Key & Compass presents:
by Marshal Tenner Winter

Clusterflux is a Glulx interactive fiction game written with Inform 7 and is © 2019 by Marshal Tenner Winter. It was an entry in IF Comp 2019 where it took 27th place.

In this game, you play as Zeddy Maddox, a guy who lives in a third floor apartment; the building was a well-to-do family house in 1920's. Lately, there have been strange shakings and noises. The guys on the second floor vanished. And your talking pet mongoose, Gef, who showed up mysteriously a few weeks ago, can't explain why a woman you've never met is now sleeping on your couch.

This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on Release 1 of the game.


Map 1: Boarding House, August 2019

d u e/d u u d Parlor(1928) MildewyBasement (to street) (to street) (to street) X u d d u SimpleLivingRoom ThirdFloorDeck MeagerBathroom SmallKitchen SnugBedroom SideDeck WhiteKitchen SpaciousLiving Room PoshBedroom RoomyBathroom SecondFloor Hall SecondFloor Hall Top ofStairway WoodenLanding UnlovedBedroom SpartanBedroom Dirt Lot SmallShed West ofHouse UncleanKitchen SmokyLivingRoom WaspRoom End ofHall 1st FloorBedroom NeglectedFoyer Commod-iousBathroom South ofHouse UnusedStairs DarkStairway StairwayBottom

Map 2: Second Floor, April 1928

(too far) (lockedbedroom) (lockedbedroom) Top ofStairway(2019) Very WhiteKitchen SpaciousLiving Room Parlor SecondFloor Hall SecondFloor Hall Top ofStairway (too far) (lockedbathroom) (too far)

Map 3: Basement

MildewyBasement HoldingCell ObsoleteBunker Den VentralDepolari-zation Lab MagneticPhasewaveConduit TemporalCombustionChamber TransitoryParticleHyperstage UncleanKitchen


Note that this game can be solved one floor at a time, top to bottom, as long as you don't miss picking up essential items along the way.

Dirt Lot

> x me. x shirt. x jeans. x shoes. x key.

> x my car. x other cars. x house. x steps.

> x shed. (Hasn't been open in decades.)

> u.

Wooden Landing

Gef reports the brothers on first are having a party tonight, and the guys on second are still missing.

> x Gef. u.

Third Floor Deck

> unlock door with key. w.

Simple Living Room

There's a woman you don't know sleeping on your couch, but it doesn't hurt to explore your apartment first before waking her.

> close red door. x woman. x handbag.

> x sofa. x table. x tv. x bookcase. x books.

Skip the bathroom to the south; there's nothing of interest there.

> se.

Small Kitchen

> open wall cabinet. take glowstick. x it.

> e.

Snug Bedroom

This room might be our best clue as to what sort of person the protagonist is.

> x bed. x blanket. x pillow. x sweater.

> x northern sill. x clock. x paperback.

> x eastern sill. x reference.

> take sweater. w. nw.

Simple Living Room

> wake woman. g. g. g. (She finally wakes; says she's Barbara.)

> ask Barbara about dozed. ask her about snowing. ask her about corner.

> ask her about Barbara. ask her about wedding ring.

> ask Gef about Barbara.

> open forgotten door. (Barbara hands you a nail file to help.)

> cut paint with file.

> open forgotten door. (Stairs down to second floor revealed.)

> sw.

Darkness / Unused Stairs

It's too dark to head down safely without light. Fortunately, you have a glowstick from the kitchen.

> bend glowstick. shake it.

> open dusty door. push it. g. (You drop into...)

Second Floor Hall (near bathroom)

> x dusty. w.

Roomy Bathroom

The bathroom fixtures aren't important, but if you spend time examining things here, you might get a glimpse of someone who's not actually there.

> x tiles. x tub. x nozzle. x sink. x mirror. x toilet.

> e. s.

Second Floor Bedroom (Unloved Bedroom)

> x racquet. take it.

> x mattress. look under it. x mag.

> x hangers. take hanger.

> x rail. x laundry.

> n. e. e. s.

Second Floor Bedroom (Spartan Bedroom)

> x bed. x drawers. x closet. x shirts. ("SquidSys")

> n.

Top of Stairway

> e. (A force field of unresolved plot stops you.)

> n.

Second Floor Bedroom (Posh Bedroom)

> x scarf. take it. x laptop.

> x bed. x quilt. x dresser. x tapestries. x rug.

> open French door. (locked)

> s. w. n.

Spacious Living Room

It's obvious that we'll need to use this equipment for the current puzzle, but wait until we're done exploring this floor.

> listen to amp. x amp. (It's off.)

> x sofa. x table. x posters. g. g.

> x booth. enter booth.

> x mixer. x players. x CDs.

> out. w.

White Kitchen

> look in sink. take gloves.

> look in cabinets. w.

Side Deck

> x mat. e. e.

Spacious Living Room

Okay, let's solve this puzzle. Start by turning on the mixer, then push the amp to the top of the stairs and turning it on there:

> enter booth. turn on mixer. out.

> push amp s. push amp e.

Top of Stairway

> turn on amp. (The pulsing ends, but a tear in reality forms.)

> x tear.

Before entering the tear, let's check up on our housemates:

> w. n.

Spacious Living Room.

Tommy Miller is back. Your name is Zeddy, by the way.

> x Tommy. ask Tommy about where the hell.

> w.

White Kitchen

Ed Denton is back, dazed.

> x Ed. ask Ed about where the hell.

> e. s. w. w.

Roomy Bathroom

Charlie Navarro is back, dazed.

> x Charlie. ask Charlie about where the hell.

> e. e. e.

Top of Stairway

> ne.

Parlor (past)

This parlor in the past will eventually become the posh bedroom in your time.

> x upright piano. x empty frame. x fan. x bench.

> turn off fan. take fan. (You put it on the floor)

> take frame. open top.

> take photograph. x it. (It's you and a woman in the 20's.)

> put photograph in frame.

> x globe. open globe. x bottles. close globe.

> x armchair.

While in the past, we won't be willing to go too far from the parlor. Also, all the bedroom and bathroom doors are locked, so might as well head straight to the living room:

> s. w. n.

Spacious Living Room (past)

You ask Barbara if she's anxious to return to her husband. She says no.

> x loveseat. x artwork. x armchair. x table.

> w.

Very White Kitchen (past)

> x sink. x drainboard. x cabinet. read note.

> open cabinet. (which door?)

The key will be found in the last cabinet section you open, so unfortunately, you must open them all, including the flour and sugar bins. You'll also need the apron from the deep drawer.

Let's start with the top three cabinets:

> open top left. x cookbooks. g. g. close top left.

> open top center. x dishes. x cups. close top center.

> open top right. x spices. x calendar. (It's April 8, 1928.)

> x ingredients. close top right.

Next, there's two workspace cabinets:

> open left workspace. x inner shelf. x ingredients.

> x flour bin. open it. x handle. turn handle. x dispenser.

> close flour bin. x spice rack. x spices. spin rack. close left workspace.

> open right workspace. x sugar bin. open it. x dispenser.

> x pin rack. x rolling pin. close right workspace.

A base cabinet...

> open base door. x pots. x rack. x lids. close base.

And four drawers...

> x drawer. (wide, junk, deep, or bread?)

> open wide drawer. x cutlery. x tools. close wide drawer.

> open junk drawer. x collection. search collection. close junk drawer.

> open deep. x apron. take apron. close deep.

> open bread drawer.

As you open the last drawer/cabinet/bin, a key falls out.

> take key. x it. ("shed")

> x loaf. close bread drawer.

> x fridge. open it. x food. close fridge.

Once you have the apron and the shed key, you can safely return to present day:

> e. s. e. n. sw.

Top of Stairway (past)

The rip vanishes as you return to the present day. The guys on this floor are still dazed and will remain so. Time to head downstairs to party central.

> d.

Dark Stairway

> x trash. d. w.

Smoky Living Room

Barbara takes this moment to ask about flying taxis and robot butlers.

Now that you've reached here, the party hosts and party guests will be wandering everywhere they can go. Feel free to examine them and chat with them about each other and about any topics suggested in boldface like "wasps" and "Jack Angerman"; however, in this walkthrough, we'll ignore them all. Sorry! They just move around too much.

> close old door.

> x tv. x sofas. x sign. ("The Viking Longcouch")

> x table. x armchair. x lamp.

> w.

Unclean Kitchen

> x sink. x dishes. x bin. x counter. x cups. x fridge.

> w. (locked)

> x basement door.

> n.

Dirt Lot

> unlock shed with old key. e.

Small Shed

> x shelf. x pots. x goggles. x tools.

> take goggles.

> w. sw.

West of House

> x mailbox. open it. take leaflet. read it. (Lists the beta-testers.)

> x large bush.

> se. n.

Neglected Foyer

> x mail. (You grab an empty envelope with a strange logo.)

> x envelope. ("SquidSys" logo.)

> take issue. x it. (Addressed to Jack Angerman.)

> ask Gef about Jack Angerman. (Gef says he's never been to the basement.)

You can skip the bathroom to the east. Go west instead:

> w.

1st Floor Bedroom

> x tape. take tape. x small label.

> x bed. x cans. x nightstand. x trunk.

> open trunk. x quilt. (You take a dustbuster.)

> x cleaner. close trunk.

> e. n.

End of Hall

> w. (Wasps force you back out.)

Wear all the clothing you've collected, including the hood of your sweater.

> wear sweater. wear goggles. wear hood.

> wear apron. wear scarf. wear gloves.

> w.

Wasp Room

> hit nest with racquet. (If necessary, repeat until it's broken.)

> turn on vacuum.

> vacuum swarm. (If necessary, repeat until the wasps are gone.)

> open window.

> turn off vacuum. throw vacuum out window.

> throw nest out window. close window.

> x bed. x podium.

This makes no sense at all, but take the podium to the kitchen and use it like a battering ram against a metal door to open it.

> take podium. e. s. ne. w.

Unclean Kitchen

> hit basement door with podium. w.

Mildewy Basement

The scarf is making the stench tolerable for you.

> x boxes. x washer. open washer. (empty)

> x industrial door. (even more heavy duty)

> x grate. pry grate with file.

So now, try to get Gef into the grate. These commands fail:

> Gef, enter grate.

> Gef, south.

> ask Gef about grate.

However, somehow Gef eventually decides to enter on his own. Wait for him to get back:

> z. z. z. z. z. z. (The door opens and Gef returns.)

> s.

Obsolete Bunker

> s. (workshop door is locked)

> x workshop door. (Pad for a key card.)

> w. (cell door is locked)

> x cell door. (Meal slot. Pad for a key card.)

> x meal slot. (See a man, unconscious, in there?)

> x beaten man.

> ask beaten man about Jack Angerman.

> e.


I think this might be like the Hoosier cabinet puzzle again, where you need to examine everything to trigger an event. Or maybe it's just the day-timers that are key.

> x cot.

> x books. x journal. (A clipping falls out.)

> g. g.

> take clipping. (It's about Blaine Wyatt and Acquired Savant Syndrome.)

Note that "Blaine Wyatt" is now a topic.

> x bag. open bag. x random clothes. close bag.

> x footlocker. open it. x items.

Barbara says to head back upstairs. However if, you try to go north from the bunker, you won't do it.

> x men's wallets. x women's wallets.

> x billfolds. x purses. x clutches. x day-timers.

At this point, a man in a gas mask and lab overalls shoots you all with a vapor gun and you wake up in a Holding Cell.

Holding Cell

Gef isn't here.

> x beaten man. ask beaten man about Blaine Wyatt.

Awkwardly, "beaten man" isn't a recognized topic, but "beat-up" is.

> ask beaten man about beat-up. (Barbara suggests "got here" as a topic.)

> ask beaten man about got here. (Was in his car. Bang. Heat. Lab. Beaten.)

> x slot. x Jack.

> ask Jack about Blaine Wyatt. (And he knows all about you too. A lot more.)

> ask Jack about beat-up. (He yells: ask the beaten man about yesterday.)

> ask beaten man about yesterday. z.

Gef arrives with a spare key card.

> e.

Obsolete Bunker

> unlock workshop door with key card. s.

Ventral Depolarization Lab

> x pipes. x monitors. (feels unstable)

> x wires. x equipment.

> sw.

Magnetic Phasewave Conduit

Hear the angry man enter to the northeast.

> x console.

> e.

Temporal Combustion Chamber

This time machine looks like the inside of an incinerator. You definitely don't want to stay here, but what if you lured the the angry man here and turned this whatever-it-is on?

> e.

Transitory Particle Hyperstage

I'll assume the angry man is here and attacking you, but now that the plot is on your side, he's not using his tranq gun and all his lunges miss.

> x console.

You realize how to trap someone. Note: A red button closes the nearby hatch; a green button opens it. Run through the middle; you'll automatically tell Barbara to stay at the east console.

> w.

Temporal Combustion Chamber

> z. (Wait until the angry man follows you in here.)

> w.

Magnetic Phasewave Conduit

> push red button. (You'll yell "red" to Barbara. Both hatches close.)

The angry man should be trapped in the combustion chamber.

> push black button. (He's gone.)

Things get back to what passes for normal. Perhaps there will be more story later, but for now...

*** This story is concluded.

You've completed this story having encountered people-count out of 16 people, while carrying thing-count things, and visiting room-count out of 44 locations in several turns. ***

I assume this game is meant to be the first game in a series. There's a lot of unresolved questions, for example:





Read the leaflet found in the mailbox to learn who beta-tested this game:

> read leaflet
It's a flyer for a local band playing at a bar down the road. The band is called The Beta-Testers and besides stating that they'll be playing at a dive called Don's Belladonna next week, the flyer also lists the band members as "Radical" Al Golden, Neil Butters, Francesco Tortorici, Joseph Geipel, Geoff Moore and Syman Weed.


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