Kingdom O’ Magic: Pulling Strings Out Of The Executable

A cursory prodding at cheat code sites didn’t tell me how to access the in-game hints, but it did set me on a path that would lead to that destination. There are, in fact, a few well-known cheat codes, which you access by typing “SCI” (the name of the company that made the game), followed by the code and any parameters, followed by ENTER, despite the lack of any feedback that your typing is having any effect. But that’s cheat codes for you. The whole scheme, with the company name as prefix, is plainly modeled after the cheat codes in Doom, which also didn’t have any kind of explicit prompt for them.

The codes known to the web at large are: DAY and NIGHT to shift the day/night cycle, and STUF, followed by the name of an item, to get that item. Peering into the executable, I found also the following:
HEALTH restores your health. You’d think there would be a code to restore your magic points too, but I didn’t find one.
SMKEY gives you the key to the Mordor-analogue. Presumably you could also get this with STUF, but I suppose this was an item they needed a lot in testing so it was worth it to have a shorter version.
WSHEET gives you a white sheet.
SNSHEL gives you both the key and the sheet.
PAC activates a slightly-Pac-Man-like mini-game that you’d otherwise have to go all the way to the Minas Tirith analogue to access.
SNOWON and SNOWOFF toggle an environment effect normally found only in the mountains.
BIG enlarges the player character to twice the normal height.
NARONSPEED makes the narrator talk faster and at a higher pitch.
HOTDOTS displays a blinking pixel at the foot of every character, which was presumably useful for debugging.
SCUTS by itself crashed the game. I speculate that it needs a parameter, specifying a cutscene to play. There is another code, SMK, that displays the same behavior and may simply be a synonym for SCUTS. (SMK is the file extension for Smacker video clips.)
Ones I have no idea about: HOMEOM, SAM, NECESSARY, GERBILDOOS, RABBITPOO.

Anyway, when I was looking for promising text strings in the executable, I noticed a telephone number from within the game. There’s a cell phone you can find, and this phone number of a real estate office is on an abandoned tower over in the Mirkwood analogue, and it’s really easy to recognize, because it’s 011001111111. Which, yes, you have to tap out by hand. But near it, there was another phone number that I hadn’t seen in the game. It was, in fact, the customer support number listed in the manual. And that is how you access the in-game hints.

I really should have suspected that they’d pull something like that. The manual is really an extension of the game here — not of the gameplay, really, but of the humor. Pages that look like dry legal text at first glance are full of jokes. They really want you to read the whole thing.

Anyway, thanks to that, I’ve finished both of the remaining quests. But I’ll write up my thoughts in another post.

No Comments

Leave a reply