Colossal Cave – Starter Guide

This guide is a short list of general hints intended to help new players avoid frustration and get off to a good start exploring the Colossal Cave. It is not a walkthrough.

How to Start

All credit goes to t34_pilot!

Suggestions for New Players to Colossal Cave

  1. Answer “yes” to “would you like instructions?” until you have explored enough of the cave and have located all the treasures and the Pirate’s Den. You can still successfully complete the game with instructions on, will be 5 points short but will know how many moves you needed (number of moves will be displayed along with your score in the Main Office, if you make it that far). There is no reason to select “no” to Instructions until you are prepared to make a run for the perfect score of 350 points, which you will not be until you’ve sufficiently explored the cave and have a plan for completing the game in 350 moves or less.
  2. When asked “Would you like auto-mapping?” I recommend always checking “Yes” box and then refer to the maps often (its the upper left button in your inventory display). Leave the second box unchecked unless you have a reason to clear all the existing maps (e.g. leftover maps from a previous player and you want a clean start).
  3. Advice from the infamous Leisure Suit Larry, save early, save often!
  4. Do not eat the food, it is needed later to solve a challenge and if you eat it then you your only hope for collecting all the treasures is if you saved the game before you ate the food and can reload from earlier position.
  5. Unless you want to set one of your items on the floor or table then “Use” items instead of “Drop”, specifically when you need it to interact with something else. In some cases if you drop an item expecting to interact with something else then it may or may not work depending on how close you are to the object. If you select “Use” on the item then the cursor becomes the item and will highlight when you’re close enough to use it on the target, this works every time.
  6. When exploring Mazes, it’s really helpful to bring a bunch of items and drop one in each room of the maze, they will be displayed on your map and you can see the various paths from room to room. If you said “No” to Instructions then your lamp batteries will probably die while exploring the mazes and the rest of the cave.
  7. You can drop the Lamp and then look at the map (really helpful in the Maze Different) but don’t forget to pick it back up before you leave the room. If you leave a room in the cave without the Lamp then you will be lost in the darkness and the only option is to reload an early saved game.
  8. A dwarf will attack you early in the game, it will throw an axe and miss. Very important that you pick up the axe, you will need it throughout the game when attacked.
  9. A Pirate will appear one or more times in the game and steal any treasures in your inventory. This is not a game-ender and in fact is required for successfully completing the game. Just keep playing and try to find where the Pirate stashed your stuff.
Egor Opleuha
About Egor Opleuha 7722 Articles
Egor Opleuha, also known as Juzzzie, is the Editor-in-Chief of Gameplay Tips. He is a writer with more than 12 years of experience in writing and editing online content. His favorite game was and still is the third part of the legendary Heroes of Might and Magic saga. He prefers to spend all his free time playing retro games and new indie games.

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