|All the bases have these dinosaurs wandering around outside. I guess you can grind against them.|
As we discussed last time, Captive is about a convicted criminal who remote-controls a hit squad of four androids as they invade a series of bases and blow them up, killing everyone inside, all with the ultimate goal of freeing the convict from prison.
As I closed my first post, I had finished exploring the first base and had found a probe that would lead me to the second one. As instructed, I tossed some explosives into the base generators. But I was stymied trying to get out of the base. It turns out there's a weird mechanic for exiting the base via the front door. You have to click on the door, which takes you to a little 2 x 1 room with the same door but facing away from it. To normal perception, it looks like you've gone through the door and are now facing a blank wall. But it turns out you have to turn around and enter the same combination in the second (same?) door that you used to get into the base in the first place. Then you can leave, run to your ship, and blast off before the base blows up.
I remain slightly mystified as to why it's necessary to blow up the entire base--killing all those shopkeepers, among (presumably) others--after you already have the information you need for the next one. In what way are my androids not terrorists?
Once in space, you put the probe onto your space map. It heads out and finds the next base in your mission.
When I landed on the second planet, I realized I was in trouble. For some reason, I had assumed that droids heal in between dungeons, but this isn't the case. Two of my droids had very low health, and I didn't know how long it would be before I found a shop to purchase repairs. I kept dying at the hands of the level's denizens (and at my own hands, as it turns out; see below), and for some reason my lead droid got into a situation where he was taking damage every round. I don't know what caused that.
|As far as I know, the only way to heal droids is to purchase repairs at shops.|
Thus, I decided to start over and use the experience to go for better statistics. I had some pretty lousy starting attributes for my first party. In some odd, behind-the-scenes, non-obvious manner, the characters' names determine their starting statistics. The algorithm is impenetrable to the casual player; a one-letter difference in names produces wildly different values, and there doesn't seem to be any way to game the system except to try a bunch of different combinations. Some examples (numbers are, in order, dexterity, vitality, and wisdom)
CHESTER: 5 - 10 - 13
HESTER: 5 - 3 - 15
CHESTED: 13 - 15 - 12
CHESSER: 14 - 3 - 5
No famous foursomes produced terribly great combinations of attributes:
Not even androids:
So I rolled up 20 names on my random name generator, tried them all, recorded the scores, and chose the four best for my new party. I prioritized wisdom, which lowers the experience cost necessary for new skill levels.
|I got 15/15 wisdom with three characters, so I did pretty good.|
With my new party, I replayed the first dungeon and found it much easier (partly because I better understood what I was doing). I found that I could avoid melee combat entirely and just use the electricity-throwing trick.
The second dungeon was also much easier, but it was in the midst of exploring it that I realized why my droids were taking so much damage: only the two droids in the front rank can attack with a punch. If you punch with droids in the back rank, they punch their colleagues in the front rank. I was taking massive damage in each battle and I didn't know why. Not having 50% of my party attacking their fellow party members made the level a lot easier.
|I thought this was a ridiculously tough enemy until I realized that my lead character was killed by the guy behind him, not the enemy.|
The second base had one of those four-button code doors at the beginning and another a few rooms into the dungeon. There was no script offering me the combination here, but there are only 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 = 24 combinations of four buttons, so I just tried them systematically until I found the one that worked.
This is a map I've made of the second dungeon:
Seem a little small? Well, I haven't found the generators or probe yet, so I'm clearly missing something, but I can't figure out what. I've faced every wall, tried to walk through it, tried to push it, checked for buttons and levers, and can't find anything at all.
So once again, I have to end a Captive posting pleading for help. What could I be missing? I also can't leave the dungeon and return; apparently, you need to blow up the generators in each dungeon before the entry door will open again.
A few other things I discovered while playing:
- "Swords" became available as a third skill the moment I reached Level 9 on the previous two ("Brawling" and "Robotics").
- Every time you increase a skill, a random attribute goes up by one.
|My character is significantly more powerful than when created.|
- Experience rewards were lower on the second base.
- Crushing enemies with the door is effective, but it has the side-effect of destroying the enemies' gold.
- The game occurs in real-time, and (just like in Dungeon Master), enemies can attack while you're on the inventory screen or buying something in a shop.
- You take damage from running into walls, something I keep doing because I forget that the 4 and 6 keys strafe instead of turn.
Other than not being able to find the way through the second dungeon, I'm particularly annoyed that my body parts seem to take damage even when I don't do anything. I'll simply walk down a corridor, and suddenly I notice that one of my limbs is flashing "0%," and I've got to pay some shopkeeper for repairs. I don't mind being challenged by games, but I hate being confused by them. I don't like it when things happen for reasons I don't understand. Give me a game that kills me over and over, like Dark Souls, over a game that kills me rarely but leaves me saying, "Wait. Why did I just die?"
Captive seems determined to confound me all over the place. The manual, indeed, is so sparse that I suspect figuring out every aspect of the interface is deliberately intended as one of the goals. Just one more example of how Captive really isn't my sort of game.