Key & Compass presents:
by Chris Smith

BSE is a Z-machine interactive fiction game written with Inform 6 and is © 1996 by Chris Smith. This game won the 1996 Acorn User Interactive Fiction Competition.

In this British absurdist game, you play as Agent 667, an environmental health inspector sent to investigate a possible epidemic risk of BSE in the isolated village of Skebdale. Agent 398 also reports widespread devil worship in the area, which may be linked and should also be investigated.

This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on Release 3 of the game.

SPOILERS AHEAD. Reading a walkthrough prematurely can sometimes diminish one's enjoyment of an interactive fiction game. Please make an honest effort to play the game before reading this walkthrough.


Map 1: Main map

Lab Six Lounge Hall Farm-houseKitchen Under-groundPassage Farmyard Barn The GreenCalf Haystack(maze) Ledge CountryLane Garden u d d u (to upstairs) (to cottage)

Map 2: Haystack maze and Altar Chamber

4 7 5 8 6 BP 3 2 1 2 6 4 8 5 7 BP 3 1 3 7 5 2 BP 6 1 4 8 6 5 2 7 3 BP 4 1 8 7 6 8 7 4 BP 2 1 5 6 8 4 1 BP 3 2 3 8 3 Ledge 5 7 2 2 7 1 4 3 5 8 2 4 7 6 AC 1 1 Ledge AltarChamber 5 w. nw. sw. ne. ne. sw.


Country Lane

> x me. i. x note. x remote. x car.

> open boot. push button. (doesn't work)

> open remote. x battery.

> x sign. (for pub)

> x gate. ("Fliglot Farm - No Entry")

> s.


CAREFUL: The farmer will shoot you dead if you stay too long in his garden and there's no reasoning with him.

> x flowers. (+1; you find a toy pistol)

> x fork. take fork and pistol.

> n.

Country Lane

CAREFUL: You have an inventory limit of five items, and if you litter three times, you'll be arrested.

> drop fork. (Except this doesn't count as litter?)

> x pistol. x generator.

> open generator. take watch battery.

> take burnt. put watch in remote. close remote. (+2)

> push remote button. (+2. The car doors unlock.)

> open boot. x briefcase. x coat. x key ring.

> put burnt in boot.

> open remote. take watch. put remote in boot.

> put watch in generator. close generator.

> take coat. wear it.

> take briefcase. open it. (locked)

> take key ring. unlock case with ring.

> open case. x jar. x typed note.

> take fork.

Don't bother to close or relock your car doors.

> n.

The Green Calf

> x Tom. x Dick. x Harry.

> ask Tom about beer.

> ask Tom about red chevette.

> ask Dick about red chevette. (+2. He gives you a beer can.)

> ask Harry about red chevette.

> open can. (You accidentally drop it and all the beer spills out.)

> take can. x it. shake it. (+2)

> look. take brass key. x it.

> read label. ("Red Chevette: This Case opens here.")

> ask Dick about BSE. g. g.

> out.

Country Lane

CAUTION: If you open the gate and enter normally, the chickens will likely escape, and that would be bad.

> climb gate.


> take leaflet. read it. (Includes ad for LSE by Shirc Shimt.)

> look up weather in leaflet. (Skebdale's is unpredicable.)

> look up sheep in leaflet.

> look up mountain in leaflet. (left-leg and right-leg substrains)

> look up cross in leaflet. (hugs the ground and mows grass slowly and steadily)

> look up fliglot in leaflet. (black, goat-like, violent)

> look up code in leaflet.

> x chickens.

> e.


> x tractor.

> search tractor. open tractor. (locked)

> unlock tractor with brass key. (+1)

> open tractor. search tractor. (+1; envelope found)

> take envelope. x it. open it. (superglued shut)

> x haystack. (See a small ledge halfway up.)

> climb hay. (It's too vertical.)

> climb tractor. u. (+2)


CAUTION: It's a maze of darkness west of here. Without any light source, it's suicide.

> x ladder. unroll ladder.

> d. w. n.


You won't go up the staircase, especially since it's dark.

> x sou'wester. (Extremely yellow.)

> take hat. (An electric socket is revealed.)

> wear hat.

> x rack. (Screwed into the wall a foot up.)

> e.

Farmhouse Kitchen

> x glove. take it.

> x kettle. (has some water in it)

> take kettle.

> w.


> put kettle on rack. plug plug in socket. (+2)

> turn on kettle.

> x kettle. g. g. g. g. g. (gentle steam)

> g. g. g. g. g. (steaming furiously)

> steam envelope. (+3. Card falls)

> turn off kettle.

> take card. x it. (mentions "Denzil")

> w.


> x dog. x rug. (thick)

> move rug. look under rug.

> roll rug. (Not while dog is on it.)

Time to experimenting with toy pistol's sound generator:

> push blue button. (Moo-ing sounds.)

> push green button. (Baa-ing sounds.)

> push yellow button. (+3. Woof-ing sounds. The collie jumps off the mat.)

> roll mat. (+2. Trapdoor revealed.)

> open trapdoor. (can't: nothing to grip)

> x trapdoor. (has row of six small holes)

> take fork. open trapdoor with fork. (+3)

> d.

Underground Passage

> x door. x lock. (dial with letters E, Z, S, L, W, I, N, D, and a black button)

Spell out the demon's name, DENZIL, on the dial, pushing the black button when the appropriate letter is at the top of the dial. You must turn the dial left or right, one notch at a time, but it doesn't matter which direction you turn the dial as long as the correct letter is at the button when you push it.

For the D:

> turn dial right. push black button. (1 beep)

For the E:

> turn dial left. push black button. (2 beeps)

For the N:

> turn dial right. g. push black button. (3 beeps)

For the Z:

> turn dial left. g. g. push black button. (4 beeps)

For the I:

> turn dial right. g. g. g. push black button. (5 beeps)

For the L:

> turn dial right. g. push black button. (+5. 6 beeps and door opens.)

> nw.

Lab Six

> x gadget. (Like a microwave oven with a speaker.)

> x pinboard. (Liz and Ned Brown bred a cow with six udders.)

> turn on gadget. (It wants fingerprint on pad.)

> take glove. turn glove inside out. (+4)

> put glove on pad. (+3; the gadget thinks you're Elizabeth Brown)

You still need to turn the gadget on:

> x gadget. turn on gadget. ("Sharon" says she can scan and recognize any object placed in her main bay.)

> take jar. put jar in bay.

> Sharon, scan jar. (+2. It's silver nitrate solution.)

> take jar.

> open jar. put liquid in pistol. (+2)

> close jar.

> s. u. e. s. e. u.


IMPORTANT: You can't carry anything into the maze unless you're wearing it or it's in the coat pockets. You must be wearing the sou'wester to see in the dark. You must take the pistol filled with silver nitrate solution with you in the coat.

Everything else is optional. I used small items to map the maze, but if you're reading this walkthrough, don't bother mapping. I'll take you through quickly.

For anything you're not taking with you, put it into the briefcase, and drop the suitcase here. Notably, the fork must be left behind.

> put all but hat, coat into briefcase.

> take pistol. put pistol in coat. drop briefcase.

> save.

> w. nw. sw. (+5)

Altar Chamber

CAUTION: Every turn here encourages the pictogram to become more real and more hypnotic. Fleeing the chamber resets it.

> x note. (can't from floor)

> x pictogram. (of sinister cow)

> x cross.

> shoot cross with pistol. read note.

> z. z. z. z.

By this point, the evil figure has emerged from the wall and can be successfully destroyed.

> shoot pistol at cow. (+5)

The chamber is shaking. You must leave.

> ne. ne. sw.


> take case. d. w. (+8)

*** You have won ***

> amusing



This is the response to AMUSING when you win the game with full points:

A few allegedly amusing facts about BSE...

The note in the Altar Chamber can be reached and read - just try to destroy the demonic pin using the toy pistol. Don't expect to understand the contents though!

If you hadn't worked it out, the Demonic vassal at the end was called Denzil. His earthly creators, Liz and Ned Brown, who bred him in the genetics lab downstairs, named him after themselves, but with the names turned around.

Likewise if you hadn't worked it out, Samuel Smith, the 'Model' in the Discredits on the help menu, is a dog, and the border collie was modelled on him to a certain extent.


Main characters:




To see the Credits, type HELP, then choose the Discredits menu-item:


Coding: Christopher Smith

Lively, vivacious, intelligent, extrovert; all words which fail to describe Christopher, aged 15. He is certainly not the best programmer in the world, however the length and complexity of his coding, even for the most simple of problems, must surely single him out as a future Microsoft programmer. If you find his games witty and humorous, get a life. Go and read something decent, or, if this proves too expensive, write something better yourself. Do not praise him, he will only get smug.

Playtesting: Robert Smith

Robert Smith, aged 18, has just completed his A-levels in far too many subjects. He is probably not the most efficient playtester but certainly romps home with a gold medal for most smug. However, he has been helpful in allowing me to see the game from an intellectual perspective different from my own (although we would disagree over which one is higher).

Modelling, Advice, and Support: Samuel Smith

Samuel Smith was born in North Yorkshire, and having served for a brief, high-ranking period in the army, moved to Great Broughton where he retired to concentrate on his life-long love of hill-walking. He spends most of his time eating, sleeping, and thinking about life. In short, he is happy in his old age.

Beta Testing

Also thanks to Neil Brown, Martin Braun and Dr.D.J.Picton for sending in bug reports to the address below.

This adventure game was written for the 1996 Acorn User Interactive Fiction Competition, and by an extraordinary fluke, won! "The Wedding" by the aforementioned Neil Brown came second, and is, in my opinion, exactly 42 times more enjoyable than BSE. Download it. Download it now.


Version 1 - Acorn User release, issue 12/96. More bug-riddled than a termite mound.
Version 2 - First internet release.
Version 3 - Loads of bugs changed into different, less obvious ones, and a few actually fixed.

Any bug reports should be e-mailed to my brother at:
email redacted
These will eventually find their way to me and I may get around to amending the problems and re-releasing the game.



You have an inventory limit of five items, not counting worn items. Use your briefcase and coat pockets to carry more items.


When the game begins:

 I never saw a Purple Cow,
   I never hope to see one;
 But I can tell you, anyhow,
   I'd rather see than be one! 
 -- Gelett Burgess

When you examine anyone in The Green Calf for the first time, collectively:

 Real people, as solid and ruddy and calm, 
 As a London bus in the rain!
 -- Wendy Cope (Pastoral)

When you examine the haystack in the barn:

 So that's what hay looks like. 
 -- Queen Mary

When you first enter the Altar Chamber:

 By Thor!...By Odin!...By Gum... 
 -- from Asterix and the Normans

When you destroy the cow with the pistol:

 Ah, yes! I wrote the 'Purple Cow' - 
   I'm sorry, now, I wrote it!
 But I can tell you anyhow,
   I'll kill you if you quote it!
 -- Gelett Burgess


The response to SCORE is:

You have so far scored your-score out of a possible 60, in several turns, earning you the rank of rank.

Points are awarded as follows:

The known ranks are:

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