Monday, June 8, 2015

Eye of the Beholder: Stuck!

The party encounters a key NPC.
A short posting today representing a lot of gameplay. 

I spent this last session jumping around on Levels 9 and 10, the latter accessed primarily through teleporters. I could only explore a bit of Level 10 because the teleporter area wasn't connected to the rest of the level except through what I assume is a one-way door that opens from the other side. However, the small area was enough to hit upon several major plot points.

The enemy encountered on Level 10 was "mantis warriors," incorrigible bastards that move fast and paralyze characters with one hit. The solution, as with all tough enemies, was the "combat waltz," but it was harder with these guys because they move so damned quickly. Fortunately, there were only about four of them in the area that I could explore.

I can hear more of them through the walls, though.

Through a northern door, I ran into the Drow leader that a previous NPC had told me about: Shindia. She surrendered immediately and offered to tell me how to cure the dwarven king's illness. I accepted, and she told me to search for a potion in the room of levers on the level below (which I can't access yet). She then ran off before I could do anything else with her.

I wondered if Shindia was a known Forgotten Realms character or invented just for this game. The Forgotten Realms wiki confirms that it's the former. I only read briefly because I saw Xanathar mentioned, too, and it gave me the impression that this game's entire plot is lifted from a book or module. I'll look that up after I finish the game.

Nearby on the same level, I found the dwarven prince, Keirgar, chained to a wall. I had the options to free or kill him, and naturally I chose to free him. He joined my party, so I dumped the other dwarven fighter who'd been with me since Level 5. Keirgar informed me of his desire to forestall a war between the dwarves and the Drow and wanted me to bring him back to the other dwarves on Level 5.

I hauled Keirgar back to his fellows, and he instructed them how to get out of the dungeon. (They didn't actually leave, though.) He decided to stay in my party. I'm not sure if freeing Keirgar is a necessary step to win the game, or if I can legitimately call this a "side quest." I assume that the dwarves will give me the Wand of Silvania when I return with the medicine for their king--is there an alternate evil path by which I could have just killed everyone?

Having done all I could on Level 10, I took the teleporters to Level 9 and explored there. It was the most puzzle-intensive level so far, with numerous pressure plates, buttons, keyholes, and other mysteries, and as we'll discuss in a second, I'm out of ideas for some of the puzzles. One of them required me to weigh down 4 pressure plates with a suit of armor, a sword, a missile weapon, and a packet of food. The first three were no problem thanks to the extra junk I'd been toting around, but I stopped bothering with food ages ago. I had to go all the way back up to Level 6 and kill some Kenku to get some more.

Enemies on Level 9 were displacer beasts and rust monsters, both very easy. They mostly attacked individually, and there were plenty of large rooms to do the combat waltz. Rust monsters never struck me once, so I didn't have the frustration of having my armor or weapons destroyed. There was one area with a very large pack of displacer beasts, but my mage's "Ice Storm" and "Fireball" spells thinned them very quickly.

The rust monsters are particularly well-drawn, I think.
I'm very frustrated with the equipment system, which as we discussed refuses to tell you anything about your items. I still haven't found an "Orb of Power" to use at the Oracle on Level 5. On the bones of some dead paladin, I found a sword called "Severious," but I have no idea if it's better or worse than my "Chieftain Halberd" or my "Night Stalker" sword or my mace +3 or my multiple adamantite long swords. At the same time, equipment upgrades hardly feel like they matter because the combat system is more about action than logistics. While I don't mind killing things and leveling up, in a tactical sense combat is the weakest part of the game.

You play this game with six characters, but I feel like you could win with two without much difficulty. Most of the time, my rear four characters don't do anything. I defeat most enemies with the "combat waltz" because it's such a pain to pick up missile weapons after the end of each battle. Only late in this session did Marina start pulling her weight as a mage. "Ice Storm" and "Fireball" are particularly valuable, as is a wand of "Cone of Cold" that we found. As for "Melf's Acid Arrow" and "Magic Missile"--it doesn't seem they do much more than a missile weapon.

Resting to recover cast spells.
My clerics are useful mostly for the healing spells, "Remove Paralysis," and an occasional "Bless"/"Prayer"/"Protection from Evil" combo when I need to buff. Gaston has several "Hold Persons" memorized, but I've never had a chance to use them. "Flame Blade" is a bit of a waste unless I want to put him in melee range, and there's no reason for that. I haven't come under the influence of anything I need "Dispel Magic" for.

As much as I've been able to map of Level 9.
As we come to the end of this session, however, I'm completely stuck. I've been over the maps and levels a dozen times and I can't find any way to move forward. If you can give me a light hint off my textual descriptions, I'd appreciate it. If this is too confusing, I'll have to look at a spoiler site.

  • On Level 7, there's a small teleporter hub that's not accessible from the rest of the level. I've identified teleporters to Levels 4, 5, and 9 from here. There are two portals I can't use because I lack the appropriate items: a stone ankh and a stone gem. Was I supposed to have found these already?
  • There's a door leading out of the Level 7 teleporter hub to the southeast, but I can't get it open.
  • Large swaths of the southeast of Levels 7, 8, and 9 remain unexplored, but I can't find any way to get in there. There are no pits from Level 6 to drop me into the area.
  • On Level 9, there are two doors in the northeast that require keys to open, and I haven't found any. Lockpicks don't work.
  • There's an "Oracle of Devouring" on Level 9, but I don't know what it wants.

I've tried everything.

  • There's a "Hall of Thieves" on Level 9 with a bunch of niches in the wall, but nothing I do here seems to produce any results. A sign at the end of the corridor that says "You forgot something" is no help.
  • There's a room on Level 9 with a bunch of buttons and a sign that says "Combination Lock--Be Quick." The buttons just seem to shoot magic missiles at me. I can't find that they do anything in any order. A door just outside this room is permanently closed.

I hate this message.

  • One set of stairs from Level 9 to Level 10 (in the southwest) just leads to a door I can't get through.
  • I can teleport to Level 10 from Levels 6 and 8, but the area I can explore from the arrival is quite small. There's a door to the north of the teleporter hub, but it won't open from this side. A sign that says "Welcome" in the corridor just causes damage to my party.

There were some pits on Level 9 that would have taken me to Level 10, but I closed them by stepping on a pressure plate, and there doesn't seem to be any way to re-open them. Hopefully, I haven't put myself in a "walking dead' scenario.

Time so far: 30 hours
Reload count: 11


I thought I'd check out the all-German Antares and perhaps put together an introductory post while waiting for the hints to come in, but I'm having some trouble: I can't figure out how to create characters! (And I can't find a manual online.) The only YouTube video of the game shows the player loading up the game, getting to the introductory screen, and then frantically clicking around for a couple of minutes, presumably trying to find the character creation options just like me, before he quits in frustration.

There's a "load party" option if you hit ESC, but when I do it, most of the party members are damaged or dead. I suspect these guys have already been playing a while and then just came on the disk. Especially you German-speaking readers, if you look at that video, do you see anything promising? Has anyone here played the game before?


  1. I hope your game state is not in a zombie like walking dead state. Really anoying :)

  2. Never touched Antares myself. Looks like a really weird game, though. From what I hear, "Press right mouse button on title screen to create a party and select A,B or C to save. Then load this party when you start the game at the lunar module."

    1. Yeah, that's basically it. (And they mean it with "on title screen" - it's best not to use the LMB until you see the party selection screen ;))

  3. Re: Antares. I watched the video and according to the background story, your shuttle was shot down and crash landed on the planet, so it would make sense that everyone's injured or dead. Also, on the game screen, the second option ("wiederbeleben") is "reanimation", so perhaps this is the way to go.

    1. What's the point of having dead characters at the get-go? If the game only supports 4 characters, they could have a vessel filled with hundreds of dead crew members with only 4 survivors (who would make up the party) with minor scratches.

    2. The Mobygames description says that "the party has six members (chosen from twelve pre-defined characters)" and that "dead party members can be resurrected at the landing module." So I think kkarpfen's interpretation is correct.

    3. There's a site dedicated to Anteres here:

      My German isn't very good, but it seems like your initial party is supposed to consist of two humans, a female android, a combat robot, and an incorporeal spirit.

    4. I am german and can help with that (I don't know exactly what "that" means right now, but basically I could translate the whole game in readable english).

    5. I think Jan solved it below.

  4. As for the Oracle of devouring, qribhevat vf nyy gung vg qbrf.

    As for the "Combination lock", V *guvax* vg'f whfg n genc (nygubhtu abg univat orngra gur tnzr va bire n qrpnqr qbrfa'g uryc.)

  5. I looked at the EotB FAQ by Sergio on GameFAQs, and it doesn't seem like you're in a "walking dead" scenario.

    Light hint: Gurer vf bayl bar jnl gb cebterff qbja sebz yriry gra. Vg vf qvfpbirerq ol qbvat fghss va yriry gra. Lbh qba'g arrq nal fcrpvny vgrzf.

    I'll refrain from posting the explicit solution, since it's easy to look up.

    1. I appreciate it, but I think my bigger problem is getting to the "main" part of Level 10 in the first place, not progressing down from there. The only two small areas of Level 10 I can access are sealed from the other sides.

  6. I remember this part of the game being a bit tricky and myself getting lost for a while too. I'm sure you aren't walking dead though, it's just that the path forward is obscure. It's been years since I last beat EOB, but I'll tell what I remember:

    You can ignore Hall of Thieves.
    Unyy bs Guvrirf whfg fgrnyf vgrzf sebz lbh hagvy lbh fgrc ba gur sybbe cyngr. Fgbyra vgrzf raq hc va gur furyirf.

    You can ignore Oracle of Devouring.
    Nyy vg vf, vf n jbefr irefvba bs Benpyr bs Xabjyrqtr. Vg qbrf gur fnzr guvat nf BbX, ohg rngf gur fcurer, juvyr BbX yrgf lbh xrrc gur fcurer.

    You can ignore the combination lock.
    Vagrearg pynvzf gung vg'f na vzcbffvoyr-gb-orng erq ureevat. V unir n snvag erpbyyrpgvba bs fhpprffshyyl bcravat vg, ohg va nal pnfr jungrire lbh trg bhg bs vg vf abg erdhverq sbe orngvat gur tnzr.

    I highly recommend you keep the Severious.
    Vg'f gur orfg fjbeq va gur ragver frevrf, orggre guna nal jrncba lbh svaq va tnzrf gjb naq guerr (rdhvczrag onynapr va gur svefg tnzr vf xvaq bs jbaxl).

    1. Speaking of weapons to keep, Chieftain Halberd becomes super useful in EOB3 where polearms can be used from the second rank.

    2. Does this count as a spoiler? I'm one of those who didn't keep the halberd.

    3. I think what happened with the Hall of Thieves is that I first came to the level through a teleporter, and I hit the pressure plate that deactivates the hall before walking down the hall, so I never saw what it was doing. I appreciate the clarification.

      It's hard to believe the combination lock doesn't do SOMETHING, but everyone seems to agree. I sucked up a lot of damage form that frigging thing, too.

      I still can't figure out how to proceed. Every way forward is a door with no button or for which I don't have the key.

  7. 'is there an alternate evil path by which I could have just killed everyone?'

    Lrf, gurer vf, lbh pbhyq xvyy rirelobql naq fgvyy pbzcyrgr gur tnzr, ohg qbvat gur cngu lbh ner, vg vf zber sha.

    About the locked door in the hub:

    vg'f cneg bs n ybat zhygvyriry chmmyr, fgnegvat va yriry 7: onfvpnyyl lbh tb guebhtu gur ynetr haznccrq nern lbh unir vqragvsvrq, ol svaqvat naq perngvat gur zrnaf gb npprff gur fhofrdhrag pybfrq nernf, hagvy lbh svanyyl trg gur xrl gb npprff gur pybfrq qbbe gurer.

    About other closed doors:

    ng yrnfg bar va yriry 9 pna or bcrarq sebz gur bgure fvqr; bgure va gur cerivbhf gjb yriryf orpbzr vanpprffvoyr, qrcraqvat ba lbhe pubvprf gb bcra bgure qbbef, jurgure gurl jrer pbafpvbhf be abg.

    'Hall of Thieves'
    nf lbh jnyx cnfg gur avpurf va gur jnyy, fbzr vgrz trg fgbyra naq cynprq gurer. Lbh unir b svaq n jnl gb cnff guebhtu gung pbeevqbe naq erpbire lbhe fgbyra cbffrffvbaf.

    About being stuck:

    gurer ner 3 jnlf gb ernpu gur yriry 10 ol yriry 9: gjb ol fgnvejnlf, gnxvat gb qvssrerag nernf bs gung yriry, bar ol snyyvat va n cvg.

    About stone items (mild spoiler):
    gur trz vf abg hfrq va guvf tnzr: gurer vf nyfb n cbegny va n vanpprffvoyr cneg bs yriry 1 gung jnf rvgure vagraqrq nf n rkvg ebhgr sbe jura lbh pbzcyrgrq gur tnzr be sbe fbzr rkcybengvba ernfbaf; lbh pbhyq svaq vg bayl ivn na unpx.

    gur ubyl flzoby vf ba n ybjre yriry.

    1. Thanks, Marco. If I might ask for one more hint--no need to ROT-13 it--on what level should I be able to first enter those closed areas? You say "starting on Level 7," but I don't know if you mean that's where the areas first appear (which they do), or whether I should somehow be able to access them on this level.

    2. Yeah, the core of the three levels, 7, 8, 9 is accessed from level 7, there's a stairway down not far from where you met the Drow party: there's a lot of stairs involved :)

    3. Yes, I think you missed a stairway right in the open on Level 7.

    4. Huh. I can't actually play the game from where I am right now, but my map of Level 7 does show a staircase that doesn't seem to have an analog on Level 8. Is it possible that I only ever reached Level 8 via teleporter, and just assumed later that I had taken the staircase? I'll feel pretty dumb if that's the case.

    5. Don't be: that's probably the most complex part of the game there, and on my first couple of runs I did the same thing.
      Since you find the means to access the teleporter to level 8 before the hard combat with Kenku in level 6, that's an easy thing to do.

  8. The last time I've beat EoB was like two years ago and on top of my head I don't remember the details but I don't recall any particular problems descending from level 10 either. But again it wasn't my first playthrough so I might have known exactly what to do. Or by the time I get so deep I am in the proper mindset to figure it out.

    >> I wondered if Shindia was a known Forgotten Realms character or invented just for this game
    Well it is an official AD&D product so the in-game lore got incorporated into the official canon. I am not aware of EoB series being based on any pre-existing novel.

    Oracle of Devouring - stay away. One of the nastiest points of interest in-game.

    Portals - there might be a missing activation item. It is hard for me to belive it was intentional and so there is an unofficial 1.9 patch on the internet that fixes several small oversights like this one.

    About indentification in EoB - I don't like the system here to be honest. But from a pure role-playing point of view (not power-playing) - would you know the exact stats of an item you found in a dungeon (or any item for that matter. And yeah I understand we already know our AC and HP stats)? Again I don't belive it to be intentional game-design but such meta-gaming slighly breaks immersion, does it not?

    1. I've heard that last argument before, and I don't subscribe to it. By that logic, I shouldn't be able to see my characters' statistics or hit points, or the damage I'm doing to monsters, or any other quantitative data in the game. I don't consider any of these things immersion-breaking. Like everything else in the game, weapon statistics are an abstraction of things that the real-life characters WOULD know about the items.

    2. Well, I don't claim it is a valid argument. Just bear in mind that in 1991 we are still in a period when creators were constantly reinventing the wheel, familiarizing themselves with the new medium and testing what works and what doesn't. It is well over a decade before I first heard of a term game design.

      Considering the sorry state the gaming industry is in today I really miss the times of innovation even though 99% of it sucked.

    3. "Like everything else in the game, weapon statistics are an abstraction of things that the real-life characters WOULD know about the items."

      But... in real life you wouldn't know. In real life, even if you're a professional fighter, you have absolutely no idea which sharp thingy stabs the goodest, except through meticulous testing. Which you can do here, as the game shows you the damage numbers. Weapon data is really information that realistically, were you put into this situation, you would have no access to. You'd have to go by feel and instinct.

      As proof, look at how much arguing there is on the internet over whether M-16 or AK-47 is superior. These are purely mechanical devices, half a century old, thoroughly researched and tested, and there still is no consensus. Because that sort of effectiveness data is actually incredibly difficult to get and interpret.

      You may dislike hiding statistics from a game mechanical standpoint, and it's a fair argument, but from the immersion standpoint hiding them is the way to go, in fact the game probably should hide even more stuff than it does (for example, hide the XP like DM did).

    4. When I was really young (I think 10-ish) and into game design I came up with an idea for a game where your character's statistical data is all hidden with you at the start. You input fluff data - backgrounds, professions, hobbies, quirks - and the game generates a stat sheet but keeps the results hidden from you.

      You find your relative position in the world's hierarchy on various parameters by meeting new characters and testing yourself against them - for instance, once you get new party members you learn everyone's relative strength, who is strongest/second strongest/weakest etc.

      There's no *inherent* problem with an approach like this. Discovery is a fun mechanic which is integral to adventure, mystery, horror, and role-play gaming The problem comes when you consider that the number of people who are going to enjoy knowing the barest minimum about their characters and the elements of the gameworld is going to be limited to the hardcore simulationists, who are most likely a strong minority in the gaming population as a while. And the role-play gaming segment is already a decent minority of humanity to begin with.

      Such a system would only have niche appeal - that sad, there aren't many games currently serving that specialized market, so games designed specifically to appeal to such tastes might actually do very well with a modest budget.

    5. Discovery *is* a fun mechanic. It might be interesting to imagine a game that actually lets you turn all stats "invisible," similar to the choice of health bar vs. numerical HP. I must say that in games that revolve entirely or mostly around combat and leveling, though, not knowing the stats of anything is a tough sell. It probably depends how difficult the combat is and how ruthless the economy - we saw in the case of "Captive" a game where unclear weapon power and a really unforgiving set of choices/consequences (which made freely experimenting with things -- within a single play-through -- almost unthinkable) made for maybe not such a satisfying play experience!

      As for the "realism" of knowing a weapon's abilities - I think this is a fair argument, but since not knowing is going to make for a less enjoyable game, the DM (the programmers/designers) should probably get creative and think of an alternative, many versions of which we have seen or will see. A developable skill in appraising or comparing items, with increasing accuracy and confidence, for example, wouldn't be totally implausible - "Balgur tests the balance and sharpness of the RUSTY SWORD and the RED SWORD. 'This RED SWORD is SLIGHTLY STRONGER, unless I miss my guess.'" Taken far enough, this kind of thing makes one feel more of an attachment to the party members and their irreplaceable and non-equivalent skills: sure, Balgur doesn't hit very hard, but where would be without that lovable old gnome?

      Or it can just be baked into the engine with a little flavor text that everybody has this ability (perhaps getting slightly better over time) - - - the end point of which is simply displaying the stat on the screen, but there might be other ways of handling it. Alternately, shopkeepers, other NPCs (oracles, curators of weapons museums), magic pools in which you dip the items, etc., could cover some of the same ground. This lends itself to the kind of game where you make lots of forays into one or many dungeons, and part of the satisfaction is arriving back in town with a fresh haul and finding out whether your goodie bag is full of Christmas candy or booby prizes.

      Perhaps most interesting in the "discovery" category would be items whose special properties are not merely a matter of increases in a single damage stat, but which offer other benefits which one might find out through use. This would vary based on the engine; my first reference here is a very non-CRPGish game, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (an action platformer with heavy RPG elements), in which the swords can do really different things in the engine: they can hit harder but with a shorter reach, or fly away from you and arc back in a boomerange motion, or slice very fast, or slice many times with a single button-press, etc. The roguelikes seem to give us an alternate model, with a million special modifiers one might discover through trying a weapon for a little while against miscellaneous mooks (if it's called "Stonehammer" and it turns enemies to stone once every twenty swings or so, you'll notice). This, of course, requires that the game has a reasonable but not annoying supply of enemies who aren't so challenging that you feel you constantly have to keep your most trusty, well-known weapons equipped...... and so on, and so on.

    6. There's a mod for football manager which makes all stats invisible.

      It changes the game from a spreadsheet exercise to one where you have to do what real-world coaches do. Get opinions from your talent scouts and coaches, watch how your players do on the field and dump them if they don't perform.

      Personally i prefer the spreadsheet :)

    7. I prefer numbers a lot over obscurity. CRPGs are also about improving your character, in level and equipment.

      I won't go as far as saying that more numbers are automatically better, but equipment is a huge factor and if you can clearly improve that, that helps a lot.

    8. Yeah, I thought managers only look at spreadsheets. Coaches are the ones to tabulate the information into quantifiable data to submit to the manager.

      Unless you're a coach/manager.

    9. I concede that you could make a really good game in which you don't see explicit numbers. Dungeons of Daggorath is basically that; you have to figure out your health from the speed of your heartbeat.

      Nonetheless, I don't think that's what they were going for in EotB. I think it's just a bad mechanic. Yes, I suppose I could watch the damages for a basic idea of how much damage the weapon is doing, but the problem is much deeper than that. Some weapons have higher "to hit" ratings, for instance, which is almost impossible to discern. If a piece of armor offers extra protection against frost or fire, there's no way to tell except in the rare occasions when you encounter frost or fire, and in such places, it's impossible to tell if your reduced damage is due to equipment or a lucky saving throw. Then there are entire pieces of equipment--magic rings, rods, whatever--that don't have any explicit or obvious use at all.

      Neither DM nor EotB gives you enough feedback from actions to suss out the uses of different bits of equipment. I don't excuse a bad mechanic in these games by hypothesizing what a good mechanic might look like in an entirely different game.

    10. I've seen some games where you have to make stat checks to identify the properties of items. Some roguelikes have a feature where you learn monsters stats as you fight them. (D&D has skill checks for a similar item).

      Yes, I know I've not made much progress. Lost my spot so reread a number of entries so I would not miss anything.

  9. About "combat waltz", this is heavily averted in Grimrock 2. If you try to "waltz" most enemies will just: either act faster then you, or will "strafe" or jump forward or even dodge attack by jumping on different square.

    You can "waltz" only slowest enemies (with some risk).

    1. The combat dance is a feature of the genre, not a bug. It only becomes a bug if the designers fail to take it into account when designing combat encounters.

    2. Combat waltzing is still a key part of Grimrock 2. They didn't drop it, they made it an essential part of the game, but instead of the standard formulas you have to use new ones.

      For example, you often have to dodge spells or charging enemies. A failure to do so can be crippling.

    3. I never got all the hate towards real-time combat in blobbers. Like Moza said, it's a feature of the genre and can be well implemented. Grimrock 2 did well indeed with creative monsters, but even in CSB waltzing around was a risky procedure. I still remember that dragon beneath the demon director where you could dance around it and have the impression everything was fine, before a pit opened after you walked over the same tile a certain number of times, a) throwing you in a worse trap and b) leaving you no more space to manoeuver if you got back up with the dragon.

    4. I think my biggest problem with the Combat Waltz, even if it's done well (and I personally haven't seen it done very well), is that it's just really silly to imagine one party spinning in place while the other runs in a square around them.

    5. Yeah, it's immersion breaking for me. It looks silly in my head.

      It's also a bit disappointing given that it reduces the influence of gear and stats. When the waltz is sufficiently easy to to perform, you could do it just as easily with no armor and bare hands. The only concern becomes time taken per enemy (and in that case, armor is still irrelevant).

      When the waltz is sufficiently difficult to perform, your stats and gear matters, but the game feels arcadey - it becomes about pattern recognition, accurate and speedy input. I generally don't like my RPGs to involve that style of gameplay.

    6. I have no problem with that, it's part of the genre to me: it's dungeon crawling with light role playing; (EoB in particular) it finds a different way to tell a story than with words, and it gets a more arcade part to its gameplay to do that; I just like it more than turn based tedious fights à la wizardry, Bards Tale, that simply slow the game without adding real depth to the other role playing part

    7. Don't pretty much all action games use the same basic mechanic, though? Your personal and weapon statistics control the damage done, but your personal agility with the controller determines the likelihood of hitting. Skyrim fundamentally isn't that much different; it just has better enemy AI.

    8. Chet, you are right; my disaffection with the turn based combat is not caused by the mechanics of the hit/damage, that most games have alike (Pillars of Eternity is one game that does it differently - like it or not - ) but with the breaking of the pace and the inherent slowing down. I stopped playing Wizardry 7 because of that, but that's me.

      In general though, I think statistics are a drug, one that I have much abused... I think that I would have enjoyed more the role part of games if stats were not so much important from the start.

    9. "Don't pretty much all action games use the same basic mechanic, though? Your personal and weapon statistics control the damage done, but your personal agility with the controller determines the likelihood of hitting. Skyrim fundamentally isn't that much different; it just has better enemy AI."

      Morrowind, at least, used your statistics for hit calculations, which is why you often saw your blade or arrow pass harmlessly through your target. They got rid of that mechanic in Oblivion.

  10. I can't think of a way to end up walking dead in this game, though a couple occur to me in the second game. And I also rarely use Hold Person, but it's pretty handy in the sequel.

    You haven't missed the stone ankh or stone gem.

    For those doors on Level 9, maybe they don't take a traditional key?

    I'm pretty sure Shindia's supposed to be the person talking to Xanathar in the intro as they watch through the crystal ball.

    You'll get the chance to create mantis warriors for your party when you hit Dark Sun in '93. Personally, I like that game more than its Gold Box ancestors.

    1. Dark Sun is up there with Planescape as my favourite D&D setting. Dystopian survivalism with no gods, an original list of monsters and races, few 'good guys' and an environmentalist ethic.

      I like that the choice of the character's race matters a lot more as well.

    2. Thri-kreen unfortunately have a near crippling bug (hue) in that game:

      gurl pna'g hfr zntvp jrncbaf cebcreyl qhr gb vzcebcre pbqvat bs gurve angheny jrncbael. Nf fhpu gurl pna'g crargengr gur nezbhe bs rarzvrf gung arrq zntvp jrncbaf gb qnzntr gurz, yvxr ryrzragnyf naq qrzbaf. Guvf vf n uhtr vffhr yngr-tnzr. Lbh pna bayl ernyyl pvephzirag vg ol fgvpxvat gb fbzr pbzovangvba bs pyrevp, qehvq, naq/be cfvbavpvfg sbe gurve pynffrf fb gurl unir guvatf gb qb va pbzong gung nera'g uvggvat guvatf.

    3. I love Dark Sun too. Regarding the bug... Ohg gur guvat vf: Guev-Xerraf rkpry ng uvggvat guvatf! Pity. Also, the bug seems to be eliminated in Dark Sun 2. However, the sequel has a lot of other bugs instead.

    4. I know, it's unfortunate. :c

      I didn't get very far in the sequel. V uvg n znwbe oht va gur svefg bs gur sbhe znva cybgyvarf gung erdhverf fbyivat n gvzrq chmmyr juvpu vf onqyl oebxra ol n uvtu PCH fcrrq. Rzhyngvat n fybjre pybpx fcrrq qvqa'g frrz gb uryc. V riraghnyyl jbexrq nebhaq vg ol zhygvguernqvat.

      Hasbeghangryl, ba gur *arkg* znva cybgyvar V jrag gb, V uvg nabgure tnzr-oernxvat oht gung V PBHYQA'G jbex nebhaq jurer n fgbel nern jvgu zhygvcyr irefvbaf ybnqrq gur jebat bar nurnq bs gvzr naq V qvqa'g unir gur nccebcevngr xrl vgrz gb nyybj zr gb rkvg guvf irefvba bs vg. Fb zl cnegl tbg genccrq gurer sberire.

    5. That's not the worst. I don't even need to ROT13 it because it is not plot-related.

      One of DRM question is bugged. Meaning, you can't play any further at one point because the word it asked for in the manual isn't the one it wants.

    6. Do remember that Dark Sun 2 was the first cRPG released so buggy, that even after the first patch, the developers said "this isn't worth it" and let the game stay as it was.

      That Dark Sun 1 thri-kreen bug is unfortunate. I confess I didn't have one in my party, so seems I was lucky,

    7. I've never had more than one in my party, and didn't notice the bug. I'm tempted to try an all thri-keen party now. It doesn't seem like it'd be too much of a problem.

  11. Ok, I fired up Antares and got the character selection working (not trivial). This is how I did it using fs-uae in Linux (but the process should be the same for other emulators/operating systems):
    - I downloaded the files from amigafuture (
    - Press the right mouse button during the intro. This will bring up the character selection screen. Choose 5 characters from 12.
    - There are 3 save slots for three teams ("Equipe"). Slots A and C are already occupied from previous games.
    - To load a team, press the disk icon or press ESC. Then select "Equipe laden" (load team).

    I have no idea how to clear a team slot again.

    1. Thanks, Jan. Pressing the right mouse button during the intro was the the part I overlooked. I can only assume it was clear in the game manual.

  12. Obdurate Hater of Rhythm GamesJune 8, 2015 at 2:38 PM

    I just got a few old C.R.P.G.s: The Magic Candle, Buck Rogers Countdown to Doomsday and Shannara. What do you guys think would be good but not too overpowered character builds for those games? I love Legend, so I have high hopes for Shannara, though I doubt it will be as awesome as Superhero League of Hoboken.

    1. Shannara is primarily an adventure game. IIRC there was absolutely no character customization.

    2. For The Magic Candle, there are really no optimal builds. Just get whoever you want. I suggest reading the manual first. It has the background story of all the possible recruitable members and it's a riot to read them all.

      By the time you're done, you'll have an idea of what each one can do and who are your favorites.

    3. For The Magic Candle, add to the party the characters that are also recruitable in MC2 or MC3, as they import from game to game.

    I was sure there is an orb of power on level 9 but it's not mentioned in the hint book.
    At a room "One key for one gem". ""It is written, the key lies on the
    other side ." See, it's clearly marked.

    I dont understand why you can't proceed from the stairs at southeast spiral like corridor. The place with three pressure pads? There's probably only one locked door at level 10 and you can easily find the key. But you can't get to the lock side if you enter through a portal.
    At your level 9 map near location 21, again aim at what you can't see. There's another stairs to level 10.
    At level 11, there are a lot of small buttons.

    1. Er... close your eyes and delete it, Chet.

    2. I CAN proceed down the stairs at the southeast spiral-like corridor, but it just leads to a small area with one enemy and a door I can't get past.

      I haven't found any rooms that say "one key for one gem" or "the key lies on the other side."

      I don't know what you mean about Location 21, but I'll play around in that area.

    3. The two ways down to the main portion of Level 10 are at Location 21. One is by falling down those pits you closed, and can't reopen. The other is by solving a puzzle involving the items in that room.

      On my first run, I thought I entered a walking dead situation too, and loaded an earlier save from before I closed the pits. I didn't find out about the puzzle until I looked at that section in the clue book after beating the game.

    4. Okay, thanks. When I get back to it tonight, I'll mess around in that room. Unfortunately, I don't remember what items I found there. I think it was a couple of scrolls.

    5. Xrzf's comment led on the spiral-like corridor led me to check out the clue book again, and there's a third way to the larger part of Level 10, by solving a puzzle in that small area it leads down to that will open the sealed door. I guess I've only opened it from the other side, where it works like any other door. So, you've got two angles of attack that will ultimately lead to the same place.

    6. In my version of this game the spiral corridor leads to a place with one mantis warrior in a small room and a bigger room with three pressures plates and a door. It isn't even a puzzle.

      "I haven't found any rooms that say "one key for one gem""
      Oh, my bad. Misread your map. Go back to where you entered these levels, the place where the drow patrol stopped you. Just a few steps to the east will lead to those blank areas on your map.
      I'm still not sure we are playing the same game. I just used the All-Seeing Eye to check these locations.

    7. Wait a minute. You say you've closed those pits (location 21). How did you do it without opening the way to the stairs nearby, maybe the game glitched somehow?

    8. I closed the pits by dropping down from the higher level into the corner of the room on the other side of the pits, then stepped on a pressure plate.

      I eventually figured out what to do in this room. Unless this was clued somewhere else that I missed, it's a horribly unfair puzzle.

      I have no idea how I got so screwed up on Level 7. I DID go down those stairs originally--as you say, that's where I encountered the drow patrol. But somehow I ended up going back up, then returning to the level via the teleporter and not realizing that I hadn't mapped the part around the stairs.

      I've got it now. Thanks for all the help!

    9. Good job getting past! This is the bit where I got stuck and quit playing.

      I did finish EoB 2 & 3 though, using fresh parties. Based on what people have said about overpowered weapons from EoB 1, you might consider doing the same (I thought the difficulty in both was fine when starting from scratch).

    10. There is no "walking dead" scenario in EoB1 (unlike EoB2).

      And please do import your characters in EoB2 to save you at least some frustration - as you said, combat is the weakest point in the game and there's at least a very frustrating part of the game that becomes more doable with a souped up group.

    11. I know I had more than a few party wipes in the sequel, even with imported characters.

      Xrzf, the three pressure plates in the room the spiral corridor leads to is the puzzle. The door is initially closed, and to open it from that side you need to leave a weapon (no other item will do) on each plate. But if you come down to Level 10 from location 21, either via the pits or the staircase triggered by throwing an item, you'll be on the opposite side of that door and can open it through a simple button press.

  14. I'm pretty sure that all those named magic items are just +1 +2 +whatever of the usual long sword, halberd, axe, etc. This is before Diablo got popular and games needed to have tons and tons of loot. I think in D&D the main way your fighters got stronger was by leveling up and having additional attacks, rather than finding new and more powerful weapons. Though I do remember that M&M3-5 had an interesting loot system of items with prefixes and suffixes that changed the stats of the items.

    1. Loot has always been a massive feature of D&D and most of its derivatives. Baldur's Gae was contemporary with Diablo and had tons of items with special properties. We're out of the Gold Box era of +1/+2/+3 by this point.

    2. Diablo I is essentially a graphical, real-time version of the RL games that were already popular when it came out, down to the loot system. Tons and Tons Of Loot was a Thing as soon as the computer gained enough memory to handle it.

  15. Severious is the best longsword in the Series and i don't mean game, i mean series: you can transfer it to EOB3.


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