Sadim Castle

By Barbara Gibb

Originally published in EUG #72

SADIM CASTLE - Absolutely fucking awful!
Is it an adventure - or a sick joke?

Alright, everyone. I'm bestowing on Sadim Castle the 'honour' of being the most terrible adventure ever produced for the BBC/Electron. Here we have a 'solution' to it provided by Barbara Gibb of the Classic Adventure Solution Archives. However, she is a better man than me, because the terror of trying to follow it through has left me visibly shaken and swearing like a docker. To me, Sadim Castle is nothing short of a confidence trick - a piece of code pretending to be an adventure, whilst actually being something akin to malware, malicious code intended to cause untold damage to your health. Let me make this absolutely clear: I am never playing, or attempting to play, Sadim Castle ever again. Let me explain why...

Each and every time you commence a game, Sadim Castle allocates a random number to a counter of 'permissible moves' - before you will be killed by some "nameless terror" pissed off by your prying. Not only that however, but you are given fair warning (four moves before you will be unceremoniously 'offed') by 'blood curdling howls' and mysterious 'mists' rolling in around your feet. There is no escape from death once you see these. On some games they will start to appear just thirty or so moves in.

See these red messages and you might be tempted to QUIT rather than face your inevitable bloody demise - Don't! If you QUIT, you simply start the same game - with the exact same 'permissible moves' count - all over again. You'll play the exact same game you QUIT from, all over again, and be killed at the exact same place. Only by being killed might you happen to start again with a higher number of 'permissible moves'. Of course, you might get a lower number too.

I don't know what's worse - the existence of this f***ing feature or the fact that the game forces you to endure it time after time. You need about 200 moves to complete the adventure, so if the completely hidden 'permissible moves' counter has been set to less than this, you have no way of ever completing the f***er on that turn - you end up having to start over, and over, and over [Yes, we get the point! - Ed], playing every game dreading that 'A blood curling howl can be heard!' message!

Having determined this was what was at work, and seeing that Ms. Gibb had managed to create a full solution, I put on my thinking cap about how I might at least make progress in this game 'tolerable' for anyone foolhardy enough to follow in her and my footsteps. BeebEm has a nice 'Save State' feature which, I figured, could be used to save the game just after it had started. Finally, I figured I'd get lucky. If I did a 'Save State' each time the game started I was bound to get a game with enough 'permissible moves' allocated sooner or later. Right? Wrong. Sorry, MP Software, I draw the line at 100 games with no chance of success and that's why you get an award for taking the piss. This is by no means an easy adventure - without even giving anyone a fair crack of the whip. What the f*** were you playing at?!

If you, dear reader, are really some sort of masochist, here is a full 'solution' for Sadim Castle. It's got even more random elements that the 'permissible moves', as you will see and... well, you will not see because you'll play it once or twice and probably throw your Electron out of the window. I'll be astonished if you do finally lay Lenora to rest.

You begin outside a pair of magnificent gates at the west of the castle. Go N to a track and N along it. Continue E to the magnificent gates at the north of the castle then E and E again into a derelict barn. GET the FLINT (There is also a wheelbarrow but you do not need this at the moment) and retrace your steps W, W and W back to the track. Now go N.

You will now be by a wooden gate with a sign reading "Beware of the bull". As the gate is closed, OPEN GATE then head N into the meadow. Go N a second time and there will be a torrential downpour. You will now see a farmer's wife trying to catch water from a leaking roof. FIX her ROOF and she will reward you with a pitcher (a type of bucket). Now return S. A fierce-looking bull will eye you up but won't give you any problem as you step S again.

You now need to check the location descriptions carefully for "a cowled figure of a monk stands nearby holding some broken pottery". If you come across him, GIVE him the PITCHER and you will receive a bunch of keys in return.

From the wooden gate now, go S, S and S back to the opening location. Then go S one more time onto a dirt track. Head W and ENTER the little CHAPEL there. Inside you will be able to make out a crucifix, a bible and a prayer book in the dim light. PRAY and the altar will give you the message 'Help Thyself'.

You only need the bible so GET BIBLE and then walk W into a small room. An oil lamp is here so GET LAMP and immediately LIGHT LAMP (with the flint) so you can see when you go D into the crypt. Down here you will find a coffin. EXAMINE COFFIN to discover it is empty.

Handily there's a stake lying right next to the coffin so GET STAKE before returning U. To put out the lamp in this adventure requires the phrase EXTINGUISH LAMP. Return E and S to the outside world. Go E onto the dirt track and E again to the South gates of the castle. OPEN the GATES with the monk's keys (assuming that you have them - if you don't, either wander around randomly until you meet him then return here or begin the adventure again). Head N into the castle.

You are now inside the castle. ENTER the LODGE. Inside, you will find a large drum of paraffin. FILL your LAMP then head OUT. Go N onto a drive and DROP the FLINT here. Head E onto another drive where you will see a bedraggled figure. TALK to FIGURE and he will suggest you visit the hunting lodge in the NE of the deer park.

The route is this is E, E then N, N and then, illogically, S to the rear. As there is an old oak tree nearby, do as all adventures do and CLIMB TREE. You will discover not only a fine view of the lake but also a large golden key wedged in a fork. GET GOLD KEY. (You may see a sinister figure flitting around at this point - don't get too spooked.)

Return D and E to the side of the lodge. Head S to a sturdy door in the wall and OPEN the DOOR with the key you just found. After it creaks open, ENTER LODGE. You will find a sharp hunting knife. GET KNIFE then go OUT again. Return S, SE and S to just inside the east gates of the castle.

OPEN the GATES here. Now it is advisable to SAVE the game at this point because some random elements operate to kill you off.

Go W, W, W and W onto a drive where you will be threatened by a cheetah. This next part really sucks - you have to type the command KILL CHEETAH but whether you succeed in striking a fatal blow seems dependent on a calculation related to the number of moves you have made. (If you have saved the game, experiment with the combinations of W, W, W, W, KILL CHEETAH. If you always die then try W, W, E, W, W, W, KILL CHEETAH. Alternatively, try W, W, W, W, WAIT, KILL CHEETAH. I warn you, you can end up feeling this bit is impossible and that you must need some other weapon - but it is possible with a fair deal of luck!)

You now need to get the flint back so DROP the KNIFE, go E and GET the FLINT. Now go E, E, E and E back to the East gates. Go N on the dirt track but ignore the ladder for now and go N and E back to the derelict barn containing the wheelbarrow. PUT STAKE IN WHEELBARROW then GET WHEELBARROW.

Now you need to get the wheelbarrow into the central castle area. There is only one way to do this and it is to take a wholly different route to that used previously. Go W and W to the North gates and OPEN GATES. Go S and E to the very unsafe, ruined north lodge. (On the wall is the message "Quaere ad altissima turris", which means something like "Search for the high tower".)

Continue W to inside of the north gates and S to the banks of a lake. Head E along the bank (Ignore the man beckoning you) and S to a junction. Go W, W and S past the disturbing willow trees and their inhabitants until you reach a cedar tree. Go S from here and you will be where you previously killed the cheetah. Head E and E over the drive, then E, E and N over an overgrown path. Head NW to a meadow then SW to a fork. Now go S to some iron-studded doors. OPEN DOORS (with keys) then DROP KEYS. Go S through them into a yard, and continue W to a coach-house where you will see a heavy pickaxe.

GET the PICKAXE then return E and go S to the castle gardens. Follow the path W to the fountain then, again illogically, go E and E to a vegetable garden where you will find a man with a broken wheelbarrow. GIVE him the WHEELBARROW and he will give you an amulet, said to have belonged to the Lord Sadim and to protect its wearer against evil spirits, in return.

Now you need to enter the castle. WEAR AMULET and GET STAKE (from the wheelbarrow). Go W, W and N. Illogically, now return S to discover the moat surrounding Sadim Castle. A bell on a chain is to your left so RING BELL and, rather obligingly, the drawbridge will be lowered. CROSS the DRAWBRIDGE and you will reach the portcullis, which is down, barring your way. Go E into the stone-lined chamber and you will see a large winch missing its handle. INSERT STAKE IN WINCH then TURN WINCH and the portcullis will be raised. Go OUT and now type ENTER CASTLE. The amulet will protect you from the ghost of Lord Sadim here. Once you have safely entered, go S into the courtyard and S again to the large oak doors. OPEN DOORS with the gold key found earlier and ENTER.

You will now be in pitch darkness. LIGHT the LAMP to reveal the splendid hall then move S to the ingle-nook fireplace.

Now ENTER FIREPLACE and you will be able to climb UP and branch off S down the passage. OPEN the DOOR with the gold key then continue S where you should DROP GOLD KEY and GET BRONZE KEY. Go OUT and return N and D. Now head OUT and W into the kitchen, OPEN the TRAPDOOR here (with the bronze key) and go D and D. You will see the ghost of Leonora. DIG with the pickaxe.

Congratulations - Leonora has been laid to rest and you have won the game!

There are a few oddments in relation to this game:

  1. The holy water (can be put into the bottle found in the eastern lodge), crucifix and prayer book are not needed
  2. The bunch of keys will unlock all 4 sets of castle gates
  3. There are locations beyond the statue in the crypt (MOVE ARMS to reveal a secret passage) but there is nothing of interest
  4. There are lots and lots of way to die
  5. Ignore the "sinister cloaked figure
  6. Don't stick around in the north lodge or it might collapse!
  7. If you drop the wheelbarrow, it vanishes but ends up in the barn again