Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Dusk of the Gods: 2 Down

The hero crosses over the Rainbow Bridge to Midgard as Heimdal stands watch.
For the last 5 or 6 years, I've been slowly working my way backwards in the New York Times crossword puzzle archive. Two nights ago, I came to December 30, 2001 and broke out laughing when I saw the clue for a six-letter down answer: "Son of Odin." If I'd reached the clue one week earlier, I would have briefly wondered if the answer was some alternate spelling--THORRE?--before moving on to the next one. Thanks to this game, I knew right away that I was looking for BALDUR. Thanks, Dusk of the Gods!

This is indicative of the game as a whole. So far, it feels more like I've been taking a course in Norse mythology than playing a game. That isn't necessarily a complaint. It's been interesting, filling in a lot of gaps in both my knowledge and references I've seen in other RPGs. I now know what Yggdrasil--the weird "code word" given to you at the end of The Black Onyx--refers to. I know the source of Baldur in Baldur's Gate. I know that Norse mythology adopted the concept of "three fates" from Greek mythology--or they both got it from an earlier source. Having seen this game's depiction of Heimdal guarding the Rainbow Bridge, I can appreciate what they did with the concept in Thor.

Everything in Norse mythology--it seems moreso than other mythologies I've studied--has an individual name. Everyone's weapons are uniquely named. Horses all have names. Odin's throne has a name, as do various individual rooms in Valholl. The two freaking chains that bound Fenrir have names.
I stand in Idavoll, a chamber in Valholl, in which the High Thingstead meets. Odin's golden throne is called Hlidsklalf. I've been warned not to sit in it, but fortunately the game doesn't provide a mechanism for sitting on things.
But, as I noted last time, there's been a lot of typing. My notes document is up to 10 single-spaced pages now, though a bit artificially inflated since I insisted on putting all the terms in the manual's 28-page glossary in there, too--a process that took me longer than actual game time since the last posting. 

At the end of my first post, I thought I'd thoroughly explored Asgard, but I was wrong. There were another 8 or 9 NPCs on the western outskirts, plus the three fates--Skuld, Urd, and Verandi--occupying a little island in space outside Asgard's walls. Urd gave me a helm, shield, and battle axe--all better equipment than I'd received from Inghen. Verandi told me about a vision she'd had about Thor's hammer re-forged, but Thor getting attacked by Jormungandr, the World Serpent, and losing the battle because a line snapped or something. I think that's probably a quest lead--find a way to strengthen his line. Similarly, Skuld had a vision of Ragnarok in which Loke turned into a horned beast. Heimdal beheaded him, but his horns pierced Heimdal's breastplate and killed him.
Talking with one of the fates as the void surrounds me.
With my new equipment, and bolstered by return visits to Eil for healing, I defeated a pack of wolves in the southern forest, defeated four warriors who were just hanging around looking for a fight, and killed two bears and got their sinews.
Fighting a bear in the woods.
Combat in the game is pretty boring. You just stand face-to-face with enemies, swing your weapons, wait for the cool-down period to end, and swing them again. Each weapon has a regular attack and a special attack--usually a stronger attack that takes double the time to cool down. An equipped shield can be used as a secondary weapon, so you spend most of the time just clicking between them. So far, the extra damage done by the special attacks hasn't been worth the longer cool-down period, particularly since both types of attacks usually miss.
I kill some warriors that seem to exist soley for the purpose of practicing combat. Note that my axe, which has two attacks, is in "cooldown" mode. I can attack with my shield, though.
You can theoretically throw any weapon, and later I got a bow and some arrows, but I find that it's too hard to line up missile shots to be worth it, particularly since enemies come at you quickly, and often on erratic paths.

Occasionally, after a successful combat, your "warrior" skill will increase by 5 points. I don't know whether this is a random occurrence or whether the game keeps track of previous victories behind the scenes and awards the increases at defined intervals.
My skill increases after I kill a wolf.
After defeating these few enemies around Asgard, I left Asgard and returned a few times, and the enemies didn't respawn. It does not appear that any enemies in the game respawn.

A couple of interesting things came out of further NPC conversations. First, I had read in the glossary that Frey had a magic warship called Skidbladnir. It could shrink to the size of a napkin but magically expand when needed, and it was accompanied by magical winds called Oskabyrr. I asked Frey about these keywords and he ended up giving me his ship. For a while, I thought this was a fun Easter egg, accessible only to players who bothered to read the manual, but later another NPC suggested that I ask him about it.
The hero discovers that presumption pays off.
Second, Freya seemed to be so in love with her cats that I thought she might have some insight into a "cat's footfall" that I had to retrieve for Odin. She said she'd get it for me if I could steal the necklace Brisingamen from a bunch of dwarves. She was otherwise going to have to sleep with them to get the necklace.

Finally, I figured out how to open chests and bags by putting them in my left hand. I went around Asgard and picked up all the chests I'd previous left alone. In most of them, I found perfume--this turned out to be a suitable gift at gods' altars (see below). In a basket in a large meeting room, I found a head labeled "Mimer's Head." According to the glossary, Mimer was a giant who was slain during the war between the Aesir and Vanir. Odin had the head embalmed so his "wisdom was not lost" and would frequently speak to the head to get advice. So far, the head hasn't said anything to me.
Chjestyr is cured of the desire to open random chests.
When I was ready to leave Asgard, I had a dozen quests, or at least things that I think are quests:

  • Find Hyrokkin in Jotunheim and speak to her about Ragnarok.
  • Help King Nitheri rescue his abducted daughter from the giant TreeSmiter.
  • Steal the Mead of Consequence from the giant Surt and bring it to Hoenir.
  • Find the head of Thor's hammer and bring it back to him.
  • Wake Brynhild from a magic slumber.
  • Retrieve either the Rod of Subduing or the Wand of Charming from Hela, use them on the giantess Gerd so she'll marry Frey without Frey having to give the Sword of Victory to her father.
  • Find a magic torc and give it to blind Hodur so he can avoid death at the hands of Baldur's brother, Vale.
  • Find a way to strengthen Heimdal's breastplate and Thor's line so they will avoid a later death.
  • Locate a ship captain named Ragnar and give him a message from his father, Gorm.
  • Steal the necklace Brisingamen from the dwarves and bring it to Freya so she will give me a cat's footfall.

Or you could just give it to me to stop the end of the world.
  • Find the rest of the items needed to chain Fenrir: spittle of birds, a woman's beard, breath of fish, mountain's root.
  • Find the Horn of Fate, Gjaller, for Heimdal.

When I was ready to set out, I headed west and crossed the Rainbow Bridge, also known as the Bif-Rost, which I had always imagined was partitioned "bi-frost" instead. I found myself in a cave--I had to equip a torch--with three warriors who immediately attacked me, but they weren't hard. One of them had a better axe than the one given to me by Urd, so I equipped it. Among the others, I found some random loot: a "Fehu" rune, a couple of golden idols, and a couple of iron coins. More on the rune and idols in a bit.

The cave ended up splitting into two exits to Midgard, one south and one north. I took the south exit. The land on the other side was quite large--maybe 10-15 screens east-west and north-south. I was reminded how annoying it is to explore large, open outdoor areas when you don't have an automap and no small-scale map came with the game (see Lord of the Rings, vol. I for another example). I'm always paranoid that I'm going to miss something. I tried to explore in a pattern, but mountain ranges and bodies of water made it difficult.
Beginning to explore Midgard.
There were thankfully fewer NPCs on the map than in Asgard--less than 10 total, and most of them had only brief dialogue. A woman named Drifa told me the properties of the various roots and fruits that I'd been finding. For instance, Apples of Vigor heal you, Baldur's Brow cures poison, and Stonecrop protects against lightning.

I fought and killed a bunch of wolves and random warriors. This one wolf kept killing me, and when I finally was able to destroy it after about 8 reloads, it turned out it wasn't a wolf at all but a person wearing a "Wolf Cloak." When I put it on, it turned me into a wolf temporarily. I assume it will have some use later.
The corpse of someone I just killed. I'm wearing the wolf cloak.
Scattered about Midgard are temples to various gods. It took me some trial and error to figure out what to do here. You have to sacrifice certain items to get a god's favor. So far, I've determined that perfume, golden idols, and magic items work for everyone, but I generally want to keep my magic items. After each sacrifice, you get a spell, represented by a rune in the lower-right part of the character sheet. Some of the runes represent spells that remain active for a while, like protection. Others are spells that you cast by clicking on them. I'll talk about this more later when I have better experience.
Sacrificing an item to a god. Note that I already have an active spell. I think clicking on it increases my "sage" ability.
As my inventory swiftly grew, I began getting "encumbered" messages as well as out-of-space messages, which I had to solve by ditching extra weapons (I hope these don't break like they do in DarkSpyre) and putting things in carried bags and chests, respectively. I had hoped to sell the excess weapons at stores, but frankly I don't know if stores exist. The only economy in the game seems to be little iron pieces, but these are tracked as individual items, so clearly I'll never amass thousands of them like in most RPGs.

I picked up another quest when I wandered into the court of King Beowulf. He wants me to kill a dragon terrorizing the area and bring him its head. This seems a little advanced for my current character, but I'll give it a shot.

Eventually, I found my way to the hall ruled by King Nitheri, who told me about his abducted daughter. TreeSmiter and his band of giants were living in a building right next door.

Chjestyr the Giant Slayer.
I had to return to Asgard twice to get healed during the process, but I managed to kill both TreeSmiter and the surrounding giants. Nitheri's daughter was grateful for the rescue.
The grateful damsel.
In TreeSmiter's home, I found an awesome sword called Blutgang that's both light (meaning it can attack more often) and does as much damage as any other weapon found so far. Its special attack is some kind of fireball spell. There was also a cloak called a Cloak of Obscurity that makes me invisible--I'm sure it will come in handy later.

Returning to Nitheri, I was rewarded with his shield, called LifeGiver, which quickly restores hit points when you hold it. It seems a little too easy; I suspect it only has a limited number of uses. Anyway, my other shield does damage in combat and LifeGiver doesn't, so I'll only equip LifeGiver when I really need it.

Finishing my first quest.
After that, I was feeling pretty good about my chances with a dragon, so I went looking for it. I found it in the mountains to the south of Beowulf's castle. Its head poked out of its lair, and it spewed a series of fireballs in unpredictable intervals. To defeat it, I had to run up, slash it a couple of times with my sword, and run back to safety before it started spitting fireballs. It took a few reloads before I got into the hang of the pattern, but after that I was able to kill him without much problem.

Waiting for the dragon to stop blowing fireballs so I can attack.
I got the dragon's head, heart (this apparently allows you to talk to birds), several vials of its blood, several ship's tokens (another sacrificial item) and iron coins, several chests full of Freya's tears (no idea), and a dragon hauberk and leggings to replace my leather. I left so over-encumbered that I could barely walk (the game slows you down when you're over-encumbered), and even dropping off the dragon's head with Beowulf didn't do much to alleviate it. Clearly, I'm going to need a place to store stuff I don't currently need until later. In particular, the dragon hauberk and leggings will have to wait until I'm stronger, as they weigh 110 pounds combined versus the 12 pounds of what I was already wearing.

The very over-encumbered hero.
Anyway, Beowulf took the head and gave me an even cooler longsword, Hrunting, that does more damage than Blutgang and shoots lightning.

Miscellaneous notes:

  • If the game has any sound other than music, it's rare. No sound appears in combat. As I've mentioned before, I don't like music constantly playing in the background, no matter how good, so I've just turned the sound off. I hope we're reaching the end of the era in which developers prized music over sound effects and the two couldn't be separated in the preferences.
  • I accidentally attacked Inghen, the guy who gave me my first set of equipment, while I was trying to figure out how to equip the spear. Even though I've left Asgard and returned a couple of times, he's still sore about it. He refuses to talk to me, and he attacks the moment I enter his hut. I hope I don't need him for anything later. I probably should have started over.
  • Like in DarkSpyre, enemies flee when their hit points get too low. Actually, they don't flee so much as run around the area randomly. You have to run up to them and start swinging to get them back into combat.
  • The in-game clock tells you the current date and time in the real world. I don't understand what utility this was supposed to have. 
Did early 1990s players not otherwise have clocks?
  • I don't know how to get the magic boat Skidbladnir to work. If I drop it, it just sits there. If I try to put it in my hand to "use" it, there's no option to do so. I suspect that maybe it'll just get used automatically when needed, and I can't actually use it to sail over generic bodies of water.
  • There is a day/night cycle in the game, but fortunately "night" is accompanied by the screen just getting darker, not closing in around you like so many 1980s-early 1990s games.

I like Dusk of the Gods, but it's less an RPG and more an adventure game with a few combats in between NPCs and inventory puzzles. In that, it feels more like Quest for Glory than DarkSpyre, but without Quest for Glory's more robust character development system. On the other hand, it's rare that I really learn something from an RPG, so even if the game gets a little boring at times, it's worth continuing to play--if only because it improves my standings at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament.


  1. Is it just me, or does the graphical style of this game seem like a prototype version of Ultima 7? U7 was such a divergence from earlier in the series, but there are a lot of touches that seem like it pre-imagined the interface, down to the "paper doll" model for showing equipped armor and such.

    1. Now that you mention it, I do see the similarities.

    2. That is a very good point, it does look a lot like u7 - though that was way more interactive than this.

  2. Your description of Skidbladnir leaves me wondering if some hapless warrior whom the king wanted to be rid of was given a toy ship and told to go on some quest.
    "Head North and throw this boat, given to me by Freya herself, into the sea. It will grow and take you to some island full of gold and steel and fine wooden things. Bring them back and I shall *stifles a giggle* reward you greatly."
    I wonder if any warriors of old were actually given things like that. Imagine the shame of having to return empty handed or admitting the thing didn't work.
    A cruel prank like that would probably work only in the most superstitious cultures.

    1. If the king didn't like a warrior, he was out. There are always remote provinces that need to be guarded, or failing that he'd be killed if it pleased the king. Humiliating trusting people by trolling them has never been more popular than in modern times, sadly.

    2. Indeed, that seems like more of a recipe for getting the king's throat cut.

    3. Have you ever actually read Celtic and Norse mythology? "Trolling" trusting people is a major, recurring theme, engaged in by heroes and villains alike...

  3. Rainbow Bridge! - your study of Norse myth has revealed a piece of Jimi Hendrix lore!

    1. That's better than ending up in Care-A-Lot and all the carebears and cousins and whatever else is in that world.

  4. Wow...seeing 3/5/16 in a DOS game really blows my mind. Like, in 1991 I never thought we'd get to this date. It's kind of amazing to my 1991 mind that the game can even display the current date, it's so far in the future. I suppose they threw the time in there because they could. Writeln (TimeToStr(Time));

    Fun fact: in those days, clocks weren't synchronized worldwide with NTP. You just had your local system's time and that was it. The IBM PC's internal clock either ran fast or slow so there wasn't much point of accuracy anyway. Lots of people didn't even bother to set time and date and all documents were January 1, 1980. Or, the time just reset every time you turned the computer off. And by turn off, I mean physically with a mechanical switch that disconnected the power, you didn't issue a system command to shut down and then the system went to sleep, keeping an eye out for network packets that tell it to start up.

    1. "Seeing 3/5/16 in a DOS game really blows my mind." It is kind of funny. We had that whole Y2K panic in 1999 with the banking industry and everything else, but this silly game, sure to be forgotten by January 1, 2000, managed to roll over just fine.

    2. This rmembers me of my first copy of Master of Orion 2: Battle at Antares. In this version, after 99 came the year... 100, and continued so on (The disc broke in year 104, don't know how far this would have gone otherwise) Later versions made a "correct" 00 and so on instead

    3. If it simply says 16 it could have being interpreted internally as 1916. That's not too correct.

    4. The company Titus liked to greet far-future players of its games with messages like:

      "Yeaaa... You are still playing Moktar in [current year]!!

      Programmed in 1991 on at .286 12MHZ. ...Enjoy Moktar Adventure!!"

    5. Wise users with internal drives did, in fact, run a shutdown command. It was usually called, "park" or "parkdisk" and would move the read heads to the outermost section of the disk to reduce the odds of damage caused by vibration or power irregularities when restarting... (It ceased to be necessary when the hardware designers realised that they could just make the heads do that automatically when the power was cut.)

      Issuing this command was then followed by pulling a manual switch that usually made a very nice, audible click or thunk.

    6. In Curse of Monkey Island, adventure game from 1997, you can check time (set in Windows) on a clock tower and voice actor acually reads it! :) I just love this kind of attencion to such small, insignificant, time and money wasting details :D

  5. Triple goddesses or gods are a pretty common motif in various mythologies (Celts had them in spades, for example), so I don't think there's an influence there.
    I think you're pretty spot on about Dusk being more of an Adventure than RPG. It's kinda sad that such a unique character creation system was wasted on such a primitive attribute system. Fortunately in The Summoning the more detailed attributes of DarkSpyre will make a comeback. Unfortunately, the switch-plate-teleporter puzzles will do too, although a few of the inventory-based ones will still be there. Only in Anvil of Dawn, their last RPG, will Dreamforge find the perfect balance between Adventure and Dungeon Crawl.

    1. Triumvirates are everywhere. Heck, even the Bible has the Holy Trinity. Buddhism has Buddha, Dharma & Sangha as the 3 Jewels. Witches exist in Covens of threes. Christmas Ghosts come in trios as well.

    2. Actually there's no "Trinity" in the Bible.

    3. Triplets of women who tell the future is a little more specific than just triplets. I remain convinced that there's some kind of relationship.

    4. Celtic Morrigans are also prophetesses, among other things. Mythology is just full of unexplicable coincidences like this. In Ossetian pantheon, for example, there's a god Syrdon who is basically a carbon copy of Loki - but there's no evidence of any sort of contacts between the two peoples. Moreover, there are plots and characters in Ossetian epic poems that are strikingly similar to those of Popol Vuh - a case where direct or indirect influence is completely out of the question. Mythological archetypes aren't necessarily vague and generic, more often than not they tend to be awfully specific.

    5. There's some relevant information on the topic here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triple_Goddess_(Neopaganism)

    6. Neopaganism has very little to do with actual mythology, it's mostly invented. Better links would be:

    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    8. @Anonymous - Yeah, you're right. Thanks for being pedantic. Want a stick up your @$$ while you're at it? Fine, replace the "general Christian faith" instead of the Bible but whatever misguided concepts of Christianity they got from.

    9. Let me get this straight. We have to be precise and careful in discussing this old Norse belief but can be dismissive in talking about the misguided Christians. Got it.

      And I do hope that this is just the case of getting up on the wrong side of the bed not the case of thin skinned guy picking fight on the internet.

    10. Waitaminit. When did I say that you'd "have to be precise and careful discussing old Norse beliefs"?

      And why would I need to pick a fight with an Anonymous guy who might not even have skin and is actually a reptilian alien disguised as some grandma's pet cat?

    11. There is a relationship between Greek and Norse mythology as both descended from proto Indo-European religious beliefs, along with Celtic, Roman, Slavic, Baltic, Hittite and various Iranian and Indian religious systems.

      There's versions of Three Fates in almost all of them, Norse Norns, Greek Moirai, Roman Parcae, The Hittite Hutena, Lithuanian DeivÄ—s Valdytojos, South Slavic Sudenicy and Albanian Fatit.

  6. Re: Combat, if it's anything like the Summoning (my all-time favorite game from childhood!), then the 1-6 number row keys may correspond to attack types for each weapon, and combined with timing your and the enemies cooldown periods you may find a hit and run strategy works on some harder enemies (otherwise it is somewhat repetitive). Additionally, in the Summoning luring enemies into traps is a particularly satisfying strategy, but I'm not sure how much that applies in a less dungeon-like layout.

    Re: Encumbrance, are there sacks as well as chests? Do sacks have less weight of their own? I seem to recall this making a difference in The Summoning (as well as there being some other nice features in this area).

    1. The reference card that came with the game SAYS that the 1-6 keys should correspond, but they don't seem to work. I have to use the mouse. It is a little annoying, and I would love it if the keys worked as advertised. I may have to investigate setup/install again.

      No traps in this game so far, though.

      Yes, chests and sacks each weigh a few pounds on their own. Sacks weigh less but can store less.

    2. Then again, these containers are a godsend (geddit? Dusk of Gods? Right, never mind) if you're a hoarder.

      Sure, it may weigh more but it gives more space. Which is, in itself, a very interesting mechanic.

  7. Ah, the Fates! Do they all see the same fate or do they issue Minority Reports?
    I wonder if Chris Avellone played this game... It reminds me a bit of Planescape: Torment, especially the head that's supposed to share its wisdom with you, and the focus on lore instead of combat.

    1. The mythological Mimer would have been the inspiration for the "mimir" skull-that-dispenses-wisdom from the Planescape pen-and-paper setting. The Planescape mimir, in turn, almost certainly inspired Planescape: Torment's Morte (who notes his similarity to a mimir himself).

  8. Dusk of the Gods is reminding me of The Adventures of Robin Hood, which is another 1991 isometric game based on popular folklore that is perhaps too close to adventure game territory for this blog. I never did figure out how to save Will Scarlet in that.

    DreamForge has a lot of distinct RPGs in their library, I'm now discovering. I'm familiar with Menzoberranzan and Dungeon Hack (both recently added to GOG, in fact) but there's plenty more there I wasn't aware of. Certainly didn't know there were two Ravenloft games.

  9. This game has many similarities to the roguelike Ragnarok (http://www.roguetemple.com/reviews/ragnarok/) which was released in 1992 (one year later?). You take quests to aid the Norse gods at the final battle in both games, but the character progression, combat, and monster mechanics of Ragnarok are much more developed in exchange for the sheer lore of Dusk of the Gods.

    1. Also reminds me of the old ZX Spectrum game Valhalla, which was an Adventure game. Never got very far in it, but I still remember "Idun is not amused" and walking across the screen to whack the player character if you wrote something "naughty".

    2. I Googled it to see if it's mentioned elsewhere, but it turn out it's "Mary" who is not amused, obviously a reference to the infamous moral crusader and busybody Mary Whitehouse. IIRC she's even prevented the inclusion of a Red Light district in Dun Darach.

  10. Not a hint, but referring to myth, maybe Mimer will be more vocabular by his well beneath Yggdrasil.

    1. Nidhoeggr might have something to say about that :D

  11. I know that Norse mythology adopted the concept of "three fates" from Greek mythology--or they both got it from an earlier source.

    If you fancy a ride down a wingnut rabbit hole, there are dark corners of the internet (the British Israelite neighbourhoods) where theories are bandied about that the Norse Gods are actually the Trojan royal family. (I know, where did they find time to establish both Rome and Scandinavia?)

    1. The notion that the Norse gods were "really" the Greek pantheon, or the heroes of the Greek epics dates back to Rome. Okay, technically this would be the Roman pantheon, but the difference is slight. In actuality, they almost certainly were either of native Northern European origin or separately branched from a much older mythology, depending on the specific god.

    2. You can really see what was so appealing about Christianity. All of these polytheistic systems feature gods that are more powerful than people but no more kind or moral. They have all of the failings of humanity and constantly plot and scheme and screw their own followers (sometimes quite literally). Christianity comes along and says "God loves you. God is good. He wants you to join Him in paradise." I'd certainly have converted.

    3. Christianity certainly had that going for it, though in fairness it has a lot of the "pantheon" mythology still built in, especially through demons and angels, virgin birth, and such. Most of that is post-biblical, but it represents a real need for people to tell STORIES in their religious frameworks and for that you need real actors.

      Christianity for early leadership was also not quite the same as for their subjects. A lot of folk religion survived the conversion process (hence, why we still have Easter bunnies and Christmas trees) for the common folks; conversely leadership often adopted Christianity because they felt it made them more powerful. Constantine came to Christianity not because God loves you and is just, but because he saw something in the sky that said "in this sign [the cross], conquer". And from there, we have state religion!

      Completely unrelated, the original mythologies of the Anglo Saxons were of course closely related to the Norse gods, but not entirely the same one. Woden was their king-god of choice, but I'm not sure what other alignments/misalignments there were in their pantheon. And now that I think about it, I'll shut up here because your mastery of Arthurian mythology probably means that you know more about this than I do. (As proto-Arthur was possibly a Christian Romano-British person fighting against invading Woden-worshipping Saxons.)

    4. Old mythologies used the foibles of gods to tell stories about humans. Gods thus tended to emotional extremes. There was a degree of carry-over from that in the OT, which is possibly a remnant of Yahweh/El's existence as part of the ancient semitic pantheon. By the NT, rather than foibles, the notion of God tells stories about humanity via the distinction between his perfection and the imperfection of humans.

    5. There are certainly a lot of similarities between Greek and Norse, at least on the surface. Both traditions have a father at the head of a large and jumbled family, some of whom get tacked on from odd directions. Both mythologies have a place on high where they all live. Both sets make a big deal about having 12 primary gods, though when you dig deeper it's extremely unclear which 12 are the "real" 12, as the lists shift depending on the telling. Both sets have giants/titans as adversaries -- with some differences to be sure, but also plenty of similarities. There's even comparisons to be drawn between the Norse gods' love of mead and the Greek gods' ambrosia.

    6. You forgot the most important thing: Rick Riorden wrote about both of them :) I haven't started on Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard yet but both my son and wifi loved it and are pestering me to read it.

    7. Wrong autocomplete typo of the day... :)

    8. Your wifi has turned sentient?! I knew it. World is ending.

  12. >I hope we're reaching the end of the era in which developers prized music over sound effects and the two couldn't be separated in the preferences.

    That's happened enough times now that I'm starting to wonder if you might have something misconfigured? That game looks awfully good for one that doesn't have separate music and sound effects.

    It was pretty typical to have to configure each separately, so perhaps you have digital sound set wrong, but music set correctly?

    It just .... that game looks too good to have no sound. I've never played it, but I think something is amiss.

    1. I don't know. I suppose it's possible, but neither of the YouTube videos that show gameplay contain any sound, and I don't see anything amiss in the configurations. I really think they just didn't program any sound effects for this one.

    2. Music done well can add something to a game. I'm rather enjoying playing Fallout 4 with the classical station playing. There's nothing like headshotting a raider with the Tragic Overture playing.

  13. Being able to check the time seems pretty handy to me. I don't have any clocks or the like near my PC so I have a clock widget on Chrome for when my other screen is taken up by a game. And considering this was 1991 DOS it's not like you could tab out and check the time! :)

    1. Civilization 4 still has this feature, plus the ability to set an alarm to tell yourself to stop playing and go to bed. Speaking of which...

  14. "She was otherwise going to have to sleep with them to get the necklace."
    Wow... the world's oldest profession almost recruited a Norse Goddess into its fold.

    The guy in wolf cloak is a Vargulf (Celtic/Nordic werewolf); and is probably Sigmund. Sort of like Berzerker (werebear). From their folklore, these warriors have to skin the animal they wish to turn into, perform a ritual to enchant the cloak so that they could turn into its animal form. I didn't know it's transferable, though. A little sketchy here.

    If Beowulf is featured here, I wonder if Sigurd and Arngrim (also in Valkyrie Profile) would appear as well.

  15. RE: snapping line. I think I've heard an old Norse myth about someone (probably Thor) going fishing and accidentally catching Jormungandr, so maybe look for fishing gear?

  16. It would've funny if the Marvel films had used a pronunciation of Bifrost that is closer to the original one. Instead of Bi-frost, the name sounds a lot like beef-roast :))


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