Day 106 – Tangled Tales Revisited

Something that has been bugging me for a while has been never seeing the end of tangled tales due to the cracked version not having the ending cracked as well. I got hold of one of those dual floppy drives this week with the 5 1/2 and 3 1/2 inch floppy drives in the same unit and managed to get it working in my HTPC. Its still not perfect, I can only get one drive working at a time by swapping the cable connector. I guess that these drives used a specific type of cable but its good enough for me to back up images of all my floppy disks while they still work.

 I’ve used a program called All Image to get a disk image complete with non-working sectors for the copy protection. I mounted this in Dosbox and at long last I get to see the ending.

Not really worth the wait but there it is. At least I know I can backup copy protected games. If anyone who reads this knows anything about getting both drives working at once let me know as I’m having to leave my HTPC in bits for now to swap drives.

Day 43

 I’ve not had much time for gaming this week but played through the rest of Tangled Tales yesterday. In theory the quests were supposed to get harder but I’d got the hang of how they work after the first so they really didn’t take long to play through. There are things I didn’t accomplish in the game, however, so it would still have some replay value if I ever went back to it. I’m not going to attempt to include solutions to all the puzzles here as there are just too many.  On the whole they are all pretty easy and don’t take much figuring out.

I started off exploring the new world map. The first place I ran into was a farm, home to the farmer who had called me out to cure the drought. There wasn’t much to do here, but the farmers son was really keen on seeing the circus and giving him some tickets I picked up in the last world gained me a key to the barn.

In the barn was a locked up pirate, but I’d no way to free him at this stage. To free this guy you have to recruit the Bruce Lee lookalike from the local monestary who karate chops the post and he then joins your party.

The farmer told me all about the drought and of course wants me to sort it out for him. Otherwise he doesn’t offer much help.

Back outside, a man called Charles is wandering around the world map looking for his other half Veronica.  Unfortunately he doesn’t join my party or anything that helpful. I run into a collection of motley characters around the map who do join up however so I soon have a decent size party again.

With my party in place, I go back to free the pirate who asks to be taken to his ship.

Once there, we sail off and he steals all our gold and dumps us all on a desert island.

There is a tiny little dungon on the island with what appears to be a fountain of youth at one end of it. I can’t find anything to do here yet though. I search round the island and found a conch shell. Blowing this a turtle turns up and takes us all back to the beach on the main map again.

Back on the main map I run into an aged warrior who joins my party. This looks like a sure candidate for the fountain if I ever saw one.

Sure enough a walk and a blow of a conchshell later he drinks from the fountain and is back in his 20’s again.

Back on the beach again, when I walk on a certain tile Gnu Gnu (one of the odder party members) wants to build a sand castle. While hes doing this he unearths a bottle.

Opening the bottle I get sucked inside and meet a sleeping djinni. Dropping a rotten egg wakes him up for some reason and he joins the party. When we then run into the imp on a flying carpet he beats him up and I get the carpet.

Riding the carpet whisks me off to a castle in the clouds.

Inside is a very very large giant, who locks us all up the moment I walk in the door. There isn’t much in the cell but pulling a string rings a bell and a loaf of bread comes through the door. Eating this, I find a key inside which gets me out of the cell. Searching round the castle I find a storybook and not much else.  

Back on the ground, reading the book to a Dragon who’s been blocking a dungeon makes it fall asleep and I sneak past to get a new spell.

One of my new spells in the Recall spell which makes you travel to either a thimble or feather you previously dropped. I haven’t had the thimble yet though so this time it takes me to a whole new map of a cemetary. I explore this but soon run out of things to do and have to retread old ground.

It turns out, I’d missed a room up in the giants castle. I find Veronica and take her back to Charles getting a book of poetry in the process.

Heading back to the giant and reading him the book of poetry, he starts to cry and the drought is cured.

The farmer isn’t all that thankful but its another quest done.

Eldritch gives me another stats boost and a new quest to strengthen the three portals. This requires casting a spell (which I don’t know) on each of them. I can apparently get the spell from the wizard enclave which is in a new valley.

The new valley seems fairly small with not all that much in it. There is a troll who won’t let me over her bridge.

Theres a fairly obvious Elmer Fudd type rabbit hunter wandering around. One of the puzzles in this area is to walk into three rabbit traps, setting them off and I then get given a carrot by a bunny. I do find one person who will join my party here and he gets left behind with the troll while I sneak over the bridge.

On the other side of the bridge is a cave, a quick trek through that and I’m in a new icy map with snow everywhere. Its a really tiny little map with not that much to do. There is an igloo with an eskimo inside. He lets me borrow his canoe and I paddle that out to an iceberg with a penguin on it. I give him a bow tie I bought earlier and he tells me to build a snowman north of the igloo.

I build my snowman and he comes to life and joins my party. This lets me get past some snowball throwing imps and find another party member Azersun on the other side.

For some reason Azersun talks like the giant rooster character from those old Warner Brothers cartoons. He also has the ability to take us back in time. It turns out that the Wizard enclave I’ve been looking for doesn’t exist in this time zone. I still can’t get into it though because of a twisty maze I can’t get through.

I run into Charles from the last world. It turns out he is a werewolf and wants me to lift the curse. The Indian who cursed him wants his diploma back before he will lift this curse. This is in the hands of a female leprechaun who wants a pot of gold before I can get it.

The gold is in a pyramid in the past. The present day pyramid is in ruins but going back in time and working through it like any dungeon I eventually get the gold at the end. This triggers the destruction of the pyramid with a minor homage to the Ultima 4 death sequence.

I run round returning items to all the appropriate people and Charles is cured. As luck would have it he hands me a map to the maze to get to the wizards enclave.

The enclave turns out to be a series of tests like the one above, where I have to demostrate my powers/knowledge to get into the next room. This is just a case of knowing the right spells and such – I wasn’t missing any so sailed through this. At the far end is a library with two books containing all the continous and non continuous spells. I already had them all except the energise portal one. I walk to the 3 portals in the 3 valleys, cast this new spell, then walk back to Eldritch.

I walk back to Eldritch and thats the end of the game. He raises my stats again for no obvious reason and just as its about to cut into the end animation the game crashes. This is a problem with the copy protection I think. The endgame has its own executable and the copy protection avoidance doesn’t work on it! I’m a little peeved to get all the way to the end and not see the end sequence – about the only way around this would be to set up an old PC with a 5.25 drive. I’ve got all the bits knocking around so I may do this sometime. It won’t help me with screenshots here though.

Regarding the game itself, I enjoyed it while it lasted. The puzzles are pretty silly at times and if the party members didn’t all but tell you the answers they could get frustrating. The difficulty level is very low so this was never a problem and I wouldn’t have minded if the game had been longer. If you regard this game as more of an adventure game and put it up against the Sierra games from the same year, i.e. Space Quest 3, Quest For Glory 1, etc.. then it falls well short but at least its entertaining which is a relief after Knights Of Legend.

Next: Space Rogue

Day 42

I restarted Tangled Tales. Much like Knights of Legend there is no sound whatsoever in the game. I presume this is in the DOS version only. The graphics are bright and colourful however which makes up for the loss of a few PC speaker beeps.

There a few lines of text to introduce the story.

Then the game itself starts. The adventure game style play comes in right from the start here. You have to example all the objects in your room. Open the chest, drawers, etc and pick everything up. This gets me basic equipment which I equip in RPG style however, such as a staff, leather armour etc.

As soon as I step outside I meet the games first NPC Jacob. All conversations show a portrait like this and I have multiple choice actions from a list in the bottom window.

I find Eldritch and he gives me my first quest which is to locate a spell component.  Eldritch’s house consists of about 5 levels with several people to meet. Stepping outside there is a small town to walk around with a couple of pubs, shops and the like all of which have people to talk to in them.

I have a quick look round the town but decide to head outside for a look at the world map. The map is very small, probably no more than about 40×40 tiles. The nearest location is a hut, I knock on the door and find a witch inside who doesn’t give me any useful information.

Just near her is a rabbit, trapped in a cage. Freeing this rabbit, it turns into a dryad who rewards me with some apple seeds, which I plant in a nearby garden. I also discover a tree with a vine attached which I climb down into my first dungeon.

There is an elf in battle with goblins in the dungeon. We kill off the goblins together and he joins my party. The battle consists of no more than clicking on attack a few times.

I have a look round the town now. There are a host of people and little quests to complete here. These include coaxing your fellow student out of his room by giving him a flyer advertising a sale at the magic shop. This gets me a chance to look round his room and learn another spell. This is in my book the sort of puzzle I’d expect to see in an adventure game. Theres numerous other similar puzzles in town. By going into the bucket shop with Alvin my elf companion I blag a free bucket. This is used in another series of minor puzzles to collect honey from a tree full of bees, which I can then use to entice three bears out of their house and sneak inside.

Inside the house I run into Goldilocks who joins my party so we can steal the 3 bears treasure. The treasure to her disappointment turns out to just be a scroll with another spell on but she stays in my party for now.

Back in town I take an apple from my newly grown trees, drop it on Sir Isaac who is hanging around in the pub and for some reason it sobers him up enough that he decides to join my party also. Now he is in my party, I can also get another bloke sleeping in the pub next door to join my party.


The world map has a giant boulder on it, that I’ve been unable to move up to this point. Now I have a big enough party we push it and reveal another dungeon entrance. There is a stone statue inside, which I pour my unpetrify potion on (bought from another student wizard) and it turns into Jennifer who joins the party too. 

This dungeon turns out to have some much stiffer fights in than some of the previous ones. So far my only strategies have been to cast heal or attack but I do build up a small arsenal of spells including offensive spells like energy blast by this point. My spell points don’t last long in dungeons as I have to cast light just to see anything. I can sleep to get them all back however so this isn’t a big problem. There is no food in the game so you can sleep as much as you want and never starve or the like. There is the chance of running into monsters but this hasn’t happened often while I’ve been playing.

I find a set of jail keys in the dungeon and set about freeing all the people in it. Sneezy the dwarf joins the party at this point.

In another cell I find Medusa. Fortunately I picked up a hand mirror in my room right at the start of the game. I use this and she turns straight to stone. Eventually I run into a dead end in this dungeon.

There is a pool at the northern end of the map which I swim through to find yet another dungeon. I find some diamonds in here, as well as someone who makes me promise to kill the wizard xavier (whos dungeon I was just in). I turn the diamonds into coal by dropping them into a pool in my masters basement, head back to xaviers dungeon and eventually after a series of puzzles make my way through to find Xavier himself. I can’t seem to kill him so I run away find a vial in his room and a portal which takes me back home.

The vial turns out to be the ingredient Eldritch was after and thats the first quest complete. I’ve skipped about half the puzzles in the game (and all the combat) but I hope this is a reasonable overview of the gameplay. Combat takes a very backward step to puzzle solving here. I died quite a few times in combat but I just end up back home again and its a short walk back to wherever I was with no harm done. There are a whole stack of strange puzzles, none of which are unfair as such since there are always clues given but don’t neccessarily make much sense.

All the characters in the game are quite chatty so the game has a bit of character if little real plot so far. Each quest is supposed to be harder than the last so I’ll see if the next has more depth. Xavier is still alive also, so I may go back and try to kill him later when my stats are improved.


Eldritch gives me another quest to cure a drought in Violet Valley. Its a quick step through a portal in the room next door…

and I’m in the valley (after a tiny little dungeon to start). My party can’t come through the portal so I’m on my own again. Aside from being able to carry over any spells I expect the quests and pretty much standalone although there are objects I haven’t found a use for in the first quest so I may be proved wrong.

Day 41 – Tangled Tales

I made a start on Tangled Tales last night and managed to get a fair way until the program crashed. For some reason I hadn’t bothered saving my game either so I’m going to have to start again! I’ll hold off on the screenshots and the like until I play through it again and just write a bit about the game in general here.

In Tangled Tales you play a wizards apprentice and must perform a series of tasks to presumably qualify as a wizard at the end of the game. After the 160 page monster in KOL, the manuals here are a far more managable 10 pages or so each, one of which gives a bit of backstory and the other the gameplay mechanics. The game uses a mouse driven icon interface again which seems to have become a standard judging by the last few Origin games. Its not perfect but combining mouse and keyboard its pretty quick and easy to do anything you want.

The game comes of 4 floppies, one is a boot disk and the others contain 3 standalone adventures which you play through in sequence. Each adventure is a decent size if the first one is anything to go by but not so large as to be overwhelming.

It was aimed at being an introductory RPG. There are some RPG elements in there but they are very basic, and I’d say it plays as much like an adventure game. There are a lot of people to talk to, items to pick up and use in various locations or give to people to solve puzzles. You can have a party but you only control your own actions and these are limited to attack, run or cast a spell. After KOL something nice and simple is a pleasant change and above all the game so far is fun.

The interface is a bit unusual. The game has a small window in the top right with the usual world map tile view. This is nowhere near as impressive graphically as KOL and is more along the lines of 2400AD. On the top left is another fairly small window representing what you can see. This is usually a still graphic, although in dungeons it does attempt to represent what you see in the manner of the Ultima dungeons. All these graphics are nicely drawn again. The largest part of the screen taking up most of the bottom half is the interface itself. This contains all the icons, text and the like.

Combat is a bit different from all the other Origin RPG’s. You get a picture of what you are fighting, but just choose attack or cast spell from the icons list and get text messages when you or a party member hit/are hit. You have to equip armour and weapons which affect how you fight but its a very simple system.

Before it crashed I think I was pretty near to finishing the first quest after 2-3 hours play although I don’t know for sure until I actually finish it. The reason I’d not saved is that every time you die you just get resurrected with no penalty so there didn’t seem to be any point. In fact dying also revives your whole party so its better to die and walk back than having to pay to resurrect your party. I’m enjoying the game anyway, its the perfect light relief after KOL and playing through the first bit again won’t be any great hardship.