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Brain Guzzlers from Beyond!


(14 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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Brain Guzzlers from Beyond!

DoraAin't it great to be a hip, happening young teen? In Steph Cherrywell's interactive-fiction adventure Brain Guzzlers from Beyond!, you're good ol' teen gal Bonnie Noodleman, whose date with your sorta-boyfriend up on Make-Out Mountain may or may not be going so well, but that doesn't matter since, as the title implies, he goes and gets his brains guzzled by an alien monstrosity before he can even give you his letter jacket. Jeepers! Now it's up to you to warn the townsfolk... but even in an alterna-history 1950s era of rocket boots and space travel, you might just be taken for another kooky female who's got her head all twisted up in a lather, so maybe you'll need to do the saving yourself. To play, just hit [Enter] to advance the text, or type your actions and hit [Enter] to execute them. Most of these are straightforward... things like LOOK AT __ to take a closer look at something specific, or TALK TO __ to strike up a conversation with a character, and reading the yearbook in your dearly departed beau's glove compartment will give you more instructions. The most important, however, is that if you make a decision that leads to unfortunate circumstances, just type UNDO to, well, undo your previous choice and try something else. Jinkies! What will they think of next?

Writing good parody is hard, because you run the risk of being too glib for easy laughs and become an unfunny soap box consisting entirely of references instead. Brain Guzzlers from Beyond! is more sly than that, though there are some more in-your-face jabs, and it helps that the story knows when to actually be unsettling or exciting instead of a relentless parade of jokes (even if there are some extremely funny ones, and cute puns, too) and social commentary. If you need a pop culture-y comparison, it's somewhere between Parks and Recreation, and Mean Girls. It touches on everything from race and gender to perception of youth and wisdom and beyond, managing to make its point while still telling an engaging, delightfully ghoulish story of science-fiction camp in the process. The writing is rock-solid, perfectly echoing the swingin' time period it's aping, and providing just enough description to flesh things out without drowning you in superfluous text that would otherwise obfuscate objectives and mechanics.

The text parser mostly does its job when it comes to interpreting commands, though it can be annoyingly particular... you can't simply "use" an object in your environment, for example, because the game wants you to, specifically, "pull" it. The game does help you a little by occasionally offering more obvious suggestions if you LOOK AT whatever you're trying to interact with, however, though that doesn't help you when the game occasionally abandons its otherwise carefully delineated "description - items to use/look at" text format and slips things you can interact with inside the main descriptive body for an area. Even if you get stuck, your options are usually limited enough because of the tight area design that if you experiment with what you'll have, you'll figure out a solution sooner rather than later. Navigation can occasionally get a little tricky as you try to remember what places are where in town, and how to get to them, but there's a surprising amount to explore. You'll need to stop a smart-alec pie queen from eating a suspicious pastry, figure out the best use for a cantankerous goat, work out a way to get your very own tombstone, and of course, save the town from having its brains... well, you get the idea. Brain Guzzlers from Beyond! is a fun, witty text adventure that's the perfect size and tone for an afternoon of adventure, with tongue firmly planted in cheek the whole time.

Play Brain Guzzlers from Beyond!

28 Comments

RamblinRob October 6, 2015 12:39 PM

This seems more my style and looks like a lot of fun!

I'm all too familiar with the text parser style of gameplay from using it when I was a kid playing Sierra games in an age before the internet. I still enjoy it if it's done right and that UNDO option sounds like a lifesaver. No more creating constant back-up saves. :)

Reply
RamblinRob October 6, 2015 3:24 PM

Ok... I am having some trouble finding out what to do here. There is a goat standing in my way, my friend Jenny won't leave and the cop doesn't believe me. I've tried feeding the goat the yearbook thinking it would be distracted chewing on paper, pushing it off the cliff and getting into a staring contest with it to no avail. As for Jenny and the Officer I know I need to get someone to stand in her place so I can take the seed to the cop to get him to do something but I have found no one to replace her. Resorting to violence isn't working and they don't get scared when I show them my switchblade. Surprised I didn't get thrown in jail for punching the cop. Just going in circles around the town now but I am determined to figure this out. Hints anyone?

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ameregamer October 6, 2015 3:39 PM replied to RamblinRob

You're actually really close. An attempt at progressively explicit hints:

That yearbook seems awfully game-manual-y. The game even made sure you could access it after the car crash. It's probably not going to let you ditch it or feed it to a goat. Good idea, though.

Is there anything else you could feed it? They say goats will eat anything, or something like that, right?

What's the cliche? Goats eating tin cans?

Right idea, wrong book. Feed the goat the sketchbook and you'll be in business.

Reply
https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkYt9Y8XAMPnei6IrofFLlh1dbV31FjNDo October 7, 2015 12:00 AM

Stuck for the moment - I have:

[spoiler]

  • a glowing trophy

  • a cosmic ray gun

  • a seedling growth chart

  • a game pamphlet

  • a poetry book

  • a skirt-and-sweater combo (being worn)

[/spoiler]

I'm got the robot to follow me, and am trying to stop the pie girl from eating the pie. Don't know what to do any further.

Reply

You have two possible advances:

You can talk to Mary Jane (the pie girl).

There is a ghost ride in the eastern part of the town, that offers you a prize if you actually die on it.

Reply
Patreon Contributor Questioner October 7, 2015 1:59 AM

I'm currently stuck trying to find:

The perforated silver membrane. It may have something to do with the silo, the neon sign, or the snickerdoodles, but i haven't found anything that is actually made of silver.

Reply
Patreon Contributor Questioner October 7, 2015 2:12 AM replied to Questioner

Nevermind!

It appears I didn't check the drive-in enough.

Reply
CloudPirate October 7, 2015 7:50 AM

Hi! Long time reader, 1st time posting. Love this game so far!

Unfortunately I've reached an impasse.

I think I have everything I need except...

Micro-Mini Computer

Now, I think to get that I need to find

the robot wife of the future

I'm currently trying to speak to the guy in

The Beat Barn

BUT...

I can't take my coffee in

Any ideas? Thanks!

Reply
Patreon Contributor Questioner October 7, 2015 11:02 AM replied to CloudPirate

CloudPirate:

Do you remember how you created the spork?

You have to use the same item...

...the teleporter...

...to get the coffee into the bar.

Drop the telepod in the bar, put the coffee on the teleporter pad in the house, and press the button!

Reply
CloudPirate October 7, 2015 11:27 AM

Thank you! Hadn't realised it was

portable

Reply
Large Farva October 7, 2015 11:44 AM

I'm having trouble with:

Shooting ducks to get the carny's trophy. The game is rigged, so I figure I need an outside gun. Renee has a ray gun, but she isn't being helpful since she's so much more hardcore about science fiction than I am.

Is there something I can show her to get her on my side, or am I missing a more helpful way to solve this problem?

To the poster trying to stop Mary Jane,

there is something back in the mom-and-pop shop that could help you

look at the blue and green displays

Reply
Large Farva October 7, 2015 11:55 AM

POP! Crisis averted.

There was something in the mom-and-pop shop to help me, as well.

Reply
spathi4tw October 7, 2015 1:43 PM

I'm stuck trying to find

The ingredient to make Fructonium.

There doesn't seem to be any

Fruit to give Jenny

anywhere.

Reply
https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkYt9Y8XAMPnei6IrofFLlh1dbV31FjNDo October 7, 2015 2:15 PM

Hi. Back again. Now I have everything i need except

fruit.

Any idea how to get it?

@CloudPirate did you try reading the

game pamphlet that's been in your inventory since the start?

Reply
RamblinRob October 7, 2015 7:51 PM

Thanks, ameregamer. I see now what type of game this is. I'll be approaching puzzle solutions with that in mind now.

I had at one point looked for actual trash for the goat and did not even once consider the painting of tin cans even though an image of one entered my head. d'oh

I've made a bit of progress since then. If anybody doesn't know already: You can type 'save' to save your game, just be careful not to clear your cache or you will have to start over.

So has anyone successfully completed this yet?

...and where is that vanilla ice cream I asked for?! They gave me double fudge! :(

Reply
ThenAgain October 7, 2015 9:45 PM

For those of you stuck on the fruit here are a number of successively obvious hints:

The Prof says a botanist is needed to make Fructonium

Who do we know that is good with plants?

She can't do much in the shop, it's full of military.

Back at the house, where might she feel most comfortable? She's in the house somewhere.

In the garden/kitchen, but the fruit's not growing! What sort of things are supposed to make plants grow?

We don't have any items to do it... what other actions can our character do that might make a plant grow?

Perhaps Jenny has some ideas. She knows plants.

She says she can make Fructonium. She says maybe we should talk to the plants?

Talk to the plants! I'm not sure if what you say is important, but after saying a few things, we shared a moment and the plants grew.

Reply
CloudPirate October 8, 2015 7:50 AM

Anyone know if there are any alternative endings? Large Farva's comment yesterday made me wonder as I didn't use anything from the

mom-and-pop shop to stop MJ eating the pies, the item I used was from the florists


Also I was left with a few inventory items with no apparent use such as

ice cream, switchblade (assume this is not used as what you got depended on your magazine questionnaire choice right at the beginning) and snickerdoodles (I fed some of these to the Professor, MJ, Jenny and Renne though).

Reply
https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkYt9Y8XAMPnei6IrofFLlh1dbV31FjNDo October 8, 2015 8:40 AM replied to CloudPirate

The items you didn't use:

ice cream

You can eat it.

switchblade

I don't know what you do with this specific item, but I know that the book of poems is used to skip what appears to be a poetry slam with the goth poet girl.

snickerdoodles

Once you give them out to everyone, you can eat them repeatedly. Just keep eating them. Eventually you'll eat the last one. Proof that the character you control has no free will.

Reply

Does anyone remember the game Arrival? Won the Xyzzy Awards years back.

(PS: Nice Back to the Future reference at the carnival.)

Reply

Is it just me or were Jenny and Mary Jane in a relationship?

Reply

Okay, maybe I'm just stupid, but I can't figure out

how to get out of Mary Jane's house, or just get her to stop playing her goddamn marching band music. I have an RPS cannon that doesn't seem to do anything, a telepod, a coffee mug, and some useless items. I've gotten the DNA sample, spork, and steel chassis for the professor.

Reply
Patreon Contributor Questioner October 14, 2015 11:40 AM replied to Elise

To continue, you must...

...clear the rocks. This can be done by using...

...The RPS gun.

Have you examined the gun?

It has a dial you can turn to 3 settings. It has a special meaning.

RPS = Rock Paper Scissors
Paper beats rock, so turn the dial until it looks like paper (all 5 fingers outwards), and then you can shoot the rocks.

Reply
Elise October 14, 2015 5:55 PM replied to Questioner

Oh my god, thank you! This is so frustrating; I typed

"shoot cannon" but I guess it only accepts "shoot rocks". The gun doesn't do anything if you don't point it specifically at the rocks.

Reply

UGH! Okay, another question... How do you load save files? There's no "load" option. I typed "save" then hit "edit" and tried to download the file for the save, like it says, and I got a file simply named "data". Then I opened it in Chrome. All it did was download itself, creating an identical file called "data1". I can't open the text file in Notepad or Wordpad without it being gibberish, either. Reading the game guide (command: "read game") doesn't help either. I don't want to start over.

Reply

Elise, I think loading a saved game only works if you're using an actual, downloaded interactive-fiction interpreter; the online javascript interpreter doesn't have a way to load a saved game. I think.

Reply

Correction: when you finish the game, it gives you the following options:

Would you like to RESTART, RESTORE a saved game, QUIT or UNDO the last command?

So maybe try "RESTORE [name of your saved file]"?

Reply
Elise October 15, 2015 9:51 PM replied to Reka

Yes! Thank you! The command is "restore"! They should really put that in the game pamphlet (or the yearbook, for that matter). They should tell you that you can save, too. Hell, I don't recall being told that I had a game pamphlet. It's in your inventory but the inventory commands are in the pamphlet. Argh. (This is still the least frustrating text game I've ever played, save for the ones by Choice Of Games.)

Reply

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