Friday, June 12, 2015

Eye of the Beholder: Won!


The rest of the game only took me about 3 hours. Since the fact that Level 12 was the last level was spoiled, I decided to exhaustively document it. This gives you a sense of what it's like to be me, slowly exploring and mapping a level as I go. The narrative below refers to index numbers on this map:

   
1. The teleporter brings me to an area that turns out to be roughly in the center of the level. At first, the 3 x 3 square area (with a pillar in the middle) doesn't seem to have any exit.

2. A nook in the northwest corner has a hole that "reeks faintly of smoke." Given its shape, I think that maybe it accommodates an Orb of Power, but nothing happens when I try to insert one. I try fiddling with a sconce on the north wall, and I immediately get blasted by a fireball. "Reeks faintly of smoke"--I get it now. It does so much damage that Kirath is killed and Marina is knocked unconscious. Rather than reload or return to the dwarves, I have Gaston use a Scroll of Raise Dead on Kirath, then rest for everyone to regain hit points and spells.

The party pays for my lack of deductive reasoning.
        
3. The sconce on the west wall opens a secret door, allowing me to proceed on.

4. A message reads "Turn back; no trespassing." I curse my luck and retreat to an earlier level. I call the SSI tip line and ask them if I'm not allowed to proceed past the sign, how can I possibly get to the end of the game? The SSI tip line tells me that a "chaotic" character needs to convince the others that they can occasionally ignore signs. I role-play as suggested and we all move forward.

"But the sign said!"

5. An "eyeball door" brings us to a message reading "you were warned." Can't argue with that: we were.

6. Another "eyeball door" opens to a north/south corridor, where I encounter my first enemy: a golem. Fortunately, I'm in a square room that wraps around a pillar, so I'm able to do a version of the combat waltz to kill him without injury. No sooner have I done that than two more appear. I don't want to get trapped between them, so I lead one back to a previous room (4) and close the door behind us. After I kill him, I open the door and take care of the third, and a fourth after that. The golems move so slow that no one is injured.

Attacking the golem as I move backwards, round and round a pillar.

7. A door to the north is locked from this side, so I have to turn around and try one to the south. I pass a door to the east, then bend to the east, which opens up into:

8. A 3 x 5 room with three pedestals. It looks like one has a ring and a potion, a second has a key, and a third has a necklace and a potion. It feels like a trap, so I proceed past it for now, intending to explore and map the rest of the area before I commit to anything.

I'm not that stupid.

9. The only way out, a door to the east, is locked, and a keyhole sits next to it. Reluctantly, I take the key from the middle pedestal. Nothing unfortunate seems to happen, and there are no faint "click" sounds that make you wonder what secret door just opened, spewing out a legion of enemies. Still, I continue to ignore the other treasures and put the key in the lock. The door opens.

10. The corridor beyond curves to the south and puts me face to face with two more golems. I make a fighting retreat back to the pedestal room, firing missile weapons and doing the combat waltz on the corners. This works fine, but while I'm in the pedestal room, the keyed door closes. I've wasted a key, and I don't know if there are any more, or how much stuff I missed beyond the area. I contemplate reloading but decide to take heart in the fact I have a backup of the saved game from just before this level. I suck up the misfortune and continue forward. (I never get back and see what was beyond this room, which is why the map is incomplete there.)

Hurling stuff at the golem from afar.

11. The only place left is the previous eastern door, which ends in a 2 x 3 room with three buttons on the east wall. Since I have no other places to go and no other clues on this level (except to take the treasures back in the pedestal room), I figure I'd better push them.

12. The first one just moves me through a secret door back into the pedestal room. The second doesn't seem to do anything at all, except close the west door behind me. Either does the third.

13. Despondent, I turn around and leave the room, but back in the corridors, I soon realize that something is amiss. Where the pedestal room should be is a different corridor instead...

14. ...leading to a small 4 x 4 room with nothing in it. I soon realize that the buttons didn't close the door behind me; they teleported me to other rooms of the same dimensions. There are several 2 x 3 rooms with three buttons each, each of which teleports me to a different area. By leaving various junk items on the floor, I soon work out a pattern to the buttons, and start to map where I'm being teleported to, but unfortunately I don't know where the rooms are relative to each other. That doesn't become clear until a little later in the level, when I'm finally able to piece everything together.

Pretty sneaky, SSI.

15. When I'm done with my teleporter mapping experiments, I'm in this room.

16. In the next area to the north, a button opens a niche in the south wall and reveals a wand, which I give to Marina. It later turns out to be a Wand of Fireballs. Both my mages now have powerful wands.

If everything on this level wasn't immune to magic, this would be sweet.
        
17. Bending west and then north from there, I come to a room with three empty pedestals and a giant eye above them. I experiment with putting items on the pedestals. Three Orbs of Power do the trick, removing the pedestals and opening access to a door beyond. But the Orbs disappear, leaving me with only 1 left. I hope this is the only place that requires them!

"I....see...you."
        
18. The next room branches east and west, and via the west branch, I eventually make my way back to the starting area, alowing me to connect a couple of maps that were otherwise independent.

19. But on the way is ANOTHER room of pedestals with three signs opposite them: "Sphere for animation," "Potion for Strength," "Stone for Substance." Sighing, I suck it up and put my last Orb, a rock, and a random potion on the three pedestals and push the button. A buzz sounds.

20. Out of an alcove near the room comes a golem! "Cool!" I say. "My own golem!"--right before he attacks me and kills Bugsy in one blow. No way am I losing my last Orb of Power and another resurrection scroll. I reload. My last save is at 11, so I do everything again back through 18.

What the hell?! I made you!

21. The east exit from the area leads to a room with six Orbs of Power on a pedestal, so maybe I was freaking out for nothing, but I still can't see any reason to create a golem that just attacks me. I wonder if maybe I'll need him later for a puzzle, but this turns out not to be the case. My best guess is that the purpose of this area is to generate enemies in case you want to do some final grinding before the end. Or else there's a way I didn't see to bring the golems under your control; otherwise, the Orbs of Power are kind of stupid.

22. Continuing east, I find another golem behind a door, lead him back to the previous room, and waltz him to death. Except when that one sucker-punched me, golems are turning out to be a pathetic foe for the final level.

23. A door beyond that requires a key, which I don't have--at least, not the kind that it wants. I have a billion "jeweled keys" and a couple of "ruby keys." Lockpicks don't seem to work.

Lockpicks work on about five locks in the entire game.
 
24. Further east, a group of alcoves has a bunch of iron rations, which I long ago stopped needing thanks to "Create Food and Water."

I take them anyway, of course.

25. Bending to the west, I find myself on the other side of that locked door, so I guess it's a good thing that I didn't waste a key.

26. The east exit from a 2 x 2 room suddenly puts me face-to-face with Xanathar! This isn't telegraphed at all, and I'm not exactly ready for it. The beholder confesses that he's planning to wrest control of Waterdeep and plans to kill me unless I surrender.

Talkative bastard.
           
Since I just saved, I decide to have some fun and see what happens if I surrender. What happens is the beholder's gaze causes me to drop all my equipment, and then he blasts all of my characters to death with his eyestalks. That's no fun.

Xanathar kills me while I try to pick up my stuff.
             
27. I reload and finish mapping the area south of the encounter with Xanathar before engaging him again. Another room of three buttons. One gives me a Potion of Speed, a second provides yet another Orb of Power, and the third creates a fireball that blasts Bugsy to death and injures everyone else. Even though I should suck it up and heal, I reload.

Nothing to do now but take on Xanathar, I guess! I park  myself outside his door, heal my injured characters, and buff the living hell out of my party. Starling and Bugsy quaff Potions of Giant Strength. Gaston goes wild with "Aid," "Prayer," "Bless," and "Protection from Evil." Marina uses "Invisibility" and Kirath casts "Shield." I equip the Wand of Slivias in Marina's weapon slot, save, and open the door.

This time, I attack Xanathar. He's able to blast me once before I can react, but I hit him with the Wand of Slivias. Expecting it to kill him, I'm surprised when all it does is knock him back a square.

28. Curious what good that's going to do, I abandon the battle and run past the beholder and into the rooms beyond. Treasure gleams in a small alcove. I enter and trigger a stake trap which kills several of my characters. Before I can figure out what the treasures are in front of me, Xanathar blasts me from behind with a "Death" ray and kills everyone else.

My least favorite way to die.

As I reload, a plan forms. Clearly, the goal is to use the wand to drive Xanathar into either the golem area (perhaps the hostile golems will attack Xanathar) or the stake trap. The stake trap is much closer, so I try that first. My attempt doesn't go so well. I don't keep clicking the wand furiously enough, and Xanathar gets enough shots in to kill everyone before I can drive him down the corridor.

     
The reload is still no good. He gets enough "Death Spells" in between my wand attacks that I can't keep up. On a fourth reload, it occurs to me to grab that Potion of Speed first. I give it to Marina and put her in the lead. Still no good.

This is getting old.
      
Fifth reload. It occurs to me that it's a waste of time to push him all the way down the hall. I just need to run past him, lure him to the room, get into position, and push him into the trap. Bugsy still gets killed during this process, but it works!


Based on what everyone has already spoiled for me, I expect to get dumped directly to the DOS prompt as soon as Xanathar dies. It's not quite that bad. There's at least some endgame text:

As the party picks through the remains of Xanathar's shattered body, a teleporter triggers about them. As Xanathar's lair fades from view, everyone prepares for battle and thinks, "What now?" A stately marbled room fades in around the party. Two stone columns flank a large throne. Sunlight streams in through the windows. Clean air blows in from an open door. This is Piergeiron's public hall! At last, the party is free from the dungeons under Waterdeep.

"You have killed Xanathar and saved Waterdeep from his evil!" Piergeiron Paladinson exclaims. "We were wise to pick such talented and resourceful adventurers as our agents. For today, let thee be proclaimed the heroes of Waterdeep and let all know of your brave deeds! Congratulations on your successful quest!"

Then we go to the DOS prompt.

Afterwards, I wonder if I could have used the combat waltz to just kill Xanathar the normal way. He's pretty fast and it takes a while, but to my surprise, it works, with no characters dead. For a minute, I congratulate myself that I'll have a final save without any dead characters, but then I realize that the game doesn't actually save after you kill Xanathar. So I guess if I'm importing my characters to Eye of the Beholder II, there's no way to tell from the import that they were victorious. I just bring over their attributes and items.
   
A few more notes on the endgame:

  • The Amiga version not only had a video ending that you can see on YouTube, but the text of the ending is different. It has a party member hacking off Xanathar's eyestalk and taking it as a "souvenir for the lords of Waterdeep." They get teleported not to Piergeiron Paladinson's "public hall" but the chamber of the Lords of Waterdeep, who demand to know who the party members are and how they got there (who the hell teleported them?) and insult the party before someone hurls Xanathar's eyestalk in front of them. One of the lords (not named) apologizes, shakes hands with the party leader, and asks to hear their story. The game fades out on the words "thus begins a legend."

The Amiga ending tries to be smugly melodramatic, but in a way that makes no sense.

  • This brief endings only serve to remind me that the exact threat posed by Xanathar, 12 levels deep in a dungeon, is never precisely explained.
  • In a third reload before the endgame, I manage to lure and trap Xanathar in an outer room, allowing me to explore his chambers at my leisure. The treasure in his trap alcove consists solely of duplicates of all the stone teleporter items that I've been collecting the entire game. None of them is a gem, which was the last item (judging by the iconography on the stone doors) that I needed. From comments, I gather that it doesn't actually exist.

What kind of treasure is this?! I already have all this stuff!
  
  • No one leveled up after the last post, meaning everyone had 2-3 levels to go before hitting their max for the game. While this is the way it should be--any level caps should be very hard to achieve--man did leveling slow down after the game's halfway point.

GIMLET coming up as I work on my German for the next game.

73 comments:

  1. I could never ever solve these DM type games (Grimrock excepted)... I suck way too much at them. Thanks again for doing it for me:)

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    1. I find these days that I enjoy reading about or watching computer games much more than actually playing them.It's just too time-consuming.

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    2. And, I forgot to add, this is by far the best blog to read about computer games on the internet.

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    3. I liked EoB so much that Grimrock became a disappointment. The dungeon was "dead", the interface was made unnecessarily complex in the name of old school...

      Still can't beat good old EoB1.

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  2. I got stuck SO hard on the Last Level on the SNES Version. No idea if it's buggy or whatever but I don't think the scones work. Randomly Throwing an item at a wall in the 3x3 Room with the Teleporter FINALLY opened up the Secret door after I spent weeks as a Kid trying to solve this.

    But good Job on it!

    Guess the GIMLET Score won't be that high since It has no Economy and the Equipment part was inciting your rage for several of the posts ;P

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    1. "Disdain" rather than "rage," I would say.

      It'll rank higher than average, but it won't be in my Top 10 or anything.

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  3. "As the party picks through the remains of Xanathar's shattered body"

    Err, what were they looking for? Beholder giblets for lunch?

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    1. I guess they were hacking off Xanathar's eyestalk(as a proof). At least that is what they do in Amiga version of ending.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. A few notes:

    When you reach the "you were warned" inscription, the path back to level 11 closes behind you. You can reopen it with the help of an almost invisible hidden button.

    The level 12 secret quest is killing Xanathar with the spike trap. If you complete all secret quests, the end game text contains a one-line congratulatory message and gives you a hexadecimal code, which doesn't seem to be used anywhere.

    "Lockpicks work on about five locks in the entire game." Well, good news: there's like three pickable locks in EOB2 and zero in EOB3. There's no backstabs either. Thieves have it rough in this series.

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    1. I wondered about backstabbing, especially since I found a weapon called "Backstabber" or something. But when I tried to maneuver the party around so the fighter/thief could execute a backstab, it never seemed to do anything different.

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    2. This is for MOZA and Contains EoB 2 spoilers so no looksie Addict!!!!

      Ohg nera'g gurer vzcbegnag vgrzf oruvaq gurfr ybpxf? V arire cynlrq RbO2 jvgubhg n Guvrs ohg va gur "Cevrfg" Yriry gung pbaarpgf gb gur Guerr Gbjref naq jurer lbh Svaq Nzore V erzrzore nybg bs cvpxnoyr ybpxf gung unir ab xrl ng nyy ... uzz arire gevrq gb cynl jvgubhg gurz.

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    3. Answer to Elanarae (contains an EOB2 spoiler):

      Vgrzf, fher, ohg abg fb vzcbegnag barf. RBO2 unf bar cvpxnoyr ybpx va gur onfrzrag (oruvaq juvpu vf n fpebyy bs Yvtugavat Obyg, bayl jnl gb trg vg jvgubhg vzcbegvat gur cnegl) naq n pbhcyr va gur grzcyr nern (oruvaq juvpu ner gur obarf bs Nzore naq fbzr ybj-inyhr tbbqvrf). Gurfr ner xvaq bs avpr, ohg abg n uhtr qrny. Nyfb gurl ner nyy pybfr gb rnpu bgure, fb lbh pna hfr Vafny gb cvpx gurz naq xvpx uvf hagehfgjbegul nff bhg bs gur cnegl jura lbh'er qbar. Va gur raq, vg'f nobhg ba cne jvgu RBO1, jurer lbh ybfr bhg ba bar fcryy vs lbh qba'g unir n guvrs, naq gung'f nyy gur unez vg qbrf.

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    4. Rather oddly, one of the main reasons to have a Thief in your party in the first game is that (IIRC) they start with a shortsword. With the lone exception of a certain plot weapon in EOB2, only melee weapons usable in your off-hand in this series are shortswords (daggers are always thrown when you attack with them), and for some reason shortswords are very rare in EOB1 - you might go through majority of the game without seeing a single one.

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    5. Concerning thieves in first-person D&D games, Stone Prophet will finally give them a backstabbing ability, albeit done from the front.

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    6. Clearly, Bloodwych was ahead of its time.

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  6. I didn't want to spoil it for you, but I kinda regretted taking Kirath as well. He was a far better mage than my multiclassed mage/thief, but never casted a single spell. On the other hand, I wouldn't have needed a 6th guy anyways. I felt a bit cheated after I went through a decission process for my last guy.

    I am really curious about the GIMLET rating. EoB has a lot of flavor text, NPCs, a sidequest (getting the Wand of Slivias) and stuff, but still, about 98% of the game time you play a worse DM. I wonder how much this added stuff changes for you.

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    1. Yeah, come to think of it, I'm not sure I ever had him cast anything offensive. Everyone after I picked up him was immune to it. That's pretty bad planning.

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    2. If the GIMLET doesn't balance the better stuff (graphics, sound, NPCs) with the worse stuff (combat, character development), then the scale isn't very good. I enjoyed EotB, but I didn't enjoy it more than DM, so the GIMLET should reflect that.

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    3. Didn't he have Burning Hands which afaik wasn't available? Loved that Spell against Monster groups .. ... then again there aren't that many in the lower levels o.-

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    4. PetrusOctavianusJune 12, 2015 at 1:00 PM

      "EoB has a lot of flavor text, NPCs, a sidequest (getting the Wand of Slivias) and stuff, but still, about 98% of the game time you play a worse DM."

      That's actually a very good summary of EOB.

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    5. The game explains the Wand of Slivias working by saying it was made from another beholder's eyestalk.

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    6. >I enjoyed EotB, but I didn't enjoy it more than DM, so the GIMLET should reflect that.

      Which is kind of a shame, considering they had four more years of computer advancement to work with. (back then, four years was a LOT, not like it is today.) The target processor, kind of slow for '91, was a 16MHz '286, and they had MUCH better graphics to work with, so it's kind of a shame they weren't a little more ambitious with it.

      Of course, trying to shoehorn D&D into the Dungeon Master model was probably never a very good idea. But I bet the D&D label moved a lot of copies.

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    7. I wouldn't go so far as to say "never a very good idea." I think it COULD be done well. I just don't think it was done well here. But if nothing else, it was a decent attempt.

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    8. When EOB came out, it was widely regarded as the first DM clone that came close to the original. Which, given the four year gap between the games, highlights just how far ahead of the pack Dungeonmaster was. In 1987, the things it did were witchcraft.

      It's easy to miss this when looking at it from the modern perspective, but this realtime "faux-3D" thing was actually technologically impressive at the time, difficult to get running at a playable speed with the primitive processors of the day. The way EOB "pauses" during spell animations is a symptom of that; they just couldn't optimize it well enough to run silky-smooth like DM.

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    9. DM plays awesome fast, that's the best part of it and where EoB failed most. Later dungeon crawlers will introduce some kind of stepping, which also slows you down.

      I am not sure if the pauses in EoB are technical limitations/bad programming, a nerf for the dancing or maybe a deliberate conversion of the round-based combat system in AD&D. EoB also shied away from timing based puzzles, next to some dodging of fireballs or missiles, there isn't any.

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  7. Congrats! i am pretty sure nobody will spoil the ending of Antares for you... ;)

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  8. Nice work. I never finished it.

    The game feels quite sparse in a way. The same combat technique works in most places and reduces the relevance of the characters' specific qualities, plus there's little in the way of world-building or plot progression. Most of the game is spent figuring out the path to the next staircase down.

    Given your experience of this game, would you ever choose to play EotB 2 for fun?

    It's a bit weird that the wand of Silvias works at all. The central eye projects an anti magic cone, you can't use magic against beholders from front-on.

    Level progression is usually a bit weird in the early AD&D games. Until you hit level 9/10/11 (depending on class), xp requirements double. In practice, this usually means a long wait at 8/9/10.

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    1. On level progression, it feels like some games handle this better by either offering higher-XP foes or quest rewards that serve to even out the leveling. Frankly, it wouldn't have bothered me if the early leveling had taken a bit longer. It feels like everyone gained a couple via the Kenkus alone.

      "The same combat technique works in most places and reduces the relevance of the characters' specific qualities." If I hadn't already written the GIMLET; I'd quote this directly.

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    2. Thanks :)

      You're right, some games do handle it better, particularly by helping xp along with quest rewards. The problem with the early games was that they clove too close to the p&p rules, and the rules were pretty weak until the release of 3rd Ed.

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    3. As I understand it, this was by design in the tabletop game. Back then a DM was expected to be an unbiased judge and character death common. So it took relativity little XP to get to"name level" then advancement slows down. That way if a character dies their new character has a chance to catch up. These days we'd just bring in a new character at an appropriate level, but they were hardcore back then.

      Now, whether this is a good design choice due either a tabletop or crpg is an open question.

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  9. Congratulations!
    Maybe you can avoid many spoilers if your playing is always 2-3 days ahead of your posts. Especially on those games that everybody else has played.
    I guess I'll be able to assist you a bit with the German, but at the moment, I don't really feel in the mood for playing Antares. Though I seem to remember that first in-game screen from the 90s.

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    1. The problem is that my commenters (as a whole) aren't good at walking a line. I welcome hints along the lines of "Hey, Chet, it looks like you missed a major area on the last level' or responses to my specific requests for information. If I'm blogging several days behind my playing, I miss out on those opportunities. (It does happen occasionally, such as when I schedule a series of posts for a week that I know I'll be too busy to play.)

      Is it so hard not to offer blatant spoilers? Do people do it maliciously? If not, why are so many anonymous?

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    2. Yes, people do spoil maliciously, and you probably have many newer commenters that just don't know about your spoilers policy. I haven't seen anything here that I thought was definitely malicious, but I've seen a lot of dumb stuff.

      People don't read everything on the screen before posting, no matter how many times you ask them to.

      A thought: you might draft a few of your most prolific commenters (like Tristan Gall, for instance) to run a screen for you, and run a rot13 on posts they aren't sure about.

      I don't think you'd have any trouble getting volunteers, although I have no idea whether this dreadful blogging platform would support anything like that.

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    3. What is the system used here that turns spoiler text in to gibberish? I'm guessing it is some form of letter substitution scheme but the FAQ doesn't cover it, could someone link me to where the method is described? Thanks.

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    4. That's a simple ROT13 letter substitution (moving each letter 13 places forward in the alphabet), with the main advantage of encryption/decryption using the same algorithm. You can easily find a decryption site on the Web.

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    5. Thanks, Szare Trilby, that's exactly what I was trying to figure out.

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    6. ROT13.com for the win!

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  10. For your consideration: the Sega CD version of Eye of Beholder 1. Worth a peek for the amazing voice acting alone.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-vyaIQ7udk

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hA_6HRDMJA

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    1. This voice acting is amazingly bad... "Masterrrrrr... they THINK they have found a ssssolution."

      Strangely, the main voice seems to be channeling a game show host. "Prepare..... for the dangerous journey!" feels like a curtain should sweep aside, revealing a new car, a jet ski, and an all-expenses-paid trip to Cancun.

      "Begin your search.... BELOW!... the city."

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    2. Here's another cool port of EOB - Atari's old handheld Lynx (game starts at 5:18).

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUC67eeZfpk

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    3. The voice acting in the intro may be bad, but once you get into the game, the music is awesome. Seriously, it's great, and I'm a person who usually turns music off in games.

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    4. For me (a person that had no previous exposure to Sega CD port) the music style does not fit the game theme at all.

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  11. Wow congratulations!

    Personally, EoB1 never really clicked for me that much. When I played it at the time (I was 11), it just seemed like a worse DM (which I loved) and I didn't care that much about all the text/role-playing, I was more into puzzles and mapping. Plus I found it quite hard. A few years later however, EoB2 would become one of my cult favorites, despite the bad press it has had in the comments here.

    Oh, and I like that post format with numbers and a map! Allows to follow your progression and thinking in a nice way a bit like a written let's play. Cool to keep as an idea from time to time, as a change of pace.

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    1. Agreed--the "follow the map" post format is a fun one. Wouldn't mind seeing it used again sometime.

      So here's what I want to know: Our Addict went into EOB looking for a nice, straightforward, meat-and-potatoes RPG to get out of the (1990-inspired) doldrums. Did it do the trick, or do we need to be concerned about our gracious host's elan and mental health?

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    2. Yes, it was pretty much what I was looking for. Now, within 5 or 6 games, I want to hit a real blockbuster.

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    3. I don't know the '91-'92 era very well, but I'm pretty sure if you can hold out until '93 you'll get what you need. Some of my all-time favourites are from that time.

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    4. 92 has at least Amberstar which I suspect to rank around the better Ultima titles, so there's that.
      In 91 I'm not sure, there are surely some decent games with potential for a real gem.

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    5. I rather enjoyed Pools of Darkness, but it's not to everyone's taste.

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    6. 1991 has a few fair-to-good RPGs -
      Death Knights of Krynn (Gold Box)
      Gateway to the Savage Frontier (Gold Box)
      EotB 2 (Legends series)
      Martian Dreams (Worlds Of Ultima)
      The Magic Candle II (better graphics but poorer plot)
      Might & Magic 3 (outdid M&M 2 by a longshot, IMHO)
      Obitus (Innovative piece of ****)
      Dragons of Flame (very bare RPG mechanics to be considered one)

      I'd consider 1991 as the start of the Dark Age of PC gaming. Console games are starting to get really powerful and creative. NeoGeo makes it debut that makes every other games look like crap.

      In 1992, the best RPGs would be found in SNES with only a handful of really good RPGs (sequels but not new IPs) appearing on PC. This trend would continue for a while, sadly, until the end of the '90s.

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    7. I'm only familiar with Dragons of Flame on the Famicom, but it didn't have character development except through equipment, did it? And very little of that aside from your starting equipment, even.

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    8. Yeah, I can't recommend it as an RPG. If I do, even Legend of Zelda 1 would have qualified since you get to upgrade your equipment and get increment in HP with Heart Containers.

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  12. Good job, on beating the game and an entertaining post!

    Maybe take a look at the official clue book before moving on? There's a scan on replacementdocs. It should satisfy your curiosity on a few mysteries, and uses a storytelling conceit that'll be referred to in the sequel.

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    1. Also checking those long play videos might help such as with that 1st level secret quest at least in SEGA version was literally walk walk walk secret compartment -> lvl 1 secret done !

      I've found my lately more on looking at those let's play videos then actually playing those games my self.

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    2. replacementdocs seems to have lots of cluebooks for these old games. I've used them quite a bit while playing some of the games here- it might be worth checking them for cluebooks for every game you win or finish with.

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  13. Great read throughout, congratulation on finishing the game so well!
    I doubt that I could do it so cleanly as you now in 2015, in the same naive and stubborn way I did 20 years ago, still, I would like to try.
    Reading made me realize that I my patience probably has shrink a little on obscure mechanics of a game.

    However, about the possibility to lure Xanathar to the golem room; beside the half fantasy (was it?) that would be an exception in the whole game, of turning the minions against their master, two more things are problematic:

    1) it's not sure that Xanathar's AI-path would allow it to follow you everywhere;
    2) no opponent throughout the game has graphics for attacking an opponent in other direction than the camera's.

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    1. ahh, clever reasoning for #2!

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    2. I didn't think that was a strong hypothesis, but I figured there must be SOME reason that you could create golems in the northwest corner.

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    3. You get a lot of experience from those golems, but other than that, I'm not sure what that's good for. I was out of rocks at that time, but still managed to get a level up out of this. At least something.

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    4. I've spent as little as possible time in that level, as I was kinda on my toes at that point; but since golems in D&D should be hard opponents, with strong magical defenses, mindless minions to masters such the beholder, I suppose they made sense there at the end.

      The machine was probably more for their master than for the player: a golem factory! So, for story consistency.

      But, as you demonstrated being still a couple of levels below the exp cap, possibly the developers made it available to grind a bit, specially for the clerics in the party, if they have not got a resurrection spell, that might be needed with all of those disintegration rays flying around.

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    5. There were also fire/flood buttons somewhere, which only attack your party and don't serve any other purpose. I guess that and the golem machine were just decoration to make the dungeon look more like a place where monsters live, and less like a set up dungeon.

      Since there are very few of those pieces, it seems rather odd.

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    6. Yeah the 'In case of fire' and 'in case of flood' buttons... In retrospect, you are very probably right.

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    7. Huh. They never seemed like anything *but* cheap traps to me...

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  14. I'm quite glad that when the party picks up a freshly cut Xanathar piece, they at least wrap it in cloth of some form. Hygiene first, adventurers!

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  15. I agree with the "let trusted commenters vet the comments to avoid spoilers" idea. It's either dickheads deliberately spoiling the game, or people with no self-awareness who just say the first thing that pops into their minds. The fact that they just ruined the game? "Oh! I didn't think about that. Sorry I totally screwed up LOL"

    Elvira II is coming up? Wow, just goes to show you how much crap there was even back then. I can remember going through the shelves of the game rental place and thinking it all sucked. And I was right! There weren't really that many games worth playing, using 20/20 hindsight. I used to think I was really missing out. Elvira II...yeah that's just the sort of thing the shelves were full of. I used to longingly look at all the Infocom titles and want to play, but I knew I wasn't smart enough for those kinds of games. They were *hard*, they were for people who read Pär Lagerkvist. Well, now I know differently.

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    1. I should point out that the three "rules" next to the comment button don't actually say anything about spoilers. Before installing a censorship program of any sort, I think the first move oughta be simply to put in a warning against spoiling the game there.

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    2. Hey, Elvira 2 was better than Elvira 1. It was rather fun too. Not a great CRPG but it definitely didn't suck.

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  16. Finally caught up with the current posts. Like Chet proclaimed at the beginning of this whole blog, the writing definitely gets better as time goes by. I laughed out loud quite a few times while reading this post.

    I never did play EOB1 when I was a kid, but me and my friends did play EOB2, although badly. The main draw to EOB2 was definitely the fact that it was based on D&D as we had just started to play the pen-and-paper version.

    Thanks to Chet for an entertaining blog.

    Also, I now understand the previous comments about blogspot eating comments, as the preview-function ate my first version of this comment.

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  17. Lol, from what I remember I killed xanathar with the good old fashioned dance, don't think it ever occured to me to knock him on to the spikes.

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    1. I did the same and was vastly disappointed that the whole hunt for the Wand of Silvias turned out to be a waste. I didn't really know about the special quests at that point, however.

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    2. Come to think of it, I should have been angrier about that than I was. Killing him with the wand is actually HARDER.

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  18. I think people spoiling games is perhaps the default.

    So many, when they hear somone is playing a game they love, rush to spout out all the secrets and strategies of the game. I'm not sure whether it's more frequently an urge to show off, or simply a desire to relive the fun of the game by talking through the solutions. It's super common, though.

    Recently I mentioned that I was in a specific dungeon of a specific game for the first time in my life, despite starting the game in the 1980s. The next response gave the answer to the central riddle of the dungeon. And that wasn't enough so they went ahead and spoiled the final dungeon as well.

    Luckily, I got the gist of it within a few seconds, and blocked that user before continuing.

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