Instruction Manual for Intruder

This manual is mainly aimed at the unexperienced Interactive Fiction player. If you are familiar with other Interactive Fiction, you'll probably have no trouble instantly playing Intruder. However, it may be a good idea to read the chapters "Preface to the Story", "The Prologue" and "The Mode of Gameplay" first.

Preface to the Story

In Intruder, you take the role of an unsuccessful and highly indebted private eye, or, in one word, a loser. And what makes things even worse, your bank manager threatens to distrain upon you if you don't pay at least a part of your debts within a few weeks time. Then, a mysterious stranger turns up in your office, offering you a case. A job in France, by the sea, a burglar's job, a job you simply can't reject.

Because if you do, you'll indeed lose everything.

About the Author

Volker Lanz was born and grew up near Stuttgart in southern Germany. His first encounter with computers was an Atari 800 in the early 80s. After a few weeks spent playing Donkey Kong and Dig Dug, he was bored to death. Thus he began writing his own games and applications. His first game, a German interactive fiction story, was published when he was fourteen. He prefers not to be reminded of this game, however.

Apart from studying psychology and writing games, he works nightshifts in a sleep lab and writes and performs music. Intruder is his fourth work of interactive fiction.

Starting the Story

The story begins with an opening screen, giving a copyright notice and crediting Graham Nelson for the Inform compiler and the Inform Library, which were both used in creating this story. This opening screen is followed by two questions: If you would like to see the prologue and if you want to restore a saved story position. Naturally, if you play for the first time, you choose to see the prologue and to start from scratch.

The Prologue

The game itself begins with a prologue, a sort of little opening scene for the story. Its goal is to introduce you to the story, tell you about the task you are to achieve and set the right mood.

The prologue takes place in your London office. You learn that you've just finished a not-so-amusing phonecall with your bank, where you are deep in debt.  A prompt (">") will appear, indicating that Intruder is waiting for your input.

Here are some suggestions for the first commands you could try at the beginning of the prologue:


During the prologue, you may see a double prompt (">>") telling you that you are expected to answer a question asked by another character. You can only answer with "yes" or "no" in these cases.

You should now have a feel for how to interact with Intruder. It's your turn - you decide what you'd like to do next.

Saving and Restoring

Since it might take you quite a while to finally complete Intruder, you can put a "snapshot" of your position in the story onto disk. This allows you to continue your gameplay at another time later and is done with the SAVE command. You should also save your position if you intend to try something dangerous, because if your action fails this will allow you to get back to where you had been before it.

To save a story, indicate SAVE at the prompt. Your interpreter will then take over and lead you to saving your story, usually by asking for a file name.

To get back to a previously saved position, use the RESTORE command. The interpreter will then usually ask you for the file name under which you saved a story before and load this saved "snapshot".

Quitting and Restarting

If you'd like to start Intruder over from the beginning, type RESTART at the command prompt. The game will ask you if you're sure (note that you'll have to save your position first if you want to be able to get back to it later), and if you indicate "yes", you're taken back to the opening screen.

To quit the story, you'll have to type QUIT at the command prompt. The game will once again ask you if you're sure you'd like to end the story and then quit. Note that under some interpreters, the interpreter itself will not quit by doing this.

Sample Transcript

The transcript which follows is not from Intruder, but it does show many of the common interactions you will use in the course of the story. It contains several simple puzzles and their solutions, and will give you a good idea of how interactive fiction works. The player's sentences appear in capital letters after each prompt (>).

East Hallway
This is the eastern end of the groundfloor hallway. Not much to say about this place, except that there's a sofa sitting on one wall.
The front door, to the east, is closed. The hallway continues west and an open door to the north leads to the kitchen.

What do you want to do now?

It's completely dark around you and you can't see a thing.

What next?
OK, the light switch in this room is now on.

You're standing in the groundfloor kitchen of the house. It is equipped with all the usual labour-saving devices you would find in most modern-day kitchens: Refrigerator, microwave, can-opener and so on. You can see the garden through a small and rather grimy window in the north wall.
An open door to the south leads to the hallway.
Zorky, your dog, sits before the fridge, mouth wide open, saliva dripping to the floor.

What next?
Opening the refrigerator reveals some salad, a can and some sausages.

Zorky howls of hunger and looks at you, obviously expecting to feed him at once.

What next?
salad: Removed.
can: Removed.
sausages: Removed.

What next?
You are carrying a car key, a cell phone, some salad, a can and some sausages. You are wearing a pair of sneakers, a pair of blue jeans and a red t-shirt.

What next?
Zorky is your devoted german shepherd. He is quite old - you nearly can't remember the time before you shared your life with him - and has become just a tad plump of lately. Maybe because you have given up running with him in the evenings?

What next?
What do you want to feed to Zorky?

Zorky would certainly like the sausages, but you remember that you wanted to have them for lunch tomorrow. Thus you decide against feeding them to your dog.

What next?
It's a can of dog food. It is closed.

What next?
You can't open the can with your hands.

What next?
For some obscure reason, this doesn't seem to work. The can opener remains quiet, how ever hard you push the button.

What next?
East Hallway

What next?
The front door is closed.

[Don't you get tired of seeing "What next?" all the time? From here on, the prompt will be much shorter.]

[The word 'dor' isn't in your vocabulary.]

(the front door)
The front door is now open.

Front Path
The August summer sun is shining on the front path of your house. Farther to the east, the garden fence can be seen.
You can walk around the house on a pebbled path to the north and south from here. The front door, west of you, is open.


North of Front Door
You're standing north of the front door to your house.
The pebbled path you're on continues south and west. A small garden shed is to the north. Its door is open.


Inside the Garden Shed
This shed is nearly dark inside and the air is rather musty. Various shelves are attached to the walls, containing all the stuff you use to maintain a well-kept garden.
The door, to the south, is open.
You can see a toolbox (which is closed) here.

Opening the toolbox reveals a set of tools.
In the toolbox is a set of tools.

There are lots of tools in the toolbox, among them a variety of screwdrivers, a boltcutter, several pairs of tongs and so on.

Which do you mean, the big red screwdriver, the big blue screwdriver, the small red screwdriver or the small blue screwdriver?

Which do you mean, the big red screwdriver or the small red screwdriver?



North of Front Door


Front Path


East Hallway


Zorky, your dog, sits before the fridge, mouth wide open, saliva dripping to the floor.

Zorky looks at you with incredibly sad and hungry eyes.

After a few seconds of fumbling with the can and the screwdriver, you manage to open it. Inside you find some dog food.

Zorky devours the contents of the can within a few seconds. Having finished, he sits down next to you and rubs his head against your legs.

Zorky looks at you happily.

The Mode of Gameplay

You can play Intruder in two different modes: Nice and vicious. As the two names suggest, they differ in how hard the game is. Nice is generally easier: You're being warned from time to time -- mainly during the first half of the game -- if you do something dangerous or are about to make the game unwinnable. Vicious, on the other hand, doesn't help you in any way, but is probably more suitable for the experienced interactive fiction player. Note that you only get points in vicious mode.

Nice mode is not intended to stop you from doing anything really stupid: If there was a high cliff in the game and you tried to jump down from its top, you would of course still die in nice mode.

The story starts in nice mode, but automatically switches to vicious before you get the first points (unless you haven't switched to vicious before that yourself). If you switch back to nice mode at any time during the story, you lose your score and won't get any points even if you change the mode again. Thus, if you want to get score during the story, you simply can't play it in nice mode.

You can change the mode of gameplay simply by entering the mode you'd like to play in at any time during the story.

Special Commands

There are a number of commands in Intruder that do not control the course of the story itself, but rather the way it is presented to you. Some count as moves, but most of them don't. Simply enter them after the prompt:

AGAIN is used to repeat the previous command without having to type it again. You can abbreviate this command to G.

BRIEF tells the game that you want to receive a detailed description of locations only the first time you visit them. When you return to somewhere you've been before, you'll just see the name of the location, plus perhaps a list of some objects in the room. See SUPERBRIEF and VERBOSE.

DIAGNOSE tells you something about your physical condition, mainly whether you're tired.

FULLSCORE gives you your score plus a breakdown of all the things you did that earned you points. You can abbreviate FULLSCORE to FULL. See SCORE and NOTIFY.

INVENTORY gives you a list of what you are carrying. This can be abbreviated to I.

LOOK tells Intruder to describe the room you're in in full detail. You can abbreviate LOOK to L.

NICE. This command switches the game to nice mode, meaning that you'll find the gameplay a bit easier. You won't, however, get any points in this mode. See VICIOUS.

NORMAL is a synonym for BRIEF.

NOTIFY ON or NOTIFY OFF is a command used to tell the game whether you want it to inform you when your score changes. See SCORE.

OOPS helps you correct a spelling mistake. Thus if you accidentaly type

[The word 'fnce' isn't in your vocabulary.]

you can use this command to correct the mistake without having to type the whole sentence again:

The fence is about six feet high and made of solid iron. There is a huge gate in it which is closed and locked.

Note that most up-to-date interpreters allow you to get the history of commands you typed by pressing the <UP-ARROW> key. This is usually a more comfortable way of correcting mistakes. OOPS can be abbreviated to O.

PRONOUNS will tell you what words the game will think of if you use the words IT, HIM, HER or THEM.

QUIT stops the game and ends the program. Don't forget to SAVE if you want to return to this point later. You can abbreviate QUIT to Q.

RESTART starts the game over from the beginning.

RESTORE is the command you use to resume a game from a file that was created by the SAVE command. Exactly what happens after you indicate RESTORE depends on the interpreter you use. See SAVE. Also see the chapter "Saving and Restoring" for details on this command.

SAVE puts all the information about the current state of the story into a file that you can recall at a later time. Exactly what happens when you indicate SAVE depends on the interpreter you're using. See RESTORE.  Also see the chapter "Saving and Restoring" for details on this command.

SCORE reports the score you have achieved so far. See NOTIFY and FULLSCORE.

SCRIPT lets you send game output to the printer or, depending on what interpreter you use, to a file. See UNSCRIPT.

SUPERBRIEF tells the game you only want the room name when you enter a room, even if you have never been there before. LOOK still functions normally. See BRIEF and VERBOSE.

TIME tells you what time it is within the game. You can abbreviate this command to T.

UNDO sets the game back to the state it was in before the previous command, as if it never happened. Some interpreters even support multiple UNDOs in succession. See the documentation of your interpreter for details.

UNSCRIPT turns off printer or file output. See SCRIPT.

VERBOSE tells the game to give you the long description of a room every time you enter it. It is like typing LOOK whenever you enter the room. See BRIEF and SUPERBRIEF.

VERIFY is used only if you suspect that the story file itself is damaged in some way. VERIFY will check if the story file is still intact.

VERSION. This is a command you will hardly ever use. Should you find a bug in the game and would like to report it to the author (and I would certainly like to ask you to do so), please give the information that is displayed after indicating this command.

VICIOUS. This changes the game mode to "vicious". In this mode, you'll find the game a bit harder to play, but only in vicious mode you can get points. See NICE.

WAIT, by default, causes the story to pause for three minutes. You can, however, specify exactly how long you want to wait by typing



> WAIT UNTIL 12:45

You can abbreviate WAIT to Z.

Online Manual and Online Hints

Intruder features an online manual, where you'll find some information on the game. Moreover, there may even be online hints available in your version of the story. Find out by indicating HINT at the prompt. The game will either tell you that your version doesn't include online hints or ask you if you're sure that you'd like to see the hints.

Please note that the hints do not cover the whole of the game, but only the first third or so to get you started. After that, you're completely on your own.

Some Complaints

Intruder will complain if you type a command that confuses the game completely and will then ignore the rest of the line you typed. Some of Intruder's complaints are:

The word _____ isn't in your vocabulary.
You have used a word that is not in the game's vocabulary. Sometimes it could help to rephrase your input or use a synonym. If not, the game probably doesn't know the action you're intending to perform.

Sorry, I didn't understand that sentence at all.
The game could not understand the input line at all.

You can't see that here.
You were referring to an object that isn't visible at the moment.

I only understood you as far as wanting to_____.
Your input included more information than the game could handle, e.g. TAKE THE BAG QUICKLY. The game does not understand the word 'quickly' under these circumstances.

I didn't understand that number.
What you typed included something that could not be interpreted as a number where one was expected by the game (e.g. WAIT BLUE MINUTES).

You aren't holding that!
You're trying to do something with an object that you must be holding to perform the intended action.

You can't use multiple objects with _____.
There are a few actions that allow using multiple objects (TAKE and DROP for instance). However, most actions do not allow this.

I'm not sure what _____ refers to.
This only occurs when you use pronouns to refer to an object. There may be a situation where the game cannot really tell what you mean with IT or HIM for example.

You excepted something not included anyway.
If you say TAKE ALL EXCEPT RED HAT where there is no red hat, the game will complain with this message.

You don't need to refer to this to complete the story.
You tried to do something with an object that is only there for atmospherical reasons.

I beg your pardon?
You pressed the <RETURN> key without typing anything.

You can only do that to a human or living creature.
You tried to do something with an object that is not alive or not present at all (e.g. FEED SAUSAGES TO DESK -- what is nonsense, or FEED SAUSAGES TO THE DOG -- when there isn't a dog around).

In Case of Trouble

Should you find a bug in the game or come across some serious technical problem that is obviously not caused by the interpreter but by the game itself, contact the author via:

Please give a detailed description of your computer setup, the interpreter you're using (including the version and release number) and the story file you're playing (all the details after giving the VERSION command, including release and serial number).

(Manual Revision 6, 990209)