Legends of the Hidden Temple

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Long ago, in the distant era of the 1990s, a children's television network with studios in Orlando (at the time) was starting to rise in popularity. They created and promoted many programs in multiple media, from Live Action TV to Western Animation. During this time, they decided to seize the popularity of the Game Show — television programs where individuals or groups participated for currency or grand items. The network created a world where the boundary between video games and reality vanished and |a studio where insanity came in the form of green goop and obstacle courses. But it was not enough...

They decided to hire a glorious and adventurous man to take charge of their next project, known by mortals as Kirk Fogg. The set was then created from various props and endless construction, proudly showing off its Temple of Doom theme. Finally, the rules were written after endless brainstorming, allowing six pairs of children to go through treacherous pits, climb high walls, and venture into a dangerous and difficult tomb which includes the King's Storeroom, the Observatory, and the Shrine of the Silver Monkey... I, Olmec, stand before this creation, spouting my vast knowledge of mystic legends and guiding the players for their rewards.

Now this area where literary devices found in various media are recorded has chosen this program. It is up to you to find those devices that fit, using your memory and research skills. The choices are yours, and yours alone!


In all three seasons, Legends used this format:[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The Moat: Six two-person teams enter the Temple, but must complete a race. The first four to complete advance to the next round. Very often, even touching the water once would cause a team to have to start again from scratch.
  • The Legend: Olmec tells the contestants (and the audience) about the legend in question. Invariably, the legend mentions an artifact which has "made its way into the Temple." At the end of the legend, Kirk asks where the artifact can be found, and Olmec tells the contestants which room of the temple it can be found in.
  • The Steps of Knowledge: A trivia round, with teams being given questions about Olmec's legend, as well as basic trivia about the places mentioned in the legend. Each correct answer lets the contestants take one step down the Steps of Knowledge; three correct answers are enough to win one of the two spots in the next round. Cue the first commercial break.
  • The Temple Games: A series of three competitive physical contests, usually themed around the legend, which will net the team who wins a "Pendant of Life". The first two games are worth a half-pendant each, while the last game is worth a full pendant of life (and usually determines which team wins). If there is a tie, Kirk asks a general trivia Tiebreaking Question. Cue the second commercial break.
  • Olmec's Temple: After the announcer describes the Promotional Considerations and Olmec describes the rooms, the teams get three minutes to try to make it into the temple, grab the artifact, and make it out. The temple is a two-story twelve-room maze; all doors are locked initially, and most rooms have a logic puzzle that must be solved before any doors which can be unlocked will unlock. Grabbing the artifact instantly unlocks all doors and banishes any remaining Temple Guards (and nets the team a second prize); making it out of the temple before time runs out nets you the grand prize (in early seasons, a trip to Space Camp). Cue credits.
    • Temple Guards: Three rooms in the Temple also have Temple Guards; you don't know where they are until the run begins. If you have a whole Pendant of Life, you can bribe the temple guard with it; if not, you are dragged out of the temple, and your partner gets to try to finish with whatever time remains. If the team that goes to the Temple has only one or one-and-a-half Pendant(s), they only have protection against two of the guards, and running into the third will usually end the game. To help them out, the teams with only one Pendant have more choices of paths to avoid the third guard, while the teams with one-and-a-half Pendants can find an extra half so that their second player can bribe the last guard with a full Pendant.

You accept? Then onward to the Chamber of Tropes!

The following Game Show tropes appear in Legends of the Hidden Temple:
Other tropes include:
  • All Myths Are True
  • Alliterative Name: Blue Barracudas, Purple Parrots, and Silver Snakes.
  • Animal Motifs: Both the teams (based off animals who figure heavily in Mayincatec mythology) and the shrine itself (Shrine of the Silver Monkey).
  • Artistic License History - Don't expect your kids to get good grades if they base their knowledge off Olmec's stories.
  • Awesome McCoolname / Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you watch the end credits, there are two names next to each other named Donald Ham and Henry Mayo.
  • Blatant Lies: "The choices are yours and yours alone, except for the doors which are locked so the Temple Run doesn't go too fast, limiting you to basically one linear path through the Temple!"
  • Call a Hit Point a Smeerp / Video Game Lives: Pendants of Life, which could be used to fend off Temple Guards in the final round. Half-pendants didn't do anything, but, fortunately, the other halves could also be found in that round. Too bad they were often hidden really well.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • "The choices are yours, and yours alone!"
    • Not exactly a "catch phrase", but you'd be hard-pressed to find an episode where Kirk doesn't caw "Ohhh!" at least three times.
    • Olmec always let out a long groan when he released the temple gate. It was attached to his side, which made it look like it was hurting him.
    • "The SHR-III-INE of the SEEELVURR MUN-KEE!!!"
  • Crossover: with |Double Dare, Nick Arcade and |What Would You Do? called "Nickelodeon All-Star Challenge" that aired during The Big Help in 1994.
  • Dee Bradley Baker: Olmec and the announcer.
  • Dynamic Entry: In Season 2, Kirk slid down a climbing line to enter the set.
  • Everything's Worse With Silver Monkeys: How many dreams were crushed by that fucking three-piece puzzle?
  • Excited Kids' Show Host: Using Mike O'Malley as a reference, Kirk Fogg is Type 1.
  • Fake Difficulty: A rare non-video game example.
    • The Jester's court would be too hard to complete if you were too short, which several of the kids were.
    • The Temple Guards made the game practically unwinnable for any team that didn't have two full pendants from the earlier rounds.
      • Depending on their placement, they could make the game unwinnable even if the team does have two full pendants. The Discarded Seal of Ivan the Terrible is only the most Egregious example of this.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink
  • Game Breaking Bug:
    • In The War Fan of the Forty-seven Ronin, one of the Temple doors wound up closing (and relocking) behind one of the contestants as they passed through it. They get ejected from the temple, their partner goes in...and cue looks of confusion and/or frustration as the door their partner just passed through is now sealed off. They eventually got the door to reopen, but by then it was too late.
    • The design of the temple created some problems for a few kids, since it would appear they designed, built, and tested the temple with adults. The Jester's Court and Shrine of the Silver Monkey were especially bad. Some kids just couldn't reach the pieces of the monkey, or the buttons on the painting.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode/legend name involved both the MacGuffin and the historical/mythical figure associated with it. This often took a Character Name and the Noun Phrase or The Noun Phrase Of Character Name in Season 1, but always the latter later in the show.
  • Large Ham:
    • Olmec. And loving it the whole time.
    • Kiiiirrrk Foooooogg!
      • Keet: One has to wonder if the contestants wanted him to shut up.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • With all the dead ends, fake switches, rooms guarded by Temple Guards, and limited Pendants of Life (although a stock of two Pendants effectively demoted the guards to Goddamned Bats), the Temple Run easily became this on quite a few occasions.
    • For a few shows in Season 2, there was a Temple Game where the two competing contestants had to guess which of five holes water would squirt from, with no information whatsoever on which to base this decision.
  • MacGuffin
  • Man of a Thousand Voices: Dee Bradley Baker narrated every character in the show's opening legend with a different voice per character. He seemed to do women's voices better than he did men's voices.
  • Mayincatec
  • The Maze
  • Mook Bouncer: Temple Guards...which, it turns out, were played by stagehands. They essentially had random people snatching children on television.
  • Nintendo Hard: Just over one-quarter of Temple Runs were actually completed (pity the poor kids who didn't go to Space Camp). While theoretically you were SOL if you got there with less than two Pendants, a majority of the wins were with one and a half Pendants...and the highest win ratio was with one Pendant.
    • What made it so hard was that there was usually only one linear path, thanks to locked doors. The artifact almost always ended up in the last room you'd enter. You actually had better luck if it was on the far end of the Temple (essentially the halfway point, since after that all the doors unlocked)...and if a Guard got you, your teammate had to start over from the beginning. If it was in the middle of the Temple, like the Heart Room or Observatory, you were dead in the water.
    • Most winning teams picked up the artifact in the seventh or eighth room. This usually included at least one or two which involved quick objectives or simple navigation, but often a lot more in the earlier part of the show. In fact, the first two wins were almost-identical paths (the second time literally just added on the next room) of eight and nine rooms respectively, but other than navigation all the players had to do was sit on a throne and put the monkey together.
  • Obstacle Exposition: The basic challenges, obviously, but the most memorable part is Olmec's description of the epic journey the contestants must face to retrieve the MacGuffin of the Week.
  • Public Domain Artifact: Dozens of these made their way to the Temple throughout the show's run, although Legends tended to use more obscure PDAs than most.
  • Railroading: See Blatant Lies above.
  • Rule of Three: So many places in this series. Just to name a few...
    • Three questions on the Steps to make it to the Temple Games
    • Three Temple Games
    • Three minutes on the clock
    • Three skeletons in The Crypt
    • Three Jesters' Court paintings
    • Three secret passwords
    • Three pots AND three keyholes in The King's Storeroom
    • Three pieces of the Silver Monkey
    • The list could go on forever
  • Temple of Doom
  • Theme Park Version: Most of the legends were actually balancing on the thin line between bowdlerization and Did Not Do the Research, usually subtly modified so that the character in the legend lost something that has somehow wound up in the Temple...when in reality the item doesn't exist, was never lost in the first place, or was incredibly generic (it's very likely that Harriet Tubman used a walking stick at some point in her life, and anybody who lived before 1910 is going to have used horseshoes).
  • Timed Mission: Most of the challenges were like this, but the most famous was definitely the three-minute Temple Run.
  • Unwinnable By Mistake: It's really that hard.
    • In certain situations where there are more unavoidable temple guards than pendants available, a team might not be able to win at all--especially when they did something as devious as stick a Guard in the very first room of the temple.
    • Temple Layout #5 was never beaten. Oddly enough, it was used in the very first produced episode before being brought back later in the season.
    • The times players lost due to glitches, such as the aforementioned door being relocked.
    • If you were doing well enough, it was possible to only be able to lose by running out of time. Even if the Temple layout forced you to run into all three Guards, the only way to lose would be to run out of time because you essentially have four hits. This also depended on the layout of the Temple, and if your partner got klutzy in the Shrine of the Silver Monkey or got stuck in the Jester's Court...
    • Having the first player taken out of the Temple in the last room before the artifact was even worse — only one team won under this condition, and they only had to go through six rooms anyway (most teams had to pass through anywhere between seven and nine to get to the artifact).
    • There were also deadly configurations, mostly involving the central pillar. Nobody won when the artifact was in the bottom room of this pillar (and only three reached their respective artifacts), and nobody even managed to reach an artifact in the center room if they had to start on the top floor (although two teams did win after starting on the bottom floor). By Season 3, when the Temple had more time-consuming objectives, nobody won when an artifact was in the top room of the pillar. There were four wins there in the earlier seasons, but if it puts things in perspective all four were done without the second player even having to go in (meaning the team only ever ran into one Guard).
  • Wall Master: Temple Guards sometimes hid like this. Usually, if not always, you never knew there was a Temple Guard in a room until it was too late.
  • When Trees Attack: One of the anthropomorphic trees in the Dark Forest "contained the spirit of a Temple Guard," which would seize any player who searched it for a key needed to open the next room. Which tree it was could only be guessed.