Friday, May 31, 2024

Loremaster: Won! (with Summary and Rating)

 
Alas, "lm2" was never produced.
         
Loremaster
United States
Creative Software (developer and publisher)
Released 1992 for DOS
Date Started: 14 May 2024
Date Ended: 28 May 2024
Total Hours: 13
Difficulty: Moderate-Hard (3.5/5)
Final Rating: 29
Ranking at time of posting: 306/521 (59%)   
       
Summary:
    
An adventure/RPG hybrid in the manner of the early Quest for Glory games, although likely influenced by MUDs, Loremaster puts you in the role of a prince (who can be a fighter, thief, mage, cleric, sage, or merchant) seeking to save the empire from the evil sorcerer who killed your father. The titular Loremaster is what you become during your journey, as you assemble the items necessary to defeat the sorcerer and his minions. The game world consists of 126 overworld screens arranged in a 21 x 6 formation, wrapping, and about as many underworld screens in a similar configuration. Much of the game involves assembling clues by talking to NPCs like Emperor Yelraf and his wife, Queen Tei, the cleric Francis, and the oracle Iseult, but there is a mechanism for some RPG-style combat and character development, although it has questionable utility. Screens are not static; you move around them like a Sierra adventure, using both cursor options (cycled with the right mouse button) and a simple text parser. It's not horrible, but many elements of the game are broken and frustrating, and it could have benefited from more playtesting and balance.
 
******  
 
As with any adventure game, winning Loremaster involves a series of steps that take you a while to figure out but really don't take that long once you have the template. This is particularly true of this game, where the extremely powerful TELEPORT spell can take you to any NPC (including unique enemies), and the equally powerful SUMMON spell can bring those people to you.
    
The steps are basically this:
 
Talk to the NPCs around the town to get the backstory, quest, and training.
 
Together, they fill in the story: the empire of seven kingdoms, led by Yelraf and his wife Tei, is being attacked by an evil sorcerer named Gaiasbane. A recent battle has decimated the kingdom, and only a few people are left. You're the son of the slain king of Peace and Tranquility, whose northern lands have been seized by Gaiasbane and ruined by acid rain. Francis, the cleric, recently had his holy grail stolen by an earth elemental. Iseult, the Oracle, pines for her lost lover Tristan. Iseult will train you in magic, the king's servant Gerald in fighting, and Francis in cleric abilities, although I frankly don't know what they are.
     
King Yelraf gives me some background on the Runesword and the Loremaster.
   
These NPCs all expect that a Loremaster will save them, but they're inconsistent as to whether the Loremaster is someone coming from somewhere else, or whether anyone (you) can become the Loremaster. In any event, you learn that Gaiasbane can only be killed with an ancient weapon called the Runesword.
 
Spend some time on character development (optional).
 
To survive your explorations of the outer world and underworld, you want to get to a level between 50 and 100. The default character, Myth, starts at this level. Other created characters will need to fight random enemies, collect treasure, and buy weapons and armor from Butterman at the general store. Leveling up is relatively quick; almost every kill raises you one or more levels. Your attributes are exercised by combat and magic. If you die, you get knocked back down a couple of levels. This also happens if you cast spells more powerful than you're ready to cast.
     
It's nice to be able to do this to them for a change.
     
Enemies in the area of the town are non-hostile, and you lose karma for killing them. (Karma is necessary for successful resurrections.) Those in the wilderness are hostile. Some enemies like wraiths can't be damaged by physical weapons, so fighters and thieves want to avoid them entirely. Spiders are good for grinding, since they die in one hit. You can stand next to their corpses and if they get resurrected, you can just hit them again. Be aware that combat drains stamina and strength fast, so you have to REST quite often to restore it.
      
Enemies either get resurrected or turn into ghosts who threaten you.
   
Enemies generally kill unarmored characters in one hit, so it's best for melee characters to find or buy some armor as soon as they can. Even then, enemy attacks will destroy the armor pretty fast. It's best to avoid them entirely. Magic characters can cast spells from a short distance away and thus should be able to avoid ever getting into melee range. Whether you're fighting with spells or weapons, it's better to use the cursor to target enemies than to have to type things like CAST SPIDER or ATTACK BEASTIE, unless you're a faster and more accurate typist than I am.
      
Solve Francis's quest and get his holy book (HOLYBOOK).
    
Francis wants his grail recovered; he says it was probably stolen by the fire elemental (FIREELEMENTA). She lives in the underworld in a lake of fire. To survive the lake of fire, you have to get your "Piety" score up above 200 or so. You can do this by just repeatedly typing PRAY. If you do this next to Francis, he prays with you.
   
You then have to explore the underworld until you find the fire elemental--or you can just INCANT TELEPORT and CAST FIREELEMENTA to zip right there. This doesn't work for all characters, though, unless they've spent time developing their skills--or if you start with Myth. 
    
The fire elemental asks you a riddle and then happily gives you the grail if you're standing close enough. If not, it says to come closer, but it doesn't give you the grail when you do, and as far as I can tell, there's no way to recover from this situation. So make sure you're close enough when you ask.
      
The fire elemental is the most philosophical character in the game.
   
The fire elemental also tells a reasonably funny joke that I hadn't heard before:
       
Once, there was a man who looked into his mirror and saw God looking out at him. He went and told other men that he saw God in his mirror. The other men looked at the man and said, "You're crazy." The man said, "You think I'm crazy, you should have seen what God looked like!"
       
Returning the grail to Francis gets you the holy book, but I also found that he'll happily give it to you, without requiring you to solve the grail quest, if your piety is high enough.
 
A few extra uses of PRAY cut out a big chunk of the game.
     
Get the bell (OLDBELL) from Samwise
   
Samwise is the farmer whose farm, north of the town and in the blighted lands, is doing mysteriously well despite the acid rain. If you talk with him long enough, and answer a riddle or two, he'll finally suggest that he wants items of gold. I found that I had to give him two items--in my case, a gold ring and ancient coins--before he'll give you the magic bell.
       
A leprechaun pretending to be a dwarf. What a stretch.
    
In giving it to you, he reveals his true form: a leprechaun. Something about his magic luck is responsible for the success of his farm.
       
Samwise in his changed form.
  
A word about riddles: A lot of NPCs in the game give you a riddle suddenly in the middle of conversation. Most of them ask you to continue a number sequence. The first time, some NPC will say: "One, four, nine...," indicating that the pattern involves adding incrementally increasing odd numbers. The first time this comes around, the answer is SIXTEEN. Later, some NPC will say, "Four, nine, sixteen..." and you have to answer TWENTYFIVE. The next one is THIRTYSIX. You might imagine that the one after that is FORTYNINE, but it doesn't work. That's because the author of the game wasn't about to win any spelling bees. I correctly guessed the way that he would spell the word: FOURTYNINE.
    
Rescue Tristan and get the candle (MAGICCANDLE).
    
If you explore the underworld long enough (or just TELEPORT directly to him), you'll find Tristan in the clutches of an earth elemental (EARTHELEMEN). The earth elemental thinks that Tristan stole his jeweled stalagmite because Gaiasbane (who the earth elemental thinks is good and wise) told him so. The fire elemental and wind elemental both comment on how the earth elemental has been tricked.

The real thief of the jeweled stalagmite is a troll named Crude. The wind elemental tells you this if you find her, but otherwise you might just find it by encountering Crude and killing him. Return the jeweled stalagmite to the earth elemental and Tristan is released.
      
The earth elemental comes to his senses.
      
If you then visit Iseult back on the surface, Tristan is with her, and Iseult gratefully gives you the magic candle.
     
That's not quite how I ever imagined Tristan.
     
Banish Banesthrall.
     
Banesthrall is a minion of Gaiasbane. He lives in the Caverns of Carthos, a special part of the underworld. Being incorporeal, he can't be harmed by regular weapons or even spells. The only way to kill him is to hold the bell and RING BELL.
     
Entering the Caverns of Carthos.
     
As he dies, he screams, "ARRRRRRGGHHhh . . . you fool! Where did you get that accursed bell! That absurd leprechaun and you shall pay for this one day!" As he dies, he leaves a scroll (OLDSCROLL) behind. The scroll has quite a bit of text:
    
I write this for fear that the knowledge I have uncovered has placed  my life in grave danger. I have discovered the fatal flaw in the dark sorcerer's evil magic. 'Tis a thing called the RUNESWORD, a mystical weapon forged by the immortals eons before this age. This sword exists in all planes at all times. Even GAIASBANE cannot elude its cutting blade, which is why he has placed it in the tail of the DAEMONKOSHI . . . a truly hideous and dangerous creature. This awful being dwells within the darkest depths of the caverns south and slightly east of the chamber of the dark wraith, BANESTHRALL. I fear this dark wraith now hunts me, the price I pay for the powerful secrets written here. I have drawn a crude map on this page . . . may good guard you . . .
      
The character's magic ability increases by 6 after reading the scroll. There is indeed a crude map that you can bring up with the INSPECT command.
       
A cool map that corresponds with nothing that I see in the dungeon.
    
Kill Daemonkoshi and get the Runesword.
   
I tried to find Daemonkoshi with the map but eventually gave up and just TELEPORTed to him. He is guarded by Cerebrus [sic, but I'm always misspelling it this way, too]. The demon causes both paralyzing fear and complete darkness. It took me about 10 reloads to figure out the right sequence to deal with him.
   
You first have to HOLD HOLYBOOK and READ HOLYBOOK to overcome your fear. Yes, you can somehow do this in the pitch darkness. You then KEEP HOLYBOOK (to stow it) and HOLD MAGICCANDLE to dispel the darkness and make both Daemonkoshi and Cerebrus afraid of you. You have to do all of this while they're attacking you, so it might be a good idea to SUMMON some powerful NPC from the rest of the game to occupy them.
        
Daemonkoshi is one odd-looking duck.
    
If you hit Daemonkoshi with the candle, it kills him and he drops the Runesword--but it also turns the candle into just a regular candle, which means Cerebrus is no longer afraid of it. You have to pick up the sword and get out of there or kill Cerebrus through conventional means.
     
Kill Gaiasbane.
   
The last step is to go to Gaiasbane's tower, or SUMMON him to you, and attack him with the Runesword. He dies in one hit. 
      
That was for dad.
    
Unfortunately, none of the NPCs in the game acknowledge your deed. After you kill Gaiasbane, you just have to walk a couple of screens. The game then takes over, shows you the winning screen (above) and dumps you to DOS.
   
This all seems fairly straightforward. Loremaster is much larger and more elaborate than is required for this relatively short main plot, which led to a lot of my (and Morpehus Kitami's) initial confusion. There are also a lot of bugs, pitfalls, walking dead scenarios, points of confusion, and game elements that are just broken. 
 
The two worst elements of the game are combat and traps. I can't tell you how incredibly frustrating it is to get killed 10 times in a row by the same enemy on the same screen. Enemies kill you in one hit and then stand by your corpse. As soon as it's resurrected, they hit you again. You have to hold down a movement key and hope that the game registers your attempts to flee before it registers the enemy's attack. 
   
Traps and pits are everywhere, and even if the detection system worked (it doesn't, although I didn't try it with a thief character), it would be too onerous to detect traps on every inch of every screen. Instead, you just have to suck it up as you get blasted with fire, ice, and sleep or unceremoniously dumped into the underworld.
     
There are, in fact, traps everywhere on this screen.
    
I tried to roll with the punches with all these deaths and traps, but the game saves continually, so there's no way to reload without reinstalling the entire game. I eventually started backing up the data files so I could restore when I lost 10 levels in a row to the same enemy.
 
Many miscellaneous notes:
   
  • I never found any way to open chests. I also never found any use for a key that I found. Maybe the key is supposed to open the chests, but I couldn't find any keyword that did it.
  • Queen Tei seems to have a quest involving a missing cloak, but I never found it and I don't know what the reward would have been if I had.
  • A decent percentage of the time when you ask an NPC something (e.g., ASK YELRAF SORCERER), the game just ignores you as if you typed nothing. You have to do it again. Other times, the NPC says, "Make your point" and requires you to retype your question.
  • Several NPCs ask, "Why are you here?" and seem to expect an answer. I never figured out how to successfully answer them. 
  • The level cap seems to be 101.
  • Sometimes, you have to look really hard for treasure on the ground.
      
That little bit poking above the wall is the only sign.
     
  • One enormously helpful spell is ETHEREAL, which makes you temporarily impervious to damage and lets you walk through walls. You can use it to very quickly explore the maps, although you can't pick anything up until it wears off. This is particularly useful in the underground, since navigation there really sucks. 
  • The INSPECT command shows you a full portrait of the game's NPCs and many of the objects that you find. It's pretty cool.
     
Yes, delightful.
    
  • I found a couple of wands but was never able to get them to do anything.
  • In any event, you need both hands free to cast spells, so spellcasters shouldn't even bother to get weapons. Armor also interferes with spellcasting. The mage is still worth it.
  • There's food but no EAT command.
  • After you rescue Tristan, Iseult gives you a magic candle every time you see her if you don't already have one. You can keep selling them to Butterman for infinite gold. Not that gold is really worth anything.
            
I'm finally out of hock to Butterman.
      
  • Sound is limited to quick tunes and bloops as you change screens. When you start up the game, it plays a couple of bars from "It's a Small World." I didn't experience it for most of the game, as you have to proactively type SOUND ON. 
  • HELP HISTORY gives you a quick backstory of the game. 
      
I wish I'd known this at the beginning.
     
  • Commands for which I never found any use: OPEN (it doesn't work on chests), DISPELL, PUSH, SPEAK, SMILE, SNEER. 
  • Spells for which I never found any use (admittedly, I didn't explore them as thoroughly as I should have): AGE, AURA, DISARM, FEAR, GIFT, HARM, INVISIBLE, RESURRECT, SHACKLES, SHIELD, SLOW, TRAP, WEAK.
    
As I've mentioned, the default character, Myth, is overpowered, particularly since TELEPORT, SUMMON, and ETHEREAL obviate much of the game, and he can cast those spells (albeit not without losing a level from the strain) from the outset. It's possible that he wasn't originally that powerful, and that the only version of the game found online has a Myth who's already been heavily developed. In any event, it would be a much more challenging game to play as a fighter or thief. I'm not sure if they ever develop magic ability enough to cast those spells. I played for a while as a cleric and managed to get from Level 20 to around Level 50 by whacking enemies with a mace. But it ultimately was too frustrating, and I ended up winning with Myth. I have no idea what kind of game a sage or merchant experiences.
      
An up-close shot of Queen Tei.
     
In the end, I think it's a better game than it first appears. Perhaps more importantly, it's a better engine than it is a game. With a little more balance, some additional puzzles, more extensive equipment, and a few other features, it could have evoked some of the spirit of Quest for Glory.  
   
I still don't understand what the purpose is of having multiple characters able to exist in the universe without interacting with each other. It appears there's only one copy of the game's major artifacts exists, so a second character can't get another grail, bell, or Runesword. It's pointless.

Finally, I should mention that Twitch streamer Chuboh, whose 2019 streams are responsible for briefly-resurged interest in the game, found a way to win in 90 seconds. Once you know that someone named Daemonkoshi has the Runesword, you can just SUMMON him to a screen where Yelraf or another invincible character can kill him without the need for you to find the holy book or magic candle. You then calmly pick up the Runesword from his corpse, SUMMON Gaiasbane, and kill him.
   
In a GIMLET, I give the game:
   
  • 4 points for the gameworld, with a reasonably competent backstory and a relatively clear quest.
  • 3 points for character creation and development. It's an admittedly original approach to have the character yo-yo up and down levels instead of always shooting upward, but otherwise development doesn't feel rewarding or consistent enough. It's unclear what the "mage levels" and "cleric levels" do, since those statistics are hidden. I will say that different classes face very different experiences.
  • 5 points for NPCs. They exist; they tell you about their world; they give you quests; you can SUMMON them to your aid. A strong category.
 
You don't strictly need her, but the wind elemental is the biggest gossip in the game, with something to say about everything.
      
  • 4 points for encounters and foes. The game has about 10 enemies, and some of them do have unique attacks and defenses. The puzzles were mostly based on inventory and the right parser commands. Nothing exciting.
  • 3 points for magic and combat, and it gets all of that for a somewhat innovative magic system. I don't recall any other game that let me teleport to any named NPC or, even better, summon that NPC to me.
     
Killing a "basalisk" with a FIRE spell.
    
  • 1 point for equipment. One weapon, one suit of extremely fragile armor.
       
INSPECTing the Runesword.
     
  • 1 point for the economy. Once you've bought that weapon and suit of fragile armor, there's no point to gold.
  • 2 points for a main quest with no side-quests or other options.
   
But there are some sub-quests.
    
  • 1 point for graphics, sound, and interface. It gets that point for the occasionally-decent graphics. Sound is too sparse to be worth anything, and the interface was nothing but a nightmare, requiring the player to type too frantically with too many elements not working.
  • 5 points for gameplay. It's mildly nonlinear, mildly replayable, just a little bit too hard, and not too long.
    
That gives us a final score of 29. I'm tempted to subtract a point or two for all the things that didn't work, but I guess I already punished it enough by giving no points to the interface.
   
We've covered the critical reviews, which were mostly negative, in previous entries. As I wind up this short series, I feel better about the game at the end than I did at the beginning, which is rare. I would have liked to see what author Glenn Francis Farley could have done with Loremaster II. We now know that Farley died in 2001, leaving a widow named Harriet, the obvious source of inspiration for Queen "Tei." Creative Software does appear to be Farley's company, the odd legal paperwork found by Busca notwithstanding, and it does not seem to have produced another game.

36 comments:

  1. A fascinating game, it sounds too broken for myself to play it, but your coverage was a great read. These games that try something original probably get rarer with each year. Despite the spelling mistakes, the writing looks pretty good to me.

    I guess the Glenn Farley from the lawsuit is actually Glenn F. Farleys son.

    I'm looking forward to your coverage of Whale's Voyage. It also has some originial (or at least uncommon) elements that don't always work out well. I own part 2 but never got far with it because of the awful 3D exploration, but I think the first part still uses a grid.

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    1. Whale's Voyage has one of the more interesting character creations around. I seem to remember it being typical of interesting character creation games, once you start playing it, things go south. Albeit, my memory is hazy because I got stuck on the first or second planet. (And it was a proper blobber, no idea about the sequel)

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    2. Looking forward to both Whale's Voyage and (eventually) Albion, as both were games I played as a kid, whenever I had access to my friend's PC, having grown up on Mac computers (for Macs, well--eventually, the Exile series and Cythera would be great to see in review).

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  2. Having spells to summon, or teleport to, any named character or enemy is a common feature in MUDs. Plausibly, this is one of the ways this game was inspired by them.

    It's also used in the Enchanter series of text adventure games (Zifmia / Aimfiz), although in that case, summoning the main antagonist is YASD.

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    1. I didn't know that. I agree that's another point in favor of a MUD background.

      It's funny that you mention Enchanter. As I was typing INCANT TELEPORT and then TELEPORT YELRAF (or whatever) in Loremaster, I did have a brief flashback to the Enchanter system I remember typing things like LEARN BLORPLE and then BLORPLE CUBE. I should have mentioned that.

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    2. Since you've covered Yserbius and Legend Of Red Dragon and some multiplayer Plato games, are you also going to cover DikuMUD for historical reference?

      The most common client software is all written for PC, and I'm pretty sure you can install a local server on your PC as well.

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  3. "That absurd leprechaun and you shall pay for this one day!" The more I think on that sentence, the more dismayed I become.

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    1. At least it's an original sentence. If you Google it, you get only this entry.

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  4. Congrats on finishing it. I did not believe you would - at least not without watching the video mentioned by one of the commenters.

    IIRC you are a knowledgeable Arthurian, so I was surprised that you made no comment on Tristan & Iseult.

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    1. I'm glad the videos were there in case I needed them, but together they were almost 20 hours, so I'm glad I didn't need them.

      "Tristan" and "Iseult" are just names in this game, though. There's nothing else drawn from Arthuriana, and they're clearly not meant to be the same characters.

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  5. Increasing square numbers, not odd numbers maybe?

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    1. I was also thinking of square numbers, but adding increasing odd numbers gives the same serie of numbers. Adding 15 to 49 will give 64 (8 squared), then add 17 to get 81 and so on.

      Weird. There probably is a nice mathematical formula to explain it.

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    2. It’s the expansion of (x+1)^2. So if you want to get to 7-squared from 6-squared, you add 6 + 6 + 1.

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    3. Thanks Tristan!

      That sure didn't take long...

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    4. The expansion of (x + 1)^2 is x^2 + 2x + 1 so what you really need is (x + 1)^2 - x^2 giving 2x + 1.

      I just recognized it as the sequence of squares starting from 1.

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    5. You can see the mathematical formula using geometry. Picture a square made of N x N dots. Now put one extra dot at every point along the top edge and along the right edge. And a last point at the top right corner. You've added 2N + 1 dots. And you have a (N+1) x (N+1) square.

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  6. "Fourtynine" is actually a pretty neat meta-puzzle, kudos for solving it

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    1. AlphabeticalAnonymousMay 31, 2024 at 12:32 PM

      Congratulations on finishing this one -- very impressive, given all the hurdles. I did actually download this game to try it, but in terms of playability the bugs and other issues far outweighed any of the intriguingly surreal aspects for me. But then, that's why I'm not an Addict!

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  7. "Cerebrus" is a smart dog, three heads is better than one after all!

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    1. That's exactly why I'm always making that mistake. I keep thinking his name had something to do with "heads."

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  8. Is this the only game in history to give you a real-life discount on a separate game as a reward?

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    1. Well, it wasn't a real-life game, so...

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    2. That's a good question. We've had a lot of other winning screens that have asked the player to send evidence of their achievement to the publisher. It's possible any of those might have resulted in a discount. I don't remember it being offered explicitly before.

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    3. While it's not a completion discount it made me think of what Fire Emblem Fates did, where it was split into two games, but if you bought one you could get the other for half off plus a third game with the golden ending

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  9. Not spoiling much for my own final entry, but I noticed that you never found the water elemental. She doesn't add anything, she's just there, but it's nice seeing a pattern and then being able to teleport there. For defensive purposes, I used the shield spell, seems less effective than the ethereal spell, especially if that one doesn't drain levels. OTOH, I'm sure if you end up inside a wall with that spell and it wears off, you'll be in trouble.

    Frankly, everybody but Myth would have a terrible time of things, simply because without the teleport and summon spells at your disposal, you have to go all around the map several times. Especially since unlike with fighter and cleric hidden skills, you can't reliably raise magic ability. The thief, and possibly the merchant, since I think that was a class, are borderline joke classes, since they don't get any scrap of advantage in combat.

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    1. I actually did find her; I just didn't find a place to mention it. She was useful because after I met the earth and fire elementals, I had tried to TELEPORT to the AIR elemental and didn't get anywhere. I then tried WATER, met her, and she mentioned that the fourth was WIND and not air.

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  10. oh, just realized you're on Whale's Voyage

    it's very *different*, it's got that going for it

    given both your games are now space-y maybe change the top picture to your alternate?

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    1. AlphabeticalAnonymousJune 1, 2024 at 4:57 PM

      Right -- I had been missing the space-themed banner with the Centauri posts.

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    2. Loving the space banner, especially the yellow robot!

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  11. The Summon and Teleport spells are so disruptive, they feel more like debug features that weren't removed from the final build than spells that a regular player is supposed to use.

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  12. That Inspect command might be the most bizarre element of this already insane game. Everything in the main screen looks really amateur but the author commissioned higher quality/resolution art for every character and item in the game hidden behind a completely unnecessary prompt? What a ridiculous misapplication of resources.

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    1. Well-said. I was thinking exactly the same thing.

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  13. 100FloorsOfFrightsJune 2, 2024 at 11:01 AM

    There was a Pearl Jam song in the nineties that had a chorus that sounded something like 'Can't find the butter man.' Maybe you should ring up Eddie Vedder and let him know you've solved his problem.

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  14. As we get into the 90s, it's curious to think about how these games, in which we consider their reach to exceed their grasp, would have been considered cult classics at the very least if they were released on the ZX Spectrum or Amiga. There's something sad about how, in the 80s, if you had a half-baked game like this that fundamentally doesn't work, it would only have required several people to work on it. I don't think Moraff exactly had to mortgage his house to get Moraff's World out the door, right? But now, in the VGA era, it's possible for a team of 10 people to blow a several hundred thousand dollars on a game that's a lot bigger and prettier but is still ultimately a wash. It makes me sad to think about all that wasted effort.

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    1. On the other hand, in (and after) the VGA era it's still very possible for a very small team, or even a one-man team, to produce a quality game. One of the more famous examples is the 2004 game Cave Story.

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    2. Man do I ever love Cave Story. Spent many a happy nightshift playing that masterpiece. Memories...

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I read all comments, no matter how old the entry. So do many of my subscribers. Reader comments on "old" games continue to supplement our understanding of them. As such, all comment threads on this blog are live and active unless I specifically turn them off. There is no such thing as "necro-posting" on this blog, and thus no need to use that term.

I will delete any comments that simply point out typos. If you want to use the commenting system to alert me to them, great, I appreciate it, but there's no reason to leave such comments preserved for posterity.

I'm sorry for any difficulty commenting. I turn moderation on and off and "word verification" on and off frequently depending on the volume of spam I'm receiving. I only use either when spam gets out of control, so I appreciate your patience with both moderation tools.