of Labyrinth Maze

"Get me out of here!"Table of Getting Out""hint toggle rule
"Is there anything else I can find in the Labyrinth?"Table of Bonus Puzzle""hint toggle rule

Table of Getting Out

"Whoops! Seems you’ve twisted yourself around and are a bit stuck in the Labyrinth."a number
"This Labyrinth is a maze, similar to old text-adventure mazes you'd find in games like Zork. Back in those days, people had no choice but to use the objects they'd accumulated, dropping them in each room of the maze before moving in order to map out how every room in the maze connected. (I call this the Hansel-and-Gretel method.)"
"You can do the same in this maze (that's what the magical lost-and-found box is for, to give you a bunch of new and old objects!) but there are easier ways to navigate it."
"You might've found one other way already if you tried cleaning up the dead Stymphalian birds with the mop. Skip the next hint if you haven't cleaned up the birds."
"If you cleaned up the birds, the ground told you to 'Visit the island of Crete, to the west south and east.' Since you went west to enter the maze, if you go south and then east, you'll reach the Troll Room. Skip the next four hints to figure out what to do there."
"The other way to navigate the maze involves using one of the new objects in the lost-and-found box."
"Can you maybe do something with the red rolled-up string?"
"Have you tried unrolling it?"
"The string gives you directions to the Troll Room. Just unroll it in each room of the maze and go in the direction it says."
"Once you're in the Troll Room, the bull tries to lick off the bloodstains. You should try cleaning them as well, but not with your tongue."
"If you try mopping the bloodstains (or wiping them with your hands), the picture tells you you've won 'the key to our hearts, which as always lies up above the west south and east'"
"Going west, then south, then east, and then UP from the Troll Room leads you to a room with a skeleton key. (You also could have gone east and then up while Hansel-and-Greteling and found the key that way.)"
"Have you examined the key?"
"The capitalization of this message is the strangest part about it."
"The capital letters form the nonsense string XYZZY!"
"In the oldest text-based adventure game, Colossal Cave Adventure (which Zork is based on), the spell in the game is xyzzy. It's a teleportation spell, and is used as a cheat code in a lot of other places."
"Typing xyzzy will take you back to Crete. (You could've typed this in any part of the maze earlier to skip the troll puzzle AND the key puzzle.) Getting back to Crete is all you need to do to finish the rest of the game! Congratulations!"

Table of Bonus Puzzle

"The short answer: yes. There is a bonus puzzle here!"a number
"You can use the Hansel-and-Gretel method to map out the rooms past the skeleton key room, but it will take a while. Patience is definitlely a virtue if you use this method."
"There is another method that involves the red rolled-up string. Have you tried unrolling it in the key room?"
"The string goes haywire! The vastness of the maze must be distorting its signals somehow. But there still might be method to the madness. Try to follow some of the directions it specifies."
"Most directions lead in circles, but the last direction it gives every time takes you on a very specific route."
"Those who’ve played Zork will sense even more familiarity than before as they go through the maze. This maze is exactly the same layout as the first maze in Zork 1!"
"If you go sw, then e, then s from the key room, your claws will start to glow blue. The sword in Zork also glowed blue in this room."
"Go southeast. What was once the Cyclops Room is now the Minotaur’s Room."
"What was the solution to the Cyclops puzzle again?"
"'Odysseus', another Greek hero! But that won’t work here."
"Odysseus was an old enemy of the Cyclops. Who’s an old enemy of the Minotaur?"
"Say 'Theseus'"
"Going east will take you to the strange hallway and then back to Crete, where you’ll have to start over again. (Luckily there’s no thief to take your stuff if you have to go around again.)"
"Going up will take you to the Treasure Room, just like in Zork! But there are no thieves, only the jeweled egg."
"What did you have to do with the jeweled egg in Zork?"
"Open it and read the leaflet. Congrats!"
"If you explore the rest of the maze, you can also get to the Grating Room, just like in Zork."
"You can follow the FIRST directions the string gives to get there. If you're using Hansel and Gretel, you just need to go up, then sw, u, d, ne from the start."
"Examine the grate. Just like in Zork, you have to use the skeleton key."
"Unlocking the grate gives you another way up to the Minotaur’s Room!"

Table of Lion

"The lion is right there in Nemea! But how do you slay it?"a number
"The knife isn't working!"
"You'll never be able to defeat the lion with just brute force. You need to gain an edge somehow."
"Have you examined your Benadryl?"
"Benadryl is great for allergies, but it’s also great at making you really sleepy, especially if you take more than you're supposed to."
"Try giving the Benadryl to the lion."
"Hmm, but the knife still isn't working. You can't stab into the beast, but maybe you can use the knife in a different way?"
"The lion needs a haircut. Try shaving it with the knife. (Or cutting its hair with the knife.)"
"Okay, so you're allergic to the fur. Surprise, surprise. You need some sort of mask to prevent hair getting on you."
"Have you found the gun?"
"Try visiting your cousin if you haven't yet. (East of Tiryns.)"
"Have you tried shooting the gun at something?"
"Cool, now you have this nifty flag!"
"Maybe it could be used as a mask?"
"Wear it. Then shave the lion."

Table of Whattodo

"Explore a little bit maybe!"a number
"You were given a hint about why you’re here in the intro."
"Have you checked your inventory?"
"Examine the list."
"You must complete the famous Twelve Labors of Hercules to win the game! First stop, the Nemean Lion. (Which, as expected, resides in Nemea.)"

Table of Hydra

"The Lernean hydra is of course in Lake Lerna. But how do you kill it?"
"If you try to slash it with your claws, three heads grow back in place of the one you slashed."
"Did you get the box of matches in Lerna?"
"You can’t burn the hydra yourself, you’re afraid of fire."
"What else is in Lake Lerna? Maybe there's something here that can help you?"
"Or someONE here that can help you?"
"You need help from your nephew Iolaus. Maybe try asking him about the hydra?"
"Have you tried examining Iolaus?"
"In addition to blowing things up, Iolaus likes setting things on fire!"
"What does Iolaus think about the matches?"
"Give the matches to Iolaus."
"But you can't ask Iolaus to burn the hydra for you. You command no followers, it wouldn't be right."
"He may just do it of his own accord if give him a reason to leap into the fray."
"Attack the hydra with the lion pelt now. Your pyromaniac nephew, now carrying the matches, will cauterize the stumps of the hydra heads as you slash them."

Table of Hind

"The Ceryneian Hind is in Keryneia now. (Since Cs and Ks are the same in ancient Greek.) Go nw of Nemea to get to Stymphalia, then nw again."a number
"You can’t catch it though."
"Or attack it. You’re too weak."
"If you try to just take it you'll see it’s as uncatchable as a dream."
"You’ve already taken your Benadryl today. (You can make sure of this fact by trying to eat the pills.)"
"Maybe it’s time for a nap."
"Sleep. (Hercules will no longer be too anxious to sleep.)"
"It's the same place, but something's off. You must be dreaming!"
"Ever have a dream where you do something you can’t possibly do in real life?"
"Take the hind."

Table of Mountain

"Uh oh! Looks like you've gotten too asthmatic and are unable to scale the mountain anymore."a number
"How did this happen?"
"Well, leaving your inhaler behind can't have helped."
"But there's nothing to be done about that now."
"The game keeps saying you're breathless and need a drink of water."
"Have you tried to find some water?"
"There's snow at the bottom of the mountain. But you can't drink it."
"Have you tried digging at the bottom of the mountain?"
"Aha! An ice pick and an online instruction manual."
"In order to use the ice pick, it seems you have to watch the instruction manual located at https://bit.ly/3BPMyFY."
"Did you watch the video?"
"You're being very silly reading all of this. Despite his asthma, Hercules never has a problem hiking up Mount Erymanthos and neither do you. Stop reading the hints and play the rest of the game!"

Table of Boar

"Mount Erymanthos is southwest of Keryneia. The boar is there now."
"Have you tried just taking it?"
"No, that would be too easy, wouldn’t it. Have you tried examining it?"
"Examining it shows us that it is indeed the Erymanthian Boar. It has weird horns though, sort of like a bull? That's odd."
"Most bulls are attracted to red colors. But this isn’t a bull."
"Wait and watch what it does for a while."
"This pig is attracted to white colors. But it knows to not head into the snow straight on."
"Do you have something on you that’s white?"
"The flag is white. Maybe you can wield it like a toreador."
"Try waving the flag, or waving it at the pig. (Hercules will no longer be too anxious to wave the flag.)"

Table of Stables

"The Augean Stables are west of Elis, which is southwest of the mountain."a number
"God that’s disgusting. But at least there are a few new tools here."
"How are you ever going to clean this up? A simple mop can't be the answer, can it?"
"No, it’s futile. The mop is a red herring."
"The other tool in this room is a hammer. Hammers break things."
"What do you have that’s breakable?"
"Ice! Ice is breakable! AND it cleans things! (Well, water cleans things, and this water seems unusually clean.)"
"Try breaking the frozen ham with the hammer. (Specifically, while in the Augean Stables.)"
"You need some fire to melt the frozen ham chunks and create water."
"What do you have that makes fire?"
"What DID you have that makes fire?"
"The box of matches. Iolaus has them. You need to go back to Lake Lerna."
"He’ll give them back to you, you just need to ask."
"Ask Iolaus for the box of matches."
"Now try attacking the frozen ham with the hammer in the Augean Stables."

Table of Birds

"The birds are right there in Stymphalia, flying above you!"a number
"Did you try just taking the birds? Or attacking them with something?"
"That doesn't work, but it says you need to lure them down with something."
"Have you tried giving the birds something? Or luring them with something?"
"If you try to give them the strip of bacon it says you'll need some sort of makeshift snare."
"Have you tried examining the trees?"
"What usually gets tied to trees? Maybe you can tie something to the trees to make a sort of container for your snare?"
"Tie the flag to the forest trees."
"What happens if you try putting the strip of bacon into the hammock?"
"Hercules won’t let you because they’d just swoop down, eat the strip of bacon, and leave."
"The list tells you to SLAY the birds, not just capture them, or even flay them. You need to poison the bacon somehow."
"Do you have the toxic-looking purple goo, the remains of your slain hydra?"
"It’s so poisonous you can’t even touch it!"
"You can’t put the goo on the bacon, it'd be really messy and might be dangerous. Best to just do the obvious."
"Put the purple goo in the hammock. Then put the strip of bacon in the hammock."

Table of Bull

hintuseda number
"Cretan Bull is somewhere in Crete, southeast of the Peloponnesian Shore. (Hercules will no longer get anxious when you try to take the ferry now.)"
"The bull’s not here. Where could it be?"
"I really hope you don't have to enter the dreaded Labyrinth…"
"Oh there it is!"
"Couldn’t you just take it? Is it really that simple?"
"Yep, it is! Congrats! :)"

Table of Diomedes' Mares

"Diomedes is in Thrace. Thrace is northeast of Stymphalia."a number
"He won’t let you do much here though. And he won't talk to you unless you show him or ask him about something that'll pique his interest."
"The only thing you didn’t have before the last labor was the bull. Show Diomedes the bull and he mentions his own mechanical bulls."
"Ask him about his mechanical bulls, and he just leaves! Time to do some snooping."
"Did you check the wastebasket? And the desk?"
"Hilariously non-secure of Diomedes. But which number is correct? There are like a bajillion numbers written on these notes!"
"You could just spam them but that’s no fun, and will take tons of time. Did you examine the calendar?"
"Seems like a meaningless bit of flavor. But it’s not. Try reading the description with a different emphasis."
"The Olympics winner from LAST month??"
"Diomedes has forgotten that the month has changed. Or at least, he HAD forgotten that the month changed. In the folded note he mentions a code from last month. That’s the one that opens the safe."
"'Spin safe to NUMBER ON NOTE'"
"Do you have anything that would allow you to take these mares without getting burned?"
"Check your inventory and examine the pendant you got from Artemis."
"But you can't put the pendant on yourself, it's not your style."
"Put the pendant on a mare. Now you can pick it up!"
"Repeat this process for all the mares, first taking the pendant off the mare you just took."

Table of Girdle

"Hippolyta is queen of the Amazons. She's in Amazonia, east of the Peloponnesian Shore."
"The warrior won’t let you see her without the mares of Diomedes. So show the mares to the warrior."
"Now Hippolyta’s here! Great! Did you try just asking her for the girdle?"
"Oh, great. Thanks, Hera. Now you have to make some medicine. Have you tried to leave to go get some?"
"Unless you've dropped something crucial, you won't even be allowed to leave. Almost everything you need is right here in Amazonia."
"The only things in Amazonia are the Amazon warrior (who’s already doing everything she can to help) and the ornate throne."
"The description of the throne names several other objects. Try to take them all."
"The dirt uncovers a bowl. You can probably use the bowl to mix up some medicine. But what are the ingredients for it?"
"You can only put some objects in the bowl. The game won’t let you put just any old thing in there."
"Have you examined the bowl? It’s cryptic, but it tells you exactly what ingredients you need."
"'…elements of earth and life…' is the dirt (which is from the earth) and the moss (which is plant life). '…trees strength tight…' is the vines."
"You’d think 'powder of love' would be the roses, but the game won’t let you put that in the bowl. Have you examined the roses?"
"Attack the roses with your claws. Then put the powder in the bowl."
"'Sleep from above' is the last ingredient you need."
"What makes things fall asleep?"
"Your trusty Benadryl. At least, it made the lion sleep, right?"
"Put the Benadryl in the bowl."

Table of Cattle

"Geryon resides in Erytheia, northwest of Elis near the Augean Stables."a number
"Geryon has a cow. Have you tried just taking it?"
"Ask the monster about its cow."
"That’s WAY too high a price!"
"Try to leave. Clearly it wants to give away its cow, it just wants a good price for it."
"Ask it about the cow again."
"Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. Time to spam the ask button."
"Now you've haggled it down to just wanting something of value! Do you have anything of value?"
"If the game prevents you from leaving, it means you have everything you need to solve the puzzle right now. If you CAN leave, maybe you’ve left something somewhere."
"Examine the girdle."
"Try giving the girdle to Geryon. (You may have tried this before. But it’ll only notice the price tag after you’ve talked it down a bit from the sticker price.)"

Table of Final Tasks

"So... I'm done, right?"Table of Penultimate Questioning""hint toggle rule
"How do I steal an apple from the garden?"Table of The Apples""hint toggle rule
"How do I capture Cerberus?"Table of Cerberus""hint toggle rule
"What do I do after I've captured the dog?"Table of Ultimate Puzzle""hint toggle rule

Table of Ultimate Puzzle

"You have 12/12 points. You’ve basically won — come on now!"a number
"What else is there to do?"
"Just give the list to Eurystheus!"

Table of Penultimate Questioning

"You’ve completed all your tasks! Right?"a number
"Examine your list."
"You need to go back to your cousin!"
"Give him the list."

Table of The Apples

"Great, two more tasks. Thanks, Eurystheus. The Garden of the Hesperides is west of the Western Shore. Since you have to go there now, Hercules will let you, albeit whilst shaking in your boots."a number
"Yep, there’s the dragon! It’s pretty fearsome. And more problematically, it prevents you from getting the apple of course. Or from going anywhere except backwards. You'll need to remove it somehow."
"You’re too weak to attack it of course. And there are no snares or nephews nearby to assist you this time. And it can’t be tricked with sleeping pills. Nor can you reason with it."
"Wait, what’s that on the ground? A chewed bone? Gross."
"What happens if you show the bone to Ladon?"
"Have you tried examining the dragon?"
"Tail wagging…looking to chase after something… Ladon looks scary, but he’s basically a dog, in the same way that the Erymanthian Boar was basically a bull!"
"Ladon wants to play fetch."
"Try throwing the chewed bone at Ladon"
"That’s no way to play fetch — you don’t throw your dog the bone directly!"
"Ladon is between you and the apple tree. And the cave is too near."
"But he’s not between you and the strange staircase, which seems to go down quite a ways."
"Throw the chewed bone at the strange staircase."
"Now just take the apple!"

Table of Cerberus

"You can't get to the Underworld by dying or going down the strange staircase. There’s another area you’ve yet to explore. The cave northeast of the Garden."a number
"Have you tried moving, taking, or touching the shrine?"
"Do you have something divine?"
"The red apple that you just stole comes from the heavenly garden. Put it on the shrine."
"Okay, that's something divine. But you don’t really have anything that could be considered 'monstrous' per se…"
"Unless there could be another meaning to the word 'monstrous'? Such as 'made by a monster'?"
"Put the receipt on the shrine. (Make sure you've left nothing on the shrine except those two items.)"
"Now a ticket stub in on the shrine. Make sure to take it before going back to the City Palace and going down."
"Have you tried getting in the boat? Or talking to Charon?"
"Give him the ticket stub."
"Have you examined the 'small' doggie cage?"
"The small doggie cage is actually large. That's a clue. You can fit anything inside the cage."
"If you put the bone in the cage, Cerberus enters but then leaves, finding no meat."
"Try putting one of your animals in the cage."
"It still doesn't work. Maybe all he needs is another animal?"
"Putting both your animals in the cage gets you even closer to distracting him, but not quite good enough."
"The non-meaty items are distracting Cerberus. Remove everything except the two animals from the cage."

Table of Lizards

"Wait, where are all these yellow-spotted lizards coming from?"a number
"Clearly they’re not supposed to be here. And they’re preventing you from heading in the right direction!"
"Have you tried shaking them off?"
"No, they just remain glued on. Hmm…"
"Could the lizards be retribution for something?"
"Did you take something from Diomedes’s shop that you shouldn’t have?"
"Maybe something red? And fish-shaped?"
"A red herring perhaps?"
"There are no yellow-spotted lizards. None have ever been present in any version of this game. Nothing is preventing you from moving on with your list. Quit reading the hints and continue your adventure!"