1 The Muppet Mindset: The Epic CD-ROM Family Adventure: Part 3

Jul 10, 2010

The Epic CD-ROM Family Adventure: Part 3

Lisa Alexander – Once we go to the second floor of the Benbow Inn, we’re in a hallway that really seems pointless. It’s there because logically, going up the stairs wouldn’t deposit you directly into Billy’s room.

Immediately, we hear Billy in his room. “The black spot… The black spot!” he moans, and Gonzo scurries in from the left side of the screen. “A real black spot? Can I see it? I’ve never seen a real black spot before, Mr. B!” Gonzo rushes into Billy’s room and closes the door behind him as Rizzo comes running after with a “Hey, hey, hold that—“ Of course, the rat slams into the door and wobbles out the word “door” to finish his sentence as he stumbles back to the left side of the screen. Once he’s out of sight, we hear a crash and he says, “Hey, watch out!”

That’s some nice slapstick, right? We all love when Steve Whitmire’s characters are the butt of a little slapstick (case in point: Bean Bunny), so if given the option, we will gladly watch Rizzo run across the screen, slam into the door, and toddle back over and over and never tire of it. Luckily for us, there’s a way to do just that. In the bottom corner of the screen, there’s a random piece of wood. I can’t for the life of me figure out what it’s supposed to look like, but if you click on it, Rizzo runs across the screen again. “Hey, hey, watch out!” he yells, running into the door on the word “out.” Then he dizzily groans as he stumbles back the way he came and apparently crashes again once he’s out of our sight.

The hallway is really very boring. The loudly-ticking grandfather clock seems like it’s there just to make sure you get bored in the hallway. Occasionally, you’ll hear some dishes breaking or some laughter, presumably from downstairs, and once in a while you hear a little thunder. Like I said in Part 2, you can always move your cursor to the upper-left corner of the screen, where your cursor turns into a musical note and clicking means you get music. I’m not very good at describing music, and in the hallway, it’s not something pulled from the movie. Actually, the music sounds kind of bored. It’s waiting for you to go into Billy’s room already. Let’s face it—standing in the hallway isn’t a very exciting plot point. However, the music does mean you don’t hear the ticking clock.

As usual, clicking on something else makes the music stop, and the clock comes back. On the right side of the screen, you can see the same window the pirates were walking past when we were on the first floor. Click on it now, and Blind Pew hobbles out behind the random wood thing. “I’ll be coming back with some friends to take back our TREASURE map… and, whatever ELSE we can lay our eyes on. GET IT? Our EYES? Lay our EYES on? Ahh! I KILL me!” He’s so busy laughing at his own joke as he leaves that once he’s off-screen, he trips and crashes into something—possibly the same thing Rizzo keeps crashing into.

The only other interesting thing in the hallway is the grandfather clock. It’s in serious need of repair, based on the fact that the only number on the face is a three, and the three is right about where the ten should be. Clicking on the face of the clock will make it jump out and swing around on a spring, accompanied by a cartoony noise. Clicking on the little double-doors under the face of the clock will have one of three results. One, a blank piece of wood will stick out and go right back in. Two, a smug little green bird will pop out and give you an amused look before it gets yanked back into its place with a startled “cuckoo!” Three, that same bird will pop out and obediently cuckoo before it’s yanked back in.

There is also a bottom panel on the clock that you would probably never think to click on unless you happened to roll your mouse over it and saw it light up. If you click, there’s a puff of smoke, and suddenly a yellow diamond-shaped rock with the letter “E” carved in it is sort of hovering in the air just in front of the clock. If you click on it, you hear a gravelly voice echo as it says, “HAHAHARGH! Ya FOUND the first rock, and yer STILL alive! Yer doin’ better than most! HahahaHARGH!” Then there’s a little chime noise as the rock disappears, and Stevenson shifts his wings with a, “Hey thanks!”

If you’ve never played the game before, you have no idea what just happened. In fact, you’re probably a little creeped out. This is one of very few complaints I have about The Game: It’s way too easy to find this rock before you have any clue what it’s for and hear that voice before you know who it is. At any rate, Stevenson’s little wing-shift means that he is now carrying that rock in his wing, which is probably physically impossible, but hey, these are Muppets.

Stevenson is bored here, too. It doesn’t show the first time you click on him, when he says (with some fantastic intonation), “Now, if you ask ME, I’d go into the pirate’s room. I’d LOOK for the treasure map. Then again, who am I? I’m just your—ADVENTURE PARROT! On the ROAD to ADVENTURE! That’s all.” But the second time you click him, it’s clear enough. “Okay, right, it’s not like the hallway’s not a lot of FUN, but I’d still like to go into the pirate’s room. PLEASE?” He hops with a little parrot noise on his way off.

And the bird’s right. There is absolutely nothing else to do in the hallway. If you move your cursor around enough, you’ll find that your options are to go into Billy’s room or go back downstairs, so into Billy’s room we go.

“The black spot caught me!” Billy moans as he trudges out of the room with his hands on his face.
Rizzo comes in and frantically paces as he delivers what is quite possibly my favorite line of the entire game. “Oh… Oh, this is bad, this is bad! Pirates, black spot, danger—and worst of all, the refrigerator’s empty! Oh…” Then he leaves to the left of the screen, and the door closes all by itself.

If we click on the black spot that’s on the floor by Billy’s bed, the spot grows and shrinks as Rizzo’s nervous voice explains, “The black spot is the universal pirate symbol for death and doom!” If you click on it again, you get Billy’s voice. “Ahh! The black spot! So that’s how it ends for old Billy—the black spot! And all for a stinkin’ treasure map.” Then he makes noises like he’s dying, which is actually the only allusion to his death in the entire game.

Now, I can understand why the creators of the game might have decided not to show Billy’s death—it was obviously an issue in the movie, too. (“He died? And this is supposed to be a kids movie!”) However, I take issue with the fact that they don’t mention it at all, and it kind of amuses me that they bothered with the hallway when they omit this plot point. Really, without Billy dying, we’re stealing the map instead of oddly inheriting it, and I’m not sure that’s so much better in a Family Adventure than Billy dying. Other than the child-friendly thing, I can’t figure out much reason for them to have omitted Billy’s death than the fact that the way the game is set up makes it impossible for Billy to grab us by the shirt and tell Jimmy-Jim Jimmy-Jim Jim-Jim-Jim to take the map—especially since in the entire game, we the player are addressed as “Hawkins,” a clever little trick to allow the player to preserve his or her gender. Somehow, “Hawkins-Hawk Hawkins-Hawk Hawk-Hawk-Hawk” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

I’ve mentioned that you have the option of music on most screens of the game, which ends as soon as you click something. Here, it’s not an option, and it doesn’t end. The same music from the hallway keeps playing, but Billy’s room is much more fun than the hallway.

There’s some dirty laundry covering the floor, and if you click on it, Rizzo pops out with one of two things to say. He might crack a joke and say, “I dunno what's more dangerous—being socked by a dirty pirate, or bein' in here with a pirate's dirty SOCKS!” holding up an orange sock for emphasis before he burrows back into the laundry. Or, he might emerge and say, “PHEW! I think Mr. BONES should do his LAUNDRY once in a while!” in which case he will then turn and look at Billy’s bed (which is empty and sloppily made with a skull-and-crossbones print blanket) before he hesitantly adds, “...On second thought, don't bother. And they say RATS smell bad...” before once again settling behind the pile.

If you click the window over Billy’s bed, you get a little thunder and lightning. There’s a wood-burning stove by the door, and if you click on the big pipe above it, it makes some clanking noises that would probably cause me some serious concern if they happened in my own house. If you click on the stove itself, it makes a little smoke puff inside. If you haven’t already found that mysterious E rock in the hall, that will also appear in a puff of smoke on top of the stove, which is much more logical than the stone just hanging in mid-air, but who wants logic? Clicking on the rock would have the same results as it did in the hallway, and you would still have no idea what it was.

Billy has a portrait of his mother hanging on the wall beside his bed. You can’t tell that it’s his mother—or even that it’s female, quite honestly—until you click on it. The portrait suddenly becomes much less dingy as the woman turns her head towards the bed, her bottom jaw moving kind of like a nutcracker’s and not at all in sync with her words as she goes all Jewish-mother on her son. “Billy—did you remember to say thank you after stealing the treasure map?” “Billy—did you remember to brush yer tooth?” “Billy! Did you remember to check the expiration date on yer explosives?” Now I know that sounds like just about any mother, and since her accent is even thicker than Billy Bones’, I might not have pegged her as sounding like a Jewish mother if she hadn’t gone for the guilt trip: “BILLY! Why couldn’t ye be more like Mrs. HOOKS’ boy? He calls her every week, no matter WHERE he’s pillagin’!” (Note: In the novel Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, it’s said that Captain Hook is the only man the old Sea-Cook ever feared, so this isn’t the first time Hook has been connected with characters from Treasure Island.)

This room is also probably my favorite place in the game to click on Stevenson. He really shines here.

He starts out cheerful enough on the first click. “BOY, it’s really messy in here. And I'm allergic to da—daHA—da-CHOO!” He groans and wipes his beak on his wing before he looks at you with his eyelids drooped and continues, now sounding thoroughly congested. “Let—let's just get outta here. But first, we really need to find the map."

On the second click, he’s still plenty congested as he says, “Ya KNOW Hawkins, whenever I'm looking for a treasure map, I happen to look in the treasure chest in the MIDDLE OF THE ROOM!” He sniffs and adds, “Oh, but that’s just me. Hint hint, nudge nudge.” Then he wipes his beak on his wing before miserably trudging off. At this point, I like to be a smart-aleck and point out that the big sea chest is on the side of the room, not in the middle, but I like to give the bird a hard time. (Yes, I know he can’t hear me.)

His congestion seems a little clearer on the third click, when he’s just short of frantic as he says, "Let's open up this chest fast, okay? Just in case this black spot thing is contagious? Ah ha! That's all I NEED!" And he makes an almost strangled-sounding parrot noise before he goes. (Seriously—think about the noise Kermit makes when someone grabs him by the neck, and then imagine that sound as it would come from a parrot.)

On the fourth click, I think he might try to tell you something, but he can’t, because he sneezes again and then goes back to his perch. In this room, his perch is a cobweb, which again is physically impossible and also doesn’t seem like a very wise choice for a parrot with dust allergies.

Our next step is obviously to go to the chest, but we’ll do that next time. Until then, maybe Stevenson can find a smarter place to perch.

1 comment:

  1. Fo some reason, the entie picture screen is minimized on my computer. Does anyone know how to fix this whenever I play the game?