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Xeno (Xenophobia.txt)

                               Walkthrough for


                             by Jonathan Mestel

                           Written by Richard Bos

A few notes, first.

One, and most importantly, this is a rotten hard and at times unfair game. In
fact, it has the reputation of being one of the nastiest and most unfair of the
Phoenix games, and it certainly deserves the former. The other Phoenix games
want you dead; Xenophobia wants you to tear your hairs out while dying. About
its unfairness one can quibble; many of the problems _seem_ unfair because they
have solutions which don't work in other games, but make more sense when you
look at them from a real-life perspective. Whether this is _good_ is another
matter. Later on it becomes clearer and clearer that it is more magical realism
than straight realism, but even then, applying real life solutions to a problem
is more likely to work in Xenophobia than in other Phoenix games.
In any case, hard it certainly is. You can die at the game's slightest whim.
Save often, and keep _all_ your save files until you've finished the game. And
choose carefully where and when you save, because saving takes a turn, too, and
this can cost you dearly at many points in the game. By the way, you can get
Xenophobia to set a password on saved games. I suggest not doing so; it may
have been of use on the original multiplayer system, but there's no real reason
for it nowadays.
Two, the parser is limited, but good. The game is good at giving you less to
type. If there is only one object, simply "get" will take it; if there are
several, it will assume the first one listed. Ditto for "drop", which will drop
the first object in your inventory. It also understands "all", although this
isn't as useful here as it often is. On the other hand, it does not understand
multiple objects in one command.
Three, this game does not (mostly) recognise compass directions. You have to
navigate using "left", "right", "forward", "back". I suppose
this ties in with
the whole "slice of reality, not a fantasy game" theme, but it will take some
getting used to. You can, at least, abbreviate these as "l", "r", "f"
and "b".
Note that this also means that the usual Phoenix meaning for "back" of "go back
to my previous location" doesn't _quite_ work; it often comes down to the same
thing, but not always. You can also turn left and right to change which way
"forward" is, if that helps navigation.
Four, this is an old-fashioned game. There are a lot of puzzles which you can
only realistically be expected to solve by dying first, often more than
once. The Gloucester Crescent area in particular would need working out on
paper if you were to try to solve it on your own. Since this is a single
walkthrough, such hints will not be found here. I'll just present you with the
correct solutions, omitting the process you could have used to discover them.
If this spoils the game for you, well, such is the risk of reading
At this point, I must mention of Craig Hudson, who first proved that the ZCode
version of Xenophobia was solvable, and helped iron out the last bugs. This
walkthrough by and large follows his solution, with some changes made to
account for random occurences in the game, and one improvement which removes
the greatest apparent unfairness still left in his solution.
Finally, these notes are for the ZCode version generated from the original
Phoenix source, which is available at the IF Archive. I do not know whether it
works for other versions, as well, or even if any exist.

We start with a convenient case of amnesia - in fact, as you'll see throughout
the game, it could just as well, if not better, have been titled "Amnesia" - so
at least we're on the same footing as our character, knowing nothing. Do ask
for the backstory when prompted; it will at least get the story going.

Take the key and move forward to the centre of the carriage. Take inventory.
Read the paper - a first clue your identity! - and your watch. Now wait for the
inspector to turn up. He will appear either at the front or the rear of the
carriage, and when he does, you must move promptly, as you have no ticket.
Meanwhile, the train will have temporarily stopped, allowing you to give him
the runaround.
If he emerges from the front, go back, forward twice, then right three times
across the platform. Don't dawdle on the way; either he will nab you, or you
will be left on a platform in the middle of nowhere. If he comes into view at
the rear, go forward three times, then left thrice.
The train will restart its journey. Wait for it to come to its final stop. In
the mean time, you will be given another knock on the head. You'll get many
more during the game, some of which will help restore your memory. Ignore this
one, and the resulting headache, for now.
When you arrive at the platform, go back out of the carriage, then right, and
forward until you arrive at the barrier. Now, how to pass the inspector? You
still don't have a ticket... Luckily, this guy doesn't seem to pay much
attention, so we can fool him: wave the paper. (By the way, in the name of
reality, I have actually seen that trick work. At a London station, no less,
though not a main one. No, it wasn't me, nor anyone I knew. Oystercards have
made it obsolete, of course.)

Go left. You are now in London, and you have a headache to attend to. This is
where the realism aspect comes into its own. What would _you_ do if you were in
a large city and wanted to get rid of a headache? Well, there are shops
everywhere, so: buy aspirin. Answer yes or no as you choose to to the joke
question (it makes no difference), choose aspirin rather than paracetamol, then
answer "yes" to buy it. Take the aspirin.
Next, buy batteries (answer yes), a map (yes again), and a torch (yes!). Go
outside. Read the map, and (remembering your paper) plan a route to Gloucester
Crescent. Go forward until you come across a pink card. Take this, then keep
going forward (ignoring the message about needing the toilet) until you reach a
T-junction, then forward once more to Gloucester crescent. Read the card. You
won't need it in this walkthrough.

Insert the batteries. Go left, forward, left, and forward again. Hey, that key
fits! Next go up and back. Get the bogroll and use toilet. You may be thirsty
by now; drink some water. Go back (ignore that glimpse of something), down and
left out of the house, then forward twice up the hill. Take the pole. Unroll
the roll.
Go ne and forward. There may be a whistle here. If so, take it. If not, go back
and forward - you're on the hill again - and try se and forward. If the whistle
is not there, either, go back, forward, sw and forward; if not there, either,
go back, forward, nw and forward; it will be there.
Having taken the whistle, go back and forward to the hilltop, and go in the
direction opposite to where you found the whistle (e.g., if you found it after
going se, now go nw). Go forward twice (hey, that key fits here, as well!), up,
and forward again. You should see a mirror. Blow the whistle. Take the glass
and read the paper again - more information! Go back, down and left, out of the

Go forward, right twice, forward twice and left into a kitchen. Drink and eat.
Climb the cooker and get the scissors; go down, climb the fridge, and _now_
get the scissors. Go forward, right, forward twice, right, forward, right and
forward into yet another house.
Go up twice to the attic. Throw the rod and take it again (another knock!). Go
down, left, forward, right twice, forward twice and down. Turn on your torch;
as usual in Phoenix games, this is done using the simple command "on". If you
see a rat, take the cask. If you don't see a rat, turn left until you do,
_then_ take the cask.
Go up, left, forward twice, right, forward and right. Knock, run back, and
wait. Go back and forward into the house which was just opened for us (there
was a chain on the door before). Then go back, take the parcel, forward out of
the house (no need waiting around for that guy to come back), and open the

Go forward, right twice, forward and left. Wind your watch, then set it. Play
the tape and retrieve it. Go back, right, forward, right, forward twice, right,
forward again, up and back. Use the toilet, then flush it. Go back, down, left,
forward, right, forward twice, right, forward twice again into the last house
to visit, and left. Drink, eat, and wash.
Go right. Sell the scissors (answer yes) and the watch (yes). Sell the key - or
try to. Well, that explains why that key opened all those doors: it's a fence's
master key! Go back, left, right and forward. Drop the key here, as we won't be
needing it again, and we're now glad to be rid of it.

Go left. You may be accosted by a policeman, but this is not a problem now
we're no longer carrying anything dubious. If we'd had the master key on us,
we'd have been arrested, but without them, we're all right as long as we behave
nicely to P.C. Plod. (Note that, for one time only, you can get rid of a
policeman by giving him that card we picked up. This works even if you are
carrying contraband. As noted above, in this walkthrough, that won't be a
problem, but it's useful to know if you want to experiment. There's also an
option of buying a ticket for the Policemen's Ball, but as far as I can tell
you're never actively prompted for that option.)
Wait for him to ask a question. He'll ask for your name first. You can answer
any way you like, even one that makes no sense at all. Wait for the next
question (your age), answer it (doesn't even have to be a number), wait, give
another random answer, wait, yet another answer, and wait for the last
question. Here the answer does matter: answer "no" - you wouldn't mind. That'll
get rid of him. From now on, you may be pestered by policemen again; follow the
same procedure, answering randomly to the first four questions, and "no" to the
pockets one.
Call a taxi. If one doesn't appear, repeat (possibly talking to coppers in the
mean time - but don't call for a cab _while_ talking to one) until it does. You
will automatically get in. Enter "station". Wait until you arrive, then pay the
taxi and tip the driver (answer yes).
From now on you will be regularly pestered by the police, but this is merely a
nuisance. Go forward to the bus station. Wait for bus 100 to appear - it
eventually will. When it does, enter it, ignoring whatever the police may be
asking you at the moment. Note the Flanders & Swann joke. Pay your fare. Enter
"Mortlake Road", and 13.

You're dumped on the even side of the road, which is the wrong one. Follow the
Green Cross Code: look right, look left, and look right again, and only then
cross the road. Buy some matches, and then - because you don't have enough
money left - _steal_ a compass.
(Note that you could've stolen objects before, saving even more money, but this
would have carried the risk of meeting the policeman before, while you were
carrying that key. If you go that route, it appears that the game is unfair
because you can meet him before you even find the get-out-of-jail-free card,
getting you arrested without a chance; but by delaying your crimes until you're
on Mortlake Road, you can eliminate even this unfairness.)
Go right, then forward until you're at number 13, and right. You'll be asked if
you brought "them"; answer yes. Insert the paper into the machine, then open
its base. Light a match. The line of weird code is in TSAL, the language
Xenophobia itself is written in; in fact, it is a line from its own source. You
are now, in fact, inside Xenophobia's own game database (or dater-base, groan).
Go west (thank goodness for compasses, and never mind that snarky remark from
the game!), and light another match.
Now use the command the game uses for setting passwords: setp. This will work
on the in-game game, this time, not on your own! Then save - again, this will
not save _your_ game, but will save you from _its_ game - and when asked
whether to set a password, answer "yes". You will not get to choose a password
but be given one. Remember it, four letters in all.
You are dumped back out of the game. Wait a few turns for the tape to stop
loading, when you will be prompted for a password. Give, letter by letter, the
password which you were given before, and the in-game game will restore. Answer
whatever you like to the next question.

And... that's it. Magical realism isn't a common genre for adventure games, and
it's not hard to see why. It's certainly an interesting experience, but I can
see why it's not everybody's cup of tea. Nevertheless, I still maintain that
Xenophobia is _not_ as unfair as Jonathan Mestel's other effort, BrandX a.k.a.
Philosopher's Quest. _That_ was random; Xenophobia is weird, but at least more
internally consistent. In a way, I even like it.