Video Game / The Amazon Trail
The Amazon Trail
is a rather strange computer spinoff of The Oregon Trail
. Your job is to paddle a canoe up the Amazon River to the lost city of Vilcabamba at the behest of a jaguar spirit, stopping at various places along the river on the way while traveling through time
. In the first game, your job is to deliver medicine to the Incas hiding there, collecting the things the jaguar requests; in the sequels, your basic concept is to collect tokens on a medallion by doing the tasks the jaguar gives you. In between, you take hundreds of photographs of local wildlife. It's about as weird as it sounds, although still pretty enjoyable. However, the fishing just isn't as fun as gunning down buffalo
Tropes found The Amazon Trail:
- An Aesop: While the first game generally stuck to the Green Aesop, the sequels gave a moral or a lesson to every stop, rewarding you with a token for completing each one.
- Anachronism Stew: A few cases in the first game, where at some stops you can meet people from two different eras. Most notably, at the Napo river you can meet both Pedro de Teixeira on his 1638 expedition, and Francisco de Orellana from 1542. The sequels mitigated this to an extent, although see Misplaced Vegetation for one detail they missed.
- But Thou Must!: In some versions, if you don't help the locals in their quest, the Jaguar will scold you, you won't earn your badge, and you'll be started over on that leg of the journey.
- Once you start talking to Lope de Aguirre, he takes you "prisoner" and refuses to let you go when you attempt to leave. Once you start "trading", he takes everything you offer him and won't let you stop trading until you give him the ipecac. Overlaps with Interface Screw, as the button to return to the river is grayed out so you can't leave him that way either.
- Chekhov's Gun: The staff you are given by a starving man.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Julio Arana will actually boast about what a horrible piece of shit he is. He offers to send you on a mission to round up some more "slaves, er, workers" for him. You're supposed to accept the mission in order to find the natives and then warn them to stay away from Arana.
- Easter Egg: Occasionally in the third edition, you might catch a red-bellied piranha with a pirate's eyepatch and bandanna, a tiny harpoon stuck in its tailfin, and a tattoo.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: Averted somewhat surprisingly, at least in the sequels, considering it's made by the makers of The Oregon Trail. It's really hard to die in this game.
- With the exception of the random drowning result from capsizing your boat. Instant death.
- Evil Is Hammy: Lope de Aguirre, appropriately enough. ("Trade?! I do not trade! I TAKE!") The first game doesn't use the Full Motion Video of the sequels, but Aguirre still comes across as incredibly hammy.
- First Person Snapshooter: You photograph exotic flora and fauna in the jungle.
- Fishing Minigame: It makes sense, since you're on a boat in a river. It's your main source of food.
- Freemium: A free trial version of one of the sequels, with fewer options (for example, only two choices of guide instead of four), was released on CD-ROM and distributed with certain packages of breakfast cereal.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: The pirarucu looks like any other fish in the first game, but the guide tells you how huge it supposedly is.
- Gotta Catch 'Em All: You're encouraged to take photographs of the dozens (if not hundreds) of plants and animals in the rainforest or river.
- Green Aesop: The driving force behind the whole game (in the sequels).
- Grey and Grey Morality: One stop deals with a real-life issues - an oil company versus a local. The idea behind this detour is to realize that Both Sides Have a Point and that there is no "right" or "wrong" in this case. (Granted, the arguments given are somewhat stacked in favor of the anti-oil side, but they don't explicitly come out and say which side is right and the oil executive comes off as well-meaning.)
- Misplaced Vegetation: Bananas are an Old World fruit introduced to the Americas by the Columbian Exchange. It is possible to encounter them deep in the Amazon when you're back in the sixteenth century (assuming you remain in each time period the blue mist takes you to).
- Nintendo Hard: Raise your hand: how many people actually managed to reach Vilcabamba in the first game? (Judging by some of the tropes on this page, not many tropers even played the first game...)
- No Indoor Voice: Some of the locals.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: Sure, it might be a tad cruel to trick that conquistador into consuming your medicine that induces uncontrolled vomiting (or better, insanity)... but come on, dude's a conquistador, and a psychopath even by conquistador standards, and he steals whatever you try to trade him besides. Furthermore, the jaguar will approve of your methods if you do that.
- Permanently Missable Content: You can catch a pirarucu, a fish that's as long as a bus. It only swims by once, but it takes up half the screen and if you don't catch it, that's your problem.
- Piranha Problem: You can catch a red-bellied piranha in the game, but it will often hurt you if you decide to keep it.
- Psycho Electric Eel: Don't keep an electric eel if you catch one. You will regret it.
- Talking Animal: The jaguar who helps you on your quest.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The conquistador's second-in-command, if you give his boss the emetic plant. He doesn't want to be there when he wakes up.
- The Slacker: One of the guides for your journey says "You can fish, I think I'll just take a nap". He might not appear in the two-guide version of the game though.
- Threatening Shark: Bull sharks, which actually are found in the Amazon river, are among the fish introduced in the second game.
- Time Travel: Throw in a lost Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Ford, a wily pirarucu, some hunger-crazed pirates, and a greedy oil tycoon throughout several centuries...
- Uncommon Time: In the first game, the theme that plays when you're going down the river is in 5/4 time.
- Updated Re-release: There are two sequels, Amazon Trail II and Amazon Trail 3rd Edition: Rainforest Adventures. According to The Other Wiki, the third game is basically the same as the second with updated graphics and fixed Game Breaking Bugs.
- Video Game Caring Potential: Several puzzles invoke this.
- When you find Theodore Roosevelt, he is sick and injured - you can either give him a medkit or one of the herbs the medicine man gave you earlier.
- One person will offer to trade, but says he doesn't have anything to offer apart from a gold staff. If you give him anything edible, you are praised for giving food to a starving man.
- Later on you also have to trade with Isabel Godin, who says she doesn't have anything to offer. The correct and But Thou Must! solution is to give her a map since it will help her find her husband.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: While the correct solution to the Lope de Aguirre dilemma is give him a few disposable items (like fish) and a plant that will either cause insanity or vomiting, you are actually given the option to tell him the truth and say "It makes you throw up" or "It makes you crazy". Granted, you just know that most players picked the "It's like candy" option anyway...
- If you tell him the truth, the jaguar scolds you. If you trick him into consuming it, the jaguar tells you, "There are evil people in this world. You did what had to be done." That's right, the game encourages you to trick the conquistador into throwing up. It doesn't in the 3rd edition, though.
- Vomit Discretion Shot: You can tell that the crazed conquistador is throwing up, but they don't show it on the screen.
- What the Hell, Player?: If you accept Julio Arana's task and then tell him where the Witotto Village is, you will get a scolding from the jaguar.
- What Year Is This?: Answered by the locals.
- Interestingly, it's phrased "what is today's date" in the Dialogue Tree, but everyone always knows to specify the year.
- Even more bizarre is one stop where one person you talk to says it is the rainy season while another is experiencing the dry season. Usually everyone at a particular location is from the same time.
- For most of the Amazon natives, who are presumably not unfamiliar with the Gregorian calendar, "what is today's date" is not offered as an option in their Dialogue Tree. An exception is the native woman helping Isabel Godin, who replies, "today is the second day since I found this white woman." (Isabel Godin herself will tell you that it's 1769.)
- Aguirre's response is, "The Pope would tell you that it is January, 1561. I say it is the first year in the reign of Lope de Aguirre!"
- When you reach Vilcabamba at the end, the Inca leader mentions the Gregorian year, but also takes time to explain how the Inca calendar works.