Sunday, September 2, 2012

Game 75: The Magic Candle (1989)

Giauz, I conceded to your request.

Ho boy. Rarely have I gone into a game with as many expectations as I am with The Magic Candle. I've been hearing about it in various comments for over two years. The notions you've given me going into the game are that:


PetrusOctavianus gave me a long list of tips for the game, which I re-typed so I'd increase my chances of internalizing them.

The game's backstory is told succinctly in the otherwise ponderous tome that is the game manual (Canageek's scan is 61 screen shots): Messengers from King Rebnard [Sigh; Who did the developers know named "Bernard"?] of Deruvia have posted a mysterious message on signposts around the kingdom, calling for a party of brave volunteers to come to the royal castle and receive a quest to address the "dire peril" in which the land finds itself. Lukas, a ranger, is one of several heroes to answer the call. The game lets you rename him, as I did above. Setup is otherwise fairly easy, with only one other selection: the difficulty level. We were just talking about difficulty a few weeks ago, and this game becomes the first to offer an explicit setting at the beginning: "easy," "fair," and "tough." I went the middle path.

Your majesty, I'm going to recommend some animal fat, processed into tallow.

You begin the game in front of King Rebnard, who explains that the recent increase in "forces of the darkest nature" roaming the lands are the minions of Dreax the Demon, who has been imprisoned for centuries in a magic candle. The 44 (or, more accurately, "four and forty") guardians who "kept the magic flame burning" have disappeared, and the candle is melting. A band of heroes is needed to...somehow...stop Dreax from escaping.

Right away, you get the choice to refuse the quest! But if you do, the game just starts over with the same character name and you have to read all the intro text again. Still, I like it. Most games just assume that your PC will naturally go on the main quest; you never really get much of a choice. I thought about calling the game "finished!" right there and ending the posting, but I feel like I've already messed with Magic Candle fans enough this week.

Giauz fails to impress the king at the first meeting.

The first quest the king gives to Lukas--or Giauz--is to select five traveling companions from the other heroes who have assembled in the Knight's Room. The character selection process is fairly original. You can "call" each of the 12 heroes to your table and "interview" them. After you inspect their statistics...

No way am I selecting this character. I kill NPCs with this name.

 ...you hear a little bit from them about their skills. The process even gives you the ability to do a little data analysis by sorting by the various attributes and skills.

"What would you say are your three biggest weaknesses?"

I went with Petrus's choices for characters: Sakar the dwarf fighter, Nehor the elf ranger, Rexor the human knight, and Eflun the "wizard mage" (oddly, wizards are a race in this game). For the last, Petrus suggested either another mage or one of the halfling characters. I decided to go with a halfling, partly because the manual has Lukas/Giauz wondering why they even bothered to show up. "Cute little fellows, and fine company, but what could they do to defeat the forces of darkness? Beat zorlims and trolls at dice?" Giauz needs to get over those racial prejudices. I chose Min, a halfling tailor who has the highest charisma and provides the second Wheel of Time coincidence so far (the first: the people of the kingdom are called the "Children of Light").

Once selected, the other party members' icons join yours, and you move together as an odd blob around the map. Right away, the wisdom of using the game's ability to divide party members was clear: it's hard to navigate to the right people for conversation when you have five other people surrounding you.
 
Giauz leaves his companions behind so he can talk to this guy in private.

The dialogue system is promising, even if the interface is a little cumbersome. You begin by (G)reeting each character and then (A)sking for either RUMORS, ADVICE, or specific topics. As in Ultima IV and V, some characters may feed you keywords that work on other characters. Occasionally, they're quite explicit about it and surround the keywords with quotes:

Following up with any of these had him suggest that I ask Ferdo, a merchant, about them. (He's the icon to the left, by the plant.) He tells me that his wandering colleagues sell them on the roads.

Some characters have no name and nothing to tell you but stock lines.

Giauz tries to make time with some chambermaids.
Already, I have about 16 lines of notes about things that the characters just around the throne room have told me. The king's uncle, Banas, wants me to see him in his quarters later (characters keep schedules in this game, just like Ultima V). I need to talk to someone named Trikerviz about pearls. An old man named Belazar is dying, and the king wants me to see him soon. Trolls are guarding all of the bridges. Someone named Mikermira, formerly a great sorceress, can alter the effects of black magic. I liked this kind of NPC interaction and note-taking in the Ultima games, and I like it here, although I wish the NPCs didn't kill conversation after every line and force me to choose "(A)sk" again to try the next topic.

While I'm not prepared to go so far as to call the game an "Ultima clone," as one reader did recently, the graphics and interface are reasonably similar. You navigate an iconographic display and interact with people, objects, and party members through a fairly easy-to-remember series of keys ("I" for "inspect"; "E" for "eat"), which are helpfully listed on the main screen. While the graphics are passable (the game only supports CGA and EGA in DOS), the sound is positively assaultive, especially a mysteriously unnecessary, piercing shriek that accompanies the launch of the .exe file and had me tearing my headphones off in pain. Every step produces a loud "BEE-BUM," and you are penalized when accidentally walking into something. I suspect I'm going to play most of the game with the sound off.

At length, I returned to the king with my chosen party and was awarded a bunch of supplies.

The names of the mushrooms are the first Rings of Zilfin reference that I've seen. The games are by the same creator, although I don't think they're set in the same world.

A short posting today, mostly to assure you that I'm getting started. My next steps are to read the behemoth manual that Canageek scanned, explore the castle and its environs, and see if I can engage in my first combat. Positive impressions so far!

102 comments:

  1. So after two Wheel of Time references, is it safe to say you might take some time off around January 8, 2013 to read the final book of the series?

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    1. You bet. My birthday is coming up in January, and I'm going to spend a week in New Orleans, reading the last WOT book by day and hitting the jazz clubs at night.

      As an aside, I think Brandon Sanderson has done fantastic things with the last two books (although it's admittedly hard to tell which stuff is his and which was left by Jordan).

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    2. It's a fair bet that "she folded her hands beneath her breasts" is pure Robert Jordan. Only he and young teenage boys got titillated by using the word "breasts" where "chest" would be more natural.

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    3. As a Malazan fan, are you interested at all in the new books? I'm a couple books behind on Esslemont's stuff, but I think I'm going to preorder and read Erikson's new "Forge of Darkness" book.

      For anyone who likes fantasy, I also highly recommend Joe Abercrombie's books. They start a little trite, with a seemingly typical fantasy trilogy. However, things get more interesting with time. The last two books are standalones with an entirely different approach. "The Heroes" is basically a fantasy "Killer Angels," and "Best Served Cold" is a fantasy "Kill Bill."

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    4. Piers Anthony is another one who books sold because of cheap TITillation

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    5. Petrus, it's "folded her ARMS." And Sanderson doesn't use the phrase once, I don't think.

      killias, I decided to take a break from the world after finishing The Crippled God. The Esslemont novels aren't quite as well-written, in my opinion, but I'll read them eventually because I'm sure they have key clues as to the rest of the universe.

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    6. Think I gotta read Abercombie some day. Most recent exposure came by watching trailer for book.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4ISErNiezI

      I could also recommend Richard Morgan's "Steel Remains" and probably also sequel, "Cold Commands", although haven't read that yet. Ended up to my hands during summer and considered couple evenings well spend with it.

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    7. So the Wheel of Time will actually get finished?
      I gave up after book 5 or 6 for various reasons.
      Too bad Jordan was not able to finish the series by writing the last books in the same pace and quality as the three first ones, and he and/or the publisher instead decided to milk the series for every cent it was worth...

      You see the same phenomenon in TV series too. If it gets popular progress halts and each episode becomes a self contained mini TV movie until the consumers finally get enough and the show gets canceled instead of being finished.
      For that reason I never bother to follow new drama series on TV anymore.

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    8. Could never get into the WOT books purely because I knew it would never get finished as a series. Screw that. Whoopsie- don't want THAT coming up when people Google for our friend The Addict's site! Let me say- To heck with that!

      A good series that DID get finished is The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind, although for a long time the series became more a screed about Objectivism and why Objectivism will save us all... Still, good series.

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    9. I have to disagree -- I thought Goodkind was a hack. (And I actually *am* an Objectivist...)

      The fantasy I've enjoyed the most in my recent reading is Elizabeth Moon's return to Paksworld. I'd assumed she was committing trilogy and had a bipolar reaction when I found out that wasn't the case. On the one hand, no closure as yet. On the other hand, more books!

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    10. Just to clear up any confusion: the Wheel of Time series IS coming to a conclusion, with the 14th book slated for release on January 8, 2013.

      Kyle, I have to agree with you. I tried the first three Goodkind books and I thought they were staggeringly awful.

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    11. Believe it or not, they get worse. The sixth book is a somewhat entertaining Ayn Rand pastiche which also manages to break most of the characterization (such as it was) established in the series previously. The seventh and eighth, _The Pillars of Creation_ and _Naked Empire_ are simply unreadable. _Naked Empire_ is on the short list of books I have literally thrown against the wall for being so horrible.

      As mentioned, I'm on Goodkind's side ideologically, but he's such an awful writer I wish he'd just shut up.

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    12. I only read Wizard's First Rule and though it was a good read. Entertaining, but nothing special.

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    13. Yeah, which was the one with him in Soviet Russia, I mean, the old world, showing how capitalism is better? I think that was the last one I read. Also, his thinly veiled criticism of pacifism, consensus discussion, etc.

      Really, the point at which he starts eating meat again was the point it jumped the shark I think.

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    14. The one where Richard gets kidnapped to the Old World and foments a revolution through the Power of Art(tm) was the sixth. The anti-pacifism one with the vegetarianism was the eighth.

      And seriously... thinly veiled? I don't think Goodkind could thinly veil a criticism if his life depended on it. Maybe a thin veil wrapped around a large gold brick.

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    15. I always use breast as a gender neutral location on the body. I hadn't known it become something objectionable.

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    16. Lead brick. Gold implies value.

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    17. Objectionable? :-)

      There is a subtle difference between "breast" and "breasts".

      And it just sounds so contrived the way Jordan used "breasts" in that context.

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    18. @Canageek: I was attempting a subtle reference to Douglas Adams' description of the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster from HHGttG, which hits you like a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick.

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    19. I am to be not able to just giving this up. I am sorry to not be able. Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series was enjoyable. If you could enjoy that WOT *expletive deleted* then you can certainly enjoy the SOT books. Yes, the first half of the first book was clunky. I think he was first learbning to write with that book. By thr 2nd half of the book he had it working. The 2nd and the 3rd books also rolled and rocked.

      Now, as a SOT enjoyerer, I can admit that the point when he went to the Old World was when the series "went pear shaped". I read them an enjoyed them as wanting to know what happened to Richard and company, not to get Objectivism crammed high-heels first down my throat. Believe me, Ayn Rand was VERY hard to digest, and I HATED passing those shoes.

      If you can read the series down to where he becomes Ayn Rand, it's good. Get over the clunky parts- no one is perfect and unfortunately we get to watch him learn to write.

      I think what I am trying to say is Eat the Books. Eat Terry Goodkind. Enjoy them for what they are, excrete the parts you don't like. Like any series of books.

      So there.

      Will "You didn't press any of my buttons, promise" iam.

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  2. This is a game I always enjoyed as a kid, but simply could not invest the required hours to complete. It has some neat mechanics, and I found the game world to be very "alive" if you have an active imagination, but requires such massive patience (alien to a 10-year-old with a new Nintendo Entertainment System) and all the note taking. Back then I had enough options that simply giving up and moving on was totally viable. Though I always wondered what the endgame looked like - I'll be eagerly following your progress!!

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    1. "Patience" does seem to be the watchword here. I've played enough at this point to get a sense of the size and complexity of both the game world and game play.

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  3. And so the human Bladartist, Giauz, like a king continues to investigate these strange occurrences that he desperately hopes have something to do with being alive in a little less than two years.

    "Like a 'king?'" I pretend you say as if it were a statement you brought up first. Giauz replies, "Well, I guess if I was a king that would make halflings pawns. They 'go' first. Also, I would decree all peoples going by the name Nazim be given the honor of 'Royal scabbard.'"

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  4. While you're still in the castle: ditch the Halfling :) They're pretty useless and money is extremely easy to come by in this game. Get Nazim the hunter instead, who imports into MC2, unlike Min.

    (Later on, do stack the halfling Jimbo with items though. You find him pretty early in MC2)

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    1. Will I be terribly crippled if I want to keep the halfling for role-playing purposes?

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    2. No. You will have less fire power in combat, which can be annoying.

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    3. I finished twice with a halfling in tow and had no problems. I meant to play a third time where I get to the second castle quickly and repopulate my party there, but I never did.

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  5. Because of all the hype of this game, I'm playing it simultaneous with the Addict. Mucho thanks to Cangeek for the manual. Read it, and looks like my kind of game. Game of the year, eh?

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    1. 'Geek, you do seem to be missing the first page in your scans, as well as Pages 40-42. I was able to get them off another site.

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    2. Errggg, I'm sure I have the graphics files, if not I'll rescan.

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  6. Thanks for the shout out Chet, my blog just spiked to a new high in views per day.

    Also, unless there are a lot of Australians reading your blog I think I can see Trickster's views on my stats page.

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  7. You could roleplay the shit out of this game. There are so many little details, you can let your imagination run wild.

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  8. Unlike you Chet, I could never get past book 2 of Wheel of Time. Just didn't appeal to me for a couple of reasons. I am enjoying the Malazan series (early in book 7 at the moment) very much, although I have been sticking to the core 10 books by Erikson and not yet reading any of Esselmont's.
    For people who wish to read Malazan, I beg you to start with the first book, Gardens of the Moon. There are some who think that the writing improves greatly in book 2, however the number of main characters whom you first meet in book 1 is too high to simply skip it. The books can be confusing in some parts, but the excellent writing in most chapters easily trumps that.
    - Duskfire

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    1. I agree. If you skip the first book, you miss a huge part of the setup. Characters that are vital later--Apsalar, Paran, Crokus, Anomandar Rake, Kruppe--all have their first key moments in the first book.

      WOT is a much, much simpler story to follow, which is really saying something since it occupies 14 books and hundreds of named characters.

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    2. Late, meaningless post but don't skip the Esslemont books, they're every bit as good as the Erikson ones (except probably his first). I'd also read them based on publication date as they fill in a lot of backstory. Esslemont also gets the coolest topics to write about like the Crimson Guard and the Seguleh.

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  9. You'll find my cheat / save game editor around the net if you need a helping hand (mc-editor.com iirc, its been a LOOOONG time), and the crack which should be in the editor zip file. the save game editor is a big hack but works.

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    1. Jason Spangler's Homepage contains that... and also map that has come with box. Andrew Schultz seems to have made one too, but it probably spoils too much.

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    2. I have the map, just couldn't figure out a good way to scan it.

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    3. I managed to find it on a site. Linked it from the next posting.

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  10. As JosephCurwen said above, I had a Nintendo Entertainment System by the time this came out. I was very intrigued by the Magic Candle ads and was ready to buy it if I happened upon it, but also it wasn't a top priority of mine.

    I think that if this had been released 2 years earlier and preceded Ultima V, it would have been more cutting edge for its time and would've been a bigger hit. Unfortunately, it seems like this game didn't make a huge splash and isn't as widely remembered today.

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    1. Ultima (and most other Origin games) was, at least from U6 onwards, cutting edge when it came to presentaion.

      But Magic Candle had more solid gameplay than any of the pure Ultima games, and much better combat. I'd rate it even higher than U5 which is my favourite Ultima game.

      Magic Candle also had the disadvantage of not being released for the Amiga, so I personally didn't even know about it until a few years ago.

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  11. As for Rings of Zilfin references, Zorlims are an important monster in RoZ. Jimbo the halfling appears too. The skill system with sword skill & bow skill that are expressed in x/x format seem also typical.

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    1. After reading the book of lore, I still can't figure out of MC is supposed to exist in the same universe as RoZ, or if it's just sort of a spiritual descendant.

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  12. All right, Mr. Our Friend The CRPGAddict. I am going to do it. I too will play this game. What a fool I am! I still have to go back and finish playing POR for the NES so I can breathe life back into my blog ( http://bloggingtheoldies.blogspot.com ). Well, tell you what- I will kill two birds with 1 blood soaked arrow! I will play Magic Candle, AND I will start re-playing POR for the NES and breathe life back into my blog ( http- screw that, you know the url already).

    Seriously though I need help. I've started cutting myself again.

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    1. I'm worried that you're serious. Take care, and God bless you.

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  13. Okay, before anyone actually READS that comment, I have to say that it was merely a bad attempt at humor. SHowing how stressed I was about my blog, I was then showing that stress by making a bad, bad attempt at humor. A BAD, BAD attempt at humor, I am sorry, that shouldn't have been written. They only have a DELETE function, however, and not an EDIT function. Thus this, my apology. I am sorry. I never should have said that I was breathing life into my blog.

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    1. Yeah, stress over your blog was not on my mind.

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    2. Don't worry- it was something that fell flat on it's face. I'm in no danger right now. I was trying to be funny and it didn't even seem funny to me either. My apologies.

      I do want to bring my blog back from the dead tho.

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    3. I kinda brought my blog back from the dead, though I'm pretty sure no one visits it, I just want to finish my playthrough for the sake of completion.

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  14. Finally! I filled twenty pages of a full-sized notebook with notes and town maps (drawn in isometric 3D no less) before I had to give up due to a hard drive crash (20MB MFM drive, RIP)

    I'm hoping you'll have fun with this game, but it is a lot more involved and slow-paced than what you've been playing, so that could frustrate you.

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    1. I'll bet. I've already got about eight pages going, and I've only read the manual and been to two towns. I'm expecting to settle in for a long one here.

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    2. If you still have though, I'd love to see it.

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  15. Make sure you slow down dosbox because the combats will go too fast

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    1. Really? I'm actually having the opposite experience. Even with DOSBox cranked, the combat sequences seem to be fairly slow, and the promised shortcut to speed them up isn't working.

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    2. Well I played it without dosbox on a 600mhz pc and I had to slow it down, glad the combats arent going too fast at least.

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    3. Ah, that makes a big difference. Even the DOSBox default of 3000 cycles is much slower than even a 600mhz PC.

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    4. MHz = millions of Hertz. 600, 000, 000 > 3000. However, I suspect that DOSBox emulates 1 instruction/second, which would make it more efficient per cycle, but you wouldn't get a 20,000 times speed boots from it, or even anything close to it. (RPGs aren't going to have a lot of pipeline flushes, and CPUs back then had short pipelines)

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    5. I don't remember the specifics, but I believe on default settings DOSBox emulates running DOS on a high-end mid 90s CPU like an early Pentium. Definitely much slower than a 600MHz CPU, regardless of its make.

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    6. Yeah, I know that. I'd say that DOSBox is close to 20,000 times faster then a Pentium 4 (Or equivalent AMD: Can't be a PIII as they only went up to 500 MHz as I recall)

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    7. P2s went from 233 to 450 MHz; P3s went from 400 MHz to 1.4GHz.

      Regarding DOSBox, if the 'auto' setting is too fast, a good rule of thumb is to edit the dosbox.conf file and change the 'cputype' to something contemporary to the game you're playing. For a 1989 game '386' should be right.

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    8. Opps, I think I was thinking of the initial launch, not the later ones.

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  16. I have attempted to "get into" this game at least 3 or 4 times in the last year or two. I just couldn't do it. Winter is quickly approaching and it's almost time for me to set up my 386 in my living room again. Perhaps I can get into it this time... I'm really looking forward to see how the Addict likes this. I really want to like it! I'm looking for a new gem.

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  17. Dear CRPG Addict, I've discovered your blog a couple of months ago, and it's a real pleasure! Thank you very much, this is very, very interesting, and a pleasure to read.

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    1. Thanks, Leonhard. Glad to have you around!

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  18. Best blog in the world. Period.

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    1. I wish people wouldn't be anonymous when they say stuff like this. Everyone assumes it's me.

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    2. Mind if I second that with my name attached, then?

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    3. Enthusiastically thirded. This is the only blog that has me checking for posts.

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    4. Best computer game blog. I'd have to put say, Skeptiod above it, or Jark's Journal when it still updated. From the Sorcerer's Skull possibly. It would be in the top 5 or so total.

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    5. It has been my most visited place online since early-mid 2010. I love getting to see what I missed while not existing and/or being oblivious to everything CRPG including the term Role-Playing Game.

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    6. This blog is the only reason I log into my Reader several times a day.

      Of course, this can change if you don't like playing Dark Heart of Uukrul, though... ;-)

      Have fun with MC!

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    7. Everyone's got their "dealbreaker" game.

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    8. I think my 'dealbreaker' would've been Morrowind, but since it's far into the future and I already know you love it, I have no worries.

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    9. No deal-breakers here, but I would have had disappointments.

      If you had hated omega I would have discounted your opinion a bit. Not in a negative way but in a your opinion wont really inform me as someone whose tastes are close enough that I would trust your judgement on something I have not experienced first hand.

      OK as always I get a bit wordy, but I don't understand people getting emotional over such things instead of saying "well he see's things differently, so I will have to color my understanding of the reviews appropriately"

      In the same vein I hope that because I have a good feel of the kinds of games our dear addict would like he puts some weight into my part of discussing what games to add just to include them even if they don't fit the strict definition of CRPG.

      He has already said he wants to try the heroes of M&M so I wont push for them. Though I think he may find them a bit easy and repetitive after a while.

      No what I am pushing for is to include Majesty The Fantasy Kingdom Sim as it will tweak the right notes to entertain for a little side trek. Either way I think its a bit far off into the future.

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  19. I'm sure everyone else would have been disappointed, but I was looking forward to a Nethack post. I downloaded it for my Droid and have been killing a lot of time with it. I'm interested to see what else you've found out about it.

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    1. As was I. But Magic Candle even more. Either or, we are talking about if I want chocolate or ice cream.

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    2. Just don't suggest chocolate ice cream because most of it is crap (Imho) .

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  20. Since a couple of people mentioned playing The Magic Candle on the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), here's a bit of information that's interesting; or at least I think is interesting.

    According to a walkthrough from Gamefaqs, the NES version has nothing in common with the DOS version aside from the name: "If you know 'The Magic Candle' for the PC, C64 or Apple II then you have never played the NES game." Or at least that's what the author of the guide, Odino, says.

    He goes on to say that "the game is obviously in Japanese and you may never understand the story properly if you can't read the language. Luckily this is a basic Dragon Warrior (Dragon Quest) clone with only one character, simple level-up & equipment stats as well as straightforward quests. As long as you try to get into the menus and use these lists (the ones in his walkthrough) as your guide for items, weapons and the such, it will still be quite enjoyable."

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    1. That's both fascinating and a bit baffling.

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    2. I think the mention(s) in the comments concerned wanting to get 'The Magic Candle' (DOS) and having an NES to play, not the Japan only game based on the DOS CRPG.

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  21. Forget Nethack. I'm enjoying the Candle posts. Brings back memories of a game I played for months and months and never could finish. No online clues back in those days.

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  22. It has been a long time, but I think difficulty rating only determines the amount of time you have to finish the game (there is a fixed time limit with a way to extend the limit). So you might consider restarting on "easy" to give you more time to explore.

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  23. I'm not entirely sure about the difficulty ONLY affecting the timelimit. I remeber in some review it was stated (Scorpias?)that it affects encounters as well.
    The game resembles a LotR vibe and imho the timelimit is essential to create this sense of doom to let you set priorities.
    And the more time you have the easier it is to get your chars and equipment overpowered (training and making money needs both time).

    For the people lloking forward to another Nethack entry; I guess there will be a lot of alternating posts if Addict decides to finish both. They both need a lot of time to complete.

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    1. I've let too much time go by since I last played NetHack. Now it's going to be like starting over from scratch again.

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    2. You'll be surprised. I mostly played it in 2005 and 2006, and each time I've started again it has been like putting on a comfortable pair of shoes. Takes a little bit for your feet to readjust, but then it feels great.

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    3. I am pretty sure difficulty only changes the time limit; a quick Google confirms at least that others share this view.

      I hate time limits in rpgs to the extent that I avoid otherwise good games with them.

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    4. I like time limits.
      I always thought it was silly how "the fate of the world is on your hands and you must act fact" and your party could spends months resting in some dungeon, and the master of the dungeon in inifinite patience would politely put all his plans for world conquest on hold and wait for the party to visit him.

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    5. I've recently changed my view on this and am leaning more towards Petrus' take. I used to get annoyed that I couldn't fully explore a game world in one go. Beyond time limits, I begrudged games for closing areas off, having missed opportunities, and choices with unknown consequences.

      While I still get annoyed at those other circumstances, I take time limits in stride, and accept them for their added sense of urgency. If the game is compelling, I may play through again to explore areas I passed.

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    6. Wait until a time limit sneaks up on you because you make a choice that seems like a minor time investment, but you lose too much time. Or forget to pick up an item and backtrack. Lose the game because of a decision error that was made early on which later proves irrecoverable.

      Not my idea of fun.

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    7. I like the idea of things getting harder if you dawdle too much. Maybe a hlpful NPC will be put to death, or the enemy will get reinforcements.
      In Magic Candle the time limit is quite generous, I think.

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    8. @banshee, what you describe sounds like hidden timers and unknown consequences. Yeah, I hate those things too. However, blanketing any game with a time limit is limiting, and it sounds like Magic Candle is generous as PetrusOctavianus says. I can't say myself as I haven't played the game. I wonder what Chet thinks of time limits as a general concept.

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    9. @PetrusOctavianus, totally agree. I *love* consequences related to player inaction - I think I was one of the few gamers who actually liked that mutants started to invade the wasteland cities in Fallout if you wasted too much time.

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    10. Time limits suck. Oh, you used up too much time learning to play and only find out near the end? Yeah, start over. 100 more hours for you of you don't get to see the end.

      A better way to do it is to have the evil force already in power and oppressing people. (see: Zelda, Star Wars). This also would serve to explain why poor, small rebellion can't outfit you.)

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    11. Time limits on short term activities are fine (raid he outpost and get out before reinforcements arrive). Especially if there is a playable negative consequence for failure, not just "you lose". If the worst case is replaying a few hours, that's fine.

      Long term time limits that end the game with no intermediate feedback on how the player is doing are bad. Even if the limit is generous, if the player doesn't have a clear idea of how much time the rest of the game will require it will be possible to waste too time early on and only find that out much later in the game. If failing the time limit has playable negative consequences, that might be okay. But if the expiration ends the game, the player either needs to re-start and play all over again or give up.

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  24. I have this game in a box in my closet. I did complete it when I was a kid with copious amounts of notes. Reading this post I remember a few things: I had that same tailor guy in my party, I spent a third of the time limit training my troops, and I thought splitting the party was pretty cool at the time.

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  25. And the expectations steadily rise... ;)

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  26. Gotta say I'm really impressed with your blog- you're very professional and have a highly readable voice/presence.

    I'm glad this game is getting props in this day and age! The Magic Candle has a special place in my heart- it's nice to see it getting appreciated by intelligent, thoughtful cats out there =D

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    1. Thanks, Charles. Glad to have you with us.

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  27. I just want to say how beautiful this game is, from finding it miserably hard, I went years later to realize it´s golden beauty, depth, legend. Thank you for this great page helping people see more or relive the memories. I wish I could program games, I´d enjoy to make a clone or sequel with similar play. I kid not, overall I give this game at least Ten out of a perfect Ten.

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