18 November 2019

Copyright © 2019 Balmoral Software (http://www.balmoralsoftware.com). Portions copyright © 2016 Ape Marina. All rights reserved. Republication, redistribution or conversion is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Balmoral Software.

Table of Contents


Tales is a 2016 release from Ape Marina involving the adventures of a nerdy librarian interacting with the environments and characters of nine historically-famous stories. It uses low-res DOS-style graphics with a 1990's-era point-and-click interface from the Adventure Game Studio development tool. Character voice acting is pretty good, with no less than 33 different actors used. The acoustic background music seems appropriate for the historical periods in which it is played, and a soundtrack with 23 tracks containing about an hour of music can be found in the game installation folder. Sound effects are limited, with several reused for different purposes in the game.

Various controls can be used to speed up gameplay, such as left-clicking to skip dialog, double-clicking to quickly exit, and pressing the [Esc] key to skip blocks of dialog and action. Most game challenges involve inventory manipulation, with a few relatively-easy standalone puzzles thrown in. There are a few timed sequences, which can be fairly demanding to complete until you've discovered the exact sequence of steps to follow. The number of saved games is limited to only 20, which isn't mentioned in the game manual. If you need more, you'll have to manipulate files in the saved-game folder.

Game screens are static with the main character "Alfred Walsh" maneuvered in the third person. There are less than 40 different scenes in the game, about half of which are side-scrolling. Sprinkled amongst these are a handful of low-res cutscenes. Hotspots in the game scenes are displayed only when your cursor is over them, but few if any are easily missed. An exception is the pixel-searching needed to find books in the library (our maps may help). It would have been more convenient to have a better way to efficiently navigate between books, since that process adds nothing to the plot or gameplay.

An inventory bar is accessible at the top of the screen. Probably the biggest annoyance in the game is that separate inventories are maintained in each book, and you can transfer only one inventory item at a time between books, using a tedious multi-step process. This inventory transfer must be done more than 20 times before the game is completed, and quickly gets tiresome. Why wasn't a common inventory provided that moves with the player, like in most other games involving multiple locations? This restriction seems to have been deliberately chosen to extend gameplay and trial-and-error without adding any actual content. At a minimum, it would have been useful to have a way of at least viewing the inventory items in other books, and we found we had to manage a written checklist of where items were located in order to avoid unnecessary backtracking.

In summary, Tales is a fairly short game with interesting historical characters and a focus on story rather than graphics. This walkthrough provides a minimum path through the game; other gameplay sequences and dialog choices can provide additional backstory elements.

King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

Press [Esc] to skip logos
New game
"Fairytales don't tell children that dragons exist.
Children already know that dragons exist.
Fairytales tell children that dragons can be beaten."

- G. K. Chesterton
The only inventory item your character "Alfred Walsh" has is a Swiss Army knife
Click on Note
Use Swiss Army knife on Chest (twice)
In close-up, take Small key
Use Small key to open Trunk, then take Black book
Take Note
Use Catalogue
Select Arthur (King) and the Knights of the Round Table
Use Staircase
Open the red-outlined King Arthur... book (see maps)

The Epic of Gilgamesh

Use Staircase and Catalogue
Select Gilgamesh (The Epic of)
Double-click on the red-outlined book (see maps)
Examine Bas-relief
Talk to Soldier
- Ask about the bas-reliefs
- Quit
Talk to Merchant
- Ask about Gilgamesh
- Ask about Enkidu
Talk to Merchant
- Ask him about the cheese he was selling
and get some Cheese
Scroll left and give Cheese to Soldier
Use Cheese on Rope
Take Skeletal forearm
Use Skeletal forearm on Protruding stone
Take Rope
Put Rope on Hook
Pick up Stone and put it on Rope
Use Rope on Stone
Take Straw
Combine Skeletal forearm & Straw
Use Forearm with Straw on Torch and then on Straw
Use Rope
Take Rope
Scroll left and take Magic bell
Click on Stone Wheels, then go to Clay jugs
When the man in red appears, note the sequence he uses:
Bottom: Turn right three times
Top: Turn left once
Middle: Turn right once
Top: Turn right twice
Zoom in on Stone Wheels and enter the combination above
The demo ends here
Exit To the upper floor
Scroll left to leave kitchen
- Ask about Ninsun
- Quit

Gargantua and Pantagruel

Access the new book Gargantua and Pantagruel
Merlin gives you a Magic bag to transfer one inventory item between books
Take Empty bottle
Scroll right and knock on Door
Exhaust the dialog choices with Drunkard
The Drunkard mentions an oracle's response of "Trinch" and gives you a riddle:
We are four children from the same mother,
But we can never meet each other,
Two sets of twins, each opposed,
One of one set hot whilst the other is cold,
The next fall down but spring up again,
Yet between them not a wound ever gain.
Scroll right and knock on Door
Enter the password: seasons | Ok
Talk to Pantagruel
- Ask for a recipe
Move Alfred if necessary, and take Cup
Transfer Cup to Gilgamesh
Use Cup on Jar to get Oil
Transfer Oil to Gargantua
Use Oil on Tap
Move Alfred if necessary, and repeat 3 times:
Use Bottle on Tap
Give Wine to Panurge
Use Bottle on Tap
Click on Panurge to get a Note:
These symbol translations can be extended to the entire alphabet:
	-  +  .  o  /  =

	A  B  C  D  E  F
	G  H  I  J  K  L
	M  N  O  P  Q  R
	S  T  U  V  W  X
	Y  Z
Close the Note and click (twice) on Traveling case at far right to disclose an array of 6 controls in two rows. Use the translation above to enter the code for the 6-letter word TRINCH previously described by the Drunkard outside:
	+  =  .
	+  .  +
In the close-up, take Key
Use Key on Door at right and open it to enter the cellar
Take Wood slat
Exit the tavern, then exit To the mill
Timed sequence:
Open Floodgate
Quickly enter Utility Room
Quickly enter Mill
Quickly use Ladder
Quickly use Wood slat on Weathervane
Take River pebbles
Use Stone on Weathervane
Take Bucket
(For some interesting levitation and walking through walls, click on Floodgate when Alfred is standing in the mill's upper-floor window)
Exit To the tavern
Fill Bucket at Watering trough
Return to the tavern cellar and splash Water on Innkeeper
- Ask about hippocras
- Quit
Go back upstairs and talk to Pantagruel
- Ask for a recipe
and Pantagruel provides Recipe #32:
Exit the tavern, then exit To the mill
Enter Mill and click on Wreckage
Pull out 5 items from the following locations:
Exit the close-up and zoom in on Transmission system
Place the gears like this:
Leftmost gear:
Middle gear:
Gear second from left:
Axle second from right:
Wagon wheel at right:
Press "Test the mechanism" button at lower right to get Flour
Transfer Flour to Gilgamesh
Return to Gargantua
Transfer Cup to Gilgamesh

Popol Vuh

Access the new book Popol Vuh
In the dialog with Merlin:
- Ask about tomatoes
- Quit
- Quit
Take both Stone eyes from Sculpture
Throw each Stone eye at Jaguar
Take Stone eye
Return to Gargantua
Transfer Wine to Popol Vuh
Give Wine to Iktan
Talk to Tradeswoman
- Ask about tomatoes
- Quit
Exit To the playing field
Examine Bas-relief (the Mayan numerals along the top edge aren't important)
Talk to Mayan guys
- Ask about the pelota match
- Ask to watch the match
In the pelota match, left-click or press [Esc] to clear the menu message, then select the following actions:
Move left
Butt with head
Kick with foot
Move right
Butt with head
Give Wine to Papan
Take Dagger
Pick up Stone and click it on the highest skull
Take the highest skull and put it into either Hole flanking the Stone door
Put Stone eye into the other Hole
Carefully put Dagger into Slit and Exit
Take Ceremonial staff and use it on the Exit to block the stone door
Take Skull and Stone eye flanking the open door
Return to the tomato room and take Tomatoes
Put Skull and Stone eye into the two Holes
If you don't already know the creation myth,
Examine Bas-relief
Talk to Papan
- Ask about the tomatoes room
- Ask about the bas-reliefs
- Ask about the creation myth
- Quit
Save your game at this point
Zoom in on Panel
To transform the initial puzzle configuration
into the desired configuration
use the following 22-move sequence relative to the current position of the space (L: Left, R: Right, A: Above, B: Below):
	L  L  A  R  A  L  B  R  R  A  L  B  B  L  A  R  B  R  A  L  B  R
from the solution provided by Balmoral Software's solver
Get a Medallion from the twins
Click on Grater
Talk to Mayan woman
- Ask what she's doing
- Ask for the grater on loan
Give Dagger to Mayan woman
Exit To the playing field
Talk to Gambler
Give Grater to Gambler
Click or press [Esc] to clear the game rules

Place your first blue piece into the center box
Your opponent places his first red piece into the upper left corner
Place your second blue piece into the lower right corner
Your opponent will randomly place his second red piece into one of two locations:

Opponent plays in upper right corner
You cannot win this game. Place your third blue piece into any box but the middle top one, then click Try again and restart the steps above until your opponent selects the following move for his second red piece:

Opponent (mistakenly) plays in middle right box
Create a fork by placing your third blue piece into the lower left corner
Your opponent plays his third red piece into the middle bottom box to block
Place your last blue piece into the upper right corner to win back your Magic bell

Transfer Grater to Gilgamesh
Take Eggs and Bread
Zoom in on Bowls
Combine Bread & Grater to make Breadcrumbs
Click on Flour, then on Bowl at lower left
Click on Eggs, then on Bowl at upper right
Exit from the close-up
Transfer Grater back to Popol Vuh
Return to Vegetable market
Give Grater to Mayan woman and get back Dagger
Transfer Dagger to Gilgamesh
Transfer Rope to Popol Vuh
Transfer Tomatoes to Gilgamesh
Zoom in on Bowls
Combine Tomatoes & Dagger
Combine Cheese & Dagger
Click on Sliced cheese, then on Sliced tomatoes
Click on Tomato sandwiches, then on Flour
Click on Floury sandwiches, then on Beaten egg
Click on Battered sandwiches, then on Breadcrumbs
Use Cup with Jar to get Oil
Use Oil with Pot
Pick up Wood and use it on Embers at left
Take Pot with oil and put it on Stone hobs
Put Breadcrumbed tomatoes into Hot oil
In the dialog with Queen Ninsun:

- Answer telling the truth
Take one of the Carrots
Transfer Carrot to Popol Vuh
Exit To the playing field
Exhaust the dialog choices with Papan to get a Spear
Combine Rope & Spear to make a Fishing rod
Combine Carrot & Fishing rod

The Myth of Sisyphus and Bellerophon

Access the new book Sisyphus and Bellerophon
Return to Popol Vuh
Transfer Fishing rod with carrot to Sisyphus
Use Fishing rod with carrot on Donkey
Talk to Bellerophon
- Ask about the golden bridle
- Ask about his plan

Around the World in Eighty Days

Access the new book Around the World in 80 Days
Unfortunately, this book has already been corrupted by Oblivion
Knock on Door underneath Inscription
- Ask about Phileas Fogg
Knock on Door underneath Inscription
- Ask about Phileas Fogg
- Ask about his trip around the world
- Ask about the hot-air balloon

Jack and the Beanstalk

Access the new book Jack and the Beanstalk
Click on House
Climb Beanstalk
Click on Giant's house
Enter Hole in stone wall at right
Return to Popol Vuh
Exit to Vegetable market
Talk to Tradeswoman
- Ask what's for sale
Give Tomatoes to Tradeswoman
Transfer Chili to Jack
Exit the hole and quickly use Chili on Cat
Return to Gilgamesh
Transfer Dagger to Jack
Use Dagger on Ball of wool to get Wool rope
Enter Hole in wooden door
Scroll left and use Dagger on Fishing hook
Combine Wool rope & Fishing hook to make Grappling hook
Use Grappling hook on Table
Open Book
Examine Mirror to see a combination
which shows numbers in each quadrant
Pick up Spoon and use it to open Drawer
Examine Drawer to see a paper with a code written on it:
The code suggests the quadrants seen in the book
Take Key and use it to open Chest
Note the settings of 1 through 5 dots on the dial of the chest, with 1 as the initial setting. The above two diagrams can be used in conjunction to determine (most of) the chest combination. For example, the first setting (starting after 1) is in the > quadrant (or 4) and the second setting is in the V quadrant (or 2). The resulting combination is
	1  4  2  3  2  ?  ?
The settings alternate up and down, corresponding to a change in direction entered with the key. The possibilities for the last two settings are:
	3 followed by 2 or 1
	4 followed by 3, 2 or 1
	5 followed by 4, 3, 2 or 1
Each of these 9 possibilities can be tested by trial and error; the correct combination is the very last one on the list:
	1  4  2  3  2  5  1
or equivalently,
Turn right 3 times
Turn left twice
Turn right once
Turn left once
Turn right 3 times
Turn left 4 times
After Jack pays up, transfer Beans to Sisyphus
Return to Jack
Transfer Dagger to Sisyphus
Return to Jack
Transfer Grappling hook to Sisyphus
Wield Dagger and use it on the "Ground" hotspot that subsequently shows up near Alfred's feet
Put Beans into Hole
Return to Gargantua
Exit To the tavern
Fill Bucket at Watering trough
Transfer Water to Sisyphus
Put Water in Hole
Examine and Read Inscription below the large golden statue to see a low-res interpretation of the Greek letters for "Athena":
Examine and Read Inscription below the small golden statue to see the Greek letters for "owl":
Examine Inscription on the wall immediately to the right of the golden statues.
Read the last line to see the Greek letters for "kopis" (knife):
Use Grappling hook on Owl twice
Click on Owl
The objective of this puzzle is to spell out the Greek letters for Athena's name and epithet, the latter of which can be determined from the previously-found words (Glaux - x) + kopis:
Use the eyeball buttons to move the cursor left or right, and use the nose button to swap the two letters outlined by the cursor. The correct answer is

The Myth of Thor

Access the new book Thor
Scroll right and talk to Unknown man in dark cloak
- Answer telling the truth
Talk to Unknown man in dark cloak
- Ask again about Thor
- Insist
- Give up
Take Stones and Wig
Timed sequence:
Combine Stones & Wig
Quickly pick up Torch at right and ignite it in Fire
Quickly use lit Torch on the (lower) candle at right
Pick up 4 Runic stones, two on each side of the candle you lit
Scroll right and pick up two more Runic stones from the floor
There are 4 quarter-circle Ice platforms, standing on each of which affects the raising or lowering of a subset of 6 Ice blocks. No single Ice platform causes all Ice blocks to be raised, which is the object of this puzzle. However, you can enlist the aid of Alberich to allow two of the four Ice platforms to be depressed. There are 6 possibilities; the answer is found by trial and error to be:
Alfred or Alberich stands on the upper left platform
The other person stands on the lower right platform
Show each Runic stone to Alberich to learn its meaning:
Thor's hammer
Examine Inscription:
Given this diagram and the definitions above, the runes should be arranged on the Ice blocks so that opposite pairs of runes indicate one concept that is opposed to or extinguished by the other. From the perspective of the player's viewpoint facing the Inscription, these concepts are:
StrengthThor's hammer
Place the runes accordingly:
Alberich gives you an invisibility cloak
Use Invisibility cloak
Take Hammer
Scroll left and Exit
Transfer Mjolnir to Sisyphus
Use Mjolnir on Golden gate
Transfer Golden bridle to Gilgamesh
Use Golden bridle on Horse
Return to Thor
Transfer Invisibility cloak to Gilgamesh
Knock on Door
- Ask about Gilgamesh
- Quit
Use Invisibility cloak
Knock on Door
Get inside
Take Pouch
Use Door
Use Invisibility cloak
Knock on Door
- Ask to be ferried to the island
Note the stacks of 1,3,1,3,2 stones arranged on the ground (not the ones higher up on the ledge)
Zoom in on Stones
Recreate the same stone stacks by moving the bottom stone from each column:
Move 3 stones from the leftmost stack to the stack second from the right
Move 1 stone from the stack second from the left to the rightmost stack
Move 1 stone from the center stack to the rightmost stack
Go into Entrance

The Divine Comedy

Access the new book The Divine Comedy
The dialog choices (243 possible combinations) have a limited amount of feedback from Dante as to their acceptability, and there is a fair amount of trial and error involved. The correct responses are listed below, most of which have that "14th-century Italian feel":
Talk to Dante
- Ask how to reach the underworld
- Because you are a sinner
- Bitterness
- Because you see human reason in him
- To find redemption
- Yes, but you are confident
Go into Entrance and scroll right
Return to Popol Vuh
Transfer Medallion to Divine Comedy
Exhaust dialog options with Charon
Give Medallion to Charon
- Hunahpu
Talk to Enkidu
- Ask for his help
- Quit
Use Magic bag on Enkidu
Return to Gilgamesh
Release Enkidu from the Magic bag
Watch the endgame sequence and credits, most of which are slow and unskippable
"An inconvenience is only an adventure
wrongly considered; an adventure is an
inconvenience rightly considered."

- G. K. Chesterton

Repeated Tasks

To return to another book:
Use Magic bell | Yes
Press [Esc] to skip the animation on exiting the book
Press [Esc] to skip the animation on arriving at the library
If necessary, use Staircase to move between library floors (note that some first-floor books are accessible at the very bottom of the second-floor screen)
Double-click on destination book title (see maps)
Press [Esc] to skip the animation on arriving at the destination book

To access a new book:

Return to the King Arthur book on the library second floor
Select initial dialog choice(s) as needed
- Ask for Merlin's advice
- Quit
Merlin gives you permission to read the new book
Press [Esc] to skip the animation on exit from the King Arthur book
Press [Esc] to skip the animation on arriving at the library
Use Staircase and Catalogue
Select the book title from the alphabetical list
Double-click on the red-outlined book (see maps)

To transfer an object from one book to another:

In the book where the inventory item is located, put it into the Magic bag
Return to the book that is the destination of the inventory item
Click on the Magic bag to release the inventory item

Library Maps

Second floor

First floor

Table of Contents


Copyright © 2019 Balmoral Software (http://www.balmoralsoftware.com). Portions copyright © 2016 Ape Marina. All rights reserved. Republication, redistribution or conversion is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Balmoral Software.