The Return of Talking Time

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Old 09-12-2017, 06:19 PM
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Gerad Gerad is offline
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Wherein he has the distinct feeling that he’s being watched. This room is more for flavor than for challenge; if you take your time and don’t bite off more than you can chew, it poses very little threat. As for the flavor:


TREEHEAD: Kind busy, here!

VOICE: I won’t interfere. Much. Can you see me, Budkin? Because I can see you!

TREEHEAD: Whoa! How’d you get down there?

VOICE: Oh, just spilt and left behind like putrid milk. You could come down and visit. A fashioned hole in which you’d fit snug.

TREEHEAD: I…plan to stay up here.


VOICE: You plan to do a lot of things. But what will actually happen…who knows?

TREEHEAD: Nobody, but I got my own notions.

VOICE: I…FEEL that you should come down here. And I…FEEL…deeply…that you will. When the Mothingness rushes up for you, you’ll shake with forgotten fears of a child. Stand close to the edge and you may witness it gathering…

TREEHEAD: What do you want already? Jeebus, what?

VOICE: You want things, man above – not me. I am content to wait for certainties to fall into position.

Well, that’s a real upper of a conversation. At least all the eyes make thematic sense now.

Treehead has some parting words for the pit-lurker, who doesn’t see fit to respond. Enough of this frippery, let’s get back to the puzzles!

On to 1S, which it seems must be solved from the other entrance. But there is an inviting passageway straight ahead!

Here’s a room that is incredibly trivial…until you notice the roach on the force arrow at the far-right side of the room. That roach means Treehead has to drink the invisibility potion immediately if he wants to be able to kill it…which means that Treehead has to come out and get the enemies instead of just waiting inside the starting corridor.

As long as Treehead is careful around that rightmost roach, everything is fine. This is an odd placement in the level for what amounts to one of the simpler invisibility tutorials on offer.

And, once he’s done, the blue door remains to block further progress. So it’s back to try the previous room from the correct entrance.

This one is more of a thinker. Treehead is faced with three invisibility potions, then a one-way passage into the heart of the room. How does he need to tackle this one?

The roach in the bottom left has to be killed last, or else Treehead can’t escape after killing it. This means that the green door over on the right side of the room isn’t relevant, and the far right side of the room is jail. Now there’s an issue: the roach queen in the bottom middle of the room. How can Treehead prevent that roach queen from escaping over behind the force arrow in the lower-right?

Grab all three invisibility potions! If Treehead grabs two of them, he’s still visible upon reaching the bottom half of the room, and the queen escapes. If he beelines for the third, the queen just barely makes it over into no-go land. But if he grabs all three, the queen is stuck out in the open, and Treehead can kill it at his leisure.

Then he works on the remaining parts. The trap at the top-left causes the two roaches to pincer-attack Treehead as he strikes the orb to let them out; he can fix that by backswiping them using the little doorway to the area. The roach queen below them has to be carefully herded out of the area by approaching it from the opposite direction you want it to go.

The first eye can be killed by using its own aggression to lure it out.

For the others in the middle, Treehead needs to wade in and take out the first two to let the third come to him.

But there’s a snag over on the right-side of the room: Treehead can’t get these eyes to see him and come for him unless he walks out toward them, stranding himself in the process. And that means that he needs to make it down to this area while visible, drinking two of the three potions at the top of the room. So how can Treehead do that without letting the roach queen escape over to the right of the room?

Any ideas?

The answer here is to wait until the roach queen is about to spawn some roaches before drinking the second potion!

When that happens, the roach queen will block itself in. It’s easier to time this so that the roach queen and the roach end up blocking each other in the bottom-right passage, but it’s also possible to hold up the queen long enough with its babies to catch it before it can escape and attack it from directly above.

Once that roach is out of the way and the eyes on the right can be easily lured over to Treehead, the rest of the room can be solved the same as before.

And, at last, the roach in the lower-left can be picked off.

This is quite the clever room; in the same vein as 2N, it’s easy to get so caught up in how many invisibility potions to take that you forget to use the roach queen’s spawns to your advantage. The other mini-puzzles in the room also help to distract you, as they all look like whether you’re invisible or not might affect the solution, but they can actually be completed either way – except the eyes on the right. To 1S1W!

That’s…a lot of queens, and a lot of potions. First item on the docket: the roach queen near the entrance has to be killed on the way in, since it needs to be dead to open the green doors, and the trapdoors prevent backtracking for it. But it’s also important to become invisible quickly and avoid letting the roach queens spawn a ton of roaches and/or escape up the trapdoor-filled paths to the north.

Last edited by Gerad; 09-13-2017 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 09-12-2017, 06:22 PM
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Gerad Gerad is offline
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So Treehead races across the arrow to find a potion (if he entered on the left trapdoor, he could never escape this area) and gets told that this is the challenging option, by an observer who’s here hanging out for some reason. Huh.

Then he jogs to the potion. Looks like he was one step late for the spawn cycle; there’s going to be some cleanup to do.

But at least the roaches won’t come for him until he gets close!

But there’s a problem, as soon as Treehead inevitably becomes visible again. See the roaches in the lower-left? Yep, unwinnable. Looks like Treehead can’t ever be visible when the spawn cycle hits.

One way to do it is to go for the left side first, getting to the potion just before the spawn cycle. But the observer implies there’s some way to do it, while going over the arrow instead.

Still, let’s continue. Treehead just needs to continue to clean up all the roaches, making sure never to let a spawn cycle hit while he’s between invisibility potions. It’s not too difficult, just be careful.

Once they’re all gone, just go and finish off the last queen.

But Treehead can’t resist a challenge like the one the observer offers! Using the magic of the game’s restore function, he can go back to the start of the room. And if he can’t solve the room the hard way, he can always undo that and get back to where he left off. It’s neat!

Kill the first roach…

…and beeline to a potion. Still too slow!

Here the game shows, possibly for the first time, that where your sword points when entering a room can be important. With his sword northwest, he can trim off a step while killing the first roach queen.

And that step makes all the difference. Treehead gets to the potion just in time, and the rest of the room is just as easy as the first time, as long as you keep a careful watch on the spawn clock.

The observer has no words of congratulations for Treehead. Sad!

On to the last room, 1W, where Halph shows up over the arrow. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t there before…

In any case, this room is all about getting to those eyes in the lower-right. They’ll get themselves stuck if they see you, so the top priority is to close the door in front of them. The orb near Treehead here closes the little door near the top…

…which lets Treehead go up and hit it without awakening the eye over on the left-hand side, closing the bottom-right door.

Then Treehead can send Halph up to the top middle orb to open the door around the trapdoor, and drop the trapdoor to allow access to the orb on the far left, which will give Treehead access to the eyes.

But…what about those roaches in the bottom-left?

Yes, a reset is required. Turns out those roaches can only be lured out of their little room if Treehead enters from the south entrance. Tricksy!

With those roaches gone, Treehead can repeat the whole process, leaving only the north-west evil eye standing.

Then he can sneak by that eye, using the invisibility potion to his advantage, and circle around to kill it. This is why Treehead can’t pick up the other invisibility potion and use it to hit the orbs up top; then this potion will make him visible, and the last eye will trap itself forever.
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Old 09-12-2017, 06:23 PM
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Gerad Gerad is offline
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Hey, Halph ol’ buddy? Can you move out of the way for Unka Treehead?

No dice. And yet another restart is required, because – of course – killing Halph is the same as a death.

The secret is to catch Halph when he goes to open one of the doors (or even at the very start of the room) and park him somewhere out of the way. I’d be surprised if anyone ever completes this room for the first time without restarting at least once, maybe even twice.

Then, at last, Treehead is free to return to the blue door.

And the blue door leads, of course, to the back door into the Slayer’s area. The orb by Treehead opens both the door next to him and the one blocking the potion to the north. Then he’s got to get to the long, twisty passage to hit the orb that opens up the stairs.

First things first: an all-out rush toward the Slayer will get Treehead close enough to get around him without being impaled.

Then it’s over to the potion, which predictably makes the Slayer lose track of Treehead. While the Slayer can’t see him, his wisp won’t reach out for Treehead, giving him all the time in the world.

Enough time, even, to navigate this annoying passageway.

Ah, 39th Slayer, you card. Fun little setpiece, this room.

And, next time, we’ll be on to the Eighth Level! This time it has to be introducing a new monster!

Last edited by Gerad; 09-13-2017 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:00 AM
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Mogri Mogri is offline
Yes, let's feast!
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I don't have a meaningful comment but I wanted you to know I'm enjoying this LP
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Old 09-13-2017, 09:07 AM
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Gerad Gerad is offline
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Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
I don't have a meaningful comment but I wanted you to know I'm enjoying this LP
Much appreciated! I was wondering!
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Old 09-14-2017, 04:25 PM
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JBear JBear is offline
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I do have a meaningful comment and I'm also enjoying this LP!

Originally Posted by Gerad View Post
Here the game shows, possibly for the first time, that where your sword points when entering a room can be important. With his sword northwest, he can trim off a step while killing the first roach queen.
This seems kind of bad! Like, if I was playing this and found out that this was the solution, I think I'd be pretty steamed!
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Old 09-14-2017, 05:00 PM
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Gerad Gerad is offline
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Well, it is for the challenge path only. And you can always step out and back in to reset where it's pointing.

This won't be the last time we see initial sword direction matter!
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Old 09-14-2017, 07:06 PM
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It's not the size of your sword - it's how you position it.
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Old Today, 07:43 PM
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Another icy-cold level. Those strange tiles up in the upper-left are new, but the path Treehead is on certainly seems to be hinting at another new enemy…

Why did it have to be- *gunshot*

Treehead lays out the situation here. Serpents can’t be hurt with his really big sword, so he’s got to use the environment and set traps for them. But how does that work?

First, the orb will let him into the room with the serpent. Nothing Treehead can do with his sword will damage the serpent, as advertised, and the serpent also follows some peculiar movement rules.

Firstly, serpents can only move orthogonally (i.e., not diagonally). They will also always move toward Treehead, if possible. Their single-mindedness in closing in on Treehead coupled with their long tails can make them difficult to evade; since serpents can’t move diagonally, Treehead uses one move of his for every two of theirs whenever he does so.

Serpents’ long tails can make them do some strange things when there’s a wall between them and Treehead, or when Treehead moves quickly around their heads. This is often an annoyance when trying to control a serpent’s movement, but it can also help in specific situations. Their last movement quirk is that, when given the choice between horizontal or vertical movement, serpents will prefer one or the other depending on the last digit of the spawn clock (which is why it appears on the left when a serpent is present). If the spawn counter ends in 0-4, the serpent will prefer to move horizontally; if it ends in 5-9, the serpent will prefer to move vertically. This is rarely, but sometimes, useful. Serpents have some other small movement intricacies, but they can be safely ignored.

Treehead lures the serpent through the narrow corridors into the south part of the room, and now we can see how serpents can be damaged. As the serpent gets stuck and can’t move, its head stays in place, but its tail still shrinks.

Eventually, its tail gets short enough to free itself and come after Treehead again. So how can he finish it off?

By hitting the orb again to trap the serpent in the passage. This gives it no escape, causing its tail to shrink until it dies.

The only way out of this room for now is the southwest passage, so Treehead goes there.

This leads him back to the entrance and to those strange tiles. Treehead can quickly see, from the roaches’ movement, that they only move orthogonally while in these tiles.

And that applies to him, too! Diagonal movement is forbidden when inside these bracketed tiles. This doesn’t do anything to stop Treehead from killing off these roaches and opening the door to the east, though.

Treehead hits the nail on the head here: with the diagonal movement advantage removed, serpents will become very difficult to avoid.

1E has an obvious method to kill the serpents via the trap at the top, but Treehead can’t reach that now. His only option is over the arrow to the south.

And here Treehead tells us that serpents can’t cross force arrows, not only against the grain, so to speak, but in any direction.

As Treehead says, later it’ll have to be. This room is purple on the minimap, not red, meaning that it doesn’t need to be cleared to open the level’s blue door; the other side of this room is probably behind the blue door.

The next room is an empty fork, with a blue door blocking the other half of 1E, as predicted. Treehead follows the right-hand rule and moves on to 1S, which surprisingly has no serpents.

It does have the return of wubbas, but due to the room’s construction providing narrow exits for each chamber, Treehead can avoid taking a growing collection of wubbas with him as he goes, as long as he’s careful. The rest of the room is trivial roach-killing.

That room leads to this one, where the entrance orb decides where Treehead goes next. Looks like he’ll be returning to this room – maybe several times.

And that one leads to this mess. A handy scroll that Treehead is standing on explains how all those orbs and doors work. It’s possibly even more confusing than it sounds!

Here’s what clicking on one of the orbs shows: hitting an orb will close all adjacent doors, but open all other doors adjacent to each of the surrounding orbs. How does that apply to the task at hand (snake manipulation)? Beats me! The lone orb by the checkpoint will let out all the snakes; how does Treehead kill them?
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Old Today, 07:44 PM
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Gerad Gerad is offline
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It’s possible there’s a better way, but I prefer to close a door while Treehead is standing on it (enemies can’t hurt you then) and just wait around for a while until the snakes kill themselves. It’s not that efficient, but it has the least amount of engagement possible with the snake manipulation device, and that’s important!

Meanwhile, all the roach queens are spawning roaches, and the snakes will eventually all die. Then it’s a matter of killing roaches, stepping off the closed door, and becoming mobile again.

Of course, the room isn’t over yet. Treehead still needs to go into each of the snake chambers and hit the orb there to open up the way to a single roach queen, then kill it, and repeat five more times. All the while killing roaches from the other queens and trying to avoid interacting with the snake manipulation device.

I’ll spare you the screenshots. This room is unique and memorable, but it’s really not very fun.

Once that room is finally over with, it’s on to the south. Here the puzzle is again killing the snakes, with the door/corridor contraption on the west half of the room the only way to do it aside from making snake traps out of roaches.

The way it works is pretty easy. Both orbs toggle all three doors; so you lure the snake in, hit the bottom orb while the snake is in the top half, and profit. Then you do it again. Then you clean up the roaches.

…can you tell I’m getting tired of snakes?

Once again, this room looks like it will be backtracked through. But not yet; on to the east.

Here we’ve got a race to stay ahead of several snakes, on orthogonal tiles, while also being beset by roaches from a queen. The objective is to hit the orbs, first top, then right, then left, to open the way to kill the roach queen and set up a snake trap using its crumbly walls.

The force arrows are oases in the desert of orthogonal tiles for Treehead; the snakes can’t cross them, so he can stand on them and be safe, then wait for an opening to dash to the next arrow. Due to the tiles, this is harder than it sounds!

Plus there are roaches coming at him from the central chamber. The good news is that the mass of snakes tends to kill a few of their own number off by forming temporary traps with their bodies, which frees up some room for Treehead to move around.

It’s often best to keep moving as much as possible to stay ahead of some of the snakes, though usually at least one will be right behind you.

Finally, once all three orbs have been hit, it’s all about making your way back to the middle.

There, Treehead can get ready to kill off the last snakes. The middle allows diagonal movement, which helps considerably; just be sure not to break too many walls!

Eventually, Treehead manages to herd all the snakes to their doom and can continue east.

To more snakes! The orbs on the right each open up half of the snake trap-looking thing in the middle, but also open up half of the walls that keep the snakes penned in. But how will Treehead get back after he goes over to hit those orbs?

With Halph! Treehead just needs to Frogger his way into the middle and let Halph do the opening-doors work.

Get Halph to open up the two traps…

…and dance around them like your life depends on it!

The difficulty is in surviving the initial snake onslaught; once you’ve made it far enough, the room is easy. And the only way out of this one, at least for now, is back to the east, using Halph to open up the door next to the force arrows.

There is an easier way to do this room without using the snake traps at all. Can you think of it?

Circling back around, Treehead finds his next room to solve at 3S1E. Looks like some more snake-dodging is in order.

The room is a light course of wubba-herding, snake-herding, and roach-killing. The biggest challenge is figuring out how to kill the snakes, as the second one has the obvious niches blocked by wubbas, and the third one doesn’t have any obvious snake-traps accessible.
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Old Today, 07:44 PM
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Gerad Gerad is offline
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Some roaches will get the job done for the third one.

Then a wubba will do for the last one. Thank goodness for those force arrows; this would be very tough without them. On to the east.

Invisibility makes a triumphant return here in 3S2E. Treehead is forced to drink a potion immediately on entering the room, so he can choose when to engage with all the enemies in the room.

The roaches around the outside need to be lured into the central room to be dealt with; this can be done by using the snakes to wall off the force arrow traps that the roaches could fall into.

The other two bunches of roaches can be done the same way.

And the two roach queens can be forced out of their homes by carefully approaching them from the side that won’t force them into the force arrows. Easy does it, right?

But…uh…how do we kill the snake? We can’t get out to drop the trapdoor in its path because of the force arrows…

A little foresight is required; one of the roaches can be left in the path of the snake…

…which will kill it off just as well as anything else!

Circling back, Treehead finds his way to 2S1E, for more fun with orthogonal tiles.

Time for a welcome breather. This is a straightforward room, only requiring Treehead to chase down the roach queens while fighting off pursuing roaches. The only complication is the orthogonal tiles, which do change things up a bit; but they affect the roaches just the same as Treehead, so the danger isn’t too great.

That threat soon over with, it’s off to the north.

Which leads back to previously-visited 1S1E. East from there is an unsolved room. This looks like one that Treehead probably should have taken on earlier in the floor.

The orb opens the doors and makes the snake traps viable; Treehead can just wait in safety below the arrows to kill off most of the snakes.

Also, Halph is here for some reason, but he’s completely useless on the other side of the tunnel. ???

Treehead has to wade into snakeland to kill the last few snakes, but it’s easy with the ready-made traps.

South of there are a bunch of islands with snakes, each of which provides its own unique snake-killing challenge.

The first snake is a race to the finish. Hit the orb to open the door and then race through. Just – as the screenshot shows – be careful when you do it!

OK, much better. See any convenient place to lure snake 2 to its demise?

The upper right is the way to go. This snake is just short enough that it’ll let you step out of its trap once it has chased you in almost all the way.

Snake 3, in the middle, can take some time, but doesn’t pose any threat. Hit one of the orbs on the sides to open up a trap for it, then lure it down the middle and into the trap. Snake movement makes it tricky to get the snake in there, but keep at it and you’ll get it eventually.
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Old Today, 07:45 PM
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Gerad Gerad is offline
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Snake 4 is also fiddly. Open up the door, get it so that it wants to move directly toward you but is blocked by its own body, and opposite you into the trap it’ll go.

I find it easiest to do snakes 5 and 6 in one go. 6 is easier; once you open the doors, you can lure it into the trap easily from an adjacent platform.

And 5 is best handled by looping back around, standing below it, and luring it into the trap from there.

With that done, it’s back to a previously-cleared room, and it looks like the blue doors are open! First, though, where do these tunnels lead?

Oh, yeah, Halph is here again somehow.

Well, that tunnel was a bust. After some searching aroud for where to go next…

…it turns out all the tunnels in 3S1E are the way to go.

This leads to 4S1E again, where some scrolls have a message for Treehead, contradicting what the arrows in the walls seem to be saying.

Scroll 1: Turn back.

Scroll 2: No, seriously, turn back.

Scroll 3: Trust me, turn back.

Scroll 4: TURN BACK!

Scroll 5: This is your final warning! TURN BACK!!

Scroll 6: Okay, THIS is your final warning. TURN BACK!!!
Despite the increasing number of exclamation points, Treehead soldiers on.

To find a new room, with lots of curious and seemingly-superfluous orbs. Looks like luring some wubbas in to kill the snakes is all there is to it.

Wubbas: come with me if you want to live!


OK, there’s one down.

And there’s the second. Good work, team wubba.

But Treehead raises a good point here. The orb below him will get him out of this little enclosure, but the only ways out of the room are in the northwest, and I’m pretty sure those didn’t go anywhere….

Nope. Back down. Maybe there’s a way to exit the room with it solved.

Uh…hi! Wasn’t expecting you here! By the way…where did you come from?

OK, looks like there’s some urgency to finding a way out of here now. The southeast passage is the obvious candidate, but the first orb closes the first door and toggles the other three, while the second orb only closes the second and third doors. So how to get out?

Making a dash for it just leads to a trapped Treehead.

And trapping the Slayer in with wubba buddies, while fun, doesn’t really solve anything.

No, the answer is to get the Slayer into the passage, then make a dash for it.
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Old Today, 07:46 PM
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Gerad Gerad is offline
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The second orb will seal the Slayer in behind you…

…and then he’ll strike the first orb again to give chase, letting you out of your trap. Neat!

Well, we didn’t have much choice, did we, scroll?

OK, this one looks complicated. Nothing for it but to follow the snake around the circuit!

The orb alcove here gives Treehead a chance to catch his breath and ping this orb.

Which opens up the way to the inner snake. Luckily, Treehead can sit here in a standoff with the Slayer indefinitely, letting him wait for the inner snake to make its way around.

The next orb lets Treehead get into the inner chamber, carefully stepping diagonally past the Slayer’s hook on his way by.

There’s a roach trap in here that’s intended to kill Treehead when he opens it up by surrounding him from both sides, but a cracked wall above the orb is a glaring flaw, letting Treehead clear out the north side, hit the orb, then take out the south part.

Agreed, Treehead, agreed.

The Slayer now steps into the inner snake’s path, helpfully killing the snake as he does.

And Treehead can step back out into the outer snake’s path.

But here there’s a problem: once he does, the Slayer steps onto the force arrow behind him. And when Treehead comes back around with the snake, he has no way to get past the Slayer’s hook; either it gets him or the snake does.

Approaching the Slayer from the inside doesn’t seem to help; he’s stuck on the arrow, and no amount of intimidation will get him to retreat in front of the snake’s head.

Lastly, there doesn’t seem to be a way to get the Slayer to step in front of the outer snake on the first time past it, at least not one that’s immediately apparent.

Well, I’m stumped, and clearing this room is the only way to proceed with the game. Any ideas, Talking Time?
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