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Worst Puzzles You've Ever Encountered

posted by Hayden on - last edited - Viewed by 1.8K users

While puzzles are one of the main attractions of adventure games, I think we can all agree that we've come across some that have been absolutely horrible. Horrible puzzles may include puzzles that are ridiculously difficult, puzzles that are illogical, or puzzles that are unexplained and cause the player to have no idea what they're meant to be doing. Those are the three most common cases anyway, but puzzles can also be terrible if they're too easy, too cruel, too nonsensical (and not in a good way), involve too much guesswork, etc. - there are many things that make a bad puzzle, and I'm sure we've all come across our fair share of bad puzzles in our adventure gaming experiences. So, here's your chance to vent and tell us what some of your most hated puzzles are, and why they're so bad.

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  • Having to dial 411 in both Police Quest 1 and 2 for various purposes... is this in any way hinted at somewhere in the game, or in the manual... and I've somehow missed that all this time?
    Because otherwise, having to call a US specific local directory assistance number... that's pretty lame for games sold internationally.
    Especially back then when we couldn't look it up online.

  • @thesporkman said: Bugs aside, though, am I the only one who liked Escape's puzzles? They were really twisted and clever and Mike Stemmle-y. Certain puzzles, like Monkey Kombat, are tedious to go through on repeat playthroughs, but it was pretty interesting and entertaining the first time around.


    For a minute, I thought you'd posted the pronunciation of Mike's name :D.

    Anyway, I fully agree. Some of the puzzles really were very cleverly designed, if they were a bit difficult to grasp or took ages to pass. Of course, they're not going to be seen as 'cleverly designed' by most people, but instead as tedious, long-winded struggles that could have been made a lot easier or shorter. Which sucks, because I can tell that a lot of effort and thought went into some of these puzzles.

    And there were some puzzles in the game that I thought were pieces of wacky brilliance. But, of course, they're only going to be criticized for being stupid, far-fetched, silly or idiotic by those who have a negative opinion of the game. But these sorts of puzzles and solutions are scattered throughout the 'Monkey Island' series, yet only the ones from 'Escape...' are so often ridiculed.

    @thesporkman said: You are not alone. You and I appear to be a part of a small collective who actually quite enjoyed EFMI.

    Count me as part of that 'small collective'.

  • It seems like Mike Stemmle really likes puzzles involving human body parts. Hit the Road had Jesse James' severed hand. Escape had all those prosthetic limbs you could assemble into the Abomination of Nature. The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood had the leg lamp and the human legs from DeSinge's lab. They Stole Max's Brain had Sammun-Mak's brain. Et cetera. :P

  • @thesporkman said: It seems like Mike Stemmle really likes puzzles involving human body parts. Hit the Road had Jesse James' severed hand. Escape had all those prosthetic limbs you could assemble into the Abomination of Nature. The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood had the leg lamp and the human legs from DeSinge's lab. They Stole Max's Brain had Sammun-Mak's brain. Et cetera. :P

    Either Mike Stemmle was a massive fan of the game 'Operation' as a kid or... I don't want to know!

  • Haha! I wonder if he himself has realized just how many of his puzzles involve body parts, or if we're pointing it out to him for the first time. I really hope he stumbles across this thread :D.

  • Would be interesting to how things would turn out if Telltale started making Leisure Suit Larry games and Stemmle ended up working on it :p

  • @Armakuni said: Would be interesting to how things would turn out if Telltale started making Leisure Suit Larry games and Stemmle ended up working on it :p

    No! I really don't want to imagine what he'd have poor Larry doing to a leg stump. And no Stemmle, it's not worth it just so you can name the game 'Hump the Stump'!

  • Obtaining the Cult of Offler guy's robe in Discworld. It requires you to catch a butterfly, go back in time, go to the same spot the guy's standing in the present, and let the butterfly go near the lamp he's standing under. And then somehow this causes a tiny raincloud to appear in the present... for some reason. And as far as I ever saw, there was no explanation for why this would happen or why you would ever even consider that letting a butterfly go in the past would cause it to rain in the present. Maybe it's a reference to a Discworld book I haven't read yet? I don't know.

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    puzzlebox Telltale Staff

    @Scnew said: And as far as I ever saw, there was no explanation for why this would happen or why you would ever even consider that letting a butterfly go in the past would cause it to rain in the present.

    Sounds like a reference to the butterfly effect explanation of chaos theory, which puts forward the idea that the miniscule changes created by the flap of a butterfly's wings could potentially produce a ripple effect where the eventual atmospheric changes are so great that they affect weather patterns in the future. But yeah... that is pretty damn obscure.

  • @puzzlebox said: Sounds like a reference to the butterfly effect explanation of chaos theory, which puts forward the idea that the miniscule changes created by the flap of a butterfly's wings could potentially produce a ripple effect where the eventual atmospheric changes are so great that they affect weather patterns in the future. But yeah... that is pretty damn obscure.

    Yeah, playing through it again as an adult, I figured that was probably what it was referring to, but again, I don't remember the game ever saying anything about it.

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