Walker Boh Ohmsford’s Guide to:
Super Liam! By L-works
Table of Contents
2. Intro and Game Story
3. Frequently Asked Questions
Level 1: Sandy Surf
Level 2: Suburban Streets
Level 3: Wild Woods
Level 4: Lava Lake
Level 5: Silver Spaceship
Level 6: Water Works
Level 7: Lethal Lab
Super Liam! Review
2. Email Disclaimer and Closing Statement
This document is copyright 2004 by me, Walker Boh Ohmsford (AKA Bryan Peterson). Fell free to distribute it among friends and post it on your website, but don’t you can’t change it or make any profit from it. Super Liam! Is the property of L-works.
Intro and Game Story
Computer and video games have of course been around for many a year, but unfortunately most of them have left fully twenty percent or more of the American population (and that’s just the American one), in the dust. I refer of course to the percentage who are blind or visually impaired. I mean, it’s kinda hard to actually beat a game when you can’t see what you’re doing. That doesn’t mean you can’t still have hours of mindless fun playing, but when you can’t actually make progress in a game because of that one relatively minor handicap it tends to get a bit frustrating after a while, even a little depressing. While there have been computer games for the blind for years, many of these were rudementary at best and required external speech synthesisers like the old Echo II in order to run properly. Now though, thanks to more sophisticated technology, it’s possible to make more involved games for us blind folks. Heck, it’s even possible for us blind folks to make our own games…provided we have the know-how. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I’m actually here to attempt to guide you through what I’m beginning to suspect is one of the most addicting and enjoyable audio games I’ve encountered thus far in my quest to try as many of those currently in existence as I possibly can. This game is L-works’ Super Liam! Which as far as I know is the first side scroller game based purely on sound imagery.
Super Liam! Tells the story of an average teenager named…well…Liam. Liam was, as I said, just your average kid. He went to school, came home, did his homework and played basketball…and probably spent time with his girlfriend as well I’d imagine. But little did he know his life was about to change drastically, for an ancient evil was reawakening. The evil robot X1, vanquished twenty years ago by the scientist Dr. Quark, had once again returned to Earth for another attempt at domination. Only problem was, his ship crashe landed on the planet. He wasn’t too upset about this…well he was pretty miffed about it at first, but he realized that he could still take over the Earth. First though, he would take his long awaited revenge against Dr. Quark. To that end he created a portal to a world of his own creation, planning to send his enemy there, believing the vicious beasts and monsters would make an end to him.
As for Dr. Quark, he learned of X1’s return and knew what it would mean for humanity. But he himself had aged in the twenty years and more since his battle against the evil robot. He resolved to find a young person to do the job. HE settled on Liam, an adventurous young man whom he hoped would be strong enough to triumph over X1. He gave the young lad three things to help him on his way, a superhero costume to make him look cool, a laser gun to defend himself against the minions of X1, and a communicator so that they could keep in touch throughout the mission. The scientist then sent Liam on his first mission, to investigate the place where X1’s ship had crashed. Before he could reach it though, he was sucked into X1’s portal and transported to another world…
And that’s where you take over. Guide Liam through seven levels of nonstop action until you reach your final confrontation with X1.
Frequently Asked Questions
This section will contain common questions. Just for fun, here are some that might come up…and of course the answers.
Q. Why doesn’t Gamefaqs know about this game?
A. Probably ‘cuz they don’t know about audio games.
Q. What do I need to play Super Liam?
A. Windows 98 or higher, DirectX 7 or later. I don’t remember just how much memory they recommend.
Q. Where do I find it?
A. You can download it at www.l-works.net.
Q. What if I want to try it before I buy it?
A. There’s this nifty little thing called a demo. You can get it from www.l-works.net.
Q. How much does the demo let you play?
A. The demo lets you play all three stages of level 1 (they’re called Acts), and the first act of level 2.
Q. What is Super Liam??
A. It’s the first side scrolling game for the blind.
Q. How do I kill (insert boss name here)?
A. You can read below or try yourself. Not that I mind helpin’ y’all out, but it’s always fun to try things yourself and it’s enormously satisfying to be able to say you did it all by yourself.
Super Liam’s controls are very simple. Here they are.
Left/Right arrow: Move backwoards and forwards respectively.
Up Arrow: Jump up. While in the air, tap Left or Right to stear Liam in those directions. He can’t actually fly really, but he can hover. You need to do this in order to clear obstacles.
Down Arrow: Duck. Press the Down arrow and lIam will crouch down. He’ll stay that way until you release the button. You need to do this in order to avoid certain obstacles.
Space Bar: Hold this down while holding down either Left or Right to run. You need to run to avoid certain obstacles and enemies.
Left Shift: This is one of the two ways in which Liam can turn around and face in the opposite direction from the one he was headed. It’s the quick and painless way to do it. Press this key in conjunction with Left or Right to snap quickly in those directions. If you just tap Left or Right, Liam will take a step back and turn around. Pressing Shift+Left or Shift+Right turns him without having to actually move from where he’s standing. Left Control: Fires weapon.
S: Speaks current score for the current act.
T: Speaks total overall score.
L: Speaks number of lives remaining.
H: Speaks current health percentage.
There aren’t that many special items in Super Liam, but they’re there for the taking. You’ll know there’s one close by when you hear a slow beep beep in your speaker. As you get closer, this beeping will get louder and louder and also closer and closer to the center of your field of hearing. You’ll get a pick-up sound when you finally take the item. here’s the list of items.
Health Boost: Restores a small amount of Liam’s health. There are usually several of these in a given level.
Extra Life: Gives Liam an extra life.
Thousand Point Bonus: Gives you a whopping one-thousand points! Only available in the bonus level.
Teleporter: There’s one at the end of each act. It takes you to the next act. You hear it as a low hum accompanied by a sort of clicking sound.
Robot Trooper: These robots make a weird blurp blurp sound which is how you identify them versus other enemies. They are slow and easy to kill. It’s when they attack in groups that you might run into trouble. It takes only one shot to bring one down.
Robo Dog: They’re actually called Robotic Dogs, but Robo Dogs sounds cooler. Anyway, they bark and attack you. They’re faster than Robot Troopers and do more damage, so watch out. It takes six or seven shots to send ‘em to the scrap pile.
Monkey: These pests don’t move and can’t be killed. They just sit there and lob coconuts at you. All you have to do is run really fast under their trees to avoid being bonked.
Psycho Bikers: These guys ride motorcycles and try to run Liam down. You can’t kill ‘em, so jump over ‘em unless ya wanna kiss some rubber.
Snake: They slither around and attack you. You can’t kill ‘em so jump over ‘em.
Bear: Bears do major damage but can be killed with a few shots from your laser.
Water Rat: They’re vicious, so watch out. Fortunately it doesn’t take too many shots to kill ‘em.
Fireball: Obviously you can’t kill ‘em. They fly at you, so duck!
Miniguard: These show up from level 5 onward and can be quite annoying. They do considerable damage, so watch out!
Robot Guard: Found in level 7, these guys come at you and say something that sounds like, “Smell sneak attack.” They take several shots to kill and can do lots of damage, so watch out.
Level 1: Sandy Surf
You’ll hear a cutscene in which Liam and Dr. Quark talk about Liam’s current location. Quark warns you to be careful and the adventure begins!
Ah, time for a nice relaxing day at the beach…or maybe not. The music’s cool, too. Run right. Kill the Robotic Troopers. Keep running or walking right. Avoid the coconuts as they fall. My preferred method is to start running right when I hear the thud of a coconut actually hitting the ground (do this when it’s a little to your right obviously). It seems to give you just enough time to get clear before the next one comes your way. Don’t do it when it’s in mid drop or you can still be hit. Kill the Robo Dogs as you find ‘em and grab the health boost if you need it. Then walk into the teleporter to be taken to Act 2. You’ll receive a time bonus and your scores will be announced. The game will tell you how many points you scored for the act and how many points you have overall. Note that the faster you complete an act and the more health you have at the end, the more points you’ll receive for your time bonus. Enjoy the groovy victory music!
Run right and kill the enemies. Avoid the coconuts. There are two Health Boosts and an Extra Life. Grab whatever you need (definitely take the extra life), and enter the teleporter when you reach it.
Ah, another cutscene. X1 pages you and taunts you a bit. Time for a boss!
Boss: Air Bot
This is an easy boss. He moves toward you from one side of the screen to the other. You’ll hear him coming as a sort of whooshing sound going from left to right or vice versa. When he gets closer to you, shoot him. If he gets too close, he’ll zap you with his laser. Each time you score a hit, he’ll jump up in the air, hover over you and then land. If you’re too close when he lands, prepare to get zapped. You’ll know he’s jumped into the air when you hear his robotic laugh. Move a few steps away from him (he won’t follow), and then turn back to face him. He’ll start moving toward you again almost immediately after he lands, so hit him to start the cycle over again. It takes ten shots to bring Air Bot down, and he gets faster each time you hit him. Once he blows up, time for level 2!
Level 2: Suburban Streets
Cutscene: X1 isn’t too impressed that you beat Air Bot. He still thinks he’s got your number. Liam then gets teleported to the next area and doesn’t seem too thrilled about the trip. Exie finds Liam’s reaction amusing. Time to continue the quest!
This level features more groovy tunes. It also introduces you to your first traps, sewers. If you fall in, Liam will lose a life. Here’s whatcha gotta do. Each sewer makes a drip drip sound as you get close to it. This sound gets louder the closer you come. There’s a metal boundary about two steps wide just before the edge. The most effective strategy is to get right up to the edge, jump up and press Right six or so times. This way you should clear the sewer and land on firm ground. There’s almost always a Robot Trooper to greet you at the other end of the first jump, so shoot him. You’ll also meet your first cyclists here, so jump over ‘em or you’ll be chewing tire. Finally you’ll enter the teleporter to Act 2!
Act 2 is more of the same as Act 1 except that the first Cyclists you meet come in a group of two, one right after the other. You’ll have to be quick. Note that there’s a bonus level here. When you come to the first sewer, get right up to the edge like you normally would, but when you jump, press Right three times instead of six. If you do it right you’ll be taken to the bonus level where you can rack up some serious points and more than likely come away with a few extra lives. The music’s cool, too. Note that if you do it that way you’ll skip the rest of this act and go straight to the boss. But that all depends on whether you choose to do it or not.
If you choose not to do the bonus level, just run through the streets, shooting Robo Dogs and Troopers and avoiding Cyclists. There are also plenty of sewers to keep you on your toes. Finally you’ll make it to Act 3!
Cutscene: X1’s happy to see you’ve made it this far (yeah right). He introduces you to your new pal, Cycle Bot! He’s also not too impressed with Super Liam as a superhero name.
Boss: Cycle Bot
Cycle Bot isn’t a real tough customer. He’s a bit trickier than the first boss, but he’s still manageable. Here’s whatcha gotta do. He rides a big ol’ Harley, and he’s trying to mow you down. Shoot him as many times as you can and then jump over him real quick to avoid a face full of tire. You can actually hit him as many as six times without getting hit, but ya gotta be careful since he’s moving while you’re attacking. Jump over him and then turn to face him again. Repeat the pattern of shooting and jumping until the boss explodes. Congrats, level 2 is complete!
Level 3: Wild Woods
Cutscene: Liam remarks that that wasn’t too bad. Then he finds a strange letter. He opens it to find that it’s from X1, who once again doesn’t seem impressed with you. Oh well. Liam rips up the letter. Then he’s teleported to the next area. Hmmm, he must really hate teleporters. Anyway, Dr. Quark contacts you again (notice his really weird voice?) He says you’re in a forest with some…stuff. He’s not sure what it is, so go exploring and uh---be careful!
Ah, mysterious and kinda creepy music. Head right. You’ll meet snakes and bears here. Jump the snakes and shoot the bears. Bears do a healthy dose of damage to you, so be careful! Just run through the forest, killing and avoiding bears and snakes. Grab the Health Boost if you need it (more than likely if it’s your first time through), and enter the teleporter when you reach it.
More bears and snakes, so kill and avoid respectively. There’s an Extra Life in this level, so grab that as well. About halfway through there’ll be some Robo Dogs who want to say hi, so kill ‘em. Note that bears will attack from behind here, so remember to press Shift+Left to turn around quick and take ‘em out. Finally you’ll be at the teleporter to…
Cutscene: X1 calls you up. No, your refridgerator isn’t running. In fact you don’t have one, seeing as how you’re in the middle of a forest. NO, it wasn’t funny. Darn, guess Exie’ll have to try harder next time. But wait, there won’t be a next time!
Boss: Wild Bot
The manual calls Wild Bot one of the hardest bosses in the game, but I don’t think I agree. He’s actually quite simple if you know what you’re doing. The robotic monkey swings toward you on a tree branch, all the while making oohoohoo noises. Anyway, you have to duck his swings (and I advise you to stay down unless you want a face full of robo feet. He’ll swing back and forth about three times and then land either to your left or right. This means he’s about to charge you. When you hear him land, straighten up, turn to face him if necessary and quickly attack. If you don’t, he’ll charge you and that seems to do major damage. You should be able to hit him once, then duck back down. He’ll repeat the pattern of swing, land and charge. Before he can charge, shoot him. This will make him repeat the cycle. Keep doing this until he blows up. Time for Level 4!
Level 4: Lava Lake
Cutscene: Liam remarks that he coulda gotten killed. X1 shows up and warns you to stay alert. Things are about to heat up…literally! Then Liam’s teleported to a new area. Hmmm, didn’t know Liam didn’t like fire…and all there is is fire!
Ah, cool music. Anyway, this level can be tricky if you’re not careful. There are Robot Troops and Robo Dogs, but that ain’t all. Every now and then you’ll get some friendly fireballs who want to say hi. Fireballs sound, to me at least, like a hot water heater. The only thing to do is duck ‘em and stay down till they’re gone. Then you also have firepits to jump over. Like the sewers, they’ll kill you instantly if you fall in. Firepits don’t have the metal boundary to cue you about when to jump, but there is a slightly different sound to your steps when you get close. Listen closely to it and when you get right up to it (the boundary is still about two steps wide), jump the pit to avoid being toasted like a Super Liam marshmallow. There are usually fireballs right before (and sometimes right after) firepits, so be ready to duck. Grab any Health Boosts as you need ‘em, keep avoiding fireballs, jumping pits and killing baddies and finally enter the teleporter. Time for Act 2.
Act 2 is more of the same as Act 1. There are a few Health Boosts and I believe also an extra life. Grab everything and finally enter the teleporter.
Cutscene: Oh no! X1’s set a bomb off in the volcano! It’s gonna blow!
Boss: Volcano Escape
Ok so it’s not really a boss. Just run right and kill as many of the troopers as you can. Jump the firepits and keep running. You have a very limited amount of time here, so when I say run I mean run. Eventually you’ll get to a teleporter, so enter it. Whew! That was close!
Level 5: Silver Spaceship
Cutscene: Liam sure was lucky back there. X1 shows up and welcomes you ti his silver spaceship. But it’s blue! Too bad, Ol’ Exie’s color blind. Anyway, silver’s a cooler color!
This area’s tricky. You get introduced to a new enemy, a Miniguard robot. These guys can be a pain, but they’re not the main reason I hate this level. The main reason is the lasers positioned at various intervals along the walls. One laser will take off 20% of your health (sometimes even more), so be careful. Running seems to be the best way to go, but jumping also seems to work if you time it right. Basically your goal is to run through the level, killing the enemies and avoiding the lasers. Collect any items you can. Enter the teleporter.
There’s a hidden area here. Instead of running right like you normally do, run left. There are two lasers, but after you clear ‘em there’s a treasure trove of Health Boosts and Extra Lives. You just have to fight off a group of Miniguards. Then it’s time to continue on our way.
For me at least, Act 2 is harder than Act 1. At various points you’ll set off an intruder alarm that brings waves of enemies (right where the Extra Lives are is one example), so you have to get reeeeeally good at turning.Stil, if you’re careful you’ll make it through. Grab the three Health Boosts and the three extra lives (two of which are right at the beginning, remember), then enter the teleporter. Note that you can always go back and grab those two extra lives as many times as you want. They reappear each time you die.
Cutscene: X1’s not too impressed. In fact he seems kinda bored. He does tell you that the robot that just appeared randomly out of nowhere and is running away from you is called Laser Bot. If he reaches the ship’s reactor before you can take him down, it’s lights out.
Boss: Laser Bot
Laser Bot really isn’t too tough. You just have to run, shoot him and duck his laser, which does about 25% damage to you. My suggestion is to fire constantly while you run. Then when he says “Take That,” duck. You can also fire while crouched, so you can still hit him a few times before resuming your run. If you don’t get him before he reaches the end, he’ll blow up the reactor and destroy the ship and you. If you do…well…you know what happens. Time for level 6!
Level 6: Water Works
Cutscene: Ah, a scene without X1. Liam’s found the lab. But how do we get in? Liam’s not fool enough to try to march up to the door. Hmmm, there does seem to be a grate here. I’ll try that. Liam blows the grate up with his laser and discovers…oh what a glorious day! It’s a way in! Liam slides down the pipe and emerges in foul water.
This level is extremely annoying. You’ll get your first taste of Fans here. There’s absolutely no cue as to when to jump (except when the sound of the fans is in the center of the speakers (or as close to it as possible). As long as you can hear it in both speakers, you should be able to clear it with a jump. Just be careful, since touching it means instant death. There are also drains which, like sewers, have a two-step metal boundary. You can clear those without too much trouble. Then there are Water Rats and, for some bizarre reason, Robot Troopers (water doesn’t short out their circuits?) Just kill everything (there don’t seem to be any items here), and enter the teleporter when you find it. Time for Act 2!
Ah, here’s another chance to bring in a little extra booty. There’s another bonus round here, which you can visit even if you visited the one in Level 2. Just get right up to the first drain and do exactly what you did with the sewer in level 2. Jump, but then press the Right arrow three times instead of six. Grab all the goodies, including but not limited to Health Boosts and several Thousand-point Bonuses. Extra lives play a major part here as well, and every life helps!
If you choose not to do the bonus level, run through the level, jumping fans and drains and killing enemies. About halfway through (maybe a little more), there seems to be some sort of laser weapon you can’t destroy and that’s really tough to avoid. Just avoid it however you can and enter the teleporter when you come to it.
Cutscene: Uh-oh! Seems X1 knows we’re here! He’s set off a bomb! The place is gonna blow!
Boss: Water Escape
This level is extremely tough. There are drains and fans to avoid and you have to run. This makes it extremely tough to judge when to jump the fans. Just keep running and jumping (and yes you do have to run because there’s only about a minute before the bomb goes off), and you’ll be Ok. There’s just a small matter of the hoard of rats close to the end that’ll kill you real quick if you’re not careful. Enter the teleporter to clear the level. Whew, close one!
Level 7: Lethal Lab
Cutscene: Ah, we made it this far. Liam decides to check out the computer terminal. He finds a layout of the lab that shows where X1 is in relation to where he himself is. But the situation doesn’t look good. Oh well, we’ve made it this far, so we might as well push on…especially now that we’ve set off an intruder alarm!
This act is the easier of the two. There are electric barriers which, like the fans, have no real cue as to when to jump over them. Just make sure the sound is in the center of your speakers (don’t get too close), before you jump. There are also holes in the floor which have a two-step metal boundary. Jump over ‘em. There are also scores of enemies, so you also have to deal with them. Still, this stage doesn’t seem to be too hard and, if you have plenty of lives, you should do all right.
Here’s where things start to get difficult. The enemies seem to increase drastically in number and there’s more of those irritating wall lasers. They seem to be extremely close together, so you have to be careful when dodging. You might dodge one only to get hit by the next one. Just be careful and you should do fine. Eventually you’ll reach the teleporter! Congrats, you’re nearly there!
Cutscene: You’ve made it to X1. Liam opens the last door, falls down a chute and lands in a new area. X1 greets you and gives you his final speech. He’s had enough of you and it’s time to settle this!
Final Boss: X1
X1 is the final boss of the game. It is also fitting that he be the toughest to beat, at least as far as I’m concerned. The music is also the best in the game in my opinion. Anyway, here’s how to beat this guy. There are three platforms in this room. You stand on the far left, while X1 sits on the far right. Meanwhile there’s a big laser gun in the ceiling which will track your movements and, if you stay in one place for too long, will lock onto you and fire off a blast that’s instantly fatal. You also don’t want to make a bad jump here as that’ll also cost you valuable lives. Here’s the best strategy to beating him. As with drains and sewers, the edges of these platforms have a two-step metal boundary before you fall off. I recommend getting right up to the jump point on the first platform, then waiting for the laser to come to you. You’ll hear it make the lock on noise but still be able to jump. Jump to the next platform and run to the edge. Jump to the third platform and shoot X1. If you try to jump directly to where he is, you'll get a nasty electrical jolt, so just shoot him from that third platform. Don’t try to hit him more than once, A because the laser should be getting close to you again and B because each time he’s hit, X1 generates a powerful forcefield that lasts about twelve seconds. Jump back to the previous platform. Go all the way to the starting platform but be ready to jump back over to the third platform. Again, wait for the laser to come to you before you jump. I find this gives you a little more time to reach X1 and shoot him, since the laser isn’t right there when you get there. SO the pattern is go to the first jump point, wait till the laser targets you and jump to safety. Jump from the second platform to the third and shoot X1. Then get ready to jump away again when the laser gets close. By the time you start your next approach, X1’s shield should be deactivated and you can shoot him again. I didn’t keep track of how many hits it takes to bring him down because I was too busy timing my jumps. Even a simple miscalculation in this battle can mean your life. It’s best to have at least six or seven lives for this battle. Just keep shooting him when his field is gone and dodging his laser and you’ll eventually win the day. Congrats, you’ve beaten Super Liam!
I won’t spoil the ending for you. I’ll only say to wait till after the credits are spoken, as there’s a final cutscene. Now I guess we wait for Super Liam 2! Also note that after you beat the game for the first time, you should get a file called Cheats.txt. If you use a cheat code, your score won’t be counted and your game won’t be saved.
Super Liam! Review
I’ve been able to demo practically every audio game out there…at least all the ones that interested me, and there haven’t been any that I really disliked. Super Liam gets added to the growing pile of what I’ll jokingly refer to as Bryan’s Choice, meaning I’d recommend them to a friend.
The gameplay is simple. It’s a side scrolling adventure game, meaning you run right, killing enemies and avoiding obstacles. It reminds me a lot of such games as Mario Brothers and even Sonic the Hedgehog.
Perhaps the most important aspect of an audio game is its audio. After all, who’s gonna want to play an audio game if it don’t sound good? Fortunately, Super Liam’s music, sound effects and voice acting are all great, especially considering that all the voices are done by one guy, the programmer Liam Erven.
The music in Super Liam has a sort of Rock N’ Roll feel to it for the most part, especially in those situations where you have to escape from a level in a very limited amount of time. It actually kind of reminds me of something you might hear in a Sonic the Hedgehog game. My favorites are the menu theme, the victory theme and the theme for the last battle.
The sound effects are great as well, from Liam’s laser to the sound of the big laser gun in the final battle. L-works clearly made the most with what they had to work with.
The story sounds like something right out of a comic book. An ordinary kid is given super powers by a scientist in order to stop an evil robot from blowing up the earth. Not the most original story ever, but X1’s dry humor adds to the telling, as do Liam’s reactions to certain events…
Closing Statement and Email Disclaimer
Well, it’s done. If you have any suggestions or comments, feel free to send ‘em on over to t. Be specific and be polite, that’s all I ask. That said, enjoy this FAQ and, more importantly, enjoy Super Liam!
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)