The Cuban Conundrum

Javier on Where Only Fools Dare Tread

You see a dead German soldier.

You see a dead American soldier.

You see a dead person.

But was he a Cuban?

It might seem odd that nowhere in the game is the country of origin for Pedro, Juan, Javier and Carlos given. When you pass over the bodies of the Germans and Americans the game's Message Window tells you who they are but not with this third group. All you get is "You see a dead person." Who were these people?

We know that they spoke Spanish. A German soldier on "They May Be Slow..." told us:

A group of people passed through here years
ago and one of their group walked through
the opposite wall of this room. I don't know
how he did it.


They were speaking Spanish. I couldn't tell
where they were from, specifically.

Later on "Feel The Power" when we ask Walter about the gold key Muller had given him he reveals:

I had the key, but someone took it. A group
of people passed by, speaking Spanish, and
their leader took it.

The names Pedro, Juan, Javier and Carlos would suggest a Spanish origin or descent yet nowhere in the Conversations with the Dead do they reveal their country of origin. There is some suggestion that they were local. When you ask Javier about the "old man" he replies:

He was a friend's grandfather. When he was
young, a group of Germans camped near his
village and he spied on them ...

Apart from carrying Soviet-built AK-47s one of the group (Juan) carries a Gas Mask of Cuban manufacture. While this doesn't prove that Juan is Cuban it should be noted that Cuba is just off the Yucatan Peninsula and that Spanish is mainly spoken in Cuba. Then again we are in Mexico so the group could be Spanish speaking Mexicans.

There is another Cuban reference in the Pathway Into Darkness Demo v1.0. An unused dialog concerning a backpack reads as follows:

This backpack is of Cuban manufacture, and is large and sturdy.

It never appears in the full version of the game however.

The Official Hint Books makes only one reference to the Spanish speaking group when it describes the AK-47s:

These were the weapons of choice for the Cuban explorers.

If this third group of explorers were Cubans why doesn't the game's Message Window say "You see a dead Cuban" when you walk over their bodies? A simple oversight or something more?

Update on the above. Here are two posts by Jason Jones in which he states that the third group are in fact Cuban. The first post dates from Oct '93:

From: (Jason Jones)
Subject: Re: PID - Where is gold key and grenade launcher
Message-ID: <>
Sender: (News System)
Organization: University of Chicago
References: <>
Date: Fri, 1 Oct 1993 16:01:02 GMT
Lines: 15

In article <> (Paul Wood) writes:
>IN pathways:
>Can anyone direct me to the gold key and the grenade launcher ? 

You'll find the gold key on the second to last level of the game, "Where
Only Fools Dare Tread" on the body of an unfortunate Cuban.  You'll
have to open the door on your way up.

The grenade launcher is on "Need a Light?" (accessable only from the
Labyrinth), but you'll need the Cedar Box because there are only
five or six grenade cartridges in the game.

Hope this helps,

The second is from Dec '93:

From: (Jason Jones)
Subject: Re: Help in PiD
Message-ID: <>
Sender: (News System)
Organization: University of Chicago
References: <>
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1993 14:52:35 GMT
Lines: 14

In article <> (David Camp) writes:
>Hi all,
>       I'm stuck on the level "Warning: Earthquake Zone", and i cant get past
>the Green Oozes. None of the cystals work against them. Can some one please
>tell me how to get past them.

Try talking to the dead Cuban on the same level.  Try to find out why
the green oozes didn't attack him.  Hmmmm ... I hope you didn't get
rid of that brown potion you found ...


In the 'scri' resources of the Pathways Into Darkness application, the developer (Jason Jones) named each of the three groups of dead people you can talk to in the game as follows:

Corpse Type: nazi
Corpse Type: dude
Corpse Type: cubn

The term 'cubn' presumably stands for 'cuban'. You can read the full decoded scripts of the Dead here.

Of course this still doesn't explain why they are never called Cubans in the game. What's wrong with being called Cuban?

How many Cubans were there? Six? Or eight?

On "Warning: Earthquake Zone" Juan states that he was part of a six-man group.

I was part of a six-man group looking for
some sort of enchanted bottle- I never
really believed it. But we were ambushed
here, and all died.


They killed and then absorbed everyone,
until only their weapons were left. Maybe
Javier and Carlos escaped, but I doubt it. I
ran back here and hid.

On the same level we find two AK-47s lying in the passageway near the Green Oozes so we can assume that at least two of the group were killed and absorbed leaving their weapons. Since we find the bodies of Javier and Carlos later on they presumably made it through "Warning: Earthquake Zone".

So we have Pedro, Juan, Javier, Carlos and the two that got absorbed by the Green Oozes which makes six... right?

Well... no, Javier, the leader of the group, states that they were eight of them. In reply to the name "Carlos" he says:

Carlos never really wanted to come, I'm
totally responsible for his death. And the
others, too.

Who were the "others"? Javier replies:

All six of them. And they're all dead
because of me and this stupid useless bottle.

So the other six plus Carlos and Javier make eight... right.

Could Juan have been mistaken? Well he was having a hard time remembering his own name never mind those of his companions:

I think my name is Juan. I can't remember
any of my companions names.

But he was clearly confused since he actually names some of them latter on:

They killed and then absorbed everyone,
until only their weapons were left. Maybe
Javier and Carlos escaped, but I doubt it. I
ran back here and hid.

If there were eight Cubans what happened to the other two? Did they split up? They weren't with Pedro when he got trapped:

I was the last in a line of six men, and the
door slammed shut right as I was about to
pass out of the room, trapping me. They
tried, I heard them, but there was no way to
open the door.

So where are the missing two Cubans?

How did Javier and Carlos get down so far?

Most of the US Special Forces team got trapped and wiped out on "Need a Light?" Only one (Greg) survived to reach "Watch Your Step". Some people might find it odd that the last of your seven buddies got stopped with only seven levels to go.

The first Cuban (Pedro) is found on the first of these seven levels, namely "I'd Rather Be Surfing". The second Cuban (Juan) is located on the next level - "Warning: Earthquake Zone". But then no bodies are to be found for the next three levels. Javier and Carlos are in fact located on the second last level - "Where Only Fools Dare Tread".

How did Javier and Carlos get down so far? Were they that tough or were they given a helping hand?

An examination of the names of the last seven levels as they appear in the data fork of the Map file reveals something odd:

I'd Rather Be Surfingosein here?y?
Warning: Earthquake Zoneine...age
Don't Get Poisoned!re Tread
Please Excuse Our DustAll!
But Wait!- That's Not All!
Where Only Fools Dare Tread
Ok, Who Else Wants Some?

The level name "Where Only Fools Dare Tread" appears to have at one stage been planned for the third of the seven levels, namely Don't Get Poisoned!re Tread.

Apart from the name changes the elevations appear to be jumbled up:

I'd Rather Be Surfingosein here?y? (-19.2m)
Warning: Earthquake Zoneine...age (-22.7m)
Don't Get Poisoned!re Tread (-1042.4m)
Please Excuse Our DustAll! (-102.5m)
But Wait!- That's Not All! (-327.2m)
Where Only Fools Dare Tread (-326.7m)
Ok, Who Else Wants Some? (-3276.8m)

Note how "Don't Get Poisoned!re Tread" has an elevation which if one was to order the levels according to depth would place it second last. Was "Don't Get Poisoned!" originally intended as the second last level under the name "Where Only Fools Dare Tread" but some reordering and name changing resulted in it being placed higher up?

If so then the currently named "Where Only Fools Dare Tread" level would have originally been higher up and Javier and Carlos would have been found closer to the rest of their dead colleagues.

But then again maybe Javier and Carlos were two tough hombres.

Charlie Olson <> writes:

Maybe Javier and Carlos were able to get so deep into the pyramid because the Sleeping God was less awake, and therefore there would of been fewer monsters.

Interesting point. If you remember Walter on Feel The Power when asked about the invisible demons provides the following information:

We didn't meet them on the way down, but
they were everywhere when I came back. It
was like everything was asleep and we
slowly woke it up.

Since the Cubans arrived some forty years after the Germans it's quite possible that things had settled down allowing Javier and Carlos to move more freely in the lower levels. When we arrive the pyramid is definitely full of activity.

Back on June 24, 2000 mizark316 (full name pending) <> noted an unused text string in the game for a melted AK-47. He wrote:

STR# 1001/String #8 (Melted AK-47) This AK-47 was exposed to very high temperatures or a large electric field. Either way, its moving parts are all fused and the weapon is useless.

This may have supposedly meant that originally some of the Cubans died on the Labyrinth (large electrical field - electrical orbs) or on Need a Light (very high temperatures - Blue Meanie).

Interesting point. Were the AK-47s (and the Cubans) originally intended to appear earlier in the game (higher up in the pyramid)?

Page maintained by Hamish Sinclair
Last updated Jan 12, 2002