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the big td thing

a guide through difficulty level 1

v 2.0

2002/August update: yeah, the site i used to have this guide on is long
defunct. i might get up a new website for myself. or not. AOL removed it
from their filesearch probably 4 years ago, and it's been sitting on my hard
drive since then. I played TD a few days ago and thought... hey, maybe I should
do something with that old walkthrough... so out with the old, and this is the
revised big td thing, for all you people who might still be lost since 1995.
heh. and if you're reading this and you don't own TD: go out and get a copy.
trade for it. you'll enjoy it if you like classic adventure with a twist. if
you find any problems with this walkthrough, please email me.
I. Introduction
II. Media Tower
III. Making Good Videos and Selling Them
IV. Entering the Dimension and General Tips on the Dimension
V. Halls of Distortion and Sky Maze
VI. Vid Halls
VII. T.V. Gate
VIII. Cable Maze
IX. Hell's Garage
X. Sonic Cemetery
XI. L.A. Stage
XII. Completing the Game
XIII. A Secret Cheat!
I. Introduction
*Okay, you've bought the game, Total Distortion, but you have no idea
how to play. You've come to the right place. The TD Forum at has
long been done away with, and except for this document, there is no guide to be
found on the internet to help you get through TD anymore. Anyway, I assume you
know the story, if not, watch the intro videos. Here's the basics:
*In the game, you take on the role of a music video creator, and you are
just beginning in the business. You blow $2 mil on a Personal Media Tower and a
ticket to the newly discovered Distortion Dimension. There, you will leave your
tower to record video clips, come back from the dimension, and then test your
creativity by making videos with those clips and selling them to top Earth VJs.
If you aren't successful, your tower will run out of electricity, your food
processor will run out of goo, and eventually you will starve to death.
*Your physical and mental energies have a big effect on your state of
health and game play. If your mental and physical energies go hungry, your life
force will gradually diminish, and when it hits 0, you're dead. If you lose
some physical energy, you can have trouble opening the huge doors found
throughout the dimension. If you lose mental energy, you become exhausted. All
of these things have a big impact on your gameplay, and as you read on you will
find out how to keep your energies in line.
II. Media Tower
*When you begin a new game, you start out in the Personal Media Tower's
coma tank. The tower is your base of operations. There you find almost all of
your food, and the only place known that you can sleep. You also buy food goo,
power rods, guitars, and everything else you need. The tower includes a music
video workspace, known as the Total Distortion Video Sequencer, or TDVS.
*Now I will give tips level by level, starting with the ground floor.
*Engine Room: This is the room where the generator makes electricity
for the tower. It runs on fuel cells. You buy the fuel cells in packages of
10, known as fuel rods. If your generator runs out of fuel cells, you run out
of electricity. A trip into the Distortion Dimension will usually take more than
three hours, which means that your fuel cells will more than likely be used up
by the time you get back. Refer to Section IV for more on fuel cells. This is
also the room from which you leave the tower.
*The Kitchen: Here you make all of your meals. Eating is the best way
to keep your physical energy high. A good physical energy food is a
cheeseburger, made up of the bun, a burger, a slice of cheese, tomatoes, and
lettuce. Mental energy can be restored here also, but sleep is the best
solution to your mental energy problems. One way to get your mental energy high
without sleep is on one of the posters in the kitchen. Make a latte! If you're
going to venture out into the dimension, a good drink to make is a mixture of
hot sauce, shark hormones, and spaceberry plasma. If your life force is doing
poorly, the drink brings it up to 50 points. There is a way of bringing your
health up easily, look in Section IV.
*The kitchen runs on food goo. It is used to "synthesize" every meal
you eat. Food goo is sold in 10 unit bricks. It's fairly cheap, only $100 a
brick. You insert the food goo into the funnel on the synthesizer, located to
the left of the meal machine.
*The Bedroom: The Bedroom is my favorite room in the tower. In the
bedroom you will find the coma tank, a bed, and two bookshelves. You should
definitely check out the books if you are a beginner. I suggest that you read
the book "TD?" if you are just starting to play TD. The puzzles can give you
big clues to help get you past some of TD's toughest spots. The games offer
those little distractions that can get your mind off of a sucky sale. On the
bookshelves you will see a crystal ball. If you click it, it can give you a
look ahead at some of the things you will see when you venture out into the
Distortion Dimension. Some of the books will give you new video and sound when
you next look at the TDVS.
-The bed is kind of like a game. Once you get to sleep (sometimes the
game won't let you sleep; it's a matter of chance) you see 2 paths that lead to
your sleeping brain. Nightmares run down one path trying to get to your brain
first, while good dreams are also running down another path to your brain. On a
cliff overlooking the paths is a gun. You control this dream gun. Use the
keyboard arrows to turn your gun, and enter fires. Shoot the nightmares first.
You will see 2 other icons running down the "good dreams" path to your brain.
The first icon that comes from the "good dreams" path will be the "dream z's"
game. You will probably want to shoot it to keep it from reaching your brain,
because it is harder than the second game, called "dream lights." Once the
"dream lights" game gets to your brain, you will begin the game. The object of
the game is to put the light bulbs into the correct sockets, without hitting one
of the monsters running across the screen. Wait till you see 4 or 5 arrows
flying in formation. Take the bulb up behind the arrows; this is the easiest
way to plug in the bulbs. If you're quick, you can put 2 bulbs in after the
*The Media Center: The Media Center offers everything that a video
producer needs to make millions. The Media Center has in it the TDVS, a Radio
Aquarium, the Tower Status Monitor, a DataBrick Video Phone (DBVP), and a
VidChip copier. -The TDVS is the place where you make all of your
videos. I will go into detail on the TDVS in Section III.
-The Radio Aquarium is like the lava-lamp. It gets your mind off
things. Some of the programs add a little comedy to the TD experience. That's
really the main thing it's for. Try clicking on Elvis the Fish. And if you
hear a little Chinese guy, Tom Chu, don't change the station, he's pretty cool.
-The Tower Status Monitor shows you (duh) the condition of the tower,
and if there are any problems. This is handy to have if you don't want to ride
all the way to the bottom floor to check your fuel cells.
-The DataBrick Video Phone keeps you in contact with Earth's parallel
dimension. This is where you buy your food goo, fuel rods, guitars, and media
clips. You also sell your videos to the 3 top VJs on Earth: Yuji Dude, Stevie
Groovie, and Hans Kranger.
-The VidChip copier does exactly what the name says. Once you save a
video onto your RAM, put a VidChip into the copier and then you will be asked
which video you want to copy. Select the video and copy it onto the VidChip.
You'll need this when you go out into the dimension.
III. Making Good Videos and Selling Them
*2 things make a video: knowledge of what the VJs like, and footage
from the dimension. In this section, you will read about how to make those
$1,000,000 videos.
*First off, never make a video that is under 5 scenes long. It will be
rejected by the VJs.
*Never use the same song in two different videos. The second video you
try to sell will be rejected. Likewise, don't try to change the title or
project name of an already-sold video and resell it, that will not work. Vary
your scene lengths and your scene numbers from video to video.
*This next point is something that you absolutely HAVE to do to make any
money. Read the biographies on the VJs. It will save you a lot of hassle, I
promise you. It tells you little facts about them, like how Stevie is from San
Francisco. If you'll look in the TDVS, you'll find that there are a lot of San
Francisco backgrounds/clips. These books will help you to know more about what
the VJs like. When you decide to make a video, the first thing that you should
take into consideration is who you are going to sell the video to. Then, after
you've decided, make the video around what the VJs like. Yuji is from Japan.
Use some Japanese-oriented devices in videos you sell to him. Hans Kranger is
an egomaniac. Any rock stars we know like that? Hans adores videos with Johnny
Fang in them. A decent Johnny video sale to Kranger is worth 200,000 easily.
Save and talk to the VJs, get to know the dialogue with which you speak to them.

Reload after you've pissed them off or hung up. Talking to them is worth almost
as much as reading their biographies.
*While we are still on the subject of knowing what the VJs like, I also
should tell you about what you should say to them. It has a big impact on
whether a price sucks or not. If you insult one of them, they might hang up and
not answer the phone again. They will give you a lower price, obviously, if you
are bland or annoying rather than engaging and charming. Speak to them in the
manner in which they wish to be spoken to. Know this manner by saving, talking
through all their dialogues, and reloading. You'll know what the best dialogue
path is by the prices you receive.
*Notice VJ quirks. The monitors behind Stevie's head turn green when
she's happy or she enjoys a video; they turn red when she's angry. Stevie
doesn't really enjoy having her appearance commented on more than once. Don't
over compliment. You can compliment Yuji more, but there is a point of
saturation. Hans' self-centered attitude has already been mentioned.
*Hans is annoyingly condescending. You won't be able to speak with him
until after you go out into the dimension and rack up some fame points.
*There are more than 1,000 video clips. Make use of them! The video
clips that you have brought with you from earth won't make you that much money
if used throughout a video, but sometimes throwing in a scene about Tokyo and
selling that particular video to Yuji can sway him toward offering a
significantly higher price.
*The best things to use in your videos are the hard-to-get clips, such
as the "hidden" clips of the Guitar Warrior. Refer to Section VIII or Section
VI for more on these clips.
*"Saving before selling" is a good motto to have. Before you sell a
video, make sure that you save your game. For the same video, Yuji might give
you $1,000 more than Stevie.
*Now that you know everything I know about video making, make enough
videos so that you can buy everything mentioned in the next section.
IV. Entering the Dimension and General Tips on the Dimension
*The best tip that I can give you is this: SAVE! Save your game
periodically. If you don't, you will definitely regret it. Save in multiple
files. You never know when you will regret saving over earlier progress.
*Be sure to bring with you plenty of food, drinks and VidChips.
*Not all beings that you will encounter are hostile. At least not for a
little while.
*Never enter the dimension without at least a Power Level 4 guitar.
*I've been told: always bring a mixture of spaceberry plasma, shark
hormone, and hot sauce with you. Pretty weird combination, but it supposedly
gives you 50 extra life force points if your health is dwindling. You probably
won't need it; the trips through the Vid Halls ought to be enough to cure you.
I've never needed it.
*You're going to need about $50,000 before you go anywhere: enough for
food and drinks ($200-300), a guitar ($40,000), and a few power rods. You have
two choices here. I suggest that you buy about 2 or 3 power rods. When you
come home, your power will be off. If you have enough physical energy, which
you should from the $200-300 you spent on food goo, you can pry the door to the
PMT open, then put the power rods in the slot. If you don't feel like doing
this, make about $20,000 extra to buy enough power rods to keep the place
running while you are away, stocked with about 120 rods. Your choice.
*Pack several bags of cheeseburgers or bagels with cream cheese. You'll
use them, trust me. I bring about 10-15. They bring up your physical energy
really well. For mental energy, bring coffee. You can make yours black, or
stir in cream and milk for a latte. I get varied results in mental energy
change between the two; logic says that three shots of espresso should bring
energy up far more than watered-down latte. In a dimension without logic, what
can you do? Also pack 1 weird mixture and 14 canteens of water (explained
*The canteens of water are not intended for drinking. When you cross
through the Vid Halls, you will use them along with VidChips to circumvent the
deadly video's effects. See Section VI.
*Go to your DBVP and dial up JumpCut. Buy 2 packs of 5 vidchips. Next,
create a single-scene video with nothing but clips out of the "Love" section.
Trees/nature can also be included. Name this project "love." This is hinted at
in the bookshelf, in Jigsaw Puzzlebook #5. The video doesn't need music, though
I use Tippygoo or Kittykat. Copy the video onto 6 of the vidchips. Make sure
you have two blank vidchips for Hell's Garage (Section IX). You may wish to
bring more for safety; each vidchip ensures a safe crossing of the Vid Halls.
See Section VI.
*Remember to buy a guitar at Power Level 4 or better: either a Cruncher
or a Muncher.
*Now that you have done all of this, it is time to leave your tower.
You should record every move you make. That way you will have plenty of video
clips to use.
*One last thing: guitar training. You must know how to use your
primary weapon against Guitar Warriors before you go anywhere. We'll start
training at Difficulty Level 1. When you anger a Guitar Warrior, you will get
into a fight with your sonic energy guitars. On Difficulty Level 1, when a
Guitar Warrior strikes a chord, you will see a ring coming toward you. Look at
the color. On your guitar, strike the chord that is the color of the ring. If
your chord is stronger, it will go through the Guitar Warrior's chord. If not,
it will hit you. Different chords will pass through each other. Take the time
to listen to the Guitar Warrior's chords and learn them by ear. Learn which
chord on your guitar matches his. This is the only way you will survive past
level 1.
*That's about it. Time to see the sights of the Dimension.
V. Halls of Distortion and Sky Maze
*Open the door in the Engine Room. You will see the bridge. This is
the first glimpse that you will have of the Distortion Dimension. Directly
ahead, across the bridge, is the Halls of Distortion. Here you encounter your
first Guitar Warrior. Do not try to record him! That comes later. Go through
the dialog box and deliberately try to anger him. Then pull out your guitar and
fry him.
*At the end of the tunnel is a large wooden door. Open it and you enter
the Sky Maze. In here are there are usually about 3 Guitar Warriors, so be sure
to keep your guitar handy.
*After walking a little ways, you should reach a junction. Take the
left (blue) path first. You'll come back to the red path later. See the next
*At the end of the blue path is a fire door. Some people have trouble
opening it. All you do is click on the right-hand frame of the door. A red
button pops up and you press the button to open the door. Recording the door,
or solving Jigsaw Puzzle #1 gives enough clue as to how to work the door. Just
dont touch the door, it will burn you.
VI. Vid Halls
*Here is an interesting part of the game. The Vid Halls are either your
friends or your enemies, depending on how prepared you are for them. You must
know how to use them to your advantage. But before you let them help you, what
you need to do is walk into the middle of the Vid Hall and record. It may seem
crazy, but it gives you great footage. The best thing is, the Vid Halls are
about to heal you back up again after you steal its footage. Once you walk to
the other side, to your left there are lights lining the floor. Click the
lights. One of them holds Card-X (what everyone in the TD Forum was going nuts
about). Now turn back, facing the entrance to the Vid Hall. Turn to your
right. There are two flaming gas torches. Take out two of your canteens of
water and extinguish the fire by clicking 'use,' then 'squirt.' There are three
spikes lying behind the extinguished torches. Click the left-most spike 3
times; it should glow yellow. This brings up the Spiked Monitor. Put one of
your "love" vidchips into it. Click on the blue screen. It's a game! How
exciting. The screen shows two walls coming to crush two pictures of the Earth
and two pictures of the face of the Metal Lord. The object is to drag the two
pictures of the Metal Lord into the pit below the walls, saving the Metal Lord
and dooming the Earth. If you fail, the torches will re-fire and burn you.
Once you have completed the game, it will let you into the control board, where
you choose to play your video instead of the Deadly Video (of which you have
footage!). Now you walk back the way you came from. *Go back to the junction
in the Sky Maze. Walk down the red path. You will come to a strange-looking
door with a device mounted on it. Walk up to the door and turn on the device.
It is a matching game. The device will play video clips. When a clip is played,
you are supposed to press the button that corresponds with the clip. Do this 10
times. It will then prompt you for Card-X. Put the card in the device. The
door will open. There are quite a few things inside, but the main things that
you are there to get are the map of the Cable Maze and the TV remote. To get
the remote, click on the reflective wall that you see right in front of you when
you open the door. A compartment will open and you get the remote, coffee, a
cheeseburger (not to be eaten), and a Blaster guitar. You'll DEFINITELY need
the map later. Believe me, you'll be lost without it! As I said, hold onto the
cheeseburger. Head back to the Vid Halls and cross again.
VII. T.V. Gate
*The T.V. Gate is not just a normal T.V. It is the entrance to the rest
of the world of Total Distortion. It is across the first Vid Hall. Use the
remote that you got from the room in the Sky Maze on the T.V. Now, you are
entering the Cable Maze.
VIII. Cable Maze
**IMPORTANT** -- Before you go here, you need that map from the Sky
Maze. If you don't have it, then you'll probably die in the maze. Luckily for
you, you don't have to draw the @#%$ map out by hand. Go to my site and
download the picture of the Cable Maze map. (terribly sorry, my site no longer
exists. i'll try to get it hosted at neoseeker or some such place as that.)
*The Cable Maze is a cool place, if you know how to move around in it.
The site that I got my hints from didn't explain the maze enough. You don't
want to fall off the edge of a channel. If you do, there's no telling on which
channel you're likely to land. Channel surfing is not suggested in this regard.

The main route through is to follow channels 1-13. Instead, what you want to do
the first time through is to follow the lines on the map to get the pieces of
the artifact. Once you collect all 7 parts of the artifact, you can follow the
main route.
*In channels 1, 70, 45, 35, 57, and 33, there are parts of the artifact
(channel 1 has 2 pieces). The artifact is a teleportation device that will take
you to anywhere in the dimension (note: due to a bug, the artifact will not
work. lovely). Pieces of the artifact are located where the question marks are
on the map. As you walk through a channel that contains an artifact piece, turn
towards the sides of the channel and look for a Frisbee-like disc. It is yet
another of TD's infamous games. Click on the Frisbee to begin. When you start,
the Frisbee will center itself at the bottom of your screen. The Frisbee is
actually the lowest level of a pyramid. Other levels will begin falling from
the top of the screen. Click and drag the Frisbee, positioning it under the
falling parts. Once you start building the pyramid, you can't move the mouse
too quickly, or the top levels of your pyramid will fall off. When you've
finished the pyramid, a rifle-scope will fall from the top of your screen.
Catch it with your pyramid, moving your pyramid as slowly as possible. There is
a small light that is moving at the top of the screen (kind of looks like a
lightning bug). Get the light in the crosshairs of the rifle-scope. The game
is won, and you have captured the artifact piece. The lightning bug was
actually a piece of the artifact.
*Once you have collected all 7 pieces of the artifact, go to the
"artifact assembly" game in your guitar case. Your mental energy will tick down
quickly as you work; so I wait until I've gone home and slept before I tackle
the Artifact. When you get one of the pieces near the right place, the game
will click the piece into its correct position. This whole process is explained
with pictures on my web site (again, forgive my lack of pictures. i will try to
put them on neoseeker). It's kind of complicated to explain without pictures,
but it goes like this:
*First, put on the two metal pieces that look like computer chips. They
go together to form a rectangular shape. Next, put on the small orange
thingymabob. I have no idea what it is, but we shall call it "switch." There
is a hole where the metal pieces fit together; it looks kind of like a T.
Rotate the switch until it looks like it will fit in the hole and snap it in.
Next comes the side pieces; the 2 narrow, curving reddish-orange things. One of
the side pieces has yellow coils that extend out of it. Put that piece on the
side of the puzzleboard that is farthest from you. The coils should be pointing
away from you. The second side piece should go on the side of the puzzleboard
closest to you, with the side that curves outward pointed towards you. The last
pieces go inside the sidepieces. One of the pieces is purple, and the other is
yellow. They both have buttons. Rotate the purple piece so that the button is
on the right. It should fit into the sidepiece with the yellow rings. Then,
rotate the yellow piece so that the button is on the left. It should fit into
the side piece that is closest to you. You don't have to do this in any certain
order, but I think that it is the easiest way to do it.
*Next on the discussion list: the color wheels. I don't know why anyone
has too much trouble with this; it's easy for me. All you do is start the
wheels spinning, then get them back into their original position by changing the
wheels' direction, lining up one wheel with the one behind it until you've lined
up all four. Change direction by pressing the color-coded buttons on the
screen. I don't really know how to explain it other than that. You shouldn't
have too tough of a time with it if you have good hand-eye coordination.
*My proudest TD moment: I discovered how to get the Guitar Warrior
footage! As soon as you complete one of the color wheels, you will have to
fight a Guitar Warrior. Make sure you have your camera ready-- have it set as
your quickuse button on your guitar case. This Guitar Warrior will pause for a
second before attacking you, so bring up your camera and film him. Now you have
the rarest footage in the game.
*Once you've passed the end of the line, channel 13, you will reach the
Treasure Halls, or the place where the best footage in the dimension is located.

I remind you now... RECORD EVERYTHING!
IX. Hell's Garage
*You need to visit Hell's Garage before you do anything else in the
Treasure Halls. Besides cool clips, it has stuff that you will need for the
L.A. Stage and the Sonic Cemetery. But, before you get into Hell's Garage,
you're going to need something. Yes, it's that modern miracle of technology,
the garage remote! It is found at L.A. Stage in the pot containing St.
Lucifer's house plant. Click on the plant to get the remote.
*Now that you have the remote, go back to the Treasure Hall and open the
door to Hell's Garage. You will be greeted by some cool music and the skies
will be "rainin' fire and brimstone." I don't think this is quite the Southern
Baptist revivalist's idea of hell. Anyhow, use the remote you got out of the
pot. Inside the garage, you'll need to take the weird blue Head Key, the bell,
and the gasoline. Now, do you see Satan's computer? His Mac is where he stores
all of his music files. Hope you have an extra vidchip or two. Told you to buy
a pair of 5-packs. Insert a vidchip and click the screen. You have to "hack"
into his computer by playing yet another game. What you want to do is use the
tri-torch to move the eyeball over the edge of the platform and make it fall
onto the pedal, which moves the plug closer to the outlet. Place the torch
under the eyeball and the eyeball will roll away from the torch. Be careful,
though, if you hold the torch on the eyeball too long, the eyeball will pop, and
you will have to start all over. You have to do this about 5 or 6 times. After
you complete the game, you get into the DDOS (Demonic Disk Operating System).
There, you should copy one of Satan's files onto your vidchip. After doing
this, you will be booted out of the system. Now, since there are two different
files, you will have to insert another vidchip and repeat the game. After you
are through with this, it's time to pay a visit to Edgar Death.
X. Sonic Cemetery
*Get to the door of the Sonic Cemetery. Open it, and take out your bell
and use it. When the bell rings, Edgar Death's coffin will unbury itself and
come to the surface. Tape Edgar before you do anything. His footage is some of
the best available. Now, you can play his songs on the song remote control.
It's kind of easy to get to him to record him. Don't worry; the L.A. Stage is a
lot harder.
XI. L.A. Stage
*Walk into the doorway to the stage. Go up to the ticket booth and
click anywhere inside it. You will meet Roxanne, the voluptuous ticket lady.
To get a ticket for the ride down to L.A. Stage, you can do one of three things:
give her $300, give her a cheeseburger, or give her your tower key. I suggest
giving her a cheeseburger. If you give away your key, it makes it more
difficult to get into your tower; the fact that she is a VAMPIRE who wants
nothing more than to come to your tower and SUCK THE BLOOD out of your body also
makes this a bad alternative. It's pretty cool to watch, but I don't recommend
it if you're trying to win the game. Perhaps try giving her a garlic
*Anyway, you'll notice that you can't record anything at the L.A. Stage.

No problem. All you have to do is click a few times on the hidden button on the
chair. It's right above where it says "L.A. Stage." There is a blank space
there. When the button pops up, it will say "Staff Only." It takes you to a
room where there's a vault. All the L.A. Stage material is in the vault, but
it's locked. To get into the vault, you must play yet another game. Whoopee.
It's called the Lock Game. Take out the blue Head Key to start the game. You
must shoot the little icons that are spinning around to reveal a lock up under
it. Shoot the lock. Keep doing this until you unlock all of the locks. Take
the vidchip that you find; it has all the material on it. Take the food too.
Now, you have accomplished everything there is to accomplish in the dimension,
except for making your way home.
XII. Completing the Game
*Get yourself to the Media Tower. You may or may not have to pry open
the doors to the tower. It depends on how well you stocked your fuel rod
supply. If you have to pry open the doors, once you do, find a little red
button and press it, which activates the backup generator. Put the gas can in
the fuel rod loader, along with any fuel rods you have. Now get upstairs and
start making some cool videos! When you have completed your goals and you are
ready to go home, dial up Mr. Red and tell him. Go get into your coma tank, and
prepare for utter humiliation at the hands of our good friend Joe as he tells
you exactly how badly your game sucked. If you win a gold guitar, email me or
something, because you are Jesus and have just walked on water.
XIII. A Secret Cheat!
*Hold Ctrl while pressing the READY! button at the beginning of the
game, after typing in your game information. You will bring up the Secret
Developers' Screen, where you can customise your game as to where you start out,
how much money you have, what you have in your guitar case, how much fame you
have, and a few other tweaks. I suggest playing through the game once on
Difficulty 1 using this mode, starting out with lots of food goo and fuel rods.
Play through and record everything, then use this game to make videos to get you
starting money in higher level games. Or, if you want a gold guitar, here's
your ticket. Don't email me if you cheat.

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