Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Prophecy: Won! (with Final Rating)

"Trinadon" turned out to be Emperor Krellane's castle. It did indeed fall.

Prophecy I: The Fall of Trinadon
Activision (publisher)
Richard L. Seaborne, Alan J. Murphy
Released 1988 or 1989 for DOS
Date Started: 14 April 2013
Date Ended: 15 April 2013
Total Hours: 7
Difficulty: Easy-Moderate (2.5/5)
Final Rating: 39
Ranking at Time of Posting: 71/92 (77%)

The game that was supposed to give me relief from Knights of Legend was over too fast to properly do its job. I won in about seven hours of total playing time, and even that involved a lot of needless running around, trying to figure out the solution to a vexing puzzle.

My first posting on the game ended with my arrival in the city of Nermon, where I was to return the goblin crown to the three priests who'd been helping me since the opening village. Nermon had a couple dozen screens itself, and it linked to the three other major areas of the game: the Helf kingdom (sort of like orcs), the tower of the Jedists, and the Gendorian Forest, where Krellane's castle was. After I returned the ring, the three priests charged me with recovering a magic wreath from the Helf kingdom. and after that I was charged with getting a silver cross from the Jedist Tower to assist against the Gendorians, and then ultimately to storm Krellane's castle.

Throughout these quests, more information began to emerge about Krellane. I learned that he originally hadn't been evil, but he'd made a deal with three demons to save his children; that he'd had a close friend named Lord Richard, who led a failed rebellion against him when Krellane turned evil.


Unfortunately, I missed a huge chunk of plot, as I was never able to ascend in the Jedists' Tower. At the base of the tower were a succession of doors, at each of which I was asked some kind of question about the game's lore. One of them asked me the name of Lord Richard's squire, and if I'd ever encountered that bit of information anywhere in the game, I forgot where and didn't write it down. I backtracked through every visitable location trying to find it, but the NPCs have a way of not repeating their entire spiels. There are no walkthroughs online that I could find to assist, and as the game has only one save slot, I couldn't go back to an earlier state and try to find the missing intelligence.

I tried literally every name in the game, plus the names of all of the games' developers.

Presumably, the tower would have produced some additional backstory as well as the silver cross that would have somehow made my battles in the Gendorian Forest easier. But it didn't stop me from winning the game. If any of you would like to play the game from the beginning and let me know what happens in the tower, I'll be grateful.

Throughout these adventures, leveling was steady. I ended the game at Level 39, and by then there were some creatures so tough that they would cause me to increase a level all by themselves. Leveling not only increased my maximum health and spell points, but also my attributes, each of which maxed at 20. As I'll discuss below, I never did get much of a sense for what some of the attributes actually did.

There were a lot of interesting-looking enemies in the game, but ultimately they came in two forms: mooks that died in a few hits, and bosses that were nigh-impossible to kill without either a) a "velocity vial" that increased my speed enough so that my vampiric "wraith dagger" could keep up with my foe's hits; or b) exploiting a glitch in the game by which, in certain positions, the enemy doesn't seem to realize he's missing you with every attack, allowing you to attack him with no retaliation. Otherwise, it's futile to fight "fair" against many of the game's foes, some of which have over 1,000 hit points and are only labeled as "HIGH" until you hit them enough to knock them down to 999 or below.

The final battle, against a "HIGH" character.

I never did much with spells, save the healing spell and "cure poison" and "cure disease" a couple times when they were needed. Some of the area effect spells damage you if you're not careful when you cast them, and otherwise-promising spells like "hold monster" ultimately proved too dangerous. (Plus, the enemies that I really needed them for were immune to spells.)

The equipment in the game was a little weird, too. There's no place to sell excess items (unless there was some place in the Jedist tower), nor any way to drop them. By the end of the game, I was lugging around dozens of weapons and suits of armor that I would never have used. But even more strange, it appears that the items you find in treasure chests are utterly random, and there's nothing stopping the best equipment in the game from showing up in the first chest. For the rest of the game, I never did better than the "Gendor full plate" I found in the first dungeon, and the "wraith dagger" I found early stayed in my left hand until the end.

There were a few places, but not enough, to get rid of all the gold I had been collecting: a shop that sold exactly one suit of armor (worse than what I had), mages that would take 1,000 gold to return health and magic to full power (from any point in the game, it took so long to get back to them that it was easier just to wait), and a mage who took 2,000 to increase my spell point maximum by two. Technically, I could have unloaded everything with this guy and ended up with an extra 100 spell points by game's end, but as I just mentioned, I didn't have a lot of use for spells.

I made some use of this guy's services.

To enter the Helf kingdom, I had to answer a kind of passcode at the main gates by telling the guarding Helfs which of their leaders was known as the "Lord of Ertraxia." This information was found on a nearby statue.

To progress in the game, you have to pay attention to the game's lore.

The game gave me the option to not kill the Helf king, who regarded me as "beneath contempt" and refused to attack me after I defeated his guards. I have to admit that he had a point. Without exploiting a few AI tricks, I wouldn't have defeated him.

It's rare that a boss who's full of bluster knows what he's talking about.

To get to the Gendorian Forest and Krellane's castle, I had to take a boat, arranged by the Helfs' cook, who was apparently a Jedist agent.



The boat took me to an area of trees and ruins, where I ultimately had to recover four elemental keys to pass through the gates on the way to Krellane's castle. This was mostly a matter of just running around and finding them, though there was one mini-quest in which I had to retrieve a statue of Neptune for a water nymph and thus get the Elemental Key of Water.

 
Beyond the gates were the castle sewers. They presented me with a maze, and I got the impression that this "patterned floor" was supposed to help me navigate it, but I'll be damned if I can make heads or tails out of it. I just got through it with brute force, and it took a while.

There are too many squares for this to represent individual screens, so I'm not sure what's going on here.

On the other side of the sewers was a multi-level castle with several rooms holding 999+ hit point enemies. Most of these rooms were optional, though, and from the entrance to Krellane's throne room is only a few screens if you don't care about clearing everything.

Confronting Krellane in his throne room.

Krellane was guarded by a tough mook, but he didn't attack me himself. Once I'd taken care of his bodyguard, I spoke to him, and got the twist ending that the murals in the Jedists' tower had started to hint at. He told me that he was once a "kind, benevolent monarch" but that his children fell under a curse that slowly turned them into lizard-like Gendords. To stop them from dying, he made a bargain with the Three Demons of the Netherworld; they would save the lives of his children if he would enact their wicked laws across the land.


He soon realized he'd been duped, as in their Gendorian form, his children lost all ability to develop mentally and forgot their identities. Over time, he began to regret the deal and his slaying of his friend, Lord Richard, who had tried to oppose him. He lowered his defenses and gave me the opportunity to kill him.


I refused, and he frustratedly delivered the next twist: the three "priests" who had been aiding me were in fact the three demons. He told me that they had just entered the castle, and he had worked a magic spell to destroy the castle, thereby committing suicide and killing the demons. He told me to flee as quickly as possible and avoid the conflagration.

I ran out of the throne room and made a beeline for a chute to the sewers that I had discovered earlier. 


When I exited the sewers, I was treated to the screen that leads this posting, and the game ended on a nice graphic of a castle exploding.

Presumably, Krellane turned his entryway into a giant skull after he became evil.

Choosing to disbelieve Krellane and kill him gives an alternate, bad ending:

Krellane's life fades slowly...he speaks, "I am sorry I did not tell you that there was a curse on any man who killed me. The one who delivered the mortal blow would die the moment I fell lifeless. Although I will not see you dead, I will know that I won..." Krellane falls dead, as you collapse to the floor in a crumpled heap.

The Empire continues to be ruled by the Three Evil Demons from the Netherworld, and countless souls are forced to endure horrible injustices!

You can also get a bad ending by not escaping the exploding castle in time:


The whole story reminds me a bit of Ultima V, with Krellane and the Three Demons providing an analogue to Blackthorn and the Shadowlords. Although Ultima V had a better story overall, I wish it had offered some kind of motivation for Blackthorn's tyranny.

I wasn't quite as enamored with the game in my latter sessions, but overall I still found it a fun diversion. Let's see how it performs in a quick GIMLET:

  • 5 points for the game world. It's not quite as epic as many series, but it does tell a decent story with a few twists. I particularly liked that you could find allies even among "monsters" and that you had the option to simply walk away from certain "boss fights." On the negative side, the world itself was fairly limited, and lacking any kind of map, I never had much of a sense of where I was.

Perhaps the best feature of the game is the little description of the environment that you get on literally every screen.

  • 2 points for character creation and development. This is perhaps the weakest area of the game. You don't have any options during creation--not even the character name. Although you have "attributes," they're a bit of a facade because you can't adjust them, they increase automatically with levels, and some of them (e.g., "charm") don't seem to do anything. The only positive is the swift leveling which makes backtracking and grinding quickly rewarding.

My winning character.

  • 4 points for NPCs, who are a vital part of the game. You can't advance if you don't pay attention to what they tell you about the story and directions, and the NPCs themselves are memorable. Unfortunately, you have  no dialogue options with them.

Finding an ally among the Helfs.

  • 4 points for encounters and foes. The enemies themselves are visually intriguing, although their AI tends not to differ much. They respawn, but not overwhelmingly so, and there are a few places in which you can do creative things like talking instead of fighting. There's a good mix between random and scripted encounters.

Battling some kind of chimera-dog.

  • 3 points for magic and combat. Another weak area. As with most action RPGs of the era, combat boils down to mashing an attack button. Although the magic in this game is intriguing, with numerous spells and the ability to adjust their power, I found the spells a bit worthless. I suppose it wold be possible to play as a "mage," jack up the max spell points, and spend a lot more time fine-tuning spell usage than I did.

Casting magic arrows at this game's version of a "kobold."

  • 6 points for equipment. There are a lot more useful items to find in Prophecy than in most regular RPGs, let alone action RPGs, including several types of armor, both ranged and melee weapons, and the ability to dual-wield. Various items have various powers to explore, and in terms of raw damage or protection, the game makes it easy to evaluate weapons and armor by simply listing them in the order of their power. I love that the equipment was randomized throughout the game, though this did create the oddity I described above, and it would be easy for an unscrupulous player to keep reloading at some of the early treasure chests. Only the inability to drop or sell excess stuff really mars the game.

Part of my final equipment list.

  • 2 points for the economy. There's virtually nothing to do with all of your gold except keep paying to increase max spell points. I ended the game with more than 100,000 gold pieces.

Finding a treasure room like this ought to be a cause for celebration.

  • 4 points for quests. There are only a few, and all tied to the main quest, but the game gets points for offering several different endings. It's especially notable that you'll get the "bad" endings if you're not paying attention to the developing lore.
  • 5 points for graphics, sound, and interface. The graphics are pretty, the sound was sparse but not painful, and the interface was relatively intuitive, including multiple keys that perform an attack so you can position your hands how you like. As a DOS-specific game, it made good use of the standard PC keyboard, such as ESC to exit a menu and HOME and END to go to the top and bottom of a long list. Perhaps my only quibble is that the game offers various options that you never use. I never typed (O)pen or (G)et because these things happen when you walk up to chests and doors, and the command to (L)ook for traps is useful, as far as I can tell, at only one point in the game.

Here.

  • 4 points for gameplay. On the plus side, it's brisk and reasonably challenging as a whole, although individual battles tend to be either too easy or too hard. It's not entirely linear, though it's a bit too small to be truly "non-linear." I wouldn't call it replayable, since until the very end there are no choices to make--though I have to admit that I'm tempted to replay it, just to see what I missed in the Jedist tower.

The final score of 39 is a very respectable rating that puts it above most of the other action RPGs I've played so far, and in the top 20% of all RPGs from 1988/1989. It's the first action RPG that I've truly enjoyed, and it does a good job of being not all action.

Hey, that must be the three-headed thing I was fighting!

If my review seems positive, it's an absolute pan compared to what Dennis Owens had to say in the May 1989 Computer Gaming World. He calls it "the most exciting role-playing game [he had] ever played on the home computer" and says that it kept him up for three nights in a row (I honestly can't imagine what he was doing for all that time). He has the same complaint I do about gold and inventory, and he also mentions the superfluous (L)ook command, but he concludes that it's "a terrific game, a classic, and maybe the best around." That's a heck of a superlative given that Pool of Radiance, Might & Magic II, and Ultima V came out the same year. But he wasn't the only one with high praise. The June 1989 QuestBusters called it a "resounding success" that "plays unlike anything [the reviewer has] experienced before."

The advertisement's heading refers to the name of a spell in the game.

However much more tempered my review, I will say this: the game deserves to be better remembered than it is. To me, the game is far superior to the better-documented Faery Tale Adventure and Times of Lore. The MobyGames entry has no user reviews; there isn't a single walkthrough or fanpage to be found anywhere; and Wikipedia's entire summary of the plot is "the main story of the game is that the main character would awaken to hear a loud scream, and his adventure would begin." The only thing I was able to find online is a pair of video reviews on YouTube from user dfortae, and they're worth watching if you want to see the game in action.

Lead developer Richard L. Seaborne went on to have a productive career at Electronic Arts and then Microsoft, where he currently works. But almost all his credits are on sports and racing games; his only other work on an RPG is as a programmer for Keef the Thief, which I recently shelved until later in the year. [Later Edit: I somehow overlooked Escape from Hell, which comes up in 1990, and Tower of Myraglen, which I didn't play on my first pass because it was Apple II-only.] Graphic designer Alan Murphy also mostly eschewed RPGs, again with the exception of Keef and the Wasteland-inspired Fountain of Dreams (1990).

I spoke briefly to Mr. Seaborne yesterday and invited him to visit and comment. He did confirm that, contrary to what several web sites (including Wikipedia) say, SSI had nothing to do with the development of the game.

With that, I return to Knights of Legend full-time for the now.

75 comments:

  1. "there was a cure on any man who killed me"? A cure?

    Blackthorn was overcome by the Shadowlords, that's why he went from Lord British's best buddy to an evil overlord. Lord British kind of comes off like a dick for banishing him.

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    1. How are you overlooking Escape From Hell? That was a tongue-in-cheek RPG by the same team using the Wasteland engine.

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    2. Escape from Hell is indeed on my list. I somehow overlooked it when writing the above.

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    3. Har! I love having Horatio and Genghis Khan in my party!

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  2. That was a quick one. I wonder how many others are going to go by in a flash.

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    1. IIRC the upcoming Legends of Murder are also fairly short. And bad.

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    2. And now I finally see Dragon Wars on the horizon. Looking forward to read Chet's impression on that game.

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    3. Yes, I'm waiting for that too. It seemed like a very good game, but I couldn't get over endless trash mobs and the necessity to consult the manual every couple of minutes :(
      Guess I'm not that oldschool ))

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    4. Dragon Wars was/is a VERY fun game. I played it for the first time a few years back, very impressed. It blew Bard's Tale III out of the water on every single aspect.

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    5. I certainly don't mind them. It's a LONG list.

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    6. I wish games on my list would go by this quickly. I'm at Wizardry now and facing a long grind ahead. My party just wiped out at Werdna 22 hours in. Just to get through the game I'm going to grind for an obscene amount of time on Murphy while I play some Star Saga 2 on the side, so you won't have to. ;)

      As for Dragon Wars, I see it got an NES port, but not released in the US. Too bad, it looks fun.

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  3. The reason it's so obcure is probably because it was DOS only, while Times of Lore and Faery Tale Adventure were released on a number of systems, including the 16 bit computers. Dark Heart of Uukrul is another game I'm sure would have been better known today if it was not DOS only.

    I found one thread about the game on the RPG Codex: http://www.rpgcodex.net/forums/index.php?threads/prophecy.28580/
    Your old friend Crooked Bee uploaded a scan of the manual to Replacementdocs.com and had plans for a Let's Play, and Fowyr seems to know the details about the game. You may want to ask him who was Richard's son.

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    1. I'm pretty sure I had this game, and I seem to recall that it played very poorly. I think this game probably plays better under DOSBOX than with many machines from the era. Also, was an EGA only version released, I could have sworn the version I played was less colorful.

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    2. I played Uukrul on my apple //c. So it was not DOS only. I think it was on DOS and Apple //. :)

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  4. Hey, some comments on a few of your upcoming games.

    1) Legend of the Red Dragon is kind of a... single-player multiplayer game. Does that make any sense? Technically you don't group up with other players or anything, but your actions in the game score on a leaderboard and stuff. Like Kingdom of Loathing.

    I'm not sure if you're actually going to play the game authentically (is there even servers for it any more?) but it's kind of pointless single-player when you exhausted all the writing in the game (it is surprising liberal on the topic of fantasy sex)

    2) Romance of the Three Kingdoms is a Grand Scale Strategy game. Characters in the game have stats like Strength, Intelligence and Wisdom but I probably still wouldn't categorize it as a CRPG. If you want to play it anyway that's fine and I would certainly love to read your thoughts, but just saying.

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    1. LoRD is a BBS door, can you even play it outside a bbs?

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    2. Yeah, I don't know. I just made a big list of RPGs, but I don't really check them out until I get to them. In the case of LoRD, there IS a DOS executable you can download, and there's a site that still hosts online play, but I don't know exactly how it'll all work or whether it's playable yet.

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    3. RoTK 3 is definitely a grand strategy game. Although it's hard to cite another game as an example, it's maybe -loosely- like some of the Total War games? Only turn-based everything, more complicated grand strategy elements, and with more typical tactical battles of the era.

      The only thing RPG-ish about it that I really remember is that there are a fair number of character stats, and I guess there's more character interaction than you'd typically find in a grand strategy game. I doubt you'd know the reference, but there's some overlap with (the more role-playing friendly grand strategy title) Crusader Kings II.

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    4. KOEI strategy games basically define their own genre. Didn't addict try Gemfire? It should be indicative of early KOEI style even if Gemfire is one of the most simplified examples.

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    5. Speaking as someone who played LoRD when he was a kid.. it's not worth playing solo. It's very much only put together for a BBS-styled environment. Basically, you get x number of 'turns' to go in and out of generic forest/dungeon/etc. The fight system is (attack/skill limited by number of uses in a day/run) only, and would take some rather large amount of tinkering to get to a point that you'd be playing a game you could actually play single player. Turn limiting by day more or less removes all impetus to play it as a single player game, IMO.

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  5. Chet, this one is so short that I'm strongly tempted to play it through, just so I can put up a review for it on GameFAQs. The graphics are decent and you seem to have had some fun with it.

    I agree with Davzz that 2 games really shouldn't be on your list. Rot3K is a fine game, but you'll see that it doesn't qualify.

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  6. Only thing to do with your money is to increase max spellpoints and you give 2 for economy?
    Thats an epitome of a score of max. 1.

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    1. The ability to pay to increase your max spell points theoretically means that gold never stops being useful. I thought it deserved at least 2 points for that. I've mostly only given 1s to games in which gold has no lasting use.

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  7. I have to say that the review here is well done. Thank you, Deathbird, for remembering Escape from Hell too. I've always loved RPG's, playing those early pioneering titles on through those of today. My very first published game was the RPG Tower of Myraglen on the Apple ][GS. After a few non-RPG games I had the opportunity to develop Prophecy, and then Escape from Hell. I've had the fortune to work on many genres and games over the years, from RPG's to Action to Simulation to Sports to Fitness and on... ...but RPG's remain the close to my heart.

    Thank you again for the remembrance and appreciation of RPG's and of Prophecy.

    Richard


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    1. Thanks again for visiting. I'll make sure to drop you a line when I cover Escape from Hell next year. That looks like a lot of fun.

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    2. I already said this in the last entry on this game, but yeah, Prophecy and Escape From Hell are both of the "basically overlooked despite being far more lively, interesting, and fun than most games of their time" camp. Escape From Hell has more memorable characters and moments (and even inventory items) than most CRPGs, even decades later. Basically what I am saying is I want to high-five Richard and Alan (particularly since I just now learned Alan was involved with Wasteland).

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  8. Looking through the messages files with a hex editor, I found this:

    "Hi there. I'm the Franciscan. Heh, never heard of me I bet. I was the squire of my best friend, before he decided to attack Krellane, the fool! Yea, he's dead now. Krellane was just too powerful. My friend learned one thing, though, before he died. You need a magic ankh, simply called the Silver Cross, to kill the Gendors; he said they made Gendors easier to kill than goblins."

    Perhaps "Franciscan" will work?

    Later in the file, there's also:

    "For every stage of the tower, you must answer a question. Who was Richard's squire?{Franciscan,The Franciscan,Squire Franciscan,Francisco,Frank,Carvallo}51"

    which suggests the words within the braces will work as answers. (Incidentally, Francisco Carvallo is listed on MobyGames as a Plot Contributor.)

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    1. That does seem to be it! I thought I'd tried everyone in the credits, but clearly I overlooked Francisco.

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  9. Well I am now tempted to play this game! Nice review, as always. I have a small question though; it's not that I want to criticise your skill but do you think you could have relied less on glitches and your wraith dagger if you had tried to use spells more?

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    1. Yes, that is probably the case. I found it hard to get proficient with spells. My memory isn't horrible, but memorizing what you've put into 10 different slots is tough, and it's very easy to accidentally hit yourself with area effect spells.

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  10. This is definitely one that I missed when I was younger. It seems, however, that I would have thoroughly enjoyed it. I do generally like party based RPG's a bit more, but this one sure seems like it would have been a blast.

    Thanks for the great job your doing, keep up the good work.

    Ryan

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  11. You know youve done the right thing when the bad guy's castle explodes

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    1. It's a fairly common trope in games, films, and literature, but I've always felt it was a bit of a cop-out. It appeals to authors and audiences because it feels less "messy." There won't be any hordes of orcs thundering, leaderless, out of Mordor, nor thousands of ex-Death Star employees looking for work in the New Republic. No one has to try to refinish and refurbish the old castle, nor deal with the grisly evidence of past horrors as they do so. Everything's just been wiped away, clean. Yay.

      Never mind the low-level peons, the custodial staff, the prisoners, or the double-agents doubtless present in the structure when it erupts. Never mind the documents or artifacts of historical value. Never mind the potential usefulness of the fortress for the good guys who have to take the bad guy's place. Never mind the treasure, sundries, and equipment stored inside. Let's just kill it with fire and nuke it from orbit.

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    2. Blowing up the Death Star was just as cruel and merciless as destroying Alderaan.

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    3. I don't think the Death Star was nearly as cruel or merciless as destroying Alderaan. First off significantly fewer people were killed. Secondly as I recall the Death Star is pretty much in position to break the back of the rebellion if it gets the chance to fire at the moon/planet with the rebel base. Thirdly the rebels are completely outmatched (I believe) so only a desperate attack like that, which destroys the station, could possible let them win.

      I think?

      Apart from that I agree with the addict's view of the trope.

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    4. Throughout civilization, killing civilians has been considered far worse than killing military personnel.

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    5. Actually that only goes back a few centuries: Killing civilians was pretty standard back in Roman times, when they would wipe out any women/children they didn't enslave of any barbarian tribes that would attack them.

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    6. Not even a few centuries. All the great powers as recently as WW2 deliberately and intentionally killed civilians in massive bombing raids.

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    7. The fact that it was done doesn't mean it wasn't seen as a worse act than shooting enemy soldiers, surely?

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    8. Banshee: There was a lot of controversy over the WWII bombing raids, which there wouldn't have been a few hundred years before that, had such weapons existed.

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    9. Clearing out and dealing with the the lairs of the bad guy could inspire several stories/games

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    10. Chunkations: That was the subject of some of the early X-Wing novels.

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    11. Relevant to my post here:

      http://crpgaddict.blogspot.com/2013/04/knights-of-legend-whos-monster.html?showComment=1366322540021#c5920040068160230796


      Can I put encapsulate a link in a word using the blogger webpost?

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    12. "here was a lot of controversy over the WWII bombing raids, which there wouldn't have been a few hundred years before that, had such weapons existed."

      Not so much when they were undertaken, only after the war was over. Not counting minor voices that were of n consequence in setting policy or public opinion.

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    13. There is also recent scholarship on mistreatment of civilians in both World Wars by all sides (to varying degrees). There were generally not treated a whole lot better than surrendered soldiers.

      The nice treatment of civilians was given lip service off and on since the Napoleonic Wars, and there were isolated examples off good treatment going all the way back to ancient Rome (as an element of strategy mostly), but in practice is mainly a late-twentieth century development.

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  12. It is not related but Ubisoft claims MM3 was the first CRPG to feature a questlog... I'm now eager to know if it's true :)

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  13. If you're looking for another distraction, there's a PC First-Person RPG that came out only in Japan on a Japanese PC that I translated a couple years back. I can set you up with a copy + emulator if you'd like.

    Wikipedia Information
    Youtube Video

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    1. I have an extra copy of the game Audiosurf; It is yours if you want it Addict. Check the demo out at http://www.audio-surf.com/ and let me know if you want it. Not a CRPG, but a fun little music game that you load your own music into. Just a little thank-you for the enjoyable hours I've spent reading the blog.

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    2. I can't promise I'll get to it real soon, but feel free to send it to my e-mail address: crpgaddict@gmail.com

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  14. I was trying Dragons of flame recently -that you seemed to have some difficulty with- and it's one of those games that map directly to the old numeric keypad in the PC. I have tried it, and the game responds to them.

    If you use a laptop, you'll need to use the Num Lock key on it and the keys equivalent for the numeric keypad. They usually are labeled in the right bottom part of some keys. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numeric_keypad.

    This could also be the answer to be able to move characters in diagonal in some games.

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    1. I use a USB keyboard plug in for that; I can't stand my keypad being in the wrong shape.

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    2. I could never get switching between the views to work properly. I'll give it another try when things settle down.

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  15. Six days since we heard from our dear addict.

    Work\life taking its toll on his time?

    or

    KoL long combats causing too little progress to provide a post?

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    1. Or lost in the world of BBS door games.

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    2. Hopefully he wasn't at the marathon.

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    3. Eh, chill. Real life happens. I'll be on a lot less myself when I start my new job in a week (BTW, if any of you live in Vancouver, give me a shout).

      I'll just spend my time until then working on my theory that Chet is actually a women who works for the United States Geological Survey.

      Delete
    4. Maybe he has spent the last 6 days completing a KoL battle!

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    5. Hey, guys. Got slammed with work this week, and it doesn't look like it's going to let up soon. I probably won't get another posting out this month. It's too bad because I've done three or four more KoL quests, and by the time I can finally write about them, I'll forget everything about them.

      Delete
    6. No worries, what with me flying 3000 km today I haven't had time to read your blog.

      Delete
    7. Eh, I've been feeling bad about only making two posts on my own blog this month, but same deal: work picked up and my kid turned a year old, so...priorities :(

      Delete
    8. Congratulations on your move, CG. What a lovely area. I'll send you an e-mail next time I'm in Seattle, and perhaps we can meet for a drink in Bellingham or something.

      Delete
  16. I'm a little confused about what you are trying to achieve. Are you playing these games so that after you come into the modern ones, you can say to everybody that you've experienced the old school RPGs? Or do you plan on replaying them because you prefer them in contrast to the RPGs of today?

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, I'm not going to try to defend the purpose of my blog to an anonymous commenter in a random posting three years after I started. Go to the archive links on the right and read the first entry for "Why We're Here."

      Delete
    2. I commented anonymously because I don't have an account with this service, so it's understandable I use this option in contrast to signing up. Second of all, I wasn't attacking your blog, I only asked you a simple question, one that you thought was a waste of your time to answer. But it doesn't matter now, I've read your beloved first entry.

      Delete
    3. PetrusOctavianusMay 10, 2013 at 9:07 AM

      You can choose a name and still comment anonymously.
      Selcet Profile - Name/URL, and leave the URL part blank if you want.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous, I didn't mean to provoke a feud. I could have been less harsh in my reply, but the basic problem here is that you're committing several violations of blog comment etiquette:

      1. Asking a general question about the blog in a thread devoted to a specific game.

      2. Asking a question in a way that demands a detailed reply from the blog owner, but without any sort of lead in or greeting ("Hey, I just came across your blog. I think it's interesting, but...").

      3. Asking a question about the blog as a whole when you clearly haven't bothered to skim through the earlier postings or read the material in the side-bar.

      4. Posting something that invites extended dialogue but not providing yourself with a name. Anonymous comments should be reserved to simple one-offs.

      Your approach is analogous to wandering into a "Western Civilizations" course mid-semester when the professor is talking about Ancient Greece, pushing your way to the front of the room, and demanding information about the course objectives without having read the syllabus.

      I don't know why I'm spending so much time on this reply, but this kind of thing happens a lot, and it annoyed me this time more than others.

      Delete
  17. And regardless of what Chet is "trying to achieve", this website is already the best reference guide to early RPG gaming.

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    1. I can see by your enthusiasm that you've been a long time supporter, so it's only natural that you throw down such a heavy gauntlet. But is Wikipedia a good reference for early RPG information? Dead references and sources that don't strengthen the points made in the articles. Regardless, you've got to admire this "Chet" for trying, especially in his age. Regards.

      Delete
    2. That bit in my first posting is out of date. It soon became clear that Wikipedia's list wasn't comprehensive, and I supplemented it with MobyGames and several other sources. I should make an edit in the first posting to clarify that.

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    3. Also, people who know of games that are not on the master list are encouraged to share them.

      Delete
  18. Gosh, reading this posting brings back a lot of memories.

    Prophecy has to be one of my favourite games. Sure in current times its rather simplistic and easy to complete (a couple of hours and you're done) but I still find myself loading it up every couple of years.

    I remember playing it first when I was 11 years old. The "TALISMAN" puzzle drove me up the wall and I never solved it back then. Of course many years later when I did figure it out, I realised that I didn't really need the Silver Cross(?) thingy to win the game.

    Also Chet, just wanted to point out, one of your pics above shows a room called "A Strange Floor". The one with the "map" to Krellane's castle.

    If you look at the right most part of the "map" (the lighter gray square, 4x4 block), you'll realize that it's almost the same size as your character in the screen. That basically represents one room/screen.

    The map's basically saying, go 3 west, 1 north, 1 west and you can exit the sewers. =)

    I found your blog site by accident, and have just spent the last 2 hours reading it (+ the comments). Ahh the nostalgia.

    On another note, I'm pretty pumped that Fire King is coming up on your games list. Another of my favourite CRPGs which I've never won before. Just played it less than a half a year ago, and got much further that I did before getting stuck.

    Sadly, there doesn't seem to be any hint books/walkthroughs written about it (except for some youtube videos that cover the first part of the game). I'm hoping that you'll do better than I do so that I can get some hints. :P

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for clearing up the floor/map thing. It seems like an obvious solution, but something didn't make sense at the time.

      Glad you like the blog. I have never heard of Fire King except to add it to the list, so I'm looking forward to seeing what it's about.

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  19. I enjoyed this game when it first came out and recall trying out spells with some success, but it was so long ago I can't recall what I did with them. I believe some of the direct damage spells were useful.

    While the Wraith Dagger was really handy, I remember using a nasty halberd for most of the game. Weapons have reach, and with the halberd it was often possible to engage an enemy while avoiding counterattack. I would switch to the dagger to speed the healing process.

    In case anyone reading about Prophecy thinks it sounds interesting but is nervous about needing to grind to make up for trouble with the real-time combat, there is an exploit that will grant a character a bunch of "levels" at once. There's a statue of Krellane you encounter midway through the game. It has "high" hp and takes, I believe, only 1 hp per attack, but if you hold down the space bar for a while, you can eventually kill it and receive huge amounts of XP. I'm not certain, but I think it's possible that the statue respawns, too.

    ReplyDelete

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