When last our adventure left off, we were yet again jumping into the hideous jaw of the portal god en route to a mysterious place called Abydos. Our eventual goal at the time is to get from there to Heliopolis, where Monkey Man is waiting for us. So the portal god spits us up like some type of picky lava worm and we find ourselves in a sewer. Pleasant. There isn't anything we can really do down here except walk down the passage to the door, so that’s what happens.
As we emerge from the sewers we see the waterside city of Abydos. Near the entrance is a lady who grabs our attention to mention that the waters around the city are electrified due to an unusual infestation of electric eels. I understand the need to put walls around your game world, but really…electric eels?
For those unaware, it’s kind of hard to continuously electrify an entire ocean.
[Oh, and before we go any further, I’d like to clarify something about the images I’m using. You’ll notice that yes, a lot of the images I’m using in this entry may look like they’re crummy shots from a camera looking at a television, because they probably are. In all fairness though, those pictures are absolutely 100% stolen. You see, I don’t actually have access to any sort of equipment to capture footage from my television, or even know how to go about such a thing. So for the sake of this series I’m just going to have to scrounge up whatever flotsam the vast sea of Google image search provides.]
You can actually continue to talk to the lady who told you about the eels after the cutscene ends, and when I do she says “I hear someone dropped something in the well. I wonder what it is?” You mean apart from an obvious quest hook? I proceed to stroll up to Abydos plaza and see what else but a giant well in the dead center. Knowing how these things go, I prepare to practice my swan dive straight into sewage.
When we fall into the well, it’s actually a fair bit nicer than expected. Rather than falling into the sewer part of the sewer, we fall into what looks like an enclosed swimming pool. No really, it’s just a big rectangle of water with a skylight, surrounded by pots and an enclosed fence. The water even looks cleaner than the rest of the sewer.
It’d be a nice place to take the family on vacation. Y’know, if it weren’t for the fact that it’s in a sewer.
So I’m walking around, smashing pots, as is the ancient custom of the gamer people, when I see a plant growing in the corner. When I walk over and try to pick it up, I’m given the following message: “You got a healing herb! But it withered and died almost instantly!” I’d be snarky and say that isn’t how plants work, but given that healing herbs aren’t a thing that exist either I guess it’s not too much of a stretch to believe. At any rate, it’s clear that we’re going to need some other manner of item to harvest this herb. So I continue smashing pots and find…a pearl?
Who on earth would leave a pearl here, of all places? I guess the janitor was just cleaning up the Sewer Swimming Pool and while he was cleaning out his pot collection one of his pearls he just happened to carry around with him fell out of his pocket? Well I’ve now smashed every pot in the room, and there doesn’t appear to be any other way out except for a locked door. So I find the key at the bottom of the pool. But hang on, this presents some interesting questions…
First of all, the bottom of the pool is a grate, which you’d think the key would fall through. Although I guess it’s not really sitting on top of the grate, as this being a video game it’s floating slightly above it, suspended by those magic sparkles, presumably. The other problem is that the lock is on the inside of the gate. How exactly does that work? Do people literally just jump in the well like I did to get down here? There’s really no other way to get in here.
Feeling rather perplexed, I make my way back to the plaza. There’s a museum, but there’s a guard blocking it saying it won’t be open until later. The only other building in the plaza I can enter is a champion’s gauntlet, which sounds interesting. However, the proprietor won’t let me compete until I can jump slightly higher. Talking to everyone else in the plaza to figure out what to do, a man mentions that he’s lost his wife’s pearl necklace, and the replacement is 3 pearls short. I wonder what we could possibly do to aid him.
You know who else wonders?
The other two pearls are easy to find, as I merely have to shimmy along a ledge near the pearl man to find one and…shimmy along the other ledge near the pearl man to find the other. I’m astounded by the level of creativity in this level design. In a related note, the controls for grabbing onto ledges in this game are somewhat irritating. You have to turn around to face the ledge while falling off it, which led to a few untimely falls before I got it down. With all 3 pearls assembled, I hand them over to the man and in exchange he gives me the key to the upper walkway. Wait, why do we need a key to get to the upper walkway? As we’ll soon find out, that’s the only way to reach the rest of the city. Do the citizens of this particular plaza all just hang out here without ever making contact with the rest of the city?
“We’ve got everything we need here! A sewer, pots, a closed museum and an obstacle course, no discernible source of fresh water or food, uh…a sewer swimming pool…”
A short walk later and I’ve reached the other part of the city, around a water way. Charmingly, the first person I meet is a lazy bum who asks me for money. Give him nothing and he’ll complain. Give him a little bit and he’ll…still complain. Seriously? I don’t think this fellow has a very keen grasp on how giving people free money works. Then again, I suppose it’s perfectly logical for a bum to have a poor grasp on social etiquette and economics. Out of curiosity, I give him the largest amount I can. He thanks me, but otherwise it does nothing. Figures.
The only other building in the area that I can do something in now contains a mini-game which is literally just that Simon Says puzzle I saw earlier over again. You have to match less in a row but have to do several rounds to win. It’s easy, but also very low risk and reward, costing 5 scarabs (the game’s currency) to play and earning you 10 if you win. Sometimes mere pots contain that much, and in fact there’s one several steps from the door of the building. So if you were to just hit that, enter the building, exit and repeat you’d earn scarabs faster. Bit of a let-down.
Abydos is another place that looks pretty good considering the games age
If you try and enter any of the unlabeled doors in the city the doors are locked and people tell you to go away. Though this means there’s less area to explore, it arguably makes more sense than the usual video game world where no one locks their doors and everyone has an extremely relaxed outlook towards strangers with swords waltzing into their house and smashing all their pots. At any rate, there is actually another shop we can enter in between the plaza and waterway, one that sells monsters. One of the people inside the shop mentions that the museum is offering a zip line handle to someone who donates a monster. I have to say a zip line handle seems an…odd thing to reward people who donate to a museum, but whatever. I buy the cheapest monster and head back towards the museum.
Inside the now open museum, the only accessible door leads to the mayor giving the opening ceremony. The scene is interrupted by one of his assistants bringing bad news. Seems all of the jewels in the museum have been stolen! The only thing left in the room is a sarcophagus of some kind, which clearly isn’t a sign of anything whatsoever. After the meeting disbands, I’m able to talk to a museum representative who says they’ll compensate us if we find any of the stolen jewels. They also reiterate that for your first animal donation only, they’ll give you a reward. So I hand over the monster I bought (a frog with an inexplicable Mohawk) and receive the zip line handle.
Before I leave I check out what monsters they already have on display. One of them is, no joke, a Chihuahua, which seems a bit weird. Firstly because everything else here is some hideous monster or animal that wants to kill you in some way. Secondly because this is a world where there are literal dog people, which you’d think would make the domesticated kind bad form. Another thing that strikes me as odd is that many of these are formidable monsters only found in far off and highly dangerous places. How the hell did the museum get their hands on them?
There’s even one of those lava worms in the back here. So I guess one of the museum representatives went to the land of darkness, dodged lava and lasers and wrestled a giant lava worm into submission. Can I hire these guys to help me?
Anyway, with the zip line handle I can now use zip lines. Shocking, isn’t it? Though some of these lines lead to shortcuts or side areas, one on the waterway leads to a boat. Conveniently enough, the boat is headed for Heliopolis, the place I need to go, and the owner is willing to take me along for a small fee. After shelling out a few Scarabs we’re off. Next time we’ll look at Heliopolis, which I’m sure is a friendly place filled with naught but helpful people and sunshine.