Saturday, November 21, 2015

Game 204: Shadowkeep (1984)

     
Shadowkeep is a uniquely odd game: a first-person dungeon crawler in the mode of Wizardry but with a text interface reminiscent of adventures like Zork. We've seen this dynamic before in Dungeons of Daggorath (1982), but not taken to this extreme, where you can string together commands like CHET GET THE SWORD AND GIVE IT TO IRENE THEN LIGHT A TORCH.

It has aspirations to be epic: four game disks, constantly overwritten with the party's progress; up to 9 party members; 25 dungeon levels; and an original set of races, classes, and monsters. To help market the game, the publisher, Trillium (a subsidiary of Spinnaker Software), hired Alan Dean Foster to write a novelization. I bought a copy. It's not half bad, especially given how little source material the author had to work with. I'll talk a little about that next time. [Later edit: I guess the game only has 9 or 10 levels, not 25. I can't remember where I got that idea. Probably I saw that there were 25 hints and reasoned there would be one hint per level.]

Unfortunately, this was an era in which epic games could be conceived but not really delivered. In many ways, it is the perfect 1984 game: created after several years of commercial RPGs had managed to build a fanbase and to create expectations for the genre, but before the 1985/1986 appearance of the giants--e.g., The Bard's Tale, Ultima IV, Might & Magic, Phantasie, Starflight--that would together establish the standards.

The plot is boilerplate. A big tower used to be occupied by a good wizard named Nacomedon, but a demon named Dal'Brad came along, imprisoned Nacomedon in a crystal, took over the tower, and began using it for "evil madness." As the tower's malign influence spread, heroes of the three major races--Roos, Thalidars, Zhis'ta, and humans--tried to brave the tower, but they all died. The current party is the world's last chance.


The adventure begins in an inn, where the player can create up to 20 characters, 9 of whom will adventure at any given time. The characters can be male or female (males have higher strength; females higher dexterity), four races, and five classes: warriors, monks, runemages, shadowmages, and necromancers. Oddly, when I went to name my first character "Chester," the bartender yelled at me that that was a reserved word.

This had better pay off later.

Ultimately lacking the stamina to come up with a theme for 9 different character names, I made use of the Random Name Generator that commenter Marc Campbell/LordKarnov42 made for me years ago.

 
You have to give the creators points for some originality on the races. Roos are literally intelligent kangaroos, and Zhis'ta are evolved lizards. Thalidars are basically elves.

I'm willing to bet this is the only RPG in which you can role-play a kangaroo.
  
The combination of race, sex, and class come together to define your attributes: strength, intelligence, dexterity, leadership, power, and hit points. You can adjust the starting scores from a pool of bonus points. These statistics, in turn, adjust your percentages in attack, parry, magic, searching, and opening skills. As it does everywhere else, the game's interface slows down this whole process, and it can take easily 30-40 minutes to create a quick party. The leader is designated as the character with the highest "leadership" skill; he performs command by default unless another character is specified.

    
The innkeeper, Raddath, also serves as an equipment-seller, healer, and raiser of the dead, so it's clear that the party will be returning to the starting point throughout the adventure. Characters start with a random amount of gold from about 25-100, but they also have a decent selection of starting weapons, armor, salves, and spells, so it seemed to me a better choice to just save my money for some of the expensive magic items. Later, I revised this opinion, as difficult early combats made me realize that I needed all the advantages I could get early on. There don't seem to be any weapon or armor restrictions on the races and classes.

I'll have to return later for most of this stuff.
    
Once in the dungeon, the fun really begins--and yes, I mean that a bit sarcastically. The tediousness of the text-only interface becomes clear before you've even left the first room, where you have to LIGHT TORCH and then make sure you READY weapons and WEAR armor for each character in sequence, but first you have to check the INVENTORY for each character to see what they have. Since the party names don't remain on the screen, you have to frequently LOOK PARTY to remind yourself what you called them. There are no abbreviations except for movement commands (F, B, L, R), and since the game recognizes more than 400 words, you have to constantly refer to the documentation.

Movement throughout the game is slow. You wouldn't think having to hit the ENTER key after every command would be so annoying, but it is. F-ENTER, R-ENTER, F-ENTER, F-ENTER, L-ENTER, and so forth. When monsters appear, there's a slight delay before an animation shows them approaching the party. In that slight delay, it's easy to accidentally hit "F," intending to move forward again, which the game helpfully interprets as (F)IGHT as soon as the encounter menu appears. Even worse, if you intend to move (R)ight next, and hit that before you realize an encounter is occurring, the party will "run screaming" from the monsters.

The parser is impressive. I'm not sure what the maximum length of a string of commands is, but it's well beyond what I'd be willing to type. You can type something like CHESTER PICK UP THE HAMMER AND PUT THE GREAT SWORD ON THE ANVIL AND STRIKE THE GREAT SWORD WITH THE HAMMER AND DROP THE HAMMER. The manual takes great pride in this capability. The problem is, I'm not sure why you'd want to do so many things in succession without pausing to check and make sure the action did what you intended first. Moreover, if you mistype a word or the game otherwise misinterprets it, it simply ignores what it doesn't understand. If I type, CHESTR TOUCH THE ALTAR and the game doesn't recognize that person, it will have the lead character touch the altar instead.

This did nothing until I figured out that you have to type "CAST HEAL SPELL ON WA."

In a similar vein, there's a neat ability to string together movement commands. If you've already made your map and you just want to get somewhere fast, you can type something like F, F, R, F, F, L, F, L, F, R, F and the game will execute them all in sequence. Now if a wandering monster shows up in the middle of the sequence, no problem. Once the combat is over, the game will faithfully pick up where it left off and continue moving you--except by then you generally don't want to keep moving, because you'd rather pick up the defeated monster's dropped treasure. Now you have to wait to get where you were originally going, then turn around and go get it.

The party fights three human warriors and a troll.
 
In combat, characters have options similar to Wizardry: attack, defend, cast a spell, invoke an item (a command the game surely got from Daggorath), change items, or change the party order. Technically, there are three attack/defend options: put everything into "attack twice," adopt a more conservative "attack & parry," or "parry only," but this adds only slightly to the tactical options. As in Wizardry, only the first three characters can attack in melee range. Unlike Wizardry, Shadowkeep doesn't cycle you through each character; you have to manually select them one at a time, hitting ENTER after each option. And naturally there are no "default" actions; you have to set something for every character unless you want him to "do nothing." At least the game remembers actions from a previous round.

Lining up our attacks.

At the beginning, chances of hitting anyone in combat with default equipment, and chances of spellcasters successfully casting, runs less than 25%, leading to a lot of wasted power. After a couple of early character deaths, I realized my party was too imbalanced towards spellcasting. My original party was two warriors, two monks, two runemages, two shadowmages, and one necromancer; when I tried a second time, I went with three warriors, two monks, two runemasters, and one each of the other spellcasters. (The spellcasting classes are mostly differentiated by what spells they can cast, although they also have varying levels of other skills like searching.) I also took the opportunity, in making the new party, to name them things like "WA" and "WB" (Warrior A and B) so I wouldn't have to remember everyone's name.

When combat begins, you have to wait and watch the enemies approach one-by-one. I know there's going to be at least three enemies in this combat, because if there's only two, the second one walks up the middle instead of the right.
   
Shadowkeep invests a lot in what it thinks are good graphics. It boast about its "high-resolution animation" in the start-up screens and the manual, and indeed every time you encounter a party of monsters, it insists on forcing you to watch as they walk up to the party one by one. All combat actions have accompanying animations. Even transitioning between different menus in the store forces you to wait as Raddath whisks you from one storage room to another (and for whatever reason changes into something like an otyugh during the process), with accompanying changes in the graphics. The problem is, I don't think I would have been impressed with these graphics even in 1984. Coupled with the length of time it takes to enter the commands, Shadowkeep ends up being slow and needlessly complicated where Wizardry was brisk and simple.

I have no idea why this was necessary.

The final problem with the game is one of character development: there isn't any. There's no experience and no leveling. The only method of getting stronger comes from improving your equipment, which means the only reason to fight monsters is to get their gold. Thus, the game technically doesn't qualify as an RPG under my definitions, but this is one of those cases where it seems absurd to call it anything else despite the deficiency. [Later edit: it appears that your skills increase as you successfully use them, thus qualifying the game for RPG status.]

Note something missing from this character sheet. Attack, parry, magic, search, and open seem to be functions of attributes and equipment. They don't seem to increase with use.
 
If there's one redeeming thing about Shadowkeep, it's going to be in the special encounters and puzzles. For 90% of the first level, I was using only movement commands and combat choices, but occasionally I ran into a special room that required me to puzzle through some of the other 400 words that the game interprets. These moments offered a depth to the adventuring that we rarely see in RPGs of the era. They included:

  • An altar. On the wall nearby, a rune (readable only to my runemages) signaled "Life." After some experimentation, it appears that the altar takes donations of gold and other valuables. Commands like OFFER 1000 GOLDENS TO ALTAR and PUT ORNATE RING ON ALTAR would cause those objects to vanish. Nothing seemed to change among my party members, but I suspect I need to wait for someone to die and put his or her body on the altar and make the donation for resurrection.
               
              
  • A smithy with a hammer and anvil. I could pick up the hammer but not walk anywhere with it in my possession. Through some trial and error, I realized that if I put a weapon on the anvil and banged it a bit with the hammer, an asterisk appeared next to the weapon in the inventory. I think this means it's enhanced or magical. The weapons I treated this way do seem to perform better in combat.
            
Figuring this out was rewarding.
            
  • A rubbish pile. Repeated SEARCHing using the character with the highest search skill yielded an ornate ring. I'm not sure what it does.
         
A metaphor for my entire project.
       
  • Something that the game calls a podium when it really means "pedestal." It has a depression on it that would seem to require some kind of gem or crystal. I had expected to find one in the dungeon, but when I didn't, I returned to the innkeeper's shop and found that he sold several promising-sounding artifacts, including a Gem of Power and a Black Crystal. I bought the cheapest (the Black Crystal) and put it on the pedestal, and sure enough the entire room lit up. I don't know exactly what that did, though. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to take the gem or leave it there.
         
A "podium" also isn't the same thing as a "lectern." A podium is what a speaker stands on, not behind.
          
Now, if you're really stumped about what to do on a level, the back page of the game manual has quick hints for each level. For level 1, the hint is "PODIUMS: GEM OR CRYSTAL DEPRESSION." Unfortunately, it doesn't help with the question about whether to then take the gem or crystal. To cover all bases, I bought a second crystal. I took the first and left the second on the "podium."

In an odd deviation from the norm, you don't have to explore each level--at least, not the first nine--to find the stairs up. Instead, each level is spun off a central staircase. It looks like you can visit the first four freely, in any order. On Levels 5-9, the entrance to the level is blocked by a door that can't be opened until you accomplish something on the previous level. I assume that further staircases will be found somewhere on Level 9.

  
For this first session, I mapped only the first level, which was 16 x 16 and wrapped back on itself. A single inaccessible square gave me some heartburn, but I searched extensively for secret doors and found nothing. The game is extremely fond of one-way walls and doors, and I was constantly having to find new routes back to previously-explored areas when the walls closed behind me.

The game's first level.
  
Monsters on the first floor consisted of goblins, human warriors, trolls, and "deathsheep." I came close a couple of times, but none of my characters died in the first session. It did take about 3 hours to map the first level owing to the slowness of movement and combat.

I also went up to Level 4 for some time, but I didn't find the enemies notably harder. When the game offers no character development except equipment upgrades, it can't scale the enemies too fast.

Level 4 enemies. The developer needed to work on spelling. A "barguest" is what I am in New Orleans. [Edit: apparently, "barguest" is a legitimate alternate spelling of "barghest." Screw all of you who took the time to respond.] [Further edit: I meant "thank," of course. Freudian slip.]

A few other notes:

  • If enemies surprise you, your party enters combat with the character order scrambled. This means that every character needs a melee weapon equipped in case he suddenly needs to be pressed into melee service.
  • There is no sound in the game.
  • No command allows you to turn around. You can back up, but if you want to turn around, you have to hit "R" or "L" twice.
  • The game has a sleep system by which you re-gain hit points and spell points. Sleeping in the main dungeon seems to carry about a 30% risk of interruption by monsters, but you're perfectly safe sleeping on the staircase.
  • The amount of gold dropped by slain enemies seems to be dependent on the number of enemies. On Level 1, I routinely got gold in multiples of 51 (e.g., 102 for two enemies, 204 for 4 enemies). Enemies occasionally drop items as well.
  • When torches run out, they turn into "soggy sticks," which can be used as weapons.
  • When you encounter  monsters, there's a "negotiate" option. If it's successful, monsters drop their treasure as they leave. If unsuccessful, they get a free combat round.
          
Since combat does nothing for you, this is a real bonus when it works.
            
Shadowkeep has some interesting ideas, but I'm not sure it's going to be worth playing this for 25 levels. (I'd be happy to break my "no cheating" rule for this one and just follow online maps, but none seem to exist.) The combination of a tedious interface and a lack of character development really kills my enthusiasm for the game. On the other hand, the special encounters and puzzles are mildly intriguing and worth mapping a couple more levels. Next time, I'll have more about the book and the developer's background.

****
   
What happened to Martian Dreams? The short answer is that I'm still experiencing that save game problem with Martian Dreams, and I can't get around it. No matter what I do, after a certain amount of time passes, I hit CTRL-S and the game freezes up. At that point, I'm unable to save any further progress in the game even if I quit and reload. It's happened with two versions in a row, and I've exhausted any solution that I can think of. Message boards report the same problem repeatedly, and no one has offered a permanent solution yet.

Hence, I am waiting until next week to continue with Martian Dreams, as I will be home all week and thus can keep the emulator running indefinitely.

65 comments:

  1. I wonder if "CHESTER" was flagged because it begins with "CHEST", an object likely to appear in a fantasy-themed game like this one. I have a vague memory that some early text parsers only looked at a certain number of characters when trying to match a word.

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    1. Hola Derek! Funny meeting you here...

      IF games of this period had limitations exactly as you suggest. The earliest Adventure International games only paid attention to the first *3* characters, though Adventure (I'm pretty sure) was 5 or 7.

      This was a common method because most of those games used a sorted fixed-size character array for rapidly mapping written nouns and verbs to internal (integer) representations which could be easily switch{}ed against or similar.

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    2. That does seem like a likely explanation. By the same token, I shouldn't be able to create a character named "Torchman" or "Anivilar." I'll give it a shot when I get back into the game.

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    3. I remember in the Ultima games, you only had to type the first 4 letters of a word for the game to recognize it. So if you typed "Garg" the game would recognize it as "Gargoyle"

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    4. It does seem to be the case here that 5 characters is enough, at least for verbs. There aren't very many verbs or nouns that are more than 5 characters, so it's hard to test it.

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  2. According to Webster's, one of the definitions of "podium" is "lectern."

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    1. Yes, Webster's can occasionally be wrong that way.

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    2. The Oxford English Dictionary hedges its bets by giving the proper meaning and then mentioning that in extended North American usage it's also come to mean a lectern. :)
      Though technically if they're referring to merely the projecting base of the pedestal I suppose that could be a podium under a slightly different meaning;
      "c. A projecting base or pedestal; a stylobate, plinth."

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    3. Meh. I don't mind being a word Nazi myself, but I think Webster's got it right, at least for American usage. Growing up, many people referred to lecterns as podiums and I didn't know of a distinction until college. Words derive meaning from how the community of language speakers use them, and once people use a word in the "wrong" way often enough it will change from its original meaning or etymological source (cf., "awful" and "decimate").

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    4. This highlights a recent change that dictionary companies started some years back: In order to maintain their relevance in the internet age, they began to change word definitions to reflect common usage. In other words: If enough people use a word incorrectly, then it becomes an "accepted usage". This is another step towards Idiocracy in my opinion.

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    5. My approach is one that dictionaries have traditionally adopted: resist changes for as long as possible, and as fervently as possible, until it's clear that the battle is irrevocably lost. I think it's the only way you can preserve sense in language while still accepting some inevitable change.

      I'm not ready to give up on "podium." If we allow it to encompass lecterns as well, it creates all kinds of confusion when I'm trying to refer to an actual podium.

      In any event, can we all agree that the item in the game is neither a podium nor a lectern?

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  3. Hmm, as an Aussie, I wonder if the developer was Australian himself. I certainly can't think of any other games that have featured kangaroos, in fact the only marsupial I can think gets a show anywhere is Crash Bandicoot, a console platformer.

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    1. Australian wildlife has a habit of popping up in early CRPGs. I've been fighting wombats in the PLATO dnd, and I'm pretty sure there are emus in Rogue.

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    2. There's also Ty the Tasmanian Tiger and Sparkster the opossum!

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    3. You can fight a kangaroo in Sierra On-Line's Championship Boxing.

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    4. Quokkas can be found in Linley's Dungeon Crawl (now Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup).

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    5. We need to get an RPG with some drop bears in it.

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    6. In Tekken 2 one of the hidden characters is a kangaroo.

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    8. >>I'm willing to bet this is the only RPG in which you can role-play a kangaroo.

      What's that you say Skippy? The evil demon Dal'Brad has captured Nacomedon and is trying to destroy the world!?

      Streuth mate! We'd better get on over there and put a stop to him!

      (With apologies to Mikrakov and any other Australians reading! ;) )

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    9. @Nathan P. Mahney - There already is!

      http://dmreference.com/MRD/Creatures/Menace_Creatures/A-I/Drop_Bear.htm

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    10. I have a copy of this P&P RPG sourcebook that lets you play as all manner of mutated marsupial.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutants_Down_Under

      As far as I know, the only computer adaptation of the Palladium game system was for the ill-fated N-Gage phone.

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    11. Tekken 6 is a fighting game, but it has a "scenario campaign" mode which is a beat-em-up action-RPG. The player collects equipment that substantially improves their statistics. And yes, one of the playable characters is a kangaroo.

      So, if you really want to play a kangaroo in an RPG, then add Tekken 6 to your playlist!

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  4. I really enjoy your journey through the early years of CRPGs.
    About this game, If I remember correctly, your skills would improve if they are used successfully. There was sound, but only during magic spell animations. Also, don't cast spells if you don't have enough magic points or else your caster might pass out.

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  5. To be fair, the monster graphics do look pretty neat, even if none of the other graphics are awe-inspiring.

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    1. Clearly, some work went into them, but I'm afraid I don't agree that they look good.

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    2. I like that the game has multiple monster portraits. Each of the three barguests looks a bit different, same with the three black knights.

      The dithering is pretty ugly on a modern screen, but I suspect it looked a lot better on a blurry low-res monitor.

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    3. Yeah, that's interesting. The monsters' arms and legs move as they walk towards the party in the pre-combat animations. The game "freezes" them in different positions once they reach the party, accounting for the different images. I didn't realize that until you pointed it out.

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    4. I tiny vampires and adorable.

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  6. If you want to speed up the parser, you can try AutoHotkeys, a macro tool.
    Not to get into details, you can just make a macro that does "F, ENTER" by pressing the up arrow or something.
    It's not that hard to learn, really.

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    1. I try not to make changes that alter the fundamental experience of playing the game, even if that experience is occasionally annoying.

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    2. I think you can lower the bar if you have already 6 hours playtime, made the interface score and think of dropping the game. Just an idea :-)

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  7. Regarding Martian Dreams: I've never played it myself, but WAAAAAY back in the day, I recall hearing that important NPCs can die, which renders the game unwinnable. Disabling saving was Origin's way of ensuring you didn't save in a walking dead scenerio. What could be causing this, I don't know, but I also recall that a typical pitfall was wandering monsters killing them, which could be avoided by making sure you always close doors behind you. Either of these recollections could be false, but it's worth a try...

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  8. Love your blog, and as a side-note, am always on the lookout for bugs that might prevent me from completing games in my collection one day. I fired up my GOG version of Martian Dreams to test this out, as many people have had this problem. Having never played before, it took me awhile to realize the other crash is like 3 steps down then due east til you reach it. I got there, picked up Diggs. I saved near the second crash site, have saved about 15 times since then, still working.

    Now who knows what might be causing the problem. The only thing I can definitely say is that my player character did nothing but talk to the guy for the prybar and open the hatch. The only thing I can think of is that somehow looting all you inventory stuff from the crates before having Diggs in the party is somehow causing the problem. Regardless, the supposed fix of not really doing anything but the bare minimum til you get Diggs SEEMS to be working, though I can't imagine why or how anyone thought this would work. On the plus side, once you know where the ship is, you can walk there and have, at most, two minor combat encounters that you should survive. Just chiming in on what I'm seeing.

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    1. Yeah, I thought that was the solution, too. It took me about 4 tries, but eventually I made a successful run between landing areas and was able to save. But then, two hours later, it locked up in a completely different area, way to the northwest.

      I've tried everything I can think of. At this point, I have no confidence in the game's ability to save my progress and I need to just wait until I can play it uninterrupted.

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  9. Barguest is an alternative spelling of Barghest ...
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barghest ;)

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    1. Maybe it's time for another long break.

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    2. Nooooooooooooo! We won't survive that - aren't we all a bit CRPG ADDICT addicts?

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  10. Speaking about Martian Dreams and problem with saving game. How about a workaround using a DOSBox SVN-Daum build and it's save states? Same good old DOSBox, but with additional functionality.

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    1. To be a bit more elaborate:
      "DOSBox SVN Daum" is an alternative version of DOSBox, available from here:
      http://ykhwong.x-y.net/

      You can download and run the installer, or download the .7z file and unpack it with the free program 7-Zip.

      You use this DOSBox version the same way you use the normal version. But you have additional features available in the menus that are visible when running in windowed mode. Including saving and loading states.

      I just tried saving and loading a save state with Martian Dreams and it worked.

      This should solve your problem with the save games, Chet.

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    2. Thanks for elaborating. I can add what it might be a good idea to use build from Jan. 27. 2014. Generally it's more stable than builds from 2015 and have less config options that are largely unnecessary for DOS games released before 1996.

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    3. I've resisted a "save states" version of DOSBox for years, worrying that I'll abuse it, but I took your advice. It worked great for a few hours. Then I shut down the computer and put it in my backpack. When I got back into the game the next day, every one of my save states crashed DOSBox when I tried to open it. (And yes, I know you have to open the game first. I did.) I've had this same problem with other emulators--the save states work as long as you're still in the same session that created them, but once you close and restart, you're out of luck.

      So I'm back to my original plan: play it through without closing the emulator. We'll see if it works.

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  11. The 3D Part strongly reminds me of a game called "asylum". Its also from the 80s.

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  13. http://www.gog.com/game/ultima_worlds_of_adventure_2_martian_dreams and it's even free of charge to DL, no need for emulator either.

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  14. Ok back to Shadowkeep - most likely a product of childhood nostalgia but I remember playing this one a lot and getting to the end but not solving it. I had searched for a walkthrough or let's play to no avail from time to time, and thought about contacting the CRPG Addict to beg for the game's inclusion. So I'm super excited he is playing it! I'm begging you to stick with it so it will be an internet first - some description of a playthrough of the game. I played on my old apple II C+ if I recall correctly.

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    1. Ditto here. I remember playing it for hours on end as a kid and was really hoping you'd get to this one.
      Are you sure there are 25 levels? For some reason I thought it stopped at the top of the stair case, 9 levels.
      Double check your characters. If I remember correctly, using the hammer/anvil made the weapon better, but lessened one of your stats.

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    2. The manual lists 25 hints, but you get multiple hints per level. The first four all seem to apply to the first floor.

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    3. I could have sworn I had some source for "25 levels" beyond the list of hints, but I can't find it, so I must have been influenced by that. I'm glad to know it isn't QUITE so long.

      It's too bad that there isn't a walkthrough or fan site, as this is one game I wouldn't mind using someone else's maps to just breeze through to the end, especially where there's such limited character development. On the other hand, I do enjoy being the first person online to document things like this.

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  15. >>Level 4 enemies. The developer needed to work on spelling. A "barguest" is what I am in New Orleans.

    *cough* Chet, a Barguest (or Barghest) is one of those a legendary monstrous black dog (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barghest).

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    1. Meh, just realised Mr Anon already pointed this out yesterday (must read comments moire carefully - sorry!)

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  16. I cracked up at "A barguest hits Wc". Excuse my sense of humour.

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    1. Sounds like a drunk guy attacked the toilet.

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  17. Obdurate Hater of Rhythm GamesNovember 23, 2015 at 3:35 PM

    I hear that DOSBox now allows you to save states like other emulators, so maybe you can use that to get around the save game problem.

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  18. I also think there are 9 floors, not 25 if memory serves. Also the book was pretty weak I thought. I cared enough to track it down years later and read it.

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    1. Thanks. I don't know where I got the idea that there were 25. I guess from the list of hints at the end, which I took to be dungeon levels. That makes the game more playable!

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  19. You may be able to get past the tedium of the various cutscenes by messing with the emulation speed. It works with other games that are tediously slow for no good reason. How clunky it is depends on the emulator, some make it easy and some require multiple key presses to adjust it.

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    1. AppleWin is a bit fussy that way. There is a slider for emulation speed that goes from 0.5 to 1 to 2 to "Fastest." If I slide it all the way up to one tick below "fastest," it's still pretty slow. If I move it to that last place, it absolutely flies and there's no pauses at all--meaning that I miss a lot of text and messages.

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  20. This game reminds me a little of Realms of Darkness. Wish I could get the emulation on ROD to work correctly.

    Any chance you'll visit Aardvark software and give the vic20 dungeons of death a spin then the c64 search for magdar & dungeons of magdar?

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    1. Someone else told me about the Aarvark games a few months ago and I forgot to add them to the playlist. I guess they'll be coming up soon.

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  21. I should note dungeons of death for vic20 is finally emulated. I haven't tracked down trs-80 yet

    ReplyDelete
  22. Where can I get this game? I suspect: nowhere. Is it completely lost and abandoned or what?

    ReplyDelete

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