The Frenetic Five vs. Mr. Redundancy Man is a TADS 2 interactive fiction game and is © 1999 by Neil deMause. This is the second game in the Frenetic Five series. At the 1999 XYZZY Awards, it was a finalist in two categories (Best NPCs and Best Individual Puzzle for the clone puzzle).
In this game about under-powered superheroes, you play as Improv, leader of the Frenetic Five. You use common objects in surprisingly useful ways. While queueing for stamps at the Post Office, you receive your new mission: stop Mr. Redundancy Man's plan to entangle the world in red tape. His secret HQ is in the copy shop.
This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on Version 1.2 of the game.
Post Office, on line
> x me. i. x card. x package. x Validator. x line.
> unwrap package. x book.
> read book. (You read one of three random pages. These are clues for later problems.)
> g. (Repeat reading the book until your shoe starts ringing.)
> remove shoe. answer shoe. (It's Bob.)
> z. (Bob has a job for you: stop Mr. Redundancy Man.)
> z. (Bob hangs up.)
> x phone. wear phone.
By now, a tack has probably fallen loose from a poster.
> x tack. take tack. (Can't reach it from here.)
> x paper. fold paper. (Nope.)
> leave line. SPACE
Outside the Copy Shop
While in this location, you may see a prop mime and upto three passersby: an old man, a well-dressed woman, and an itinerant street musician. They'll be more important later.
Validator may also wander by at any time too, but he is never important or useful.
> x Pastiche. x Lexicon.
Two turns after arriving here, Clapper gives you a wire, a glue bottle, and a bag of iron filings.
> thank Clapper. x Clapper.
> x Newsboy. ask Newsboy about Mr Redundancy Man.
> x wire. (just a coil)
> x glue. read label (Not effective on many things!)
> x iron.
> x doors. ("IN" and "IN")
> x sign. (They refuse service to superheroes.)
> x machine. x panel. x copier control panel.
> x copier side panel. open it. look in it.
> lift lid. (heavy; you drop it)
> x stapler. x cutter.
> x implements. x clips. take clips. (You take one.)
> x clerks. x door. (To HQ and restroom)
> w. (denied; only for customers)
> push green button. (denied; no service for heroes)
> ask Newsboy about copier. (He tells you about reset buttons.)
> x reset button. x slot. x tray.
So what are you supposed to do here? If you ask your teammates for help, it becomes clear,... well, clearer... that you need to cut the sign using the stuff Pastiche gave you.
However, your overall goal here is to get into that "secret door" to wherever Mr. Redundancy Man is hiding. The clerks won't let you in (to the restroom) because you're not a customer. You could prove you're a customer if you photocopied something, anything, and showed them the copy — but because of that sign, they won't let you use the copier. So that's why the first step is to get rid of that sign.
> ask Lexicon for help. ("cut")
> ask Pastiche for help. (do something about that sign)
> ask Clapper for help. (use the stuff I brought you)
One of the passages in the book suggested making a saw from a string, so try doing that:
> open bottle.
> squeeze glue. (You can't do that.)
> put wire in glue.
> put wire in filings.
> x wire. (It's coated with iron filings.)
> cut sign with wire. (This works?!)
> x plaque. (Still refuses service to superheroes.)
Now that the sign is cut, this bit of business works:
> ask Newsboy for help. (He tells you about an ordinance that says you have the right to use the copy machine.)
> tell clerks about ordinance. (Now you can use the copier.)
> put book under lid.
> push green button. ("INSERT COINS")
> Clapper, find change.
If you've lucky, you'll hear a beeping noise east. Go east regardless.
Outside the Copy Shop
It turns out that it's illegal to talk to mimes, so try talking to one of the three passersby (man, woman, or musician) when they're here. It doesn't matter who.
By the way, all attempts at getting a quarter only work when the mime's loud fan isn't on. The passersby can't hear you over the fan's noise. If this is a problem, you just need to wait until the mime turns the fan off.
> ask PASSERBY for change. (You've asked the wrong way.)
> beg PASSERBY for change. (You look like a religious fanatic.)
Lexicon won't know how to help you unless you pushed the green button earlier.
> ask Lexicon for help. (He suggests "cadge".)
> cadge change. (The passerby gives a tuppence. Lexicon suggests "inveigle".)
> inveigle change. (You get a quarter.)
> x tuppence. x quarter.
> put quarter in slot.
> push green button. (The copier tells you copies are 50¢ each.)
> Pastiche, take quarter.
> Pastiche, put quarter in slot.
> push green button. ("OUT OF PAPER")
> Clapper, find paper. (A cabinet beeps.)
> x cabinet. open it. (It's locked.)
> Pastiche, take paper. (She can't pull the ream of paper out; it's probably too big.)
> bend clip. unlock cabinet with clip.
> look in cabinet. take ream.
> take tray. put ream in tray. put tray in machine.
> push green button. ("PAPER JAM")
> look in side panel.
> Pastiche, take crumpled paper.
> push reset button. close side panel.
> push green button. take paper. x it. take book.
> x crumpled paper.
Now prove that you're a customer:
> show sheet to clerk.
> x plywood. x restroom. n. (You don't need to go there.)
> break plywood. (How?)
> kick plywood. (Ow.)
> Pastiche, open door. (Her right foot has the power to kick down thin plywood doors.)
Mr. Redundancy Man's Secret Hideout and Hidden Lair
Lexicon is particularly vexed by MRM's word usage and is of no help in this battle. He will lose consciousness soon after you enter.
> x Man. x clones. x machine.
> open panel. (MRM orders a clone to stop you.)
> ask Pastiche for help. (She hurls herself at MRM, but he ducks and she crashes into a supply closet.)
> ask Clapper for help. (She suggests something in your book may help.)
At this point, MRM closes the closet door, trapping Pastiche.
> open closet. (MRM again orders a clone to stop you.)
> clone, open closet. (MRM orders another clone to stop it.)
> Pastiche, kick door. (MRM closes a second plywood door, and Pastiche's kick fails.)
Remembering the "Confusing Your Enemies With Illogic" part of your book, and noting Newsboy's hinting that the clones obey everything they're told, you need to realize that you must give them an order that they can't obey:
> clone, disobey me. (The clone kills another clone, and the cloning machine is destroyed.)
The clones start to fall one-by-one. You may wait and watch the carnage if you want to:
> z. z. z. z.
But you don't need to wait. Once the cloning machine is destroyed, nothing stops you from arresting Mr. Redundancy Man.
> arrest Man. z. SPACE
*** Stay tuned for THE FRENETIC FIVE, EPISODE 3 -- coming soon! ***
The Frenetic Five:
The bad guys:
The response to CREDITS:
Thanks to my beta-testers (in order of appearance): Jon Blask, Stephen Granade, Lenny Pitts, Cody Sandifer, and Mindy Nass. And much thanks to Dan Shiovitz, Iain Merrick, and Dan Schmidt for emergency coding help.
Also, thanks to Alex, for teaching Newsboy how to Awwwk!
This game features a built-in hint system, so you shouldn't need to ask for help (not from the author, anyway). Any bug reports and comments should be directed to
The only response to SCORE is:
Your mission has not yet succeeded. Evil is still afoot.
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