I can't fully decide why I'm still playing Wizardry (although perhaps the title of my blog is a bit of a hint). It's a great example of an early CRPG, sure, and as I've mentioned before, I like mapping on a grid. But it's been a while since I've had what you might call "fun." Am I really going to insist on playing this all the way to the end?
When I last blogged, I was struggling with Level 3 of the dungeon and in particular the ninjas that kept decapitating my characters with one blow. I spent all my money raising these characters and was short on funds, so I decided to spend a while on earlier levels building experience so that my priest would finally get the DI (restore life) spell and be able to raise characters himself. Fortunately, there's this little nook on Level 1 where you can repeatedly search and encounter one or two "Murphy's Ghosts" (I wonder if there's a story behind the name). They're hard to hit, but do very little damage themselves, and they reward you with a reasonable amount of experience. After I finally slaughtered an entire legion of them, I had not only the DI spell but, at last, the LATUMOFIS spell, which cures poison.
Well, anyway, joke's on me. While the DI spell does occasionally raise your dead characters, equally as often it fails and turns them to ash! You then have to spend absurd amounts of money fully resurrecting them from the ash state. I nearly deleted the game at this point.
Fortunately, I persevered, and finished mapping Levels 3 and 4. A few important things happen on Level 4:
- You have an inescapable encounter with a party consisting of two high-level fighters, two high-level mages, two high-level priests, and one high-level ninja.
- If you can get by this encounter, your money woes are over, because one of your slain foes carries a "Ring of DEATH!" (yes, the exclamation point is part of its name) which sells for 250,000 gold.
- On the other side of this encounter, you reach the end of the "proving grounds" and receive your quest from Lord Trebor, the screen shot of which I posted at the beginning of this entry.
Not having to worry any more about how to pay for resurrection is a bit of a relief, as is not having to climb all the way up to the town every time one of my characters gets poisoned. I've been able to map the rest of Level 4 and most of Level 5. It's probably a bad idea, but I've stopped rotating my characters, too, since I no longer encounter battles in which my entire party is wiped out (and is unable to flee).
On the bad side, there's a certain paucity of valuable equipment in this game. Almost halfway through the levels, the best weapon my party has is a sword+1. And my worthless thief still trips practically every trap.
On the latest level, I started encountering shades, which drain your levels. Until now, I thought poison was the most annoying effect. Unlike with, say, Dungeons & Dragons games, there's no spell to restore your lost levels. God, I hate that.
Finally, I'll mention that a little late in the game, I figured out why I'd bother to carry around scrolls of HALITO (flame) and KATINO (strength) when my mages can cast these spells about 20 times. It turns out that when you stumble upon an encounter and you surprise the monsters, your spellcasters can't cast any spells for the first round, in which the monsters can't act. However, they can use magical items. I wish I'd realized this ages ago.
Having typed all of this, I have a feeling I'm getting way too much into the minutiae of the game to be of any interest to anyone reading this blog. If I'm wrong, let me know. I'm going to try to make a push to win it over the next few days. If all goes according to plan, I'll be back on Saturday with the good news.