I finished Martian Dreams somewhat earlier than anticipated--the most interesting fact is that I had absolutely no recollection of a lot of the quests leading up to the end, even though I played them before. Specifically, I don't remember the quest Paulon correctly referred to as the most long and boring in the game--Bringing a cart full of iron ore to Carnegie from the mine I had visited at the beginning of the game to fint the Iolo, Shamino and Dupre clones.
Let me backtrack--when I visited the pumping station with my new robotic friend Cshesket, I was told by Diver, another robot, that robots needed a special coating to get past the steam blasts nearby, so I went to rubberize Cshesket. She complained that I didn't have the dye--which was true, if you recall from yesterday. So it turns out she can just walk through the steam without any coating at all! Hooray. Anyway, that go the canals working, and it was time to get iron for Carnegie. I began by sailing a nearby barge, filling a wheelbarrow with ore, and taking it in. Not good enough. I needed a whole cart full, and for that I needed to go get a totally different barge from the other side of the world and sail it to the mine. I was unable to sheel a cart out from inside the mine to outside the mine, because the idiot Yellin was standing on the track and wouldn't move. So instead, I had to drill the ore and shovel it to a nearby cart. Then I pushed that cart down somewhat close to the mine enterance. Next, I shoveled that into a wheelbarrow, one shovel-ful at a time, and rolled it out to the barge, and put it on the other cart. Once I had seven loads, I was free, and I took it to Carnegie. He told me he'd have his men mine the rest of the ore he needs, and gave me cannonballs to enter Aryre with.
1) What men!?
2) Why did I have to bring this big pile of ore? Couldn't I just tell you? Ahhh.
The rest of the game took about an hour. I made Cshesket look like a hot nude woman because those rouge berries and the rubberizer in the pumping station were just that good, and then challend Raxachk in the dream world (he abandoned Rasputin's body, killed his henchmen, and retreated). The challenge was against the three Shadowlords, and they were not ultimately all that challenging. The first, deling with determining a real from a fake Spector was easiest. The second involved giving a healing potion to a grouchy martian, and the third required me to run up against but not actually fight a big sand monster of some sort. My favorite quote was when I hit one of the Spectors in the first room of Falsehood, and Faulenei teleported me out and told me, "Resorting to violence, Astaroth would be so proud!" It was cool to see the Shadowlords again, at any rate.
The final part of the game had me grab use some glowing dream stuff to make a modern weapon with which to kill Raxachk, but I don't really know how I did it. There was a big blob of dreamstuff, and when I tried to use it or get it, I was told "you lack the mental capacity" or "cannot be used." Then I ate three berries of different colors, and it worked. Maybe that was the idea? Anyway, I dreamed up an M-60 and blew through Raxachk's crystal walls and shot the plant to bits. I enjoyed the endgame--all the characters are in a line as I head to the space cannon, and I got to say goodbye to all of them.
The total time came out to about 12 hours, I think, a few longer than Savage Empire, but still quite short! Here's my canonical list of loose ends:
1) Apparently the martians in human bodies survive a long time, long enough to give me a photograph of myself. Why does history not record these events? There is a parade at the end! Maybe the manual explained this and I missed it.
2) Only about three of the martians I met were given robo-human bodies by the end of the game. Where'd the rest go?
3) Paulon said to be careful with the cannonballs--I'm assuming he probably put them in a cannon facing thr wrong direction, because barges cannot be turned and the wall you have to blow up is to the left. Fortunately I had tried with regular cannons!
4) There are shoes somewhere that will take you home, as Paulon mentioned in a comment, but I didn't find them. Granted I didn't explore as thoroughly later in the game. I'm not exactly sure where they are, but I remember finding them last time.
Sadly, I was not invited to write to Lord British to report my feat this time, but I did get an email reminding me that I haven't tried to install Tabula Rasa yet, so perhaps I will give it a go. It's probable my laptop will not handle it, but I said I would try.