(This is part of my journey going checking out Planetfall. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)
You may have to really squint to see the above, but that’s the entirety of Planetfall’s map. For a 1983 adventure game, it’s pretty big and sprawling, made all the more complex for how the rooms unlock and connect to each other. Drawing your own map on a first time playing through a text adventure game rarely resulted in a neat, orderly, grid-like product, but rather squished notes, misshapen blobs meant to be rooms, and lines EVERYWHERE.
Today we’re having fun with teleportation in Planetfall. Apparently there are three booths that zip you across the complex, which is quite helpful if you don’t want to keep messing with the shuttle. ‘Course, you need a teleportation access card to start the fun, and guess what I just found?
If I was to sum up your main duties in Planetfall up to this point, it’s mostly doing maintenance: fixing broken junk, replacing burned-out gadgets, and generally trying to get parts of this complex working again. Y’know, like a janitor would.
Floyd is the most interesting enigma of Planetfall by far. At first, he’s just background noise: a little annoying, a little amusing, but nothing more than that. But as you go along, Floyd starts to become more and more useful, including this part where he volunteers to go into a dangerous area instead of you. Heck, I don’t want to go in… although I do want to see what happens. Shall we?
Well, that was a Bad Idea, but at least it satisfied my curiosity. So it looks like we’ve got a mutant infestation (including a sly reference to Zork’s Grue, what with the slavering fangs in the dark). OK, Floyd, you take this one.
Floyd goes in and gets a much-needed item, but he takes a horrific pounding by the mutants in the process. He stumbles out, barely alive, and there’s a really sad (no, I’m not sniffling) part where you sing his favorite song to him.
Yes, Floyd. You’re a good friend.
I dare you not to feel something at this point. Dare you. With tears streaming down my face, I press on, using a miniaturization booth to shrink myself down for one big final repair. One small final repair? Something.
Once un-shrunk, I find out — to my horror — that the only way out is through the bio lab with the mutants. Grabbing a mask, I trigger gas into the area and run through. Following this is a harrowing sequence of turns in which the mutants chase me and I barely stay one step ahead until I get to an elevator and escape.
Turns out… I won.
My efforts to fix everything has triggered the cure and called the Star Patrol back in. Not only did I save the planet, but I’m offered the job of being planetary ruler AND Ensign Blather (who isn’t dead) is now my “personal toilet attendant.”
And one more thing:
Good stuff. Could’ve done without the sleeping/eating/drinking limitations, but overall it was atmospheric and interesting with some narrative in the environment.