Puzzles are at the core of Adventure gameplay, they provide challenges for you to overcome with brains rather than brawn. For Action Adventures, they offer a break from the hacky-slashy-stabby-shooty element of title.
Every week I’ll bring you a new puzzle, drawn from some of the best and worst adventure or puzzle games I’ve ever played. Every once in a while I’ll even leave you one of my own for you to solve. If you do, I’ll find a way to reward you!
No one’s offered a solution to the escape scenarios from a few weeks ago, so you can still get that done: Just in case, here they are again. Also, let me remind you that this is an open puzzle, there are any number of solutions!
Base Scenario: “You wake up in a small room with concrete walls. Opposite the cot you were sleeping on is a door. A simple wooden door with a faux-golden handle—it’s locked. Under the cot is a toolbox. The toolbox has TWO tools of your choice, though they need to be real tools, so no laser swords. Which do you pick to escape?”
Variation 1: “Same scenario, but it’s a steel door. Increase the number of tools to THREE.”
Variation 2: “Not only is the door closed, but boarded up as well. The door itself has 5 locks for five different keys. Increase number of tools to FOUR.”
Next week I’ll give you my solutions, but I’m very interested in hearing yours!
For this puzzle we go back to ancient-ish Egypt for one of the most complex puzzles in Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy. In this Zelda-esque game you play as two different characters, Sphinx, a humanoid boy and excellent warrior and adventurer, and Tutankhamun, a young King turned into a Mummy by a curse placed on him.
In one of the game’s sequences you meet Rameses, the Lord of The Sarcophagi People. He’s a big talking Sarcophagus and he tells you he has a treasure for you if you complete his torch puzzle. There are five of them, forming a pentagram and lighting one lights the opposite ones on the star. If one of those is already on, it extinguishes the flames instead. You have to light all of them. It can really, and easily, get out of hand, forcing you to spend a long time just lighting and extinguishing torches.
But it’s not just the torches. Before you can even get there you have to go through a puzzle gauntlet using all the Mummy’s abilities. As an undead, King Tut won’t die even if he’s electrocuted, burnt, flattened or even cut in pieces. Instead, each of those give him a new powerup you use to complete the puzzles ahead of you. Splitting into three Mummies is important to step on simultaneous switches, electrifying the Mummy is good to take a charge to nearby conduits. Going flat lets you go through bars (and fall through grates to your demise, so be careful). Finally, being on fire is what you need to burn obstacles away and you guessed it, Light Torches!
The puzzle itself I love because it’s one of those sequential puzzles that can get increasingly complicated if you don’t do it right. And because the incendiary Mummy power lasts so long, you can keep on trying without it going away, so it never gets frustrating.
This is a puzzle I spent about 20 minutes on because I kept messing it up. It took me a long while to complete and it was satisfying. I loved it so much I used it in a Roleplaying Game campaign and my players loved it. They spent minutes scrawling on a piece of paper figuring out the correct sequence before presenting me with their solution. It was amazing. Since then it’s become one of my favourite puzzles ever.
But what I love the most about it is that the entire sequence is one giant puzzle. From the moment you start, it’s a massive Mummy-ability-fueled puzzle just to get to the torches. There’s platforming, lever pulling, using your clones, electrifying and even getting yourself burnt to progress. There is so much you do in this giant puzzle, and I found it amazing at the time. Also, with Sphinx’s segments being more action-y in nature, Tut provides all the adventuring fun you need to balance it all out! Also, he’s such a fantastic comedic character, muted but incredibly expressive. Makes the puzzles not only fun but also hilarious.
Unlike previous weeks and with the length and complexity of this segment, there’s a nice video of it. You can see it below.
Did you play this game? It was on PS2 as well, let me know if you did. I’d love to share stories with you!