Thursday, March 17, 2011

Evets: A Surprising Second Posting

Leveling up is surprisingly satisfying.

I didn't expect to play Evets for as long as I have, but damned if there isn't something addictive about this game. I actually feel a little guilty playing it after Rogue and NetHack. With multiple characters, the ability to reload, and no food, I feel like Babe Ruth playing t-ball.

That isn't to say the game is easy. Even on the first couple of levels, I occasionally ran into monsters that slaughtered me: the latest was a party of red dragons that wiped me out in one attack. I just don't have to create a brand new party when it happens. I mean, what, really, is the virtue of permanent death anyway? Just to prove how tough we are?

If I have to be killed by something...

In my last session, I made it to dungeon Level 6 and character level 7. Here are the new things that I discovered:

  • There are special encounters in the game. Here I am bathing in a fountain that restores all my health.

I think I'd frankly be suspicious of a crystal-clear fountain in the middle of a dungeon.

  • As you descend through dungeon levels, the game seems to adjust the difficult of the toughest encounters on that level, but not all the encounters. You still occasionally stumble into low-level parties even on high dungeon levels.
  • On tougher levels, monsters begin attacking in multiple groups. I usually die in these battles.

"'Cause in sleepy London town, there's just no place for...a small flying man!" Maybe it was just me.

  • Every level has at least one trap door that dumps you to a lower level. If there's a way to avoid these, I haven't found it yet.

  • There are secret doors in the game. You can't search for them, but they ultimately appear if you just hang around long enough. I don't know if the presence of a thief speeds up this discovery, but it would make sense.
  • I also mentioned yesterday that I wasn't sure thieves actually did anything. Well, color me wrong, but the manual is horrible about explaining any of these things.

  • You gain attribute points when you level up, just like in Demon's Winter.
  • My priest, mysteriously, doesn't seem to have any mana. I'm not sure what that's about. He's too high level for me to want to ditch him, and he fights well, but I suppose I'll have to dump him eventually so I can have a better healer.
  • Magic hasn't played much of a role in the game so far. But here's the neat thing: mages can equip any armor and weapons that you want, but if the armor is too heavy, they can't cast mage spells. It's like the Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition here in 1988.
  • There's a kind of "fog of war" that keeps you from seeing monsters until they're right on top of you. As far as I can tell, there's no light spell or anything that ameliorates this. It's rather annoying, because monsters suddenly leap on you as you walk down a corridor. It's rather like Wizardry, where you can't see the monsters coming at all.
  • Although there is a store every few levels, they seem to sell the same basic items: no Swords +3 as you get on lower levels, for instance. This means I have rather a lot of gold with nothing to spend it on except to identify the occasional item I pick up from fallen foes (so far nothing good but a ring of anti-stoning). I hope the game surprises me by changing that.

Altogether, a surprisingly good entry for a shareware game (and I don't mean to dis' independent CRPGs, but come on, this was the 1980s). I'm surprised there isn't more about it online. I'm going to keep playing a bit to see if much more develops on the next few levels. I can't see making it all the way to Level 25, but who knows--I've made it this far, and some game called Freedom: Rebels in the Darkness doesn't exactly fill me with anticipation.

Steve Ackerman gets his $10 if he writes back.


  1. According to Wolfram Alpha, that $10 would be $18.69 in todays money.

    I hope you'll stick with this game, it seems like it's just starting to get interesting. Certainly worth another post or two.

  2. This sounds pretty decent actually, apart from the Priest thing. Should have ditched him earlier I guess. What's the levelling up like, and grinding, or does it pretty much match up with the natural progress through the dungeon?

    I'd also like to congratulate you for attempting to pay the royalties to this guy, it's a decision that not many people (myself included) would choose to take.

  3. Thanks, Andy. I'm going to send cash, but maybe I'll round it to the nearest $20. You hear that, Steve Ackerman? Next time you're egosurfing and find this posting, please be sure to drop a line.

    Bleaghhh, the leveling goes pretty well with the natural progress of the dungeon, except that every 20 minutes or so, I encounter some absurdly powerful party of monsters and die. Combats are either fairly easy or impossibly hard. Otherwise, I'd be spending my money raising characters.

    About 15 years ago, I wrote a book and occasionally I still get a $20 royalty check. It's very gratifying when it happens. I like the thought of some mid-50s programmer opening his mail and getting a $10 bill for a game he wrote in the 1980s, although I usually include my blog address and not one of them has popped in to comment so far. Ingrates.

  4. I mean, what, really, is the virtue of permanent death anyway? Just to prove how tough we are?

    The Internet has all sorts of long, involved explanations, none of which have convinced me. (I've beaten ADOM twice without savescumming, so I'm at least familiar with how the feat goes.) I've never been a fan of the identification game, so maybe that's part of it.

    Freedom: Rebels in the Darkness actually has the most interesting premise of any of the games you've written about so far. I'm not sure it qualifies as an RPG proper, however.

  5. Thanks, Jason. I didn't know that term--"savescrumming."

  6. Wow, Jason. You aren't kidding. I just read the description of "Freedom." Unfortunately, it's the only game so far in this blog that I can't find a download for. Can you believe that? Obscure French titles like "Tera," sure, but not "Freedom." I'll keep looking.

  7. "Freedom" might sound good on paper, but it is a imbalanced and frustrating affair. I played it back on the ST. A strategy-beat'em-up-hybrid in an adventure package, the RPG elements in this are minuscule. I'd not spend any more time on searching for a DOS version and skip it altogether.

  8. More like a rogue-looklike.

    Permadeath with static content is quite meh, but I'm a huge fan of it when it's combined with generated content. The challenges and risks are real, reloading won't save you, and if you fail the next run will have different challenges.

    Jason mentions ADOM, which actually has a pretty static world/quest structure, even if most of the individual levels are procedurally generated. So that particular roguelike got a little repetitive in my experience (trying to play it without spoilers).


  9. Speaking of what does or doesn't qualify as an RPG, I see Heroes of the Lance on the upcoming list and isn't that really a side-scrolling action game? I don't remember any RPG gameplay to that one...

  10. Also, War in Middle Earth is a strategy game and while I enjoyed Journey I wouldn't call it an RPG.

  11. You guys are really itching for Might & Magic II, aren't you?

  12. Yeah, quite a bit. Even if it isn't as good as other RPGs of the period.

    I'll be REALLY itching, though, when you get to Dragon Wars and Wasteland.

  13. If MM2 is as good as MM1, it will still rate higher than any other game I've played in this blog (MM1 currently holds the record).


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