The Temple is a Z-machine interactive fiction game written with Inform 6 and is © 2002 by Johan Berntsson. It was an entry in IF Comp 2002 where it took 9th place. It was also a finalist for the Best Individal NPC award at the 2002 XYZZY Awards for the character of Charles Bristow.
You play as someone plagued by nightmares of falling, but in tonight's nightmare, you've somehow landed in in a strange alien city. With the time-lost Charles Bristow, you'll uncover the city's dark secrets, see unspeakable monsters, and learn of an evil ritual in the city's temple that must be stopped at all costs.
This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on Release 2 of the game.
You have three turns of falling to do whatever you like, for example:
> x me. x shadow. x shape.
> x me. i. (nothing)
> x city. x sky. x tower. x railing. x staircase.
> pull railing. x statue.
> x paper. take it.
> x table. x writing. (+5; a man appears on the table.)
> x man. touch man.
The man, now awake, starts to talk about himself.
> x books. x dust. x desk.
> ask Charles about nightmares. ask Charles about New England.
> ask Charles about archeology. (or about history)
> ask Charles about Caelestae Horriblis.
> ask Charles about Mukhtar.
> ask Charles about evil Gods. ask Charles about Eternal Ones.
> ask Charles about writing.
> ask Charles about city. (He wants to see it.)
> ask Charles about statue.
> z. ask Charles about city. d. d.
> x door. open door. (It's locked.)
> verbose. u. s.
By this time Charles has probably mentioned Miriam; it's a random event.
> x vials. ask Charles about vials.
> ask Charles about Miriam.
> take vial. g. g. g.
> n. d.
You notice something on the top of the door?
> x door. ask Charles about object.
> stand on Charles. (+3)
> x key. unlock door with key. open door. s.
Before A Dark Tower
> x buildings. x tower. sw.
> x sandstone. x temple. ask Charles about temple. (Don't go.)
> x crack. n.
A Dark Hallway
> x carvings. n.
> x carvings. (Your command is ignored; Charles has found a skeleton.)
> x skeleton. take note. x note.
> show note to Charles. (He drops it; it's his handwriting.)
> x skeleton.
> x clothing. x torn clothes. x Charles' clothes. (They match.)
> look. take book. x it.
> x vial. (+2. when carrying the book)
> x mukhtar.
> s. s. w. n.
> n. (You return here, finding nothing new.)
> s. s.
> x cat. ask Charles about cat.
> x bridge. x slabs. search slabs. move slab. (Staircase down.)
> d. (Charles refuses to follow you but will wait for your return.)
> x carvings. x blocks. n. n.
> x trapdoor. e. e.
> x stove. x kettle. x rack.
> x red powder. x yellow powder. x bottle. x liquid.
> x chair. x chest. open it. (locked)
> w. w. s. s. s. (This last ascends the stairs)
> ask Charles about chest. (Memory of crowbar underground.)
> u. n. e. e. s.
> x temple. x mural. listen.
> x huge statue.
People are looking suspciously at you and Charles suggests leaving.
> n. n. ne. n. u.
> put mukhtar on table. read writing. (+5; an alien presence in your mind?)
> x paper. (+5)
You have a vision of being Mukhtar:
Watch the old man to learn what to do with the powders.
> x old man. z. (The scene changes.)
> z. z. (The vision ends.)
> x Mukhtar.
> x vial. ask Mukhtar about vial.
> x writing. (Glimpse alien world with two moons.)
> x horriblis. (Pride and fear.)
> x statue. (Monster in a cavern.)
Head to Rock Chamber and mix the powders the way Mukhtar did in your vision:
> d. s. sw. w. w. s. d. d. n. n. e. e.
> take yellow powder. put it in kettle.
> take red powder. put it in kettle.
> take kettle. put kettle on stove. turn on stove. (+2)
There is a nearby explosion and screeching sound to the west.
> draw symbol on me.
> take bottle.
> w. (You retreat on seeing a Thing in the chamber ahead.)
> x thing.
> throw bottle at thing. (+3)
> yell. (Charles and you clear a passage except for one heavy stone.)
> s. z. z.
Charles tells you to get the crowbar from the chest. He now remembers that the key is under the stove.
> e. e.
> look under stove. unlock chest with brass key.
> open chest. take all from chest.
> x crowbar. x photograph.
> w. w.
> move stone (using the crowbar). s.
> show photograph to Charles. (It's of Miriam.)
> s. s. u.
Sorry, but you do need to throw something at the cat to get it moving. It's s a plot point.
> throw iron key at cat. take iron key.
> n. e. e.
The cat arrives and hears something from the wall.
> listen to wall. x wall. x door. open door. (The cat jumps through.)
By the way, if you find this place much earlier in your game session and send Charles home before exploring the library or the underground, your game is still winnable. Charles will inexplicably continue to give you any essential help even after he shouldn't be able to.
> x device. x column. x bulbs. x lever.
> pull lever. (Bulbs light up.)
Over the next few turns, a cloud-like portal starts to form.
> z. z. z. z. (+5; Charles goes thru to Miriam.)
> enter cloud.
Before you can, the picture alters to a boy about to be sacrified to a lizard-like thing when it sees you. Do not enter this cloud!
> pull lever. w. s. s.
Repeatedly wait until you're grabbed and tied to the table on the stage:
> z. z. z. z. z. z.
> z. z. (+5)
The priest stabs you, but this causes the temple's destruction, thanks to the symbol on your chest.
You wake briefly to see your sister near you and upset. Your sheets are bloody.
You wake again in the hospital. Your mother tells you that you were stabbed.
Your nightmares have ended.
*** You have won ***
Amusing opens an "Amusing things" menu with the following menu items:
Too easy? Too difficult? Interesting? A waste of time?
I would very much like to receive comments. Please write to: email@example.com
The inspiration to make a game of this kind came from playing Brendon Wyber's "Theatre." I wanted to make a horror game and since the best horror I know is the short stories by H.P. Lovecraft, it was only natural that I turned to them for inspiration.
I've been using the "write the transcript first"-method. The merits of this method are that most of the text is already written when you start coding, the style is coherent, and you have to think like the player when you design the game. One danger is that you might end up with a sequential game, where you have to do everything in the same order as in your transcript. This aside, I think that the method is very useful.
There are two successful endings, but ending the game without sending Charles back to his own time won't give you a full score.
The last text is slightly different depending on if you carry the statue from the tower while being sacrificed or not. You will find the statue on the iron railing.
There are three ways of dying. The first is to putting an unidentified vial on the table in the tower and reading the chant, the second is to sacrifice yourself in the temple without the protective symbol painted on your chest, and the third is to linger in the Deserted Hall with the device turned on.
You have so far scored your-score out of a possible 35, in several turns.
The score is made up as follows:
This walkthrough was funded via Patreon with