Saturday, September 29, 2018

Die Dunkle Dimension: Won! (with Summary and Rating)

The end screen suggests a sequel that probably never came.

Die Dunkle Dimension
"The Dark Dimension"
German Design Group (developer and publisher)
Released in 1989 for Commodore 64
Date Started: 29 August 2018
Date Ended: 28 September 2018
Total Hours: 35
Difficulty: Moderate-Hard (3.5/5)
Final Rating: 36
Ranking at time of posting: 223/305 (73%)

From one perspective, for the last three days, Die Dunkle Dimension has taken a higher percentage of my waking hours than any other game since I started this blog. I've had it running essentially constantly, in a desperate gambit to make this entry my last one. This was important to me because having two long-running games going at the same time feels like a bit of a grind.

From a different perspective, the game occupied so little of my active consciousness that I really only "played" about 2 of the 18 hours I logged since the last entry. The rest of the time, I was mindlessly grinding while watching television, enjoying the fall weather on my deck, and walking on my treadmill. (I'm starting a major exercise effort this week, greatly assisted when I found a way to rig a laptop stand in a way that I can use it while walking.) This is all to say that the game is extremely grindy. Of the 35 hours that it took me to win, easily two-thirds were spent fighting one mindless combat after another, and half the remainder was spent in translation. The actual game content falls reasonably short of 8 hours. But I did enjoy that small portion of time.
Surrounded by dragons. Once I had the magic armor, even situations like this weren't really dangerous.
When I last blogged, I had visited almost all the cities and had found all but one letter of the Evil One's name. As an anonymous commenter guessed, the full name was TROFNIH, the last letter discovered in the island town of Madraskan. The town also held an armor shop, where after asking me some copy protection questions, the proprietor handed over a suit of magic armor. It was a little overpowered. Once I put it on, hardly any enemy was capable of more than a couple hit points of damage per blow.

After that, I settled in for a period of grinding until I had enough money to purchase the Elvenbow and the location of the Sicaria Draconem sword. Since the max difficulty of enemies scales with the character, I stated to get mummies, dragons, and demons. I bought the Elvenbow first, but I never got much use from it. It's theoretically quite valuable, as its arrows pass through obstacles and in the right terrain, you can slaughter enemies without even letting them approach you. But since enemies aren't really dangerous (after you get the armor), once I had the magic sword, it was easier to attack them with the better weapon. Also, the bow requires a "loading" round in between attacks.
The Elvenbow will still hit that guy. I don't think the magic bow in Ultima IV does that.
Mohammed gave me the location of the Sicaria Draconem at the edge of a desert. That left me broke, but then I remembered I hadn't told the king about the location of Mubrak. When I returned to him and gave him the coordinates, he rewarded me with 2,000 gold.

Now rich yet again, I took the time to train my intelligence up to 15 and then hit both of the Magic Circles, learning spells (for a few hundred gold a pop) from the various wizards, then buying the various reagents necessary to cast those spells. I had to find mandrake in a swamp and buy nightshade (or whatever the game's equivalent) from a dealer in Mubrak. Herb dealers mostly sold the others.
Learning a spell.
For all the difficulty acquiring enough intelligence to cast spells, then the spells themselves, then the reagents, spells really play a minor role in the game. They don't work for any of the major boss combats. "Cure Poison" is a blessing, and you need magic to cast "Spellbreaker" at some key locations, but that's really it. The "Magic Bomb" spell--which kills every enemy on the screen--was useful for grinding, but it drains mana fast, so you can't cast it every combat. Almost every other offensive spell simply saves you a few attack rounds with a regular weapon.
Killing 6 guys at once with "Magic Bomb."
After leveling and training some of my stats, my next step was to save the princess from the riesenlindwurm ("giant dragon"), who occupies a cave in the middle of some mountains. To get to him, I first needed to fly, so I went to Gaht and bought a unicorn, and only then realized that I was once again confusing unicorns with pegasuses. The unicorn was unresponsive to my commands to "lüfte!"
Wondering what I overlooked, I began circling the continent again and ultimately realized I'd missed a maze of corridors--accessible only by boat--in the northeastern peninsula. These led me to a castle called "Burg Fulgar" ruled by a fire demon named Fulgar. His couple of minions repeatedly stressed that technically he wasn't a demon, but more of a fire elemental, but Fulgar did admit to a certain antipathy towards people (his dialogue was somewhat amusing, and I'm sure I missed a lot of the nuance). He first asked if I'd received an oaken dagger from his minion T'Kul in Mubrak. I hadn't, so I had to go back and collect it. Fulgar then asked me to invade the castle of the vampire Prince Kroloc and kill him.
I hope someday I'm powerful enough to build a huge sign that reads "CHESTER" behind my throne.
I hadn't previously found the castle, but I soon discovered it amidst the swamps to the south. It was another dungeon, only three stories, and on the top level I killed Kroloc without any trouble.
Kroloc looks remarkably like a balrog.
Fulgar rewarded me with the Firering, which allows me to walk through lava ("unfortunately, it only protects against lava, not other fire"). The first place to use it was in Fulgar's castle itself, where a river of lava blocked me from his herd of flying fire lizards. I "boarded" one and had the ultimate transportation.

There's something awesome about getting the ability to fly over terrain you could previously only explore by land. Enemies couldn't attack me while I was in flight--they didn't even spawn. The boat had already given me the ability to fight combats only when I felt like it, and that went doubly so for the fire lizard. Unfortunately, the fire lizard didn't have any response to the same key that fires cannons on boats. I thought he might breathe fireballs or something.
Sailing over mountains on my fire lizard.
The fire lizard, which can only land on squares of grass, got me across the mountains to the lair of the riesenlindwurm, which Google Translate amusingly kept rendering as "giant Indian worm." His cave is a large one-room affair with the dragon taking up most of it and the princess chained nearby. You have to walk up and defeat each head in turn while all three heads constantly breathe fire at you.
This trip didn't work out for me.
Unfortunately, I was here too soon and was soon crispened. Thus began my second major bout of grinding. It took me over four hours to get from Level 12 to Level 15. I spent most of it outside Mubrak, using "Magic Bomb" whenever I faced a large or difficult group, then frequently darting into town to re-stock on reagents. The most annoying thing about grinding is getting attacked by animal enemies and having to waste time trying to get them to flee, so I generally stood on my boat (which provides the best combat terrain anyway) and used the cannons to blast any horse, cow, or snake that approached. The game's message seems to be: "It's bad to kill animals, unless you kill them with cannons."

At Level 15 (and after training the associated attribute upgrades), I returned to the cave and still died, but I came close enough that I was encouraged. Two tries later, I succeeded in killing the dragon and freeing the princess. She in turn thanked me for saving her and told me that the dragon had discovered the splinter of the crystal and had hidden it in his treasure house, in the cave called Höhle, which I had previously discovered and mapped. She said that his treasure room was blocked by a magic door that requires a dragon's claw to open, and she cut one of the dead lindwurm's claws off and handed it to me.
Sheila, demonstrating very little PTSD, considering I left her in the cave with the dragon for months while grinding.
It was time to explore Höhle again, and that wasn't so hard. The many combats in the dungeon were more annoyances than actual challenges. I got to the ninth floor, inserted the dragon claw in the doorway, and played my glass flute to attract the splinter.
There was a little animation of the splinter descending from the ceiling, but I missed it.
At this point, the game threw me a curve ball by deleting the ladder back to the earlier floors. A brief thread on my last entry confirmed this was a bug in the original, and I downloaded an updated version. I had to reload an earlier save, and do the dungeon again, but I was able to pick up from there.

There was nothing left but the endgame. Unfortunately, I wasn't ready for it. The Evil One's lair was on an isle with no grass strip, so I had to purchase another boat and sail to the island. The interior was full of magic barriers that I needed "Spellbreaker" (the only spell that works in the area) to dispel. In between barriers were combats with invisible phantoms and tough golems, and unlike the outdoor combats, there was no way to flee these. It soon became clear I wasn't strong enough.
As the game makes clear, "Spellbreaker" is the only spell to work in the final area. "Heal" would have been nice.
Back for another bout of grinding. After about 3 hours and 2 levels, I tried again and was still defeated. It took me almost another 3 hours to make one more level, and this time I determined to try as many times as necessary until I won. Fortunately, the number of combats you face in the final dungeon is variable, and I got lucky on my third attempt, reaching the endgame with just enough hit points to spare.
Swarmed by golems in the final area.
As you enter the final area with the crystal, the Evil One (represented only by a pair of eyes) repeatedly zaps you with magic. But you need only to make it to the square next to the place where the splinter was cut out. You use the splinter and then chant the evil one's name backwards (HINFORT, which according to commenters means "begone!" in German), and the endgame commences. I don't think I mentioned that the master of the White Circle walks you through all of this. I visited him a few entries ago, but I see now that I never blogged about it.
Would "Enogeb" be a good demon name in an English game?
The endgame text is long:
You lift the splinter high over the scar in the crystal. The splinter blazes up. Your fate will soon be fulfilled. The splinter pulsates warmly in your hand. The crystal begins to vibrate and hum. what do you shout while healing the crystal? (HINFORT). You look at the horrible archdemon firmly in his indescribable eyes and shout "HINFORT!" Then you hurl the splinter down.

Done! The crystal glows and melts with the splinter back to a unity. At the same time, you feel how an unimaginably strong power accumulates in it. The archdemon cries desperately, "NO!" Then the crystal explodes in pure white light.
Chinese version: "NICHT WOLLEN!"
The power of the crystal has flung the demon back into the dark abyss of Hell from which it came. Along with the demon vanishes all the evil that bothered the balance of the world. You, too, are caught and thrown up by the force of the crystal. From a great height, you can watch as the damage caused by the demon around the crystal is destroyed. The cloud cover breaks and bright sunlight floods the land. The balance is restored and this dimension is no longer dark.
I'm just glad the presence of the sun in our world is not dependent upon a crystal hovering over some lava.
Your task here is thus fulfilled. You won but what will become of you? You no longer fit into the balance of this world. The power of the crystal also takes away all your items and skills acquired here. You are flung out of the world into the infinite swirling of time and space. Where will you land? Back home? Or perhaps also in the second part: The Black Fortress. Coming soon on this screen.
The protagonist hurtles through space and time.
So once again, in its final moments, Die Dunkle Dimension cribs from Lord British: Immediately upon saving the world, before I can enjoy a proper party or any sort of reward, I'm flung out of it, and I don't even get to keep the magic items, gold, or skills I acquired. But of course they'll want me to save the world again in the sequel.

This is a long post already, but I don't feel like saving the GIMLET for a separate entry, so here we go:
  • 5 points for the game world. The manual tells a competent story that is reflected repeatedly in the game.
The story says the Black Circle master was burned to a crisp when he summoned the Evil One, and sure enough you can find his body in-game.
  • 3 points for character creation and development. No matter how you start, every character probably gravitates to the same basic mold over the course of the game. Leveling makes you more powerful but doesn't seem very rewarding at the time, particularly since harder monsters attack you.
  • 5 points for NPC interaction. It's a strong system, drawn from the Ultima series, and I always appreciate keyword-based dialogue. But unlike the Ultima series, we don't really see any dialog options or role-playing choices inherent in the NPC interaction.
  • 3 points for encounters and foes. The monsters are fantasy standard, again many drawn from Ultima IV. They are well-described in the manual, but again in a way that's mostly plagiarism. There are no serious non-combat encounters.
  • 3 points for magic and combat. I like the tactical grid, but there just aren't many combat options. Magic only works when you don't really need it. Turning off spells during the game's hardest encounters was a poor decision.
Fighting a cyclops in the dungeon.
  • 3 points for equipment. There are a small number of upgrades, and a small number of special items, but it doesn't play a huge role in the game.
  • 4 points for economy. For most of the game, it's pretty tight, though not complex.
  • 3 points for quests. There's a main quest and at least one side quest, but no role-playing options or alternate endings.
The king is grateful for my rescue of Sheila.
  • 4 points for graphics, sound, and interface. The graphics and sound are serviceable, and the keyboard-based interface is easy to master. I'll never criticize a game that maps each action to a sensible key.
  • 3 points for gameplay. The first half is nonlinear, but the second half isn't. As such, it really isn't replayable, and it requires far too much grinding.
That gives us a final score of 36, just above my "recommended" threshold. In a week where I was in a different mood, I'd subtract some extra points for all the grinding that it requires, but for some reason it didn't bother me this week. Grinding, for all its tedium, requires no ambiguity or complexity, no chance of failure. Sometimes it's just the thing.

Dunkle isn't nearly as good as the games it's based on, but it does retain something of the spirit of those games, and I could see how it would be a good introductory RPG for German players, many of whom have offered fond remembrances in the comments.

The game was originally release on Golden Disk 64 in 1989. Later that year, German Design Group boxed it and offered it to market directly. The primary (perhaps sole) author behind the game is Hendrik Belitz, who would have been in his early 30s when the title was originally released. [Edit: Belitz later contacted me and said that he wasn't the author, just the host of the fan site.] Belitz ran a web site dedicated to the game from 2001 to 2017, but at some point he lost the domain and it was taken over by junk ads. He seems to have remained active in tabletop RPG gaming, but I can't find evidence that he's worked on another CRPG, not even the suggested sequel to Dunkle that would have been called Die Schwarze Festung. I'm glad the game sold so well (I have a note that it sold around 30,000 copies, but I'm not sure where that came from), but it irks me a bit that nowhere in his documentation--not even on his dedicated site years later--does he give any credit to Richard Garriott or Origin Systems for developing the original games from which he copied almost all his mechanics and themes.
He even stole the gremlin bastard who steals food.
I'm grateful for any opportunity to get more exposure to German, as I've just booked a trip to Munich in early December. It will be my first visit to the country.

"But, Chet!" I hear you saying. "You finished this too quickly! We love your coverage of German Ultima clones! We wish your blog was nothing but that!" Well, I'm happy to please. We turn now to Kayden Garth (1989).


  1. Hah, another of the many games from that time which were supposed to receive a sequel but never did. At least the story is wrapped up at the end and doesn't end with a cliffhanger!

    (you might argue not knowing where you're being whisked away to is a cliffhanger, but we can all just pretend you arrive back home and be done with it)

    1. The was a mobile game in 2007/2008 from the same author. It was more or less a remake of the game and were supposed to be sold in 3 or more episodes. However because of poor sale figures it was cancelled. The first episode however was fun on a tiny mobile screen on my Nokia mobile.

    2. The 80s and 90s were replete with cancelled sci fi and fantasy products... so many TV series vanished, computer games, etc.

      It's funny that my kids and their friends talk about how lucky I was to see old Star Trek, Doc Who, etc. in it's first "super popular run!" And no... AD&D was not the mark of popularity!

  2. I remember that I bought the magazine release of this game, back when I was young. Not sure what made me to stop playing it. I guess it was my purchase of an Atari ST, or the follow up purchase of the Amiga. Nevertheless, I truly enjoyed this (and all of the other) entries here. Thanks a lot for them!

  3. The unicorn was unresponsive to my commands to "lüfte!"

    Actual LOL at that line. One can only imagine the baleful look it gave you.

    1. I imagine it would be more confused than anything. "Lüfte? Was denn? das Zimmer? Das Geheimnis?"

    2. That put a guilty smirk on my face.

      On a related topic, let us all take solace in the fact that this is not the post with the homo-bestial erotic fiction.

  4. The boat doesn't have cannons to kill enemies, it has a catapult to drive them away as explained in the manual ("vertrieben" is German for "driven away") so no animals get killed when shooting from the ship.

  5. Will you visit the "Hofbräuhaus"? There, they serve big mugs ("Humpen") of beer. I suggest, you should also visit a "Fußballspiel" of Bayern Munich to get an intimate view of German culture ;)

    1. In December, I'd also pay a visit to the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg.

  6. Is there going to be a fan meet while you're over here on the old world? :)

    1. I would certainly suggest so!

      I'd be willing to drive to Munich (about 2.5-3 hours I think) but other meeting places are ok as well.

      Chester, what do you say? We can keep mum about your secret identity :)

    2. I certainly would be at a fan meeting...

    3. That's very kind of all of you, but I'm at a professional event, and at this point I don't really know the schedule or what kind of time off I'll have. Maybe as it gets closer I'll put something out.

  7. “There's something awesome about getting the ability to fly over terrain you could previously only explore by land.“ - Yeah, it makes you feel like you’re navigating a world, rather than a script, and makes you feel pretty powerful to boot.

  8. It is interesting that you bring up Die Dunkle Dimension" in conjunction with Munich.

    A few months after getting introduced to role playing games through DDD my father let me accompany him on a business trip to Munich. Why did I come along? In 1989 computer game shops were a mythological place I could only ever envisage in my dreams after reading ads about them in "C64'er" magazines.

    Well they had a computer game shop in Munich. For me, as a child, that was blissful heaven. I still have memories of perusing the shop, holding real game boxes for the first time and looking at the pictures on them in wonder. I went home with four games: Might & Magic I, Might and Magic II, Bard's Tale 3 and Dragon Wars. So, at least on me, it is safe to say, DDD had a lasting impression.

    1. That's funny, there's a comment on GoG from a guy who bought the exact same games some 25 years ago. :) Anyway, thanks for these kinds of stories.

    2. I was always super thrilled when we went to Munich for shopping and I had the opportunity to steal away and visit a computer shop (close to Isartor). It was the only way for me to purchase crpgs and trips occured only once a year. I still remember when I got hold of the Ultima collection and how excited I was...

  9. The castle of count Kroloc, a paragraph of three lines to you Addict, stumped me literally for months. You see, on level 2 you have to go down again to level 1 to reach an other area of level 2 that then allows access to level three. None of the other RPGs I was playing by then had such a "devious" dungeon design. (If they do, I hadn't encountered it yet.) Only, when revisiting the game, using rigorous mapping learned from M&M I, did I figure that one out.

    However, I was already level 21 and the "Lindwurm" was next. I was on a roll. Then his "Höhle" and the splinter. Then unending frustration because of that little bug in the Magic Disk version.

    Took me another 10 years on the advent of the Internet and C64 emulation to finally achieve closure on my first RPG ever.

    Addict, thank you for playing this game and your tenacity to finish it. It is highly derivative, grindy as heck and less of a game then the one's it copied. However, as seems to be the case often on your blog, to some people, at some point in time, it was the best game ever. So thank you again, for sharing your experiences and insights into the history of CRPGs, and for the occasional trip down memory lane.

  10. Yeah, could never beat it since the original version was buggy. And also grindy. And I had discovered Ultima IV by then or was happily blasting away spaniards in the caribbean (pirates).

    I like your summary, it is a grindy, grindy game. and unfair.
    If you try to reach the elven city too early, the denizens of the woods will tear your to pieces.

    However, there is one thing I would argue a bit: The score on encounters and foes. Yes, its mostly standard fantasy, but there are two creatures (Waldschrat and Lindwurm) which are not standard fare. I know, not a lot, but there are only a few games (only Darklands comes to mind) which use the more germanic mythological creatures.

    1. That's a fair point. On a 100-point scale, those extra couple of original foes might be worth a couple of points, but it's not quite enough to budge a 10-point scale.

  11. I wonder how you were able to enter Mubrak after you have given the king the coordinates. I remember, that you are banned from the city. Forever.

    1. Tested it in my game too, can't enter any more after doing so.
      Another strange thing is Chester's ability to wear the magic armor with less than 16 strength, can't do it in my version either.

    2. It's funny you mention that. I had to reload at one point and lost some progress, and I think it was after I told the king about Mubrak. I remember thinking I didn't have as much gold as before and I was wondering why. That would explain it. I guess that's a good thing, or I wouldn't have been able to win the game without the ability to get the oak dagger.

      Don't know what to tell you about the magic armor, though. It did seem to make the game a little too easy, so perhaps I wasn't supposed to be able to wear it and something glitched.

    3. That's +1 for Game World: Your decisions and actions measurably affect game world :-) .
      You may have lost and have to start over. But at least the king liked you.

  12. I'd advise you to use DeepL instead of Google Translate, it's much better. It gives "giant lindworm" for "riesenlindwurm", at least.

    1. Also, for single words I can recommend the online dictionary as it gives you several possible translations of the word AND even gives you example sentences from various sources.

  13. "To get to him, I first needed to fly, so I went to Gaht and bought a unicorn, and only then realized that I was once again confusing unicorns with pegasuses. The unicorn was unresponsive to my commands to "lüfte!""

    Fortunately there is a tabletop role-playing game which is really helpful in learning the difference between those:


  14. You could have saved a few hours of grinding by
    - raising the attack skill after each level up instead of raising defense skill or even forgetting to train sometimes.
    - raising strength for more damage output instead of raising dexterity beyond 13 (might even have allowed to survive the stone golems at lower level)
    - stopping grinding about 1,600 XP or 1-2 hours earlier at 15,300 XP which is enough for level 18

    1. It wasn't clear to me that strength was more important than dexterity (I still missed a lot of attacks) or that attack skill was better than defense. As for the latter, I was trying to go for 19 before I just couldn't take it anymore.

  15. Planning during Oktoberfest to visit Germany in December? What?

    Oh right... major exercise effort... my bad. Good call on that.

  16. 'TROFNIH'? I hate it when they do that.
    ('hinfort' backwards meaning 'away' meaning the programmers had that special sense of humor rpg players learned to dread in the eighties)

    1. Well, this game is from the same era that brought us such wonderful names as Werdna, Yendor, Trebor etc... there were many more but those I remember off the top of my head.

      While names tend to be less obviously based on dev names later on, it still happens - in Elder Scrolls cosmology, Akatosh is one of the divines, and where did the name come from? One of the devs had the nickname Tosh, therefore he was known as "a.k.a. Tosh", which became Akatosh.

      It happens less obviously these days, but it still happens... :P

  17. Regarding Kayden Garth, there are interesting comments for the game's entry at, coming straight from the developers. They also admit that it's a bad Chet, you probably don't want to give too much time to it.

    1. He will be playing Atari remake.

    2. I could't find the Atari ST version. As for not wasting too much time, it's a bit late.

    3. Aw, hell. I just found an ST version. I've already wasted a ton of time on the C64 version (which is bugged too badly to win). I don't know if I have the stamina to try again with this one.

    4. It's easier to play it while you still have everything in fresh memory.

  18. I had a stupid thought: under your rules, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas technically squeaks by as an RPG. You have an inventory in the form of weapons, you have weapon skills that go up as you use them, along with things like stamina and muscle that go up with running or exercising, and the weapons skills do contribute to combat. I would completely understand if you still wouldn't play it, but I thought it was still worth pointing out

    1. It's also got:
      A huge world, an entire city to be exact.
      A main quest.
      Lots of side quests.
      Lots of non-quest related activities.
      Warring factions and the opportunity to affect those conflicts through role-playing choices.
      Ways to customize your character's personal and vehicular appearance.
      An economy that reacts to your level of wealth, especially if you go into debt.

      Seems like GTA and other open world sandbox games should get their own addict.

    2. To be honest, I've never played any of the games in that series, and I've always been curious about them. If any of them technically meet my RPG definition, I'll be glad to have that excuse. We're talking about a long way off, though.

    3. San Andreas is probably the first one that does. 1 and 2 don't have any persist inventory or attributes. 3 started to add a few persistent things, but not a lot.

      But yeah, I think you can easily justify it. They're not traditional RPGs, but very much in the spirit of role playing. You adopt a role, affect the world and make meaningful choices along the way.

    4. I agree with Viila, skip 1 and 2 and its expansions. They're little more than individual missions pieced together with a story that has little to no real character development.

      I hope one day we're in the game year of the 2000s discussing how many of these open world sandbox games should qualify as an RPG.

    5. The first GTA game that comes close to meeting the criteria is Vice City, and the first one that really edges into this territory is San Andreas.

      I, II, and III don't have any form of (mechanical) character development or combat statistics beyond "this gun does this much, and this gun does this much".

      Vice City (4th in the main series, GTA only numbers games with major engine improvements) has a stamina system based on character behavior (if you drive everywhere, you'll get a bit fat and have little stamina, running around will make you slim and give you more stamina), which just barely touches both the "character development" and "stats affect combat" criteria.

      San Andreas (#5 in the series) adds a much more defined stat system, plus weapon and vehicle skills that make a big difference in how well you can shoot, drive, and fly.

      4 and 5 walk back on this a bit.

    6. GTA 2 has a dark, dystopian setting, a faction system, and car thiefs and pickpockets acting independently from the player. I still have the box - but sadly seem to have misplaced the map that came with it.

      GTA 1 and 2 are definately not RPGs, but they are available for free. If the series interests you, there's no harm in trying them out for a short time.

    7. Equally interesting was Bully. It took place in a smaller setting, the campus of a private school and the town in which it's located. That one was driven heavily by role playing decisions you made when dealing with the Jock, Preppy, Nerd and Greaser factions as well as the staff of the school and the people in town. You could improve your abilities by going to class but the inventory system is on the weak side. Character customization is off the hook though, I seem to remember putting a Hot Dog costume on my PC as he ran around town delivering flyers or something.
      One of the amazing parts of PC and NPC interactions was that you weren't limited in your choices based on sex. You could, if you wanted to, try kissing boys.

      Rockstar has done some pretty good work in making their sandbox games into true sandboxes.

  19. It's bad to kill animals, unless you kill them with cannons." - Chet

    I lol'd at that.

  20. "I'm glad the game sold so well (I have a note that it sold around 30,000 copies, but I'm not sure where that came from)"

    The author of the game mentioned this sales figures on his website (, which can still be visited via the Waybackmachine.

  21. THANK YOU !!!! Now I know how this game ends. I can die in peace :)

  22. Huh. Okay, this is a very minor detail that I probably shouldn't be fixated on, but there's one thing about one of the screenshots that strikes me as odd.

    Specifically, the screenshot of Fulgar's throne room. And more specifically, the name "FULGAR" above the throne. In the early Ultima games, of course, there are tiles for each letter, so "banners" like that are made by just arranging the appropriate tiles. Which is how I'd assume it was done in this game, too, except that the letters in this shot don't line up with the tiles. Note that Fulgar and the player aren't directly below a letter; they're halfway between the L and the G.

    So... what's going on here? Are there versions of letter tiles that are a half-tile offset somehow? (They do line up with the tiles in the screenshot of the king's throne room, so not all the letters are offset like this.) Or are the "banners" not done with tiles at all as they are in Ultima? Like I said, it's a very minor detail that it's probably absurd to spend too much time worrying about, but... I am honestly wondering about it.

    1. "Minor details that we probably shouldn't be fixated on" are the lifeblood of this blog, as long as they don't involve my own typos.

      The issue you raise is something I never would have noticed in a million years, and yet I agree that it's a fascinating question. If you look later on in this entry, the screenshot with THRONSAAL does suggest that there is simply one letter per tile most of the time.

      My suspicion is that the author created special tiles that literally consisted of half a letter on one side and half a letter on another, just so he could center FULGAR on the throne, since the word, having an even number of letters, would otherwise be un-centerable. Why he didn't just change the demon's name to KRULGAR or something is the bigger mystery.

  23. The vampire prince Kroloc might not be taken from Ultima, but it seems to reference the vampire Count Krolock from the Polanski movie (and musical) 'The Fearless Vampire Killers' ('Tanz der Vampire' in German).

    Also, mentioned in another entry, "a prophet named Mohammed" in a city called "Ackbah" who preached about the god "Rastullah"? Sounds familiar and the city and god could be combined and adapted to "Allahu akbar".

    Last but by no means least I want to use the occasion to congratulate you on another nice wordplay / aural pun you created with the title of an earlier entry on the game: "Die Dunkle Dimension: Quest of the Abschreiber". Got another chuckle out of me.


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