Spurred by your natural curiosity, you stick around after the show in the big top, hoping to catch an after-hours performance. Perhaps you'll get a peek at an impromptu clown act, or watch the late-night feedings of the exotic animals you goggled at earlier. But life at the circus isn't glamorous after the audience has gone home: instead of flashy feats, you overhear a mysterious conversation: a little girl--the circus owners daughter--has been kidnapped! Her father is too naive (or is he too pompously stupid?) to do more than hire an inept detective to find her. He Remains blindly loyal to his overworked performers, but...could it be an inside job? The girl might be hidden somewhere on the circus grounds...and one of the performers might be the abductor!
So you do what anyone would do in these circumstances: set out to rescue the damsel in distress. The odds aren't in your favor: you--a spectator, a bystander, an outsider in a defensive close-knit community--trying to find a girl you've never met, in a place you know nothing about, among bizarre people who want nothing to do with you. Some would call you brave. Some would call you foolish. Every circus has its seedy underside. But few are as dangerous as this.
If you're familiar with Infocoms interactive fiction, you may not feel like reading this entire manual. However, you should at least look at the appendix of recognized verbs; some of the verbs listed are found in all Infocom stories, while others are included especially for Ballyhoo.
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TIPS AND TRICKS
1) Draw a map. It should include each location, the directions connecting it to adjoining locations, and any interesting objects there. Note there are 10 possible directions, plus IN and OUT.
2) Examine all objects you come across. Most objects in the story that you can pick up are important for solving one or more of the puzzles you will run into.
3) Save your place often. That way, if you mess up or get killed, you wont have to start over from the beginning.
4) Read the story carefully. There are often clues in the descriptions of locations and objects. Even strange or dangerous actions may provide clues, and might prove to be fun! You can always save your position first if you want. Here is a Silly example:
>PUT THE SADDLE ON THE PONY
As you drop the heavy saddle onto the pony, the animal is crushed by the weight, and it falls down, legs splayed.
^there you have a clue that you should find either a lighter saddle or a sturdier horse.
5) Unlike other "adventure games" you may have played, there are many possible routes the to end of Ballhoo. Some puzzles have more than one
solution; other puzzles don't nees to be solved at all. Sometimes you will have to solve one puzzle in order to obtain the item(s) or information you need to solve another puzzle.
6) You may find it helpful to go through Ballyhoo with another person. Different people may find different puzzles easy and can often complement each other.
7) If you really have difficulty, you can order a hint booklet and a complete map using the orfer form in your package. You don't need this booklet to enjoy the story, but it will make solving the puzzles easier.
8) Read the sample transcript ahead in the docs to get a feel for how Infocom's interactive fiction works.
9) You can word a command in many different ways. For example, if you wanted to pick up a yellow hoop, you could type in any of the following:
>TAKE THE HOOP
>PICK UP THE YELLOW HOOP
In fact, if the hoop is the only thing in sight that you can take, just typing TAKE would have been good enough. But more about that in the next section...