About 10 months ago now, when I hit upon the idiotic idea of playing every CRPG that ever existed, I downloaded and started Rogue. I hadn't begun this blog yet, so you missed out on a blow-by-blow recap of my experiences, which I summarized in two postings, four months later, after I finally won. It amuses me to think what my blog would have looked like if I'd started it last October:
- Day 1: Started Rogue. Died almost immediately. Re-started. Died again.
- Day 2: Died again. Re-started. Got down to level 3. Died.
- Day 3: Died 16 times. Re-started. Died.
I think I would have lost my readership fairly quickly.
This will be my only posting on Larn. I apologize to the many roguelike fans out there--and there seem to be many who are fans of Larn specifically; there's even a blog just about Larn--but really, once I tell you stuff about the basic gameplay, there's really nothing else to blog about except how many times I died that day. Even if I was inclined to spend four months seeking the MacGuffin of Yendor again, you wouldn't want to read about it.
Larn is an embellished roguelike. As with most roguelikes, the graphics are very sparse. Your character is represented by an @. Monsters are letters. Walls are pound signs (#). And so on. Interaction is through a fairly large selection of keyboard commands in which capitalization matters. You don't want to mix up (r)ead a scroll with (R)emove gems from throne, because the latter has a nasty habit of sending a gnome king to kill you.
You can read about the basic approach to this kind of game in my postings on Rogue. Almost everything holds, including permanent death (the game deletes your save file every time you start up). Larn's additions are:
- Your quest is not to recover the Amulet of Yendor, but rather a potion that will save your daughter from dianthroritis. Someone who's taken Latin, help me out.
- The game is not timed by your own starvation, causing you to press forever downward to get more food, but rather by an actual time limit. You have 300 "mobuls" to save your daughter. There are scrolls which set back the clock a bit.
- You can backtrack within dungeons to upper levels.
- There are things to find in the dungeons that seem to have been inspired by DND or Telengard, including thrones, fountains, and altars.
- The game starts you in an outdoor area with shops and a training college where--for precious gold and mobuls--you can improve your stats.
The game is addictive, I'll give it that. I just got a major government contract that I have to finish by September 30, but damned if I didn't spend the entire day playing Larn instead.
I went through about nine characters today, never making it past level 3 of the dungeon. I could see keeping this game around and dipping into it from time to time, but I can't see making a concerted effort to finish it.
Oh, I suppose some of you are wondering what happened to Moebius. I just wasn't getting into it. In a comment on my one Moebius posting, reader judgemonroe said: "So far I'm not thrilled with the gameplay. I don't have the hang of it yet, I guess, but the controls feel very sluggish and I keep starving. I have no idea where to get more food and water." That pretty much sums up my experience. The game is also very chaotic, constantly chirping at you about earthquakes and famines and droughts. Tigers and beetles come flying at you from nowhere; thieves run off with your stuff. In another time, I would have given it more of a chance, but I need something a little less bizarre to get back in to the swing of things after a 10-day absence. My next three games--Rings of Zilfin, Shard of Spring, and Starcraft--are all 1986 games, and I suppose I could play them in any order. I'm going to give each about an hour to see which "takes" the best because I want to go the distance on my next one.