Search for the Golden Dolphin
(Cinegram Media, 1999)
By Alexander Tait
April 23, 2001
This game is characterized by repetition (videos play every time you come across
a character you've seen before!), confusion (plot inconsistencies), and
(some puzzles are solved by reading your encyclopedia; others are by trial and
error. The game has some awful turning where you have to turn 270 degrees one
when logically you should have been able to turn 90 degrees the opposite
direction! Characters not visible in front of you in one screen suddenly appear
as if by magic, prompting a click-every-direction strategy. Some characters can
only be found by approaching them from a certain direction! Search for the
Dolphin started off strong, and I wondered if it was going to be a Cryo title by
another name, but it steadily declined with each chapter. Although this game has
universally over-the-top acting with excruciating accents and sound effects that
drown out important dialog, I enjoyed this title until the frustrating finale.
Why? Because the game is lovingly crafted, based on fact (but not preaching and
teaching unnecessarily), and spilling over with potential. I hope that Cinegram
builds on this attempt, because I am sure there are many computer adventurers
would love the world of pirates and mutiny!
On Board the US Frigate Declaration
You learn you are Lieutenant Nathaniel Thorne in the introduction. Commander
Harris has been injured badly and requests that you perform some tasks for him.
First, he asks you to speak with the doctor. In the adjoining room, speak with
the nurse (wife of the doctor). (You may also take the bloody rag on the table
now, but this is not needed until later). Return to the Commodore. Disbelief
be suspended at this time as the Commodore explains the game interface (!). He
then sends you in search of the Signal Book, which he believes is being held by
Captain Bradley on deck.
To the left of the signal flags, you will find Captain Bradley. He tells you
the signal book is locked in his chest. Return to below decks.
Return to the room where you spoke with the nurse. Turn around completely to
with one of the men. He informs you that Captain Bradley's chest is below.
to the main deck.
To the aft (look up the meaning in the index if you don't know the meaning of
this), you find a rope ladder leading over the side of the ship. Go over the
into a longboat. Click on the chest and then on the signal book to retrieve it.
Return to the sick bay below decks.
Talk to the Commodore again. He informs you that it was he who returned the
Thorne medallion to your family from your father in prison. He tells you that
will have to signal the ships in the attack. Right-click on the signal book to
examine it and learn how to signal the other ships. By carefully reading, you
learn that Europeans tended to attack in "gentlemanly" lines. Breaking the line
is the way to defeat this attack. This requires putting signal flag 8 (purple
with a white square in the middle) on the main mast (the middle one) and signal
flag 3 (red) on the foremast (front one). Return to the deck to get the flags.
On examination of the signal flags, you find number 3 is missing. The crew tell
you it fell overboard. If you collected the bloody rag earlier, this can be
substituted for flag 3. Otherwise, return below decks.
Return to where you spoke with the nurse. On the table is a bloody red rag. This
may be used in place of signal flag 3. Return to the deck.
Use the flags on the masts as documented above. A video plays of the French
defeated by your cunning plan. You are made a hero and, after a break in port,
are summoned to the Commodore. He promotes you to Captain and appoints you to
your own ship, the USS Friendship. Your orders are to collect supplies for your
ship and take orders to Captain Ellis, of the Golden Dolphin, in Jamaica.
However, Captain Bradley has spoken with the local merchant to make collecting
provisions difficult for you ...
In Port at St. Kitts
Talking to the merchant reveals that Captain Bradley had spoken with him to
inflate his prices for you. Give him the money you have provisions. It is not
enough to cover what you need but he allows you one item free. Go to the
courthouse before choosing. (You need the lieutenant's uniform but don't know
Talk to the agent. He does not recognize a commission for a Captain Thorne, only
a Lieutenant Thorne. Return to the merchant.
Click on the lieutenant's uniform ("slops," if you right-click on it for more
information). He allows you to take this free as he stated earlier. Return to
Again talk to the agent--he still will not allow you the prize money. Go to the
Talk to the lieutenant in the tavern. He instantly understands your plan when he
sees you in the lieutenant's uniform, and he gives you his commission. Return to
Talk to the agent again. Now he gives you the prize money. Return to the general
Give the merchant the money--he can't believe his eyes and allows you free rein
in the store. Click on the provisions to collect them. Return to the USS
Grudgingly, Captain Bradley approves your commission but only with a warning
he'll be watching. You set sail ...
The Friendship at Sea
On Deck: Stern
Immediately in front of you is a pennant. Click on it to find that the wind is
eastern one. Turn around and head aft. On the port side, pick up the chip log
(used for measuring the speed of the ship). On the starboard side, speak with
mate. He informs you he will steer the ship when he knows where the ship
currently is located. Head aft.
On Deck: Aft
Just before reaching the aft of the ship, turn around. There is a chest of
drawers with a map on it. Click on the chest drawers and take the hourglass and
the octant. Another drawer holds a compass, which cannot be picked up. The map,
when clicked on, reveals a great number of possible positions that the ship may
be--these will be reduced as the information is inserted in the spaces above. In
the aft of the ship is another sailor--click on him and he will drop a "hand
lead," which determines the ship is in 73 fathoms. Throw the chip log over the
aft of the ship. Click on the red flag in the little window to start the
hourglass. Take note of how many knots have been let out but the time the
hourglass is empty: 10 (knots). Head about a quarter of the way to the stern
(either side). Climb the ropes to the crow's nest.
Use the octant on the Polaris star as listed in the index. You must position the
arm of the octant such that it is just below the star. The reading is 32
Now return to the map at the aft of the ship.
On Deck: Aft
Click on the map on top of the chest of drawers. Enter the information you have
gained. It should read like this: 32 73 10 -E. A video sequence plays of the
Friendship sailing to Jamaica. You arrive and meet the Golden Dolphin but
something is wrong: Captain Ellis is not in sight and the crew is swarthy and
insolent. Mutiny, anyone? You realize the mutineer is familiar--your father's
arch-nemesis, Nehemiah Marks. You are promptly thrown in the brig of the French
governor Balzac's ship: the Hyacinth.
The French Prison Ship Hyacinth
You recover consciousness in the hold. First talk to Captain Ellis, who then
dies. Opposite Captain Ellis is the surgeon, very drunk. Find the capstan. You
need a capstan bar to use it. Searching the hold area, you find the surgeon's
on the wall and an oar on the floor. Use these together to form a capstan bar.
While exploring, meet One Armed Jack, who informs you he can make sails from
cloth if you bring him some. Meet an old man who is the longest-serving prisoner
on board. He has organized the prisoners, and they can be set to attack on a
moment's notice. Return to the capstan. Use the bar on it. Click on the bar only
under cover of the thunder (failure to do this results in the game ending).
four turns, the anchor is raised. Go up on deck.
Speak with Governor Balzac and the carpenter. Do not speak with the sailor
guarding the hammocks. When it is dark (i.e., no lightning), use the saw on the
hammocks to remove the netting. Then collect the hammocks. Return below decks.
Give One Armed Jack the hammocks. Unfortunately, he can no longer sew due to his
disability. You are then presented with a jigsaw puzzle where you must form four
sails from the material given to you. Initially, this seems an impossible task,
but it isn't. Whenever a piece of material is placed near where it should go, it
is automatically secured there and cannot be moved. After a few minutes, the
going should become quite easy. One Armed Jack agrees to hold onto the sails
until needed. Return to the old man. Click on him and the mutiny begins. A video
sequence plays but then you must escape the French ...
Talk to the old man. He gives you a chart that can be used to see where the
Hyacinth is compared with the French ships. Speak with the bosun. He will guide
the ship as you dictate. On the chart, you must first click on each of the four
sails and then click "furl/unfurl." The sails need to be unfurled. Use the
at left and right to set the sails to -10 degrees. Hold the mouse over the wheel
to change the setting to -10 degrees. Click on your chart in inventory. The
should be green indicating success with these settings. If not, check the
settings and make sure they are correct. Click "go," and the Hyacinth will begin
its escape. Repeat the above instructions, keeping the sails unfurled. This time
set all settings to 0 degrees. Click "go." On the third run, set everything to -
40 degrees and click "go." You are then informed that the smoke is obscuring the
view for all three ships. Furl the sails and set all to 0 degrees. The two
ships will sail past and sink each other. A video scene plays ...
Speak with Commodore Bradley. He sneakily places the responsibility of selecting
the likely port of departure for the Golden Dolphin on to you. You need to
collect evidence to make your decision. Speak with the admiral's wife for a
rumor. Go through the left door to the deck.
Speak with master sailor to hear a rumor. Go aft and speak with a minister for
another rumor. Speak with the purser. Pick up the weevil not far from the
Go to the quarter deck.
Find One Armed Jack. He invites you to participate in the weevil races provided
you find your own weevil (!). Use the weevil. Uh oh--it's too slow. Have to find
a stimulant. Return to the war room.
Use the weevil on the anise to make the weevil "speedy." Take the right door to
Click on the pirate. He claims to know where the Golden Dolphin is likely to be
from his long association with Marks. He will only reveal this information if he
is granted American citizenship. Return to the quarter deck.
On the quarter deck, use the weevil and win the race. You will collect all bets
and be banned from future weevil races. Return to the deck.
Click on the purser's table. He will offer you the chance to purchase one of his
items. Give him the money and buy the impression. Return to the right stateroom.
Give the pirate the impression. He tells you there are two places that Nehemiah
Marks would go: Cat Island or Ragged Island. This, in conjunction with the
information from the master, identifies Ragged Island as the port of departure
for the Golden Dolphin. Return to the admiral's room.
Tell Commodore Bradley to set sail for Ragged Island. A video sequence occurs,
and the Golden Dolphin and its protective armada are engaged in battle.
In Command of the USS Declaration
You are thrown into the thick of the action here, with a battle with the Golden
Dolphin underway. You must reduce the health indicator at left of the Golden
Dolphin by attacking it while retaining enough health to still be on the water.
You have up to four shots to take the ship. However, you must perform each of
steps in correct order or the cannon blows up killing everyone on board. This is
the order that must be followed:
Sponge the cannon
Put the powder in (powder monkey)
There are numerous possibilities, but my solution was:
Put two cannonballs in the cannon; aim at the hull (damages the hull)
Put chain and grape in the cannon; aim at the middle of the sails (kills crew)
Put grape and chain in the cannon; aim at the sails (damages the sails)
At this stage, a video sequence plays. When finished, you are in the process of
reclaiming the Golden Dolphin.
On Board the Golden Dolphin
Speak with the master-at-arms. Speak with the coward, Bradley. Note the fire
him. Go below deck.
Turn around. Go down again to the berth deck.
Look around at this level. Find the bucket in one of the berths. Meet the pirate
again. He reveals himself as Nehemiah Marks Senior and will not let you pass
armed. Return to the deck.
Give the master-at-arms your flintlock pistol. Return to the berth deck.
Nehemiah Marks Senior lets you past now you are unarmed. He tells you he killed
your father but has been repenting for twenty years. Go through the door into
room. Meet Nehemiah Marks Junior. He has decided to kill everyone on board by
blowing the Golden Dolphin out the water. Go past him (why when he's about to
blow us all up?) to the next stateroom. Meet Balzac. Leave and search this level
again. Find the empty grog barrel. Return to the main deck.
Use the grog barrel on the fire. Bradley thinks the ammunition magazine is
blowing off and leaps over the side. Now you can access the front of the ship.
Click on the helm. Something is blocking it. Return to the berth deck.
Return to Balzac to find him unconscious. Take the key from him. Use the key on
the hatch near Nehemiah Marks junior. Return to the spar deck.
Position yourself directly in front of the stairs down to the berth deck such
that you can reach one of the bilge pumps with your bucket. Click on the bilge
pump with the bucket. Now, you must be very careful. Save your game! Every step
you take (including turning) empties a little from the bucket. Provided you do
not turn anywhere wrong, you will be okay. Return to the hatch. Click on the
hatch. Drag the bucket onto the gunpowder, thereby preventing Nehemiah Marks
Junior from decimating the entire population on board. The final video plays.
Nehemiah Marks Senior saves you from his son. You are appointed to Commodore and
made a hero.