Indenture Solution

Sometime in the early 90s, a guy named Craig Pell wrote a DOS game called Indenture. It was based on the old Atari 2600 game Adventure, which was my first ever "favorite video game". The original game had very, very simple graphics and involved various castles of different colors, keys of matching color that opened the castles, dragons that guarded the keys, a sword that killed the dragons, various other objects and a flashing chalice that the player had to find and return to the yellow castle to win. Depending on which difficulty level you were playing, there were as many as 30-some rooms in the game. And coolest of all - there was a "hidden" room that you needed a special item to enter, which contained the name of the guy who wrote the program for Atari (Warren Robinette).

Mr. Pell took the game even further, adding a new "hidden" area that contained 10 times as many rooms as the original game had. Plus a couple new castles, another dragon and even more objects. And if you solved the hardest difficulty level in a certain way, there was an extra suprise in store.

Problem is, Pell's Indenture is damn difficult to finish, because there are so many mazes and hidden rooms, and the objects you need to win could be anywhere in the over 300 rooms of the game. At least he included save and restore features so you don't have to finish the game in one go. But still, when I first downloaded it in the mid-90s, it took me weeks to finish it. So, when the urge recently struck to play the game again, I decided to write a sort of rough "walkthrough" on how to solve level 4. The information in the walkthrough might also be helpful in solving level 5, but the write-up of where all the different objects start out no longer applies, since everything starts in random positions in level 5.

If you need a copy of the game itself, it was available here as of August, 2007. Update Feb 13th, 2008 - I've been told that the game is no longer available at the previous link, but can now be found at http://www.erasurewars.net/indenture.html.

If you try to play it and find that it runs way too fast on your modern PC, I found that a DOS emulator called DOSBox ran it at a reasonable speed on my PC, but unfortunately I had to use the -V flag for Indentur.com to "simplify" the graphics, or else everything looked really funky. But the game still plays normally.

And once you've downloaded the above and played the game to the point where you're tearing your hair out with frustration, check out my walkthrough file (112K). Note that you have to unzip it using WinZip or a compatible compression tool. In the ZIP file you'll find a text file that contains all my notes - where every object starts out in level 4, how to get to the additional castles, what the "tokens" are for, etc. The bulk of the text file is made up of ASCII maps of every room. In the ZIP file you'll also find a screen shot of the final solution screen in level 5, just to prove that I did it.

About the ASCII maps - I can't claim much credit for these. They were originally extracted from the game's code by someone named Dennis Jenkins. He had his map file up on a web page at http://my.execpc.com/~denniswj/indentur/index.html, and I found that URL while digging around some newsgroup archives. Unfortunately the page wasn't there any more by the time I went to look for it. But, the Wayback Machine came to my rescue and pulled up a copy of the map file. It has a numbered ASCII representation of every room in the game, along with information about which room you would go to by exiting that room Up, Down, Left or Right. I've added to it - indicating where the vertical "barrier" lines are in the rooms that have them, adding notes about what color rooms are and what memorable rooms they're near, and adding the starting location of every object in level 4.

BIG DISCLAIMER: You should note that the author of Indenture, Craig Pell, refused to give anyone any hints or help with solving the game. I was afraid that he would be angry about me publishing a "solution" file, but a few months after this page first went up I got an email from him. He didn't mind there being a solution available (in fact, he seemed surprised that anyone was still playing Indenture). But his feeling (which I fully agree with) is that you should only use my walkthrough as a last resort - it's much, much, much more satisfying to solve the game on your own.

If you have any questions that the Walkthrough doesn't answer, you can try to email me. I have my email address "hidden" on my Home Page. Scroll down towards the bottom and look for the bold word email. I'll try to help if I can, but I don't plan to make a career out of it, so if you just get a "I don't know" back from me, sorry. Please put "Indenture Walkthrough" in your email's subject line, or something that will let me know for sure that it's not spam, because I tend to have an itchy trigger finger on the delete button since 95% or more of the mail that I get nowdays is spam.