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After piecing together all the information we gathered from the previous part by looking through strategically placed portraits (which is one of the most seriously obvious ways of spying on people when you think about how it would look in real life, but options were limited in the 20s), I've produced this helpful diagram of the characters' known relationships overlaid on the Dijon family tree.

I anticipate that "dead smiley" icon spreading throughout the diagram eventually. Still - back to pulling apart most of the house.

We're still in the downstairs hallway, and this time the mirror disguises the last of the house's surprisingly rich network of observation chambers.

To the north is the dining room, with nothing currently going on.

Looking to the south advances the time to 7:45 already, but the walkthrough expects this so I think things are okay. We've got another conversation to listen into, this time between Clarence the lawyer and Gertie.

Gertie then stomps off. So Clarence is after some land that Ethel owns, despite its swampy and apparently worthless nature. What's under there - gold? Oil? Captain Dread's buried treasure? He's after something there that he's not telling anyone about - he's confided this much to Gertie even though she obviously has a low opinion of him, and he thinks that she would talk to Ethel even though we've heard that Ethel doesn't seem to trust her back. Gertie also knows of some shady dealings Clarence has, but who the threatened "he" is isn't mentioned - from context it sounds like it's the Colonel, to make him think twice about keeping Clarence around, but it could be any other male character who trusts Clarence.

All these people are a bit creepy in their own way, so let's get some fresh air. We might be able to interfere with some more things outside.

In any game that I would call written in a reasonably intuitive way - indeed, even in some of the saner Sierra adventures - the message we're given on going through the French doors would be a clear and obvious hint that we're not supposed to be here yet and that going further will result in us being devoured by an angry badger. Here, though, the way forward is to simply ignore it.

The map that comes in the game box (thanks again, Sierra Help) highlights a large number of locations we can get to in the grounds, including several gardens, stables, and a chapel with a "cemetary". For the moment, we're heading to the Carriage House.

Moving around outside isn't as intuitive as it could be - sometimes there are two exits in the same direction from a screen depending on how far over you are, and the connection between screens isn't as obvious as it could be. Here, I went west from the previous screen, and the camera has now moved south so it's behind the west side of the house, leaving us approaching this screen from the north. This location, though, is bound to become important later.

The playhouse is one screen further west...

...and one screen south of that, we reach the old carriage house. Let's head on inside...

Well, we've got all manner of junk in here. Standing out against the gloom, I think that I see our first gettable item!

Frustratingly, this doesn't work like you would reasonably expect it to.

Don't tease me like this, Sierra.

Yes! Three updates in and we've finally expanded our inventory beyond the notebook and pen!

Based on my sample size of two, when you "examine" items in this game, you don't get a description - just a close-up picture of them. This is unusual - I wonder if this behaviour is eventually going to be used in a scenario when you need to notice some oddity on an item for yourself rather than having it described to you in text.

I tried to pick up a couple of other things that seemed to stand out in the room as well, such as the rope and anchor, but my initiative was met with a stony silence and I retreated to the walkthrough once more. After thinking that I was finished in this room...

If you specifically look in the carriage instead of at it, Laura (who I keep calling Roberta for some reason and having to backspace and correct myself) will notice a crowbar and pick it up. This was probably deemed okay for an adventure that evolved out of the Infocom text ones, but separating the actions of "look at" and "look in" seems awkward today. If you look at an open carriage and don't notice there's a crowbar in it, you haven't taken a proper look.

With this screen really having given up all its secrets this time, let's head north to the chapel.

The outdoor scenes have little moving details to them, as well - here, a squirrel bounces across the screen. I've caught it nestling in Laura's hair.

And here's the chapel! Once again, just approaching the door is enough to open it - it's nice that they got some unnecessary typing out of the way when your intent is obvious.

Examining the window that the game tried to draw our attention to reveals nothing, but if you wander around nearby...

Not dead! Then this must be something we're meant to interact with instead of something that will instantly kill us without warning.

Excellent - I have just the tool I need to solve this.


What are you now, Adventure-Bot 4000? "I don't understand" would be a more natural choice here.

Seriously, what's the verb for getting floorboards off a floor?



Oh... piss off

Maybe I'm taking the wrong approach here - how big is this hole anyway?

Wow, a bible! Just as well they hid that, otherwise people might have suspected this was a place of worship. I'll have that.

I'm going to have to know this later, aren't I. Just as well I'm playing this in the post-DOS era with a screenshot tool - I'd have had to write the whole thing down otherwise.

Wow... what happened here? I don't know any relations to the Crouton family in-game yet - unless Fifi's going to be one of them? I'm only going by them being French. They had birth and death records hidden in the chapel - apparently untouched since a few decades before this game began - and then...?

I don't know what most of the note is about, but there's something that it reminds me of - let's get back to the house.

The walkthrough outright tells me that this sense of security is not going to last long.

Remember the suit of armour on this screen? I bet that oil is going to do something.

Sierraaaaaaaa! I thought this was just a random chance at first, but it happened both times I walked straight into the room... coming in from outside must have aligned Laura with the hot spot needed to make the chandelier collapse. I suppose it agrees with the thing we learned about the Colonel not really paying to keep the house in good repair - we'll just have to avoid that bit of the carpet from now on.

Here's the suit of armour - let's see if we can get that axe out of its hand?

Jesus christ! There's a brief closeup of Laura oiling the hand, then we zoom out again, the axe swings forward, and Laura falls to the ground in two pieces, exposing her bifurcated skeleton on the way down, in an animation that I would expect from Mortal Kombat rather than a Sierra game.

Let's not do that, then.

I had thought that the game had crashed here, but you really have to press E to exit (as opposed to S to skip) to get out of the closeup, even though the animation of the oil can gliding over to the head and back has clearly played out and you can't do anything else. I had actually expected that just saying "oil armour" would lead you to this closeup and then have you apply the oil to whatever place you wanted yourself, but it doesn't work like that - you have to specify a part of the armour in the command.

Oh :( I'm still not entirely sure what happened here, but none of it was good. We know that this is a plantation house and therefore that slaves worked here - were the addressee Sarah's parents killed in the Civil War? Did a brave last stand happen in this house, or was this armour and the bible moved here from somewhere else?

What a tragic story we're piecing together. Except they bought and sold human beings so they can get fucked. Anyway, that valve handle looks interesting but I'm already getting ahead of the walkthrough and we'll come back to this thread much later.

Moving back to the north and avoiding being squished by a rickety chandelier this time, we move into the library. This room is directly downstairs from the Colonel's bedroom and has the lower counterpart to the lift that we saw there. The doctor is still in the chair he was in when we were spying on him, and Jeeves is wandering around with a tray of drinks as well (or maybe banana snowballs).

Questioning time! To speed this up a bit I'll only give the responses (which all seem to be one window each for every character so far) and note when it's unclear who he's talking about.

I think by "problems" he means having interests other than babies and sewing.

Celie, who I kind of forgot about in most other questioning sessions:

I bet.

So the doctor is a bit more picky about who he likes and dislikes, rather than just about everybody falling into the "does not trust" column.

Doctor Feelgood
Trusts: Henri, Clarence, Gloria, Fifi, Celie's pecan pie
Neutral: Gertie, Jeeves, Ethel
Distrusts: Rudy, maybe Lillian

To the west of the library is the study - the room the game told us we were next to in that awkward corner location outside. Fifi is here, dusting provocatively.

I had to refresh my memory on what a derringer was - it's a miniature pistol, popular for assassinations because of its easily concealed nature and famously used at Abraham Lincoln's last trip to the theatre. So no prizes for guessing that's going to come back later.

The case is locked, so we're not getting at it ourselves any time soon.

We can get this much information about Fifi by looking at her but we can't talk to her just now, as the game tells us she's too busy buffing up the Colonel's antiques. We can look in the cabinets, though.

This didn't actually work, it gave me a description of the cabinet's wood and glass composition. Then open it - do I have to explain everything?!

Bloody hell! What exactly does the Colonel study here? International martial arts, assassination techniques and the advanced theories of bludgeoning people to death?

In the cabinet on the other side, we also find a collection of variously sized rifles and probably a rocket launcher or two. I think it's safe to say that it isn't a matter of whether the weapons in this impressive arsenal will become important later - just in what order.

The right-hand door from the back downstairs hallway leads to the dining room, where Laura frankly gets a bit snobbish.

I've been taking advantage of the right-click to examine feature, by the way, but there's very little that actually matters - most things just give a response about how old and/or dusty they look. It's definitely nice for not having to guess the noun that the game refers to an object by, though (except in cases like this).

As for the other unusual feature of this game that I mentioned in the first part, I can say that the perspective-obeying up/down movement is still like having your controls reversed or trying to jab your way through a King's Quest game while drunk.

Further right, here's the kitchen where we finally meet the final human character who we hadn't seen yet. And also a canine one.

Laura skilfully deduces that the person with long floppy ears, unusual face and a tail is the family dog.

"Business", Sierra. God's sake. Let's get this over with - we can only be thankful that there was no voiced CD version.

There! That's settled. Back to normal interrogation.

Actually, Celine pretty much stonewalled me in the same way for everything I asked - naming anyone just gives the response that she doesn't pay attention to them, has nothing to say about them or has no opinion on them. So our time would be better spent elsewhere.

Moving to the front hallway, here's the billiard room. There are two red balls and one white on the table, which isn't a position I know of in any billiards game - maybe he was lining up a trick shot off the piano.

Catching Jeeves here a bit more quickly than I did last time, I attempted to talk to him, but he just stalked off. Interestingly, when I tried "ask Jeeves about [something]", it gave me a response for Gloria instead, implying that the parser doesn't pay attention to your talking target and assumes that only Gloria is in the room here.

She's equally unhelpful, though, and nothing else in the room seems to do anything yet. Let's go out again and across the hallway...

Parlour is an old-fashioned term for "dedicated boozing room", and Clarence is still here from his conversation with Gertie earlier. Let's see what we can get out of him.

I don't know about "dapper". The grey pattern in his hair makes him look like a human-bat hybrid.

This box while asking about the doctor is interesting - it's the first time Laura has said anything!

That's interesting - perhaps his level of respect for the Colonel isn't what we've been led to believe after all.

The rest of the servants don't elicit much response:

Ethel and Lillian:




So he's very defensive, is what we can take away from this. I got a bit out of him with a couple of educated guesses:

Clarence the Sparrow
Trusts: Gloria (unwisely), Gertie (kind of?)
Neutral: Celie, Jeeves, The Colonel?, Doctor Feels?
Distrusts: Laura, Ethel, Lillian, Fifi

Thanks a lot. I might as well have asked the parrot.

Oh well.

There are a couple of other things that the walkthrough tells me to look at, but it isn't immediately clear why:

Big. Got it.

And a decanter of cognac - it looks like the one that Ethel had in her hand when we were spying on her and Lillian in the previous part, but I'm not sure if it's the same one.

With all the house explored, it's time to head back upstairs.

Bugger, I forgot about that. This is such a typically pointless Sierra death - it could just not have been there at all without affecting the game, it just makes sure you lose progress if you don't remember to walk down the centre of the hallway.

Before our untimely death, though, we got information out of just about everyone we can just now - a few of them blanked us and a few of them were talkative. And we haven't got Lillian or Rudy alone yet to get them to spill their opinions of the other characters.

Next time, we'll head into Act II - a far cry from the amount of bother Kjorteo had to go through to get past the first act of the second game. I didn't even have to endure the taxi.
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