The Ferryman Awaits

By Dave E

Originally published in EUG #69

This is a complex game in which death (sometimes literally) seems to lurk at every corner. Most commands and objects require only the first one or two letters to be typed (though all three are required for "SAY"). Directions can be abbreviated (e.g. N, S, E, W, NE, U, etc.) but note that "DOWN" must be entered for "DOWN" since "D" is reserved for "DROP" (and "G" = "GET", "EX" = "EXAMINE"). Your inventory appears to be unlimited.

THE FERRYMAN AWAITS - The Pentagram Symbol

You awake paralysed from the neck down with a priest reading you the Last Rites. Clearly an uneviable situation to be in but, curiously, you have to get killed first time around to discover that the correct thing to do here is to SAY NIMLAX. Tsk, tsk, not good adventuring practice at all. Anyway, once the Priest is staggering around clutching at his eyes and whimpering pathetically, jump DOWN from the sacrificial altar (This in turn will alarm the acolytes who will come running at you). PUSH the dead PRIEST into the burning pit then escape DOWN after him into the pit of snakes.

Now go S into a hollow then DOWN into the hole in the floor. You will fall into an underground river and be washed onto some gravel. Go E to the northwest side of a large chamber where you will discover a stairway. Start U this, then go S into the passage at the top. Go E at the T-junction to enter a small storeroom, in which you'll find some rum and a lamp. You don't need the lamp so just GET the RUM.

Now go back W to the T-junction again and S to a small room where a guard is, um, standing guard. You don't get time to do anything in this location because the guard immediately chucks a net over your head and drags you kicking and screaming to a prison cell.

Taking a LOOK around the cell offers not only a full description of your rank environs but also the tantalising prospect of a delicious savory meal. GET the PIE and EXAXMINE the PIE to continue. You will have noticed from the description that there is also a ledge in your room, so EXAMINE LEDGE and GET SHARD of flint. You only get one shot at the next bit so make sure you don't mistype anything. Firstly, SHOUT to attract the attention of the guard. He will come running into your cell and shout back, whereupon KILL GUARD and you will automatically hack his guts out with the shard of flint. (If you don't type KILL GUARD then the guard will leave and he will not return if you shout again.)

It is worth it to EXAMINE the GUARD at this point for some biting social comment.

Now go N into a passage. Make sure you CLOSE the DOOR behind you as this allows a fungal growth to begin to breed in the confined space. Now go E into a courtyard which continues a number of tall poles. EXAMINE the POLES then SHAKE the POLES so that one of the skulls on the top of them falls to the ground. GET the SKULL then EXAMINE the SKULL. It is covered with rotting flesh.

There is also a well in this location that can be used as a shortcut to get to the underground river of mud. Take a moment to EXAMINE WELL and note that it cannot be used to bring up any water at the moment.

Go back W into the passage then OPEN DOOR again to your cell. Go S back into it and you will discover a large fungal growth now protruding from the body of the dead guard. Yech! GET FUNGUS. You can also EXAMINE FUNGUS for some more cringeworthy narrative.

Type PUT SKULL ON LEDGE and then EXAMINE SKULL. You will find that a number of creepy-crawlies have set up home inside of it, usefully glowing so brightly that it can then be used as a source of light. Now GET SKULL and GET GUARD. If you EXAMINE DOOR, you'll notice that the description is giving you a clue that the door may have another purpose. So now HIT DOOR and you will be suitably chastised by the computer for breaking it down. GET the DOOR as well (You're now carrying the entire contents of your prison cell on your shoulders!). Now go N and W back to the small room where you were grabbed by the guard. In this location there are a pair of keys, although these can safely be ignored.

Go S to a bend in the passage, then E and E to the end of it. Then EXAMINE WINDOW, which you are told is 'too small to get through'. GET TRICORN HAT. WEAR TRICORN. Go W and W again, then go N and W to the opposite end of the passage. Go NW into Hctam's fire chamber. Now GET the MIRROR and EXAMINE MIRROR. This will reveal the unflattering changes in your physical state as the game progresses.

Go E to a waiting room and you will find a large, floppy hat. GET HAT. The hat is one of the game's magic transportation devices and will come in handy later. (To use it: WEAR HAR, LOOK, then go N, LOOK and GET HAT.)

Go W and EXAMINE STATUE. The statue has been recently dumped in this room and pushed into a corner of the chamber. PUSH STATUE and you'll get the intriguing message 'Urrrrgh...'. We'll return to this part later.

Now go S and U back to the room of your would-be sacrifice. DROP GUARD on the altar and he will be absorbed. 'Something' (actually a bottle of blood which you'll find a few moves later!) will also roll from the base of the altar.

Now go DOWN again and EXAMINE the DRAPES to discover a hidden passage to the west. Go W and, in the secret chamber, GET AMULET. (If you EXAMINE AMULET you will discover it is made of iron.)Go E and back DOWN into the pit of snakes. You will now discover the sealed bottle of blood and should GET BOTTLE and EXAMINE BOTTLE to continue. The bottle is covered in strange runic symbols.

Continue S and DOWN into the stream and, when washed up, go W onto the ledge above the river. The ledge has crumbled away here so DROP the DOOR to make a bridge between the ledges. Type LOOK just to ensure the dropped door is spanning the gap, then go W across it. You will now be able to see a metal bar. GET BAR.

Now go W and W again to the base of a loose gravel slope. Attempt to climb U and the gravel will slip around and not allow you any further. Now DIG in the gravel, and yet more gravel will cascade down the slope. It will actually knock you into the river but you will survive.

Go E back to the side of the chamber and this time go SE onto pumice blocks which sit stepping-stone style over the boiling mud. Weeds block the way forward here at the moment so DROP the FUNGUS and it will soften and morph into the mud. Now go back NW and W, W, W, W, W all the way back to the bottom of the gravel slope. You will find a huge lump of sulphur here, so GET SULPHUR. EXAMINE SULPHUR and you will be told it is yellow; the same colour as the murderous priest's disc.

Now go E, E, E, E, E and SE. You will see that the weeds have now been replaced by lumps of mouldy fungus (making it safe to cross!). We will come back to this in a bit.

Go back NW and U the carved stairway. A passage leads south from here, so go S back to the T-junction and S again to the small room. Go NW and you will see that pushing the statue earlier has allowed you to squeeze NW again past it. EXAMINE the lowered HAND of the statue and you will be told it is 'almost in reach'. THROW the BAR you collected earlier and LOOK to see that it has landed in the hand, allowing you to climb U. Go U into the ventilation system and then U once more onto a sloping icy roof.

Do a little dance E, S, N and back W and a huge iceball will come streaming past you and smash through the grate that was blocking your way. (Now you also know the cause of the rumbling!)

Go DOWN and DOWN back through the ventilation system, then GET BAR again. Go DOWN again to the base of the statue.

Now go NE onto the ledge, N into the small cave and NW onto a balcony. Ignore the screeching bird for now and go S and DOWN into a small chamber where you'll find an ivory box. GET IVORY BOX and EXAMINE IVORY BOX to find it contains a compass. This will come in very useful later.

Now go U and S to the gravel slope. THROW the BAR and it will wedge between the rocks. Go N into the dark room and NE to the small cave. Now go S, SW and SE to the temple. PULL the STATUE to close up the same gap you opened earlier.

Return SE, E, N and N again to the stairway and note that the air is now misty. If you'd attempted to go further upwards earlier in the game then you would have been shot by arrows. We will return here for the endgame.

Retreat DOWN and go W, W, W, W and W again to where you left the dangling rope. Go U the rope and N into the dark room. Now go NE, S, E and S inside of the statue. You will find a black, hooded robe. GET ROBE and WEAR ROBE then go back N, W, N, SW and S again. GET the BAR and go DOWN. Now go E, E, E, E and E to the northwest side of the chamber.

Head SE onto the pumice blocks, then go SE to the small bay, and SE again to a low section of tunnel. Claw your way over the pumice blocks SE, SE and SE and finally go E into the desert.

WEAR the floppy HAT and you will be transported somewhere else!

LOOK (to get your bearings!) then go N and you will be transported somewhere else!

LOOK (again, to get your bearings!) and you will be in a sandstone gully - and the hat will have been knocked off your head! GET the HAT again - you'll need it later! - and also GET the HORN that's lying at your feet. EXAMINE HORN and you will be told the mouthpiece has broken off - this is actually a cryptic clue for later on in the game!

Go E and E to the end of the gully and GET the sea BOOTS there. If you EXAMINE BOOTS you will see they are stained with salt. So WEAR BOOTS and proceed to EXAMINE the Elvish CARVINGS on the walls of the pool. You will be told they read 'Eligig'. Try to SAY ELIGIG and the computer will (very) enthusiastically narrate the appearance of a sword. Type GET SWORD. Note that the hand will grab the flint as it descends for no particular reason (other than to disconcert you!).

EXAMINE SWORD and note that the word 'Morvell' is carved along the blade. Now go SE onto the beach and note that this is an area populated by pirates. You're not ready to meet them yet - you can try going NW into their cave if you want, but they will chuck you out!

Now go SW to the end of the gully and W, W and W again to the desert. Cross this by going N, S, E, W, E and E again to the bank of the river of mud.

Go W to the south of a bridge and N to the gate of the tower. Ignore the guards and go NW. You will find a tempest now whips up around you and pulls you down into it.

Many hours later, you will emerge in a gully. LOOK. The tempest will pick you up and toss you around some more.

In this location, there is a bridge overhead and typing U will haul your derriere onto it. You need the skull here to provide enough light to see by the way.

Go E and you will be standing next to a rock filled with mist. EXAMINE the MIST and you will see a vision of a dark tower. Again, this is a portent of things to come. Clamber W over the bridge and W onto the rocks. Then go SW and E to a giant stone tree. EXAMINE TREE and go U into its branches. There is an unhappy man sitting in here as well but we can't help him at the moment, so go DOWN, and DOWN again into a rock chamber where a pentagram has been carved on on the floor. DROP the HORN here. If you try to get it again, you will realise you cannot.

Now, if you haven't followed this solution correctly, or if you let yourself die to find out you had to SAY NIMLAX, you will be aware that death in The Ferryman Awaits takes you on a trip to the underworld, a rather nasty place where actual death awaits you in a number of forms. There is one item in your possession which can also take you there instantly - the meat pie (although what the game's author has against the Menai Centre, Anglesey can only be surmised!). So, EAT PIE now.

LOOK to find you are in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. [Rap a bit of Gangstas' Paradise at this point if the mood takes you! :-) - Ed] Now EXAMINE SIGN. Don't wait for the ferry. DRINK from the river instead and 'a cold chill' will run through you. Now EXAMINE MIRROR to be told you have the gray and lifeless features of one of the living dead!

Go E through a bending gully and S onto a windswept plain. Now WEAR HAT. You'll be completely covered by it. Go N to escape from it and LOOK. You will be in a wholly new location, surrounded by a stone circle, and at your feet will be a green jerkin. GET JERKIN, EXAMINE JERKIN (to discover the claw marks on one shoulder) and WEAR JERKIN. Now GET the HAT again, and go N.

Now it's time to employ the compass to navigate the windswept plain. EXAMINE COMPASS. It will be pointing NORTH. Follow it. EXAMINE COMPASS again, and go S. Then EXAMINE COMPASS, SW, EXAMINE COMPASS and go E to a mound of earth. You find find the mouthpiece to the horn here, so GET MOUTHPIECE and EXAMINE MOUTHPIECE. This is part of the second transportation device and obviously linked to the horn. However, you need to be carrying the amulet for it to work.

In the introduction to the game, you are informed that only a personal device can remove you from the Underworld so SAY MOLD (your name) and, after some startling special effects, you will be able to LOOK to discover you are back at the pentagram where you dropped the horn.

Go U, W, S, E and E back to the mist-filled hollow). WEAR the HAT, shrink down inside it, go N, emerge, LOOK (to find you are now South of the bridge) and GET HAT again.

It's finally time to cross that bridge. As you're dead, the guards can no longer harm you. So go N and N. They will charge at you with spears but they will fail to harm you. You can also now GET one of the SPEARs they attacked you with!

Go N into acrid smoke and N again to a passage. Feel your way W and N and you will find you are back in the small room. Go W and NW back to Hctam's chamber and PUSH STATUE to open the gap again. Go NW into the gap and then NE so you are standing behind the statue. Now go N into the small cave and NW onto the north balcony again. This time when the bird screeches, THROW the SPEAR at it.

If you LOOK you will now see there is a dead parrot lying on the ground. GET PARROT and EXAMINE PARROT to discover it's the Norwegian blue [Bit of a cultural nod to Monty Python! - Ed]. Now go S, S and DOWN the gravel slope.

You now need to go to the carved staircase again, which is E, E, E, E and E. Once there, you need to go to the river of mud, which is SE, SE, SE, SE, SE and SE. Go E into the desert again and WEAR HAT and go N to get back to the sandstone gully. GET your HAT once again.

Now have you noticed that you've been picking up rather a lot of pirate costume gear? The tricorn hat, the jerkin, the salt-stained boots and the keg of rum?! Well, if you've followed this solution to the letter you're now looking just like Long John Silver himself and you can now get entry into that pirates' cave that you were thrown out of earlier. So go across the sands E, E, NE and NW. The pirates are still pretty unfriendly, even to one of their own, but they will give you a sticky lump of tar in exchange for the rum.

Now SAY MOLD again to be transported back to the pentagram. Go U, W, S, E and E back to the mist-filled hollow. WEAR the HAT here, and go N when inside it. LOOK to ensure you're back south of the bridge then GET the HAT again and go N, N, N and N to the passage. Continue W, N, N and N onto the stairway again then descend DOWN to the pile of rocks and go SE, SE and SE to stand in a low, wide section of the tunnel where the roof is cracked.

Draw in a deep breath and SAY MORVELL. The sword you are carrying now explodes and an earthquake blasts through the cave, collapsing the roof. SAY MOLD to transport yourself back to the pentagram in the rock chamber.

From here you need to do the same laborious sequence of moves to get back to being south of the bridge, so go: U, W, S, E, E (to the mist-filled hollow), WEAR HAT, N and LOOK. Now GET HAT and go back to the stairway: N, N, N, N, W, N, N, N.

The rockfall has caused the cavern to flood and we can now enter the dark opening. Check you are wearing the sea boots then go N, N, N and N to a small chamber in which there is a small cube of an orange spongy substance. GET the CUBE and EXAMINE CUBE. It has a pungent and unsettling odour on which you will shortly have the opportunity to trip out.

Retrace your steps S, S, S, S, S and S to the small room. Head W, NW and E back to the waiting room. The strangely inviting cube is in fact a potent drug so eating it is out of the question. However, if you LICK CUBE, you will get something of a high and a low... and if you LOOK after returning to earth, you will see that the slab has cracked to reveal a stone wall. Clearly you've been quite out of it for some time!

Go W and outside you will see a black rod with a star at the end. GET the ROD, EXAMINE ROD and WAVE ROD and there will be a small puff of smoke. Now you must SAY MOLD to be transported back to the rock chamber. Go U and try to go U again. You will not be able to, but you will be told that the tree is now 'ages old' and you cannot reach its branches. Again, this is because a great deal of time has passed since you licked that cube.

Now, how you're supposed to guess the next bit is utterly beyond me. But after some program disassembly, this next part is apparently the next sequence of moves:

Firstly go DOWN to the pentagram again. SAY DEATH.

Your words echo through the horn, the air boils and the grim spectre of death appears. He drops his sythe [sic] and says, in a shocked voice, 'Ye Gods! What's Time been up to now?!' then drops his sythe [sic] and fades away.

(Why? What? How?!)

No matter. It gets even curiouser. Now EXAMINE SYTHE [sic] and then SAY TIME.

This command summons Old Father Time who appears, states 'What are you doing there? Begone!' and fades away.

(Compose yourself and stop laughing!)

You have now been sent back to the past. So go U again, and try to climb U once more. Of course, you are back in the past so the old man is still sitting in the tree branches (and you can still climb into them!).

The old man will grab the rod and gives you a piece of chalk, which you can see by typing INVENTORY.

That's just about it for all the puzzle elements of the game now, and it's time to sort out Agrogorggan in the Endgame.

Go through the long, tedious trek to the stairway: DOWN, W, S, E, E (mist-filled hollow), WEAR HAT, N, LOOK, GET HAT, N, N, N, N, W, N, N and N.

From the stairway, go U and W to the hall of black marble where horned demons stand by the stairs.

Some of the traps that exist, but which we are not going to fall into are:

1.   You need the sword to kill Agrogorggan, but it disappears as soon as it's used. So if you kill the horned demons with it, this makes the game unwinnable.
2. You need to have drunk from the River Styx, and you need to be wearing the robe, carrying the sythe and holding the chalk, tar, bottle of blood and lump of sulphur by the time you face Agrogorggan.

Let's go. Go N into Agrogorggan's darkened chamber. He will project a jet of flame at you but your preparations will ensure this does no damage. Get out the chalk and Draw a PENTAGRAM. An evocative description will inform you that the outline lifts from the ground and hangs in the air. Agrogorggan will now make his next move and pick up a large chain. This starts a countdown to your demise so make sure you don't type anything wrongly in the next few moves.

Type SMASH BOTTLE and the blood inside of it will form into runic letters, again lifting from the ground and hanging in the areas around the pentagram. Agrogorggan will grin at you and whirl the chain above his head.

Now THROW TAR which will stick to Agrogorggan's hand and force him to drop the chain for a moment. He will reach down to pick it back up.

Again, the next move seems almost impossible for anyone to figure out without disassembling the game. You must type SAY NAGGROGORGA, a demon mentioned in the game's introduction; apparently Agorgorggan's sworn enemy. The two of them will battle it out for a while but Agorgorggan will in fact win, although he will be left severely weakened.

Now SAY NIMLAX and the sulphur will burn and explode, searing Agrogorggan's flesh and spinning him into a corner. He's still not quite dead though, as his flaying legs indicate. So type KILL AGROGORGGAN and you will sadistically plunge the 'sythe of Death' into him, ending his reign once and for all.

The ending text will inform you "Congratulations, I think you've been rather clever."

THE FERRYMAN AWAITS - The Pentagram Symbol

Ahem, yes. However, one might point out that you should not have to hack your way into an adventure to figure out how to proceed, and I defy anyone to tell me how you could solve this adventure without doing so. Still, it is lots of fun to play and has some great location and object descriptions.

This solution is based on a Wibble and Blim production for the Classic Adventure Solutions Archive.