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Journey to the Center of the Earth Walkthrough


Welcome to my Journey to the Center of the Earth walkthroughs. (-: If you're new to my series of low-spoiler walkthroughs, the idea is to point players towards things they might not have thought of in each game instead of giving away puzzle solutions or offering step-by-step instructions. There's no point in playing a graphic adventure game if you know all the puzzle solutions in advance, after all--and what fun is it to investigate a deadly conspiracy if you already know whodunnit? So I've kept these pages as close to spoiler-free as possible. If you're looking for the solution to a specific puzzle, I recommend UHS--their website only reveals one hint at a time there, so you can get the answer to one puzzle without ruining all the others for yourself. My website, meanwhile, focuses on exactly the things UHS and traditional walkthroughs don't: the non-critical parts of the game, little detours you can take, extra details you might miss if you only did what was strictly necessary to win the game. If you want even fewer spoilers--you're considering whether or not to buy the game, for example, and just want to know whether there's anything you're going to detest in it--visit my Journey to the Center of the Earth Review page to find all the pertinent information in one convenient spoiler-free package.

Optional Game Elements

Adventure games in general tend to be more linear than CRPG's, and Journey to the Center of the Earth is no exception. It's impossible to miss the vast majority of this game-- if you don't complete a conversation, finish a quest, or notice a meaningful detail, you generally aren't allowed to leave the area until you rectify this. One thing I liked about Journey to the Center of the Earth, though, is that it provides lots of additional clues to the plot along the way, which you don't need to find in order to complete the plot, but which add to the experience significantly. Here is the list of all the optional clues and other game elements I found in Journey to the Center of the Earth:

*In the First Camp area are two headstones, only one of which is legible. It is possible to clean the second tombstone, and use your laptop to research both.

*Outside Adam's hut, you can use your computer to analyze one of the skulls decorating his walkway.

*Inside Adam's hut are two optional puzzles: figuring out how to use his magic cup (it's really stupid), and figuring out how to open his chest (that one's better, and the objects inside the chest are interesting.)

*You can watch the video reels of war footage for an interesting clue.

*This doesn't yield a clue at all, but take a closer look at the triceratops near Heracles' shop for a really nifty cutscene.

*In Heracles' shop, his clock can be examined and analyzed for additional information.

*There's a telegram lying out in the communications office when you enter it a second time; you can palm this and read it for additional information.

*Be sure to develop the film in the security tower while you're in there; this image will make later parts of the plot make more sense.

*Don't neglect to watch the second filmreel; there's a very startling clue in there.

*There are several documents scattered around the mines that you can read into your computer. Most are useless (mining regulations et al,) but there's one on the bulletin board near the sorting machine that's about Ariane, and the telegram on the floor near Amalia is interesting (though you won't be able to do anything with the information you can deduce from it.)

*Save the game before exiting Alexander's room above the mines. There are two ways to leave this area; one will return Ariane to the surface, resulting in an ending cutscene, and the other will send her back to the mines to finish unraveling the conspiracy, resulting in a different ending. Whichever you choose, you will almost certainly want to see what happens in the alternate ending as well.

The Non-Boring Guide to Journey to the Center of the Earth

Though this is a fun game with an interesting plot, it is also glitchy and horribly translated, so figuring out what on earth is supposed to be happening onscreen can be a rather frustrating experience. The interface is also wretched, so any time spent wandering around in circles is bad time, detracting directly from the fun of playing. It's my opinion that games shouldn't waste their players' limited time doing things like walking back and forth over and over again, performing useless tasks, trying to read the game designer's mind and guess which puzzle to attempt next, and waiting for something to happen.

So here's my Non-Boring Guide to JCE. It'll let you know where the bugs are and how to get around them, and fill you in on the basic gameplay information that's been obscured by the crappy transation and lack of in-game feedback, but without any puzzle spoilers. I'll tell you where the puzzles ARE and whether it's possible to solve each of them yet, but not how to go about it. You've got UHS for that, if you need it. My walkthrough, bare-boned by design, is meant to help lead you past those sticking points that are the fault of the interface, bad writing in the game, or just your own uncertainty about what you're supposed to be doing next. Feel free to print it out and use it to help lend some added direction to your travels through Journey to the Center of the Earth.

RECURRING PROBLEMS

On several occasions, Ariane will appear to get stuck, unable to make what seems to you like the obvious next move. The problem is usually that she is not wearing her gloves. Ariane needs to wear the gloves in order to do almost anything with a tool, but due to a glitch in the game they pop off her hands every time she uses them, so you need to go back in her inventory and equip them again. If you ever get stuck wondering why a tool isn't working, check the gloves.

In most games you can use a camera in the character's inventory to take pictures of something you want to remember later (i.e. the riddle above the seals puzzle.) In this game, you can't. Ariane automatically takes pictures for plot purposes; other than that, the camera is useless.

CRASH SITE

Ariane isn't clear about it, but the reason she won't leave is that she hasn't taken all the objects she's going to need from this scene yet. Strip the helicopter bare. Also, she needs to send an SOS email, and for some reason, she won't send it unless she's standing in the scene to the left overlooking the ocean, so you have to walk her over there and use her laptop while she's standing there.

BEACH AREA

When you meet Adam, he will give you your first quest of the game: find and polish his yellow crystal for him. You can complete this task before leaving for the next area, and you should, because otherwise you'll need to walk all the way back here to do it later.

First, go ahead and explore the area, collecting all the objects from the riverbank, the First Camp site, and the mine entrance. (I'll save you a headache later, too: pixel-hunt the riverbank carefully for the one, tiny little area from which Ariane is permitted to fill her flask of water.) You can investigate the gravestones, too, and it is possible to find a way to read and research both of them.

Next, here is the first navigation error of many you will encounter in this game: when you're standing in the First Camp area, it sort of looks like a sandy path leads off towards the top of the screen, but no movement cursor appears there. Click on it anyway. When you approach the top part of the screen, the perspective will suddenly shift and now you can see a new area (a cave full of crystals.) This is a recurring flaw in the game, and I won't list every place it happens, because it happens a lot. But this is the first one, and it took me off-guard, and it will probably take anyone used to modern graphic adventure games off guard. Now you know.

Once you've solved the crystal puzzle, go back into the mines and figure out how to turn the lights on, because Ariane, like any sensible adventurer of the last 25 years, does not want to be eaten by a grue. You will then be confronted with a really cool-looking tile-sorting puzzle, which comes with awkwardly translated instuctions that will prevent you from getting any further in the game if you pay too much attention to them. The part where it tells you to begin the tile sequence "as the sun rises?" Don't. The beginning tile has to start at the northwest compass point, not the east. The other clues are badly translated but make enough sense to solve the puzzle with anyway.

FOREST AREA

You will notice a group of white pebbles on the ground that make Ariane exclaim "I must have forgotten something!" when you click on them. No, she hasn't forgotten anything. What she means to tell you is that the pebbles are actually a patch of little mushrooms which she wants you to help her collect. English is not Ariane's first language, be patient with her. :-)

Your next quest is helping the sentry who is stationed on top of the giant mushroom. He has two tasks for you: he wants help splinting an injured soldier's leg, and he wants help fixing his giant horn. You can find all the objects you need to accomplish these tasks without crossing the long suspension bridge--if you go across the bridge now, you'll just need to backtrack later, because you won't be able to loot the guard station until the guard leaves.

Enjoy the really cool cutscene.

ADAM'S HUT

As you approach Adam's hut, it's possible to research the skulls he keeps on poles out there.

Once you've given Adam his crystal, he will let you into his hut, and in good adventure-game fashion, you may then help yourself to anything you like in there. There are only two rooms in the hut, but there are two views of each room, and it is important to explore all four screens (even though it is difficult to maneuver Ariane to make this possible.) There's only one object you need in here, but there's also a book you can read, a tangram puzzle you can solve for a little extra information, and a magic bowl you can use to cast a spell (this time, Ariane is correct when she explains what she wants you to do with the bowl.)

JUNGLE/SAVANNAH AREA

As you continue across the rope bridge, you will eventually notice you have no movement cursor again, but can't get Ariane to keep walking just by clicking. This time it's by design. I think the bridge is supposed to be out. Ariane will have to climb down the ladder and continue on the ground.

When you click on the foliage down there, Ariane will exclaim "That's impossible!" What she means this time is "I can't get past all this foliage."

Time does not pass in this game, so the dinosaur who is blocking Ariane's path will never move out of her way unless she does something to scare it away. Once you've figured out how to do that, move across the savannah to see the most adorable little animated dinosaur you've ever seen in your life. I am so not kidding. Solve his puzzle and it's off to Askiam.

ASKIAM

You can explore the city in any order you choose to with no ill effects, however, you'll save time if you do Askiam's puzzles in the order the game intended:

1) Go into the watchtower, examine the camera, and develop the film. Developing the film is totally optional, but you'll be glad you did later.

2) Go into the city and talk to Wallace.

3) Go to the communications center, figure out how to get inside, watch Enrique's war movie, and do a couple of favors for Figaro upstairs. You don't have to leave this building to solve anything in it.

4) Go into the marketplace (the one with the no-dinosaurs-allowed sign hanging over it,) talk to the balloonist, and loot the area.

5) Go to Heracles' store (by the ambling triceratops, which you can interact with for a cutscene) and search it carefully until you get a new quest, to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy. You can also analyze the clock in this store.

6) Go to the pharmacy and figure out how to get the prescription.

7) Now take the monorail to the university. (You could have gone there earlier, but all the doors would be closed until now, so it would be a waste of time.) Talk to everyone, read everything, and loot everything. You can't explore the laboratory fully until Armanda leaves, which she won't do until you've gathered all the information from the library (including using the typewriter-like machine.) Once you've gotten the three objects you need from the laboratory, you can leave the university and won't need to come back till the endgame.

8) This is optional, but worth it: go back to the communications center and watch the newsreel you pilfered from the university. Hmmm.

9) But for some reason you can't get the balloonist to take you for a ride yet. The reason is you have to finish Ocine and Heracles' quests first. First go fix Ocine's camera. Now he'll be happy to break the law and sneak you out of the city. (Boy, these guys overflow with gratitude for anyone who runs an errand for them, don't they?) Then, go fetch the eggs for Heracles (why he needs you to do this when Adam's right there in town is beyond me.)

10) Now, you can fix Gustav's balloon and go to the giant village.

GIANT VILLAGE

This is absolutely the most frustrating part of the game; there are two serious bugs in this area, navigation is very difficult, and you have to run back and forth between the annoying giants multiple times before you can get anything accomplished.

CRITICAL BUG #1: When you enter the scene with the giant and the grazing mastodons, DO NOT leave without pixel-hunting and picking up a piece of mastodon hair. Later, in the arena, you will find a pool in which you can place the mastodon hair and two shells. DO NOT place anything at all in this pool until you have all three objects in your inventory. Putting one or two objects in, exiting the close-up, and returning to put more stuff in does not work, and you're left with an unwinnable game that you will have to restore from a previous save.

CRITICAL BUG #2: The Floating Island quest is impossible to solve without a walkthrough. Oh, it's possible to puzzle out the soundwaves depicted on the posts in Initiation Alley (though there is an error in one of them, it's still doable.) The problem is that there's no way besides trial and error to tell which totem combinations will make which sound, and there's no way to reset the puzzle, so you'll be stuck with an unwinnable game and have to restore again. Not only that, but the irritating navigation in the Valley of Spirits ensures that you will need to jog Ariane around a long, useless pathway every single time you want to test a totem combination anyway. Do yourself a big favor and look at the totem pictures on this page (be careful, because there are explicit spoilers to every puzzle and plot twist in the game on that page, but if you just scroll down until you get to the pictures of the totems, there are good pictorial instructions on exactly which totems to use to get the sounds you're aiming for.)

The rest of the village is just minor annoyances, like the fact that you can't follow a clearly drawn dirt path between the garden and the infirmary, and instead have to go all the way around the gazebo to get there and back every time. Here's how to waste the minimal possible time in this nicely drawn but brain-dead area:

1) Once you get the mastodon hair and talk to Kanou, walk to the village.

2) No, there's no way through the force field, so don't waste time trying to figure one out. Go back to Kanou, who realizes he forgot to tell you how to get through the force field last time. Ha ha, cute. He also gives you an item you'll need, to make it up to you.

3) Walk back to the village again, and look for a tiny little hotspot on the ground to the right of the gatepost. That's the only spot on the ground you're allowed to put your stuff down on.

4) Go onto the gazebo and talk to Aira Mnude. Try not to get vertigo from the shifting camera angles during this conversation.

5) Go back and take the right path around the gazebo, towards the garden. Talk to the gardener about everything it's possible to talk to him about.

6) Go back around the gazebo in the other direction, but veer off to the left, down a path with no movement cursor on it. Ariane will be able to go that way anyway, and meet a very lazy-looking fisherman. Talk to him about everything it's possible to talk to him about.

7) Go back to the gardener and talk to him again.

8) Now go all the way back around the gazebo and talk to Jahine the healer, who will finally ask you to run an errand for her, which is a step up from all the talking-to-giants-in-the-correct-order hooey.

9) Complete Jahine's quest. There's also an object in the infirmary that you can take.

10) Go all the way back around to the gardener and talk to him again. You could go into the arena now, but it will save you some time if you don't, because you can't solve the puzzle in there yet.

11) Go back to the fisherman and talk to him again.

12) Now go back and into the arena. Talk to Bares, then look at the pool to solve the 'puzzle.' Actually, it's not really a puzzle. Place two shells and the mastodon hair in the pool and you'll get a magic lens. This is never explained anywhere in the game (well, later on a character explains why you need a magic mollusk lens, but never why putting shells or mammoth hair together have anything to do with anything.) As I stated earlier it is VERY IMPORTANT to put only these three objects into the pool, all at the same time, otherwise the game will break and you may wind up having to do all the godawful boring giant conversations all over again, like I did.

13) Go into the Valley of the Spirits. Save your game, then solve the totem puzzle. You must click on the correct two totems (doesn't matter which order), then pull the statue's tongue ONCE. Then click on the next two totems, pull the statue's tongue ONCE, and so on for all six combinations. If you make a mistake, you will need to restore your game; there is no way to reset the puzzle. Going clockwise the combinations are totems 1+4, totems 3+5, totems 4+6, totems 1+5, totems 2+3, and totems 1+6. Totem 1 has a cross on top of it, if that helps, totem 2 has a short fork on top, totem 3 has a torpedo, totem 4 has a long fork, totem 5 has a crown like a chess piece, and totem 6 has a cylinder with a rectangular hole in it. You can see pictures of all the totems on this page (watch out for spoilers lower on that page.)

14) Talk to Adam. His dialogue is confusing, but what's really going on is he won't give you the submarine code until you replace the dirty lens. Navigating around the island is difficult, but you will eventually be able to find a lens that isn't emitting much light and is clickable on. Click it with the new lens, go back to Adam and you'll get the code you need.

15) Now go through the airlock-style door to the submarine area. There is actually an interesting puzzle here, but it's so badly explained it's hard to understand. The gist is this: Ariane can't stow away on the submarine because the submarine captain knows there is a stranger on the docks, so he is guarding it. Though it's never explained and can't be tested, the number on the wall of the airlock gate is a counter. It goes up to 17 when Ariane enters the docks, and back down to 16 when she leaves again. The puzzle is to figure out how to get that counter to read 16 without Ariane actually leaving. If you can do this, the captain will let his guard down and Ariane can sneak aboard.

16) Once you've done that, enter the code and take off for the mines. (The knife and machete will magically reappear in your inventory again, by the way, there's no need to go back for them.)

MINES

The biggest thing you need to know here is that unlike the giant village, talking to anybody a second time is always useless, so don't waste your time. This is a self-contained area with few mistakes to be made. Deliver everyone's messages and parts, solve a few puzzles, figure out how to distract a guard, and move on to the secret lab.

SECRET LAB

Another good area with no major problems. Eavesdrop, gather evidence, solve a puzzle, gather some more evidence, and then make a decision: should Ariane go home and reveal everything she's learned, or stay here and expose the conspiracy? Save the game here regardless of which one you choose, because you'll at least want to see both ending cutscenes. If you choose to stay, you'll get an extended endgame sequence with several bonus puzzles in it and exciting sequences in it, but you'll also have to go back to that nails-on-a-chalkboard giant village two more times, so be prepared.

CONSPIRACY-EXPOSING ENDGAME

The endgame sequence is mostly about revisiting past scenes and picking up or interacting with new objects that you weren't able to in the main game. This builds up to a satisying conclusion, but it can be beyond tedious if you don't know which screen you're supposed to be re-pixel-hunting in next. Here's some general guidance:

To expose the conspiracy, first you will need to get that safe open. There's a chemistry puzzle to do this, but unfortunately, the clue that Adam has helpfully dropped on the floor near his foot to see if you would notice it is wrong (it says to add the black diamond to the acid and the white diamond to the base, but you actually need to add the white diamond to the acid and the black diamond to the base.) It doesn't really matter, because trial and error works fine as long as you use the pH strips first.

Next, there are two new items for you to take from the upper mine level: one in the supervisor's office where Adam is, and one in by the elevator down to the lower mine. (I missed the second one and wasted far too much of my life running in circles around the entire mine pixel-hunting rocks. Don't let this happen to you.)

It's pretty obvious what's changed in the lower mine, and it's pretty cool, so I won't spoil it here. However, when you click on an unusual object, Ariane just exclaims "It looks like things are getting interesting!" Let me translate for her yet again: she means "I can't reach that!" Before you can leave the mines you need to not only impress the submarine captain, but also have that item in your inventory.

Back in the giant village, Jahine Dubra is too lazy to go check the Ball of Memory for herself, and Ariane has thrown away the magic wand she used to open the arena before, so this time she has to use a magic butterfly to do it, but Jahine doesn't speak English very well either. Ariane's instructions should be "Tohu Malla's plants need to be watered and fertilized with this butterfly. Do this, and the arena will open for you again." Once you've done that and run back and forth a couple times, you'll eventually realize that the matriarch isn't where Jahine said she'd be and you've wasted your time even bothering to come into the giant village at all, but the game wouldn't let you go back to Askiam till you did, so you didn't have any choice. Back to Askiam.

Don't worry about Armanda, she will prevent you from using the monorail, but can't capture you or get you into any other trouble. Your next task is tricking Bares into leaving his post. Ariane will actually form an idea on her own if you get close enough to Bares, but as usual, she's a little hard to understand. Once you find the phone number you need, she will still say "I don't have enough information." What she means is "Bares will recognize my voice if I call him." Solve her problem and you'll be on your way to the university.

Information-gathering. Puzzle. Cutscene. New area. New NPC. Escape. Adrenalin!

...And then you're back in the forest area again, gathering all kinds of mundane crap for Adam, who has evidently contracted giantitis and is suddenly incapable of picking a fern by himself. *sigh* Everything he needs is in the immediate vicinity: either in the forest, the lookout platform where the pterodactyl landed, or inside the old mine. You won't be allowed to leave until you've pixel-hunted all his stuff out of the environment for him. You need to pick up something in front of his hut, too, and then back to the giant village. There's another bug here, though it isn't critical. If you talk to Jahine Dubra about the Plimantair first (like most sensible gamers would,) the sponge she says she's giving you doesn't appear in your inventory when you've finished her quest. That's because you still haven't talked to the stupid fisherman. Luckily, after you do what you need to with him, the sponge magically appears in your inventory, so you don't need to reload. You can't use the sponge in the obvious place until after you've spoken to Taal about it, though.

Back in Askiam, your only tasks are to talk to Wallace (he's standing over by the pharmacy), and to find a lens and a mirror for the periscope. Enrique gives you a key, but it's not the key to the monorail controls as his dialogue says--it's the key to Heracles' shop (which you can enter, even though there's no movement cursor.) You don't actually have to alter the monorail controls (or sabotage the balloon, either), but you will need to pixel-hunt the room with the monorail controls in it, so don't skip that area entirely.

You'll arrive at Peter's lab automatically (you don't need to walk all the way back there, thankfully.) Solve the final puzzle and you're done!

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