Woodbury End

By Dave E

Originally published in EUG #57

It was with this adventure that Shards made its mark. Woodbury End took it far above its bog-standard, badly spelt, bugridden BASIC jaunts and created a creepy cluster of locations in the patriotic village of its title. Twenty years previously, 'they' came. Aliens. Intermingling with the villagers on some hidden agenda. From then until now, the villagers' children have been disappearing. Terror has stricken the residents of this once idyllic town and you're one of them.

Earlier you asked some awkward questions of the wrong people. Now you awake at midnight of day nil of this real time adventure, trussed up and at 'their' mercy. So begins a story of heroism and, yes, gun-toting violence in which you will rescue the children and destroy the aliens' secret base!

This adventure is clever and very cryptic. If you've spent any time playing it, you'll note the HELP command gives very strange responses. As these are very much a part of its atmosphere, what these sentences mean will also be explained within the solution. However, always keep an eye on the time in the top right hand corner; there is no facility to WAIT in this adventure and, although key events happen at certain times each day, try and avoid missing being in the right location at the right time. Otherwise you will find yourself having to wait patiently at the keyboard for long periods. The clock reads dd days hh hours (ddhh). It has taken eight years to prepare this full solution so appreciate it!

Woodbury End Walkthrough
Remember that to "LOOK" around in this adventure, you simply type "L". (LOOK alone is not recognised!) So press L to discover a glass by your side and GET GLASS. Quickly CUT the ROPES, DROP the GLASS and DROP the BLINDFOLD and - hoorah! - you're free to move around! Now look at that clock; if you've been quick it should still be on 0000. The blighters that tied you up meet up in the room south of you at 0001 and you'll be "caught and killed" if you bump into them. If you're there and you hear them coming you can hide behind the curtain ("Early One Morn The Curtains Were Torn") to escape this end but to cut down how long you need to spend waiting around, you really should complete the above moves before 0001. You can then skip S, S to get through the room to safety.

Now, if you L(ook) around this small room you'll see a mirror. LOOK MIRROR and you will see a raincoat behind you. GET RAINCOAT and LOOK RAINCOAT. If you have an eagle-eye you'll see it's got pockets! EXAMINE these POCKETS and GET the SPECS. Now all the signs around the town will read in English and not look like gobbledygook ("Be Wise With Wise Eyes"). Ingenious, eh? DROP the RAINCOAT and rush S, S, E, E, E and N to a disused well. L, but don't hang about, then TURN the HANDLE to pull up a beacon ("Well Can You Handle That?"). GET the BEACON.

Run N, E and E into a rather bare shop. BUY a box of MATCHES. Now go W, S, S, S, S and W into the auditorium. If you've been quick enough, it won't be anywhere near 0003 yet. Now, just take your fingers off the keyboard and wait until you hear people approaching. Type in GO SCAFFOLD ("Twilight Hours Or Ditto Rum" - Don't ask!) fast and you'll be hidden from the possessed children. Again, wait until the text informs you of "a man's voice" then SWITCH ON BEACON ("Bright Light Child's Delight"). This will break the hold the aliens have over them.

Now it's time to go investigating. Plod E, N, N, N, N, N, N, N, N, W, W, N from the auditorium to a farm, pressing T to talk to any characters you meet on the way. Talking to each character increases your percentage score, although it's unnecessary to meet most of the people. GET the PRINT on the wall and EXAMINE PRINT. You'll find the numbers 8732 on its rear ("Pick A So Rear Give Cheer"). DROP the PRINT (Don't forget or you'll be nicked by the old bill!) before going N into a shed. The code is, of course, 8732 and L(ook)ing now will reveal a cube ("Digital Doitall").

GET the CUBE and go S, S, E, E, S, S, S, S, S, S, S, S and S again to stand beside the closed door to the Mayor's office. Hopefully, it'll be 0007 or thereabouts now. If not, hang around until it is ("Office Hours Suffice") then go E. The office will be empty but the Mayor comes in at 8 each day so don't let him catch you or you'll be thrown into jail and will have to trudge back and try again! GET the KEY from his desk and READ the MEMO. What's written certainly makes the Mayor a suspect!

Head W, S and S through the locked door into the records office ("Open Sesake"). READ the REPORT then go N, N, N, N, N, N, N, N, N and E into the library. GET the BOOK then go back W. Continue N, N, N, E, E, E, E, N, E and you will be in a clearing in the woods. DROP the CUBE here then stroll E, N and N around the woods. READ the ETCHING. Go E, E, S, E and S and L(ook) to see a bat. GET the BAT then head toward the oak tree: N, W, N, W, W, S, S, W, W, S, W, W, W and W.

The tree is a puzzle in itself and will deny you entry to the fairground unless you run N, E, S, W, N and N around it ("Circular Logic Rules"). Now go N and EXAMINE the DOOR. Although "only the blind may enter" the sign overhead reads "Simile" backwards. No, you don't have to wear the blindfold or take off your specs again. Rather you must have that bat you found in the forest! "As blind as a bat", see? ("Pal In Drome - Not Quite" (?)). Go E holding it and, in the next room, DROP BAT; MATCHES; SPECS; KEY and BEACON so you're left with only the BOOK ("Colour Bar For Bars") and go E again into a cell with a beast.

Leave the beast but L(ook) ("Leave The Beast But Look At Least") and GET the BLOCK. Go W and GET the SPECS; BAT and MATCHES again (the rest of the stuff is useless now) then jog W, S, S, S, E, E, E, E, N and E to the clearing where you left the cube. DROP the BLOCK and they will create a powerful emittor ("Compass Points Zero - But Can Make A Din").

GET the EMITTOR and now hike all the way back to your house: W, S, W, W, W, W, S, S, S, S, S, S, S, W, W, W, W, N, N and N. L(ook) and then SPILL the CAN so petrol runs over the floor. LIGHT the PETROL with the matches and you will be able to go N and E into a yard ("Can Can Clear The View"). READ the WALL for a clue and GET the PEN. EXAMINE the PEN.

Go W, S, S, S, S, E, E, E and E. It should be nearing the end of day 0 by now and the time should be nearing 0100. If you've been very quick on the keys, you will have to wait around for quite a while! At 0100, the children (who've been following you all this time, apparently) will cheer ("The Bell Can End The Hell") and you'll be told to deal with the human-disguised aliens.

This next bit is quite tricky as you need to run from place to place blasting various characters by pressing F. As you will have discovered, characters only appear at certain times and in certain places. A fair bit of rushing around is required (and a fair bit of waiting too) but with a bit of practice, you'll manage it OK. The clues Daily Routine Can Make Life Predictable, Who To Believe - Trust Your Mind Not Your Heart, Suspicious Minds - Short Tempers, Truth May Be False If Honesty Lies and Murder Is Sin - Be Careless Or Win point to the Woodbury Five. Save the game (Key Z) at this point.

Okay then. Go N, N, N, N, N, N, N, E and E. At 0107, Mrs Ackroyd will appear. Don't talk to her, just blast her - she's one of 'them'. Hit F and RETURN to do the business then leg it W, W, S, S, S, S, S, S, S, S, S, S, E into the Mayor's office again. Open F(ire) on him too (at 0108) and then bustle W, N, N, N, E, E and E and blast George Roberts when he shows up in the street at 0109!

With those three down, you can take it a little easier. Go E, E, S, S and W to a cute thatched cottage. READ the PLACARD. Then nurse your suspicions until 0116 when Fred Bates arrives home. With a name like Bates and that sign, what more evidence do you need? F(ire) the emittor at his ass and now sprint E, N, N, W, W, W and S into the police station. At 0117, PC Armstrong will take up his post for the last time. If you're really getting into the adventure by now, you can yell "Always hated the pigs!" as you F(ire) the last bullet home.

All the real time elements have now passed. Go back to the fairground with N, W, W, N, N, N, N, N, N, N, N, N, E, S, W, N, N, N, E and E and L(ook) again in the cell. GET the CONFESSION and READ it ("Initially The Ball Is The Point" - because you don't get the confession if you don't have the pen). The reading is tricky as the text wants to remind you of a strange ticking sound. You now need to blow up the alien spacecraft. It's in the school ("South For The Vessel Emblem Will Tell"). Run W, W, S, S, S, S, S, S, S, S, S, S, E, E, E, E, E, E, E and N. Finish the job by DROPing the EMITTOR, destroying the aliens, demolishing their craft and rescuing the kids. You are a true 'liberator'; the title Shards required for you to enter its original competition. But just what did that confession actually say...?