Monday, May 20, 2013

Knights of Legend: Won!

It was not, in fact, the beginning of another saga.

After my last posting, I essentially did nothing except play Knights of Legend for 24 hours straight. When I finally went to bed, combat tactics and movements invaded my dreams and kept me from anything restful. It'll probably screw me up for the entire week, but at least I won the damned game. Consulting my notes, I see that this game took me an epic 96 hours to win, the longest so far in my chronology. I got some good postings out of it, but from a gameplay perspective, I can't say it was worth it.

Only in the last quest did the game finally produce any kind of tie-in with the plot outlined in the manual, and it became clear that the history of Pildar, Seggallion, and Duke Fuquan was supposed to serve as a backdrop for multiple expansions, and not just this primary game. Leading up to this final quest was a series of...I started to say "increasingly difficult missions," but that's not quite right. There was a series of missions of extremely variable difficulty, including some very difficult ones. But the last two were oddly easy.

Towards the end game, each solved quest got me a keyword or clue to the next one.

After the last posting, when my skills were already at the max level allowed by the game in each weapon, I didn't bother to get any more training or leveling; it was just one quest after another. Because I no longer needed to pay for anything but saving (I even found a free way to get healing after battle by finding some roaming monks), I just went from quest to quest. I didn't follow PetrusOctavianus's advice about buying spells, either; I mostly relied on weapons alone in the final battles.

More of these endgame quests tended to reward my characters with tangible objects rather than just adventure points and good will. These included:

  • A magic halberd called the "Death Blade" that turned my Ghor Tigress, Hela, into my best combat character. That makes two magic halberds in this game, and one magic greatsword, but nothing special in any of the other weapons. Another example of this game's weird imbalance.

Hela proudly wields her quest reward

  • "Speed Boots" that enabled a character to run four steps instead of just two each round. I gave them to my leader, Coll, who also had the Courage Cloak. He was able to run swiftly around the battlefields towards the end of the game.
  • A "Shade Ring," which seemed to make it difficult for monsters to see my character. They'd bumble around even when he was right up next to them. I also gave it to Coll; I figured it was better to have one uber-powerful fighter than a selection of moderately-powerful ones. Coll ended up cleaning up some of the latter maps almost solo.
  • A magic ingot that created a battle axe. But I got this as a reward for the very last quest, so it didn't help me at all, which was fine because none of my characters had battle axe skills.

The final sequence of quests--six or seven of them--were all interlocked and proceeded in a specific order. Like all the quests in the game, they followed the "Questing by Numbers" template: agree to retrieve an object, get someone else to tell you where the enemies actually are, travel there overland, slay the monsters, grab the item, and return. Many of the enemies were capable of causing fear, but the effects of this capability seemed to paralyze my characters less often than in the mid-game.
Aedd seizes up while trying to fight a cliff troll. This map split my party into two groups, but both were at the ends of good ambush points.
It would be tedious for me, and unrewarding for you, to recount every one of them, but here are a few highlights:

1. Aurin the Stalwart outside the city of Shellernoon wanted me to retrieve an unnamed item stolen from him by unnamed creatures.

The creatures turned out to be djinns, fairly tough, but the map was even more interesting, consisting of a long, narrow bridge with a small village on the other end. At least I didn't have to go hunting the creatures.

There's Coll, way out in front of his companions.

Aurin's missing item? See for yourself:

This game is way too long to be screwing with me with this kind of thing.

2. By far, the most annoying combat map in the game was that of the Sledges, where Lord Shellernoon asked me to retrieve some kind of "ward."

The Sledges themselves weren't that difficult despite being fear-causing. Rather, the difficulty was the map. Unlike all the other maps in the game, which were in keeps or fields or other reasonably open areas, this one took place in a huge maze--a maze with only one path to the exit (where the quest item was), and in which all my characters started in a different position.

Yder, my lightly-armored archer, tried his best, but he didn't last long when he started in a dead-end facing a huge Sledge.

I won the quest on the first try, but it took nearly four hours. After the first hour, with my characters bumbling feebly about, I realized I would have to map it. This was difficult since they weren't all together, but I ended up starting with five separate maps (one character was knocked unconscious right away) and piecing them together when the characters found each other. This is the result:

The *s are where my characters started, and the $ is the treasure at the exit. The yellow path is the one that my furthest-afield character (Coll) had to take to get to the exit. By the time I finally found the egress, I would have gladly just taken the quest item and run, but it turned out the last foe was waiting there anyway. If this whole thing doesn't seem so bad, keep in mind how long it takes simply to plan and execute a command to move one square in a specific direction. Fortunately, the Sledges themselves weren't very hard, and my strong melee characters were able to defeat them individually (which is good, since there's almost no place to set up a multi-character assault in the maze).

1/12 of the way closer to my goal.

4. The Sledge quest was the third-to-last. After I turned in the Ward of Shellernoon, Lord Norgan told me to "seek out the black Dwarf, Dundle!"

I had thankfully taken copious notes about NPCs, and I knew where Dundle was to be found, but he had absolutely nothing to say to me, no matter what I asked.

It turned out the game was sticking it to me one final time. An anonymous saint of a commenter informed me that there's a bug in the game, and while Dundle does indeed point the way to the final quest, Lord Norgan really meant to tell me to see Denswurth, in nearby Olanthen. Denswurth's quest, to wipe out some trolls, was pretty lame and easy, and I suspect that the developers originally intended for the player to go right to Dundle but decided to shoehorn an extra quest into things to make it an even 24 or something.

I got through the troll quest pretty quickly, despite their ability to take massive damage without falling...


...and the fact that three of them were hiding out on a rampart that only my flying characters could reach:

If I hadn't chosen a Kelder, I guess I just would have had to take the quest item and run.

5. Thanks to the same commenter, I knew to go to Dundle for the final quest, which he gave me when I spoke SEGGALLION to him. It turns out that he knew where Seggallion was (not in the inaccessible Tower of Pildar, thankfully) and bade me rescue him from the clutches of the cyclopes (yes, that is the correct plural) holding him prisoner.

I knew I wanted to video the final battle, so I spent some time just messing about and learning the map before re-loading my characters and engaging the cyclopes for "real." They were reasonably hard but not too hard. About half of them were in a big field near the beginning of the map:

And the other half were entrenched in a very long corridor winding through the mountains. It was a lot of luck when I could line up a scenario like this, with multiple characters able to engage the enemy at once:

When I finally defeated the last cyclops, I was treated to a multi-screen endgame narrative in which I opened the stone door to Seggallion's prison and freed him from his chains. He warned me about the threat that Pildar posed and suggested that my next quest--had the game resulted in any expansions--would be to find the missing Duke Fuquan to warn him.

Little does he know that he'll soon be lost in Britannia.

After that, the game let me continue playing. I returned to Dundle and got a magic ingot (which I forged into a battle axe) as a reward.

What other realms would those be?

I tell you what: I'm thoroughly exhausted with this game. I took more than an hour of video of the final battle, intending to narrate it later, but I can't seem to muster the energy to edit and comment on the video. I'll see how I feel tomorrow when I start writing the GIMLET. It ought to be interesting.


  1. PetrusOctavianusMay 20, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    You are now among the elite few who have completed this game.

    How surprised were you when not even the final fight had more than one type of enemy?

    1. Oh, by then I rather expected it. I just assumed that the combat engine in the game didn't support it.

  2. Congrats! Truly a feat. What's your next game?

    1. Well, I only have a month to meet my goal of ascending in NetHack during the year. I got further than ever recently, and I need to write that up and document it, at least.

    2. Oh, you're so cute when you're unreasonably confident.

    3. Trust me, it's not confidence. I don't even really want to play NetHack any more.

  3. Man, I'm way behind here, but I think going back and reading this whole series will be quite fun.

    This title was rather infamous to me and my group of friends as the game that finally killed off my poor old Commodore 128D. I was a firm Commodore and Apple partisan at the time, and was becoming more and more irritated with the inexorable trend (seemingly spearheaded by old favorites Origin and Sierra, to add insult to injury) towards a PC-centric gaming scene. The PC just seemed like total trash when it came to gaming at the time (especially compared to my Amiga), so I was somewhat baffled with all of this. Anyway, when I first read about this game (probably in Questbusters or CGW) I knew I just had to have it, so I was forced to go with the Commodore version. I can still remember me and one of my friends actually calling up Origin and harassing them for not porting this to the Amiga, as well as the Amiga version Ultima 5 being so crap compared to the original. In any case, you can probably guess what happened from there. Loading times. Disk swapping. Lots and lots (and lots) of it. We somehow managed to to stay up for hours trying to get through just one battle, but the whole experience turned somewhat surreal and feverish. After a week or so of this, my Commodore finally just shut down and never turned on again. I don;t know if it actually killed the disk drives or the machine just overheated and fried itself, but that was it. It received a proper, dignified send off (shoved in the back of a dusty closet along with my ancient childhood Apple II+) and around a year later, after trying to cling onto the Amiga for all it was worth (and it WAS worth it... we got Wings!), I finally caved in and bought a then cutting edge 486 setup. But it was only with great bitterness in my heart, which had by then turned shriveled and black with hatred. Okay, maybe not. There were some cool games on that thing!

    So there you have it. A real-life tale of woe from the end of the classic computer era. At least the manual was cool, and we got a good laugh out of the cover art! Looked like something from a Manowar album photo shoot...

    1. I love these tales. It makes it feel so much better to play these games with an emulator. I remember too well, with my own C64, wondering when some miscellaneous disk corruption was going to destroy 10 hours of questing.

    2. I feel rather lucky- I started with a vic-20 then bought a c-64 and it was about a year (I was in the USAF)before I could afford the 1541 for the c-64. But while I hated the damnable disk-swaps (oh my LORD how many disk-swaps!) required to play ANY game on the c-74 I never had any disk-corruption/data corruption problems. And thank goodness. Ah, I loved my c-64. I periodically peruse Ebay, and have to fight off the urge to buy a c-64. What would I do with it? But oh, nostalgia calls so hard...

    3. First time posting here but I was on the last few months reading up most of the entries. Great work with the site, CRPG Addict. While I can never say I'm a true rpg addict, I do like to play rpg of all type (including some jrpg.) My first rpg I ever played was Ultima IV on the Commodore 64 at my friend's place. At the time, I didn't know much about rpg at all and gaming to me at the time is really about picking up a joystick and start blasting away at the numerous action or arcade type games. When I first saw Ultima IV I had no idea of type of game it was and I did learn a few thing about fighting and did a lot of that running around fighting. That's pretty much all I did with the game for the few times I played, that and doing the disks swap trick to the Underworld to find treasure chests.. (If I remember correctly, I think it might be a bug for the C64 version of the game. While in any of the outdoor area in Britannia, if you pull out the Britannia disk (I think...) out of the disk drive and insert the dungeon disk while the game is running and start moving around, it will start loading the underworld area.) I still remember doing that a lot just to find chests, items and golds...

      Anyhow, I didn't start ACTUALLY playing with any of the crpg until I got my own C64 and Ultima V. I actually played and finished that first before going back to Ultima IV so I have to say is that Ultima V is my first real RPG that I played from beginning to the end. Because as soon as I finished Ultima V, Pool of Radiance and other gold box games came out so I was never got interest with Knights of Legend even though the title sounded very interested.

      I played most of the gold box games until they're not available for the C64 anymore and made a judgment call to pickup a cheap 286 (because just out of school and jobless back in 92 so I sold my C64 system and use the money for an used 286 instead of an Amiga 500+. Another reason I choose the PC instead of the Amiga is Ultima VII was only released on the PC. I did my first PC upgrade to a 386DX 40MHZ with 4MB of RAM a few months later so I can play with Ultima VII. Now thinking back, I do feel badly about selling the C64s.

      Anyhow, looking forward to see you start reviewing other gold box games like Champions of Krynn which was one of my favor crpg. Too bad nobody will do another rpg base on the Dragonlance world.

    4. Good to hear from you, Tomcat. Thanks for sharing your recollections. I'm looking forward to Champions of Krynn, too. Looks like the next Gold Box game should be coming up in about 20 games, depending on how I end up ordering 1990.

  4. Glad to see you move past this one. Maybe it's good there wasn't a sequel. Congratulations on overcoming this one.

  5. Wow, 96 hours is approaching Skyrim level time commitment! You certainly have a lot more patience than me, but congratulations on getting that "Won" post! I will be very curious as to where this game ends up on the GIMLET scale.

  6. I WARNED you about the ending, but apparently I almost spoiled it for you. Or something. I'm interested to see what you think of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, though it really is not a RPG, not until the later installments. Damn good strategy game, though the second game greatly expands on the first.

    1. WHY? Why did he need to be WARNED about the ending? Just let him play the damn game and stop trying to be the smart guy who knows everything. Look at this comment: "I told ya so I told ya so!" Who cares? Nobody.

    2. Harland, I know your intentions are good, but lay off Raifield. What he said wasn't THAT much of a spoiler. Like you, he's been a good commenter overall.

      It ESPECIALLY wasn't much of a spoiler because I don't agree with it. If my posting above made it sound like the ending "sucked," I didn't do my job. I think the overall length and tedium of the game sucked, but I was glad to see a final quest that actually tied to the game's plot, and I thought the final sequence of screen shots was more rewarding than most games of the era. You know what ending sucked? Everyone's beloved Chaos Strikes Back. It was two screens and the DOS prompt.

  7. Addict, I have been lurking for several years, with only a handful of comments, but have derived enormous pleasure and edification from follow this blog. I am thrilled that you have decided to turn this project into one or more books. Like anyone else who has followed from the beginning, I also feel that I've gotten to know a lot about your personality through your writing. You are logical. You are honest. And you also have a strong compulsion to win.

    However, if spend 96 hours finishing a game that you've pretty much decided after 15 hours is fundamentally flawed in a way that makes it unlikely to deliver on some otherwise promising elements, we won't be reading about you playing Baldur's Gate until 2027. Literally. And I am really looking forward to that.

    If you are playing to chronicle the history of CRPG's, you will have to be more selective about what you decide to play to completion, unless you are only planning to cover only a small slice of said history. If you were playing purely for your own amusement I feel like you would have given up on Knights of Legend on while ago. I enjoy every post you write, but I must admit that I was becoming as exhausted with this game as you were. I know that some readers were happy to see you persevere through a unique and challenging but ultimately broken title, but I feel that the scope of your project demands that you be more selective with what you chose to finish, if you have any hope of completing it.

    1. So there are currently two lists that Chet is working through, the chronological master list and the list of important/interesting things that got skipped due primarily to starting with the PC-only clause when the project began.

      I've proposed a third list, (chosen by Chet or by poll, or the faithful get to suggest one each) whereby every n games (6-8?) Chet plays something from the future. Not only would it make things exciting (everyone loves seeing Chet play their old favourites) I think it'd provide valuable context about the ratings various games received.

    2. I'm torn about this. I was one of the people who encouraged Chet to slug it out and finish this, but now that he has said it took 96 hours I am thinking that maybe he could have stopped after 30ish hours and knocked off a couple of other games in the meantime, as it seemed there was not really anything new going on in the game. I think it is still good for him to win as many games as possible, but I also want to see the list proceed at some sort of decent pace, he is still in the 80's! I guess we should leave it to Chet's discression, it is his project after all.

      As for doing "classic" games such as Baldur's Gate out of order, I can't say I am a fan of this. I am enjoying his journey through the ages and I am enjoying discovering new games and the evolution of CRPG's along with Chet. I would have thought pretty much every reader of this blog has played BG anyhow, and we all know that it is going to get a GIMLET of around 80-90 or possibly even higher, and then it would be sitting on the top of his Top Games list forever with no excitement as to what the next game to come along and knock it off it's perch is. I am looking forward to see what the next game to beat Ultima 5 will be, and covering the classics ahead of time takes that away.

    3. The option is not BG out of order or BG when 1998 comes along, it's BG out of order or BG never.

      The chronological progress will never make it to 1998 if every game is played.

    4. While I don't think he should deviate chronologically, I am agreeing that Chet should be skipping games he finds tedious, after giving them a fair look. Knights of Legend seemed, ultimately, a waste of time and I don't want to see him burn out again.

    5. I'd much rather that he continue the chronological order. We all know how the good games like BG play. It wouldn't be anything new (and there are tons of other playthroughs on the net). What makes this blog special - apart from Chet's good writing - is that he plays through the games that nobody else touches.

      Also, if he begins to cherry-pick the goodies from later years he won't have any of the known good games left when he actually gets to those years.

    6. Obviously, it is up to the author of this blog how he wants to approach things, but chronological order (plus catching up on the old ones from other platforms) is working overall. KoL was an anomaly, most of the games will not require 96 hours; and I expect that most of those he will not try to finish (see: Bloodwych). The list appears very, very long but if you look at the rest of 1989, many of the games are likely to drop out after a quick try, either for technical or "not an RPG" reasons. Even while working through KoL, he eliminated 2 games (Star Saga 2 and LoRD) and finished at least 3 more (Odyssey, Prophecy, and Legends of Murder). While also playing Nethack, which is probably a BIG time sink. In fact, most likely the better way to increase progress on mainstream RPGs would be to set aside the roguelikes. But again, whatever keeps the author posting is what works for me.

    7. I did toy with occasionally jumping ahead to a game I really WANT to play, but I rejected it for the reasons that Ragnar and Mikrakov say. I'm afraid it's going to continue to be a chronological plod with an occasional regression to pick up a non-DOS/PC game from the early 80s.

      I am flattered that readers want to hear my thoughts about more recent games, but as Ragnar points out, plenty has been written about those games. Meanwhile, I get to be the online authority about games like Legends of Murder and Prophecy: The Fall of Trinadon. KoL's length and frustration was an odd outlier.

      Tristan does have a point about my pace slowing and the huge number of games I have to tackle over the next decade. I probably need to be a little more conservative about my definition of a CRPG, and only play those that meet all three of my core criteria instead of just two. As Bluerazor notes, I've been a little more willing lately to just say no to quasi-RPGs. He also makes a good point about NetHack. I'll make a lot more progress on other games when I decide to give that up.

    8. I'd say give a 2-4 hour "trial phase" on each game. If you aren't finding that the game is somewhat fun and reasonably innovative, drop it and move on. Of course, in the case of KoL, there were a lot of innovations, unfortunately buried in tedious game play. So maybe "phase 2" has a limit of 12 hours unless the game is really fun. That will give you plenty to write about without you having to persevere through boring repetitive game play.

    9. Personally, I love the "chronogaming" aspect of this blog, and hope it does continue in that vein. You might want to reconsider on ROT3K, though. That's definitely a Japanese-style "grand strategy" type of game. One of my all time favorites, but definitely not what I'd call a CRPG. It can be a huge time sink as well.

      I know that some people are eager for you to leave the 80s behind, but since I enjoy living in the past, that's no problem for me. In fact, I'm much more interested in seeing you tackle more of the obscure non-PC games from the decade. My vote would be for Quarterstaff (Mac) and Deathlord (Apple II/C64) next. You haven't experienced true pain until you've played Deathlord... (cue evil laughter)

    10. ^I second the above. I don't know the PC version of ROT3K, but the console versions are surely strategy/sim games, so I'm guessing you'll probably drop that one.

      Count me in, too, as someone who's largely attracted to the chronogaming/completist approach, and would be far less interested if you started jumping around. OTOH I too love the entries from the 1980s, and would welcome more titles from other platforms that you skipped before -- but when it comes to computer games, I'm just more interested in the pre-1990s era in general, especially pre-1995.

    11. I definitely think Chet needs to review Final Fantasy I (1987), even if he never touches another console title. It's too important an RPG to skip.

    12. The original game hasn't aged well. Maybe one of the remakes. Has it been released on PC?

      He has Phantasy Star II coming up on his list, which I really don't recommend. The first is a better game, and I hope this title doesn't color his dislike for console RPGs.

    13. FF1 isn't on PC and surely he should play the original version (NES) if he's to play any version at all.

      The purpose isn't to instill a love of console RPGs, but to show people their co-evolution.

      I think its scores would be above average for its era.

    14. I agree with Zenic (who covered the game just fine on his blog. Despite still being fun, it is a buggy mess released as a last-ditch effort that saved Square Soft from financial collapse). Besides I got a "maybe" ages ago for Final Fantasy 3 (my goto for 8-bit FF greatness) when CA gets to 1991, and I don't really expect a return on that considering the dearth of interesting historical CRPG finds on Microsoft (and now some other) computer platforms.

  8. I'm sorry, I hit the teddy bear and just started laughing hysterically. That's top-shelf trolling.

    I really hope whatever you play next is a pleasure for... Romance of the Three Kingdoms, you say.

    I really hope you have access to a great deal of alcohol.

  9. I enjoyed reading about this game, ty Chet.

    I will try to help in future. I know so many games that i didnt finish, after you play them it lets me "know" them too.

  10. Congratulations!

    I think I never got past the 22 Quest mark because I searched Dundle and did not get Denswurth.

    Now I need to fire up my party with the six Kelders armed with Scimitars at once and beat this.

  11. Grats! I fell that you should have skipped the game after a few hours.
    Or at least ask for some shortcut: You can rush the quests with the invisibility ring by questing with one character, avoiding fight, grabbing the quest item and running.

    But, I suppose you have far more reasons to be proud of, the way you did it.

    May I please ask if you could upload your savegame somewhere? It's the file named 'chardata', weighting a few Ko, in your Kol folder. I would like to see how characters end the game in a legit walk-through... And , somehow, I don't feel like spending 100 hours to see that.

    1. "Or at least ask for some shortcut: You can rush the quests with the invisibility ring by questing with one character, avoiding fight, grabbing the quest item and running"

      Wow. The word 'broken' comes to mind.

    2. Technically, you can pick up the quest item fairly easily whether you have the invisibility ring or not--if you can find it. It always seemed to me that I found it right when my party was engaged in combat with the final enemies of the level, so it seemed a shape to just grab the quest item and run.

      Nathan, if you send me an e-mail with your address, I'll send you the file. Unfortunately, I was dumb enough to take my winning screen shots and then kill the game without saving them at an inn first, so you'll see the characters just before the final quest.

  12. There I was complaining that Mean Streets took me over 16 hours to finish. I salute you Sir Chet! May we share a gimlet on the day we are both clear of the 80s!

    1. You're on. It will certainly be a day to celebrate. If I hustle, I might make it to 1990 in time for my early-August trip to New Orleans.

  13. Congratulations!! I am very impressed that you perservered with this beast of a game. You deserve a vacation!

  14. Congratulations!
    Now go play Dragon Wars already! )))))

  15. Im looking forward to Dragon Wars and Buck Rogers

    Please take a break and pamper the wife a bit after the victory over this game

  16. I love how the character in the scene "reacts" to the Teddy Bear in the inventory. He's like "I wash my hands of this crap". Hilariously appropriate.

  17. Congratulations on winning this game.

    I hope your wife isn't too mad at you for playing 24 hours straight and that you get a long nights sleep before starting the next game. :-)

    Don't know too much about the upcoming games, but I am looking forward to your posts anyway. Of the 1989 games I'm mostly looking forward to Rings of Medusa though, since I played that when I was young but never understood the point of it then.

    1. My wife got used to a weird sleep schedule a long time ago.

  18. Well this deserves congratulations! I think it takes quite a bit of dedication to finish a game as long and as tedious as KoL.


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