Saturday, July 16, 2022

Eye of the Beholder III: Heaven upon Earth, or of True Peace and Tranquillitie of Mind

 
I have to wonder what this beast was before it was undead.
           
As we wrapped up last time, the party had explored only the introductory graveyard. We now headed into the "great tomb consecrated to the fallen warriors of Myth Drannor." The stairway led down into a central chamber guarded by a monstrosity that the manual describes as an "undead beast." It didn't cause paralysis or level drain or anything, but it had a mighty claw. 

While I was thinking about it, I decided to see how well the old "combat waltz" worked in this game. The answer is that it doesn't work at all--or, rather, that it's been replaced by more of a "combat shuffle." In past games of this ilk (though I may be misremembering Darkmoon), when faced with the party in a square diagonal to them, enemies reliably step forward and turn. In some circumstances, they turn and step forward. But either way, you get a shot at their undefended flanks before they turn again to face you. This is not the case with enemies in Eye of the Beholder III. They're perfectly capable of side-stepping, thus keeping their front sides towards the party, and entering the square ready to attack. However, there's usually a bit of a delay before they actually do attack, so shuffling from side to side still imparts some benefit, particularly with the "All Attack" preventing any delay in the party's exit from the square.
       
Enemies show you their flanks if you lead them around corners.
      
Oddly, enemies do not simply strafe between squares when in jagged corridors, only in open rooms. So if you backpedal while leading an enemy down a corridor with a few twists and turns, you will get a few shots at his flank.
   
Once I had dealt with the beast, I read the plaque at the far side of the chamber: "Four bones down will show you the way." The message portended the gimmick of the level, which involves four separate sections in which you have to solve a variety of puzzles to reach a bone switch. Activating all four switches opens the way to Level 2.
     
Four plaques, four levers.
      
The four sections are accessible via stairway from the main chamber, and at first I mapped these as actual stairways before I realized that, for mapping purposes, they're more like continuous corridors that just happen to have an image of a stairway in the middle. I started with the southwest. The area was rife with undead spirits in armor that the manual calls "swordwraiths." The manual indicates that they're not appearing here for the first time, but I don't remember them from any earlier game. They're not hard to kill, but their attacks temporarily drain strength from the characters.
   
The swordwraiths respawned like mad as I initially explored. Ultimately, I figured out the solution to keeping them to a minimum. In each section of the level, you find a nook with two burial drawers, one open. Closing the open one helps put the wraiths at rest and stops most of them from respawning.
 
The undead warriors aren't evil; they're just sick of the draft.
          
The level had a rather nasty surprise early on. We stepped on one square that closed the way in front of us and opened walls on both sides. Behind each wall was an undead beast. A third undead beast spawned in the corridor behind us, meaning we were getting attacked by three at once. The only way to survive was to turn around, kill the beast blocking the way we had come, and then run until we could get to a point where we could fight the beasts on our terms. This strategy took me a couple of deaths and reloads to figure out, and even then I was only able to win through a combination of buffing spells ("Bless," "Prayer," "Haste") and a few offensive spells.
   
The major puzzle involved a corridor with five pressure plates. "Not all need weight," a nearby plaque advised. Stepping on, or weighing down, some of the plates cause a fireball to come spewing from a mouth at the far end of the corridor. I tried weighing down all the plates and running after each one to avoid the fireball. This worked, but a teleporter at the end of the corridor brought me back to the beginning. The fireballs were only incidental; the real combination of plates was needed to deactivate the teleporter.
      
Trying different pressure plate weighting combinations.
        
I started working on potential combinations, from all five weighted down, to four, and then to three. I got it right on my eighth or ninth try and, because I had lost some characters to fireballs by then, reloaded and did it for real.
   
The only other difficulty in the section came in the form of extremely small buttons located along the floor seam of a couple of walls. They were hardly the most obscure buttons that the series has thrown at me, though. One led to a small area with a cursed sword (I had to cast "Remove Curse" to get rid of it) and a key. The key opened the way to the final chamber, where another hidden button lowered the southeast wall and provided access to the switch. Nearby, a plaque informed us that, "FFLAR, CAPTAIN OF MYTH DRANNOR, REFUSED TO ACCEPT DEFEAT."
  
The rest of the sections were much the same: swordwraiths, undead beasts, drawers, one major puzzle, a key, a lock, a final square with a switch obscured by a secret wall with a small button. The major puzzle in the southeast section was the hardest of the lot. Nine squares with switches that opened and closed various walls in combination. Some had to be raised and lowered a couple of times. I broke down and asked for a hint and commenter Futility responded. Honestly, what caused me to waste the most time in this area was a nearby plaque that read: "THE SCEPTRE, LEARNED, PHYSIC MUST ALL FOLLOW THIS AND COME TO DUST." This is a slight misquote (it's learning) from Shakespeare's Cymbeline, Act IV, Scene 2, a line from a dirge sung to Imogen. As far as I can tell, it doesn't seem to have anything to do with the puzzle, but I wasted a bunch of time trying to find a pattern.
     
A picture of a switch would be boring, so here I am fireballing some swordwraiths.
      
This was a funny coincidence, incidentally, as I had dinner with a colleague last week and I went on a little mini-rant about how my students don't appreciate their general education classes when I'd give my right arm to go back to school and take nothing but classes like "Renaissance Architecture," "Medieval Sculpture," and "British Literature II." Or even teach such classes. My colleague said that I could find creative ways to work bits of art and literature and music into the classes I do teach, which I agree with, but I lamented that "I'd love to be able to just teach Cymbeline without somehow relating it to [my field]." To be honest, I might have said Coriolanus, which is my favorite Shakespeare play, but I was a bit drunk and it's a better story if it was Cymbeline.
   
This area also featured a teleporter that led to a small 2 x 2 room and from there back to the entry room for the level. The final message above the bone switch was identical to the first area, recapitulating that Fflar refused to accept defeat.

The northeast section had, I guess, two minor puzzles instead of a major one. The first involved a pressure plate that caused a spiked wall to come roaring down the adjacent corridor. The party just had to race ahead and hit a switch to stop the wall before it reached them. The second involved a couple of paired teleporters in adjacent halls. They had to be shut off by finding a switch behind a secret wall. The message above the bone lever was: "SPIRIT FULL OF UNREST."
      
I stepped back just in time.
     
The northwest area had the highest concentration of enemies, I think. The only tough puzzle required us to drop down a pit into a room in which fireballs were slinging everywhere. We had to find a switch to activate a teleporter to get out of the room. I told myself if the fireballs did so much damage that I had to reload, I'd take the time to rest and learn "Resist Fire," but I managed to escape before that was necessary. The message here: "SEALED DOWNSTAIRS UNTIL DEFEAT IS BROUGHT TO HIM."
   
Having found all four bone levers, I was annoyed to discover that nothing obvious had happened. I took another look at the sign in the main chamber and was reminded that it specified "FOUR BONES DOWN." I had activated all the levers, but I didn't realize they all had three positions, and I had left some of them up rather than down. Thus, I had to return to each area and make sure the bone levers were facing down. When I did, a secret wall opened in the main chamber, the corridor beyond splitting into two staircases down to the next level.
 
My map of Level 1. The levels in this game are a large 30 x 30.
         
A few other notes before we move on:
   
  • The game is incredibly slow, even with the CPU cycles jacked up higher than normal. Every new appearance of a monster requires the game to load the monster, so there are frequent delays when you turn to face monsters adjacent to you. The same is true for spell effects. I don't know how the first two Beholder games did things differently, but they did. 
  • Almost every door I found in this dungeon was already open, and a lot of them couldn't be closed. I don't know why the game bothered to depict them. It's not like it's terribly exciting to press buttons and open doors, but it means that you're doing something
  • Spells seem to last a lot longer than in the past two games. You don't have to save "Bless" and "Prayer" for major battles; you can have them going during most of your exploration. "Haste" is particularly useful in this regard, and since this series doesn't feature character ages, you don't have to worry about growing older.
  • The game has both real stairs that lead you to another level and fake "stairs" that just lead to another section of the same level. You can tell the difference based on whether the game has to load when you step on the stairs. I think it was Black Crypt that had the same distinction.
  • Sound effects are awful. I don't know enough about the related technology to be able to discuss the difference with any acumen, so I'm going to have to rely on commenters. Effects are loud, unsubtle, too frequent, and often unrelated to what they depict. You hear nearby enemies by linear distance, which means that you're almost always hearing something. Spells sometimes don't have any effects and other times don't make sense; "Cure Critical Wounds" sounds like someone scratching a needle on a record. I praised ambient sound in the first entry, but the mausoleum's one ambient sound is a banshee screech every 30 seconds that's like Chinese water torture.
    
On the second level of the mausoleum, we were instantly met with a new enemy sound, belonging to either the wights or the shadows on the level. I guess it's supposed to be a traditional ghostly moan, but its quality and frequent repetition make it sound like a Klingon engaged in coitus. I would have liked to turn it off, but that makes it hard to detect enemies sneaking up on you.
         
Level 2. I'm not happy with that empty bit in the northwest, but I couldn't find anything else.
     
The shadows had strength-draining attacks and the wights had level-draining attacks, but they weren't as bothersome as those special attacks suggest. There weren't many of them; they typically died in one hit; they rarely hit themselves; and when they did, their special abilities didn't always activate. In a couple of places where there were a lot of them, or they kept respawning, I cast "Negative Plane Protection," but in general the drains weren't an issue. This is probably a place in which my superior equipment made a big difference.
          
The second level's two enemies.
    
There were two large sections to the second level depending on the stairway taken from the first one. Puzzles included:
    
  • An area full of some kind of goopy stuff on the floor. I don't know exactly what it was supposed to be, but it significantly impeded movement. It also significantly slowed turning, which makes less sense, and I'm still not sure whether the long delays moving through this area were deliberate or some kind of loading speed issue.
  • A bunch of squares with buttons that opened pits, dumping us into two north-south corridors with teleporters at the other end. 
  • Unlike the first level, the doors here were mostly closed.
      
And the images were pretty cool.
       
  • In the south, a large room had a single pressure plate. A nearby message read: "FOR EACH PATH THAT MAY BE TAKEN, ANOTHER SHALL SURELY BE GIVEN." Sure enough, the pressure plate opened three different ways out of the room, but opening a new one closed the previous one. The thing is, I'm not sure exactly how the plate worked. Sometimes, it repeatedly opened the same exit. Other times, it repeatedly opened a different exit and I couldn't get it to go back to the first one. It seemed to change which exit it opened if I left the room for a while and came back. 
  • A network of corridors in which one direction was blocked by a solid crystalline cube. I thought it was a gelatinous cube at first. I couldn't damage or destroy it with weapons. Nearby, two levers had messages that said, "DO NOT TOUCH!" Pulling either lever caused the party to be stripped of inventory, with their items dumped on the other side of the cube just as shadows spawned in the area. But pulling both levers caused the cube to disappear, allowing us to slowly re-equip all our stuff. There wasn't anything interesting on the other side of the cube, so the whole exercise was a waste.
     
This cube was guarding nothing.
      
  • A room that flooded with poison gas when we entered. We had to quickly find a lever to open the door and vent the toxin.
  • A lot of secret walls opened by buttons. But there was a single traditional illusory wall that we could walk into. It was the first in the game so far. Absolutely nothing was in the room on the other side of it.
      
At one point, while sleeping, we awoke to find a dwarf rooting through our pack for food. A long scripted encounter followed. The dwarf introduced himself as Isharn Hammerfell, the last of a party of dwarves who had entered the mausoleum to find the source of evil emanating from there.
        
I don't know what he's eating. We rely on the "Create Food and Water" spell.
     
He offered to join the party and we agreed. Isharn is a lawful neutral fighter/thief of Level 8 (both). At first, he was useless, as I already had a strong front line. Later, we found a trident that allows him to fight from the second rank, so I put Marina in the far rear, where she can throw daggers and cast spells.
         
The new NPC.
       
There were two major encounters on the level and I messed up one of them, I guess. In one room, we found the spirit of Captain Fflar. He was unaware that he was dead or that the city had fallen. We tried to convince him, but we failed and he attacked us, forcing us to kill him.
          
I don't care for either of our dialogue options.
     
Later, we found his tomb with his "name bar." When we picked it up, Gaston said, "I believe this may be what the Captain needs to see." That's great, except that we had killed him, and he didn't reappear in that chamber. But if we hadn't met him already, Gaston's comment wouldn't have made any sense, so I'm not sure what I was supposed to do. I can reload a save from before we killed him, but I'd have to replay about an hour of the game. Based on comments that the mausoleum itself is optional, I imagine that solving Fflar's delusions is also optional.
       
I wonder what the character says if you haven't met Fflar.
      
We found three rod parts and one rod globe scattered around the dungeon. We didn't know what to do with them until we found a relief in a wall with numerous symbols on the sites and receptacles for the rod parts in the middle. It looked like one of the teleportation doors from the first Beholder. When we put all four parts into it, a plaque appeared on a nearby wall that read, "FAITH RESTORETH THE SOUL." This caused a Rod of Restoration to appear in the room. I don't know if this same relief will also later serve as a teleporter if we find stone ankhs and necklaces and whatnot later.
      
Assembling the pieces of the rod.
      
With nothing else to do, we made our way back outside to try the forest path. No one gained any levels in the mausoleum (Starling leveled up as a paladin during the first entry, while we were fighting grave mists), and the only interesting equipment we found, save some potions and scrolls, was Ishern's trident. Still, it was an acceptable Dungeon Master-style experience. If the game continues in this vein, it will be adequate but unremarkable.
   
Time so far: 8 hours

44 comments:

  1. "The undead warriors aren't evil; they're just sick of the draft." - "its quality and frequent repetition make it sound like a Klingon engaged in coitus".

    Your sense of humour is one of the features that makes your blog such a not only interesting, but also entertaining read.

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  2. One of this game's rather strange design decisions is how the monsters in the second half of the mausoleum are significantly weaker than those in the first. Using turn can destroy whole groups of four of them at once at the levels you start this game.

    True Seeing has improved functionality in this game. It also acts like an upgraded Detect Magic, giving enchanted items their customary blue glow while making cursed items glow red. This also applies to items still on the ground or shelves, so they can be filtered out before even picking them up.

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  3. I agree that it's poor game design to put an illusory wall or otherworldly obstacle somewhere without anything to find behind there.

    I'm playing 'Unexplored 2' at the moment, and frequently come across 'secret passages' leading to an empty meadow, smh - but this is a procedullary generated game, it's far less excusable in a hand-crafted one like EOB3.

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    1. *procedurally generated, ahem

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    2. The first Unexplored was the only roguelike I've ever played that generated levels that made sense and were fun to explore. It's sad to read that the sequel's level generation algorithms seem to have gotten worse instead of improving. Maybe it's a bug that you should consider reporting?

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    3. @VK: They improved much about the game since the first few weeks of its Steam-release, which is still odd because it was an Epic exclusive for about a year.

      I've managed to beat the game in a single run by now, but abandoned 5-6 worlds before that because I stumbled unto a dead end. The one thing they did improve on are the graphics, it's what attracted me to this game in the first place (not a rogue-like fan by any margin myself).

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  4. If you are a connoisseur or lover of Shakespeare, I recommand you play the (adventure ? puzzle ?) game Elsinore (2019).
    The pitch : You are Ophelia from Hamlet, and roam freely in the castle while the event of the play unfolds. You can choose to be where Ophelia is supposed to be as per the play, or eg check what the heck Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are doing when not "on scene". Your objective : Try to save pretty much everyone.

    The twist : every time you die, the play restarts, but you have new information to use. The twist within the twist : The playwriter is going to do everything so it ends in a disaster no matter you do, so your release of information and movements need to be airtight. Then there is one more twist after that, but I will end here.

    Absolutely not a RPG, but if you want to have a video game about Shakespeare's works that may be Irene-compliant, that's it.

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    1. That sounds amazing. It does sound like something Irene would love. I'll give it a try if we ever finish Gloomhaven.

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    2. a quick question that only you can answer Chet, would you prefer playing gloomhaven solo amidst all these crpgs. will it offer a unique experience that can't be satisfied by crpgs that worths its rules' and components' hassle even if you play it solo?

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    3. Are you playing Gloomhaven as a boardgame or digital version? I found the digital version to be very slow running but not having to do setup and deck manipulation is awesome.

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    4. Irene is addicted to the game. She'd play it all weekend, I think. This amazes me because when we've played console RPGs in the past, she couldn't be less interested in combat tactics and character-building. She's all about story and NPC dialogue.

      I like the game, but oddly, I approach it very different from CRPGs. While she reads the setup for each scenario and takes forever choosing the cards from her deck, I just shuffle mine and pick them at random.

      I don't think Irene would enjoy the computer version as much. She's got a whole system for organizing her cards and inventory, and I think she'd chafe at the fixed interface of the computer version. But I also suspect there are a lot of qualitative differences between tabletop and computer play that only she could articulate.

      As much as I like the (physical) game, I would definitely not play it solo. It just takes too long. But I love it as something for Irene and I to do together. And while I know there are a lot of differences between it and a proper tabletop RPG, it does give me the sense that I'm experiencing some of the benefits of the latter for the first time.

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    5. As an avid Gloomhaven player (board version), selecting your cards at random hurt me a little inside. Your "deck" of action cards is your character build, making out the direction your character is taking while you progress. Random selection makes as much sense to me as clicking random buttons on level-up in a CRPG, or equipping random stuff to random characters.

      (Of course, I know that debating preferences in how to entertain ourselves is a bit futile anyway, just something that caught my eye).

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    6. I know, but I tend to default to certain things, so I like the challenge of drawing random cards and then forcing myself to use options I might not have selected otherwise. My informal rule is that if we lose a scenario, I make more deliberate card selection for the second run.

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    7. I've used the same solution to the same sort of problem: Randomisation can be a good way to get out of my comfort zone.

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    8. My family played Gloomhaven over Zoom during the pandemic, it was fun but a bit frustrating having to tell everyone what you wanted to do.

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  5. This feels like the sort of game you'd get from people who have no clue what makes these sorts of games work. You have good sounding improvements that in practice don't really work, the appearence of elements like illusionary walls and switch puzzles that end up having no point to them, and overall it just ends up feeling like a game that does things without knowing why they're done in the first place.

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    1. That applies to the programming as well. It sounds like the "Aesop" engine was written by someone who read books on programming and knew that (e.g.) memory management is important, but who didn't know WHY, nor how to do it well in practice. This explains why it's so unnecessarily slow.

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    2. Twibat, what you say is to various degrees true for all real time blobbers after Chaos Strikes Back. I quit EoB 2 mid way, and I never played EoB 3, but it sounds like one of the most extreme examples.

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    3. Aesop was written by John Miles, who wrote most of the Ultima V engine, and the Miles Sound System which has been used in thousands of games. He has an impressive list of game credits. Pretty sure he knew what he was doing.

      I wouldn't be surprised if they rushed this, having to create a new engine and competing with Lands of Lore. Aesop32 runs fine (but was never officially relased), and I didn't notice big problems in Dungeon hack which still uses Aesop16 (and the same monster and dungeon graphics...).

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    4. Just because he did a good job at an EGA low-end tile based engine doesn't necessarily mean he knows what he's doing when designing a VGA high-end first person perspective engine. The two are rather fundamentally different.

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    5. Given that the EOB2 engine has good performance and that despite doing nothing new, the EOB3 engine does not (as first released), it is self-evident that John either bit off more than he could chew, or had poor priorities forced upon him by management.

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  6. If I mess up a quest like that i find it so hard to continue, to my detriment.

    This game feels unnecessary - at least from reading your take it doesn’t feel like an improvement over EotB 1.

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  7. I dislike that they reuse the art for Eob1's teleport gate for something unrelated. Also, those grave knights appear to reuse the guard graphics from Eob2.

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    1. I dislike it, too, now that I know it's not a teleport gate.

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  8. On repeat: games becomes playable with the AESOP32 patch, though that changes The Original Experience

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  9. The Rod of Restoration is a powerful item in d&d and a good reward for this side quest. Gur qbjafvqr vf gung gur znhfbyrhz vgfrys vf gur bayl cynpr jurer vg vf hfrshy; abguvat ryfr va gur tnzr unf qenvavat nggnpxf.

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    1. I was about to reply why the rod isn't a good reward at all, but you already addressed it in Rot13.

      Mausoleum is the first sign that EOB3 isn't on the level of its predecessors. The whole area is sloppy and pointless. In theory it's cool to have a totally optional side dungeon, but you don't really get anything from beating it. Your three "rewards" are Isharn, Rod and Nzhyrg bs Sevraqfuvc. Isharn is weak, Rod is trash for the reason you stated, and Nzhyrg is totally redundant because there's an item in the woods that does the exact same thing. I guess you get a tiny little bit of story but that's it.

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    2. Really? In an ancient, haunted ruin, there are no more level-draining undead? The manual mentions banshees, shades, and watchghosts. None of them have any draining attacks?

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    3. The Rod helps against none of the three: Jngputubfgf pna fybj lbh; funqrf unir vyyhfbel qrsrafrf naq pna fhzzba zber funqrf; onafurrf pna xvyy lbh bhgevtug jvgu gurve zntvpny ubjy.

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  10. Various unrelated obsevations:

    1) Yes, you are supposed to face Fflar with the name bar in hand, after which he realizes he is really dead and you have good intentions. It's not a very well designed quest, as much else in the game. His reward helps a bit in the next section, but it's not really a big deal.

    2) It's not an issue specific to this game, but I think it is particularly evident here. The levels seem to be designed with the aim of filling every single square, even if this creates a lot of filler, with empty rooms and twisty corridors that lead nowhere.

    3)The sounds effects are awful and it's not an emulation issue. This from CGW's review at the time (August 1993).
    "Aurally, this game is a nightmare. Monster announce their presence long before they are visible, with enough noise to wake the dead three countries over. The tension produced in the first two games by the subtle use of sound is completely destroyed here by thunderous clanks, rumbles, slitherings and similar noises. I turned the sound off simply because it was too much to endure".

    I tried to do the same, but you really need to have sound on or the monsters will sneak up on you. What were they thinking?

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    1. Glad to hear it's not just an emulation issue on the sound. It got worse in the next few areas.

      Your point on #2 is good for these two levels, but I've played ahead a bit, and the next few maps feature a lot less obsession to use every square (assuming I haven't missed anything).

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  11. I went on a little mini-rant about how my students don't appreciate their general education classes when I'd give my right arm to go back to school and take nothing but classes like "Renaissance Architecture," "Medieval Sculpture," and "British Literature II."

    It's funny because it's true - I graduated and work in CS but the classes I remember and look back to most in university were Renaissance Art History (an 8am class which I audited for no credit) and Shakespeare, which was required to fill an elective and was taught by the guy who edited the Oxford Shakespeare Complete Works.

    I still remember doing one class where he started off dressed as a man and slowly changed to women's clothing while he taught us about the fluidity of gender in Shakespeare.

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    1. It's been my experience that my students take their cues from admin when it comes to taking their gen ed classes seriously. I can usually bring a good number of them around by presenting interesting material and being a decent human being, but since our building is crumbling and smelly and our university president openly disrespects us, a lot of student come into my Composition and Brit Lit II classes with bad attitudes. It also probably doesn't help that the Georgia state system doesn't give students a lot of room for electives.

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    2. I still fondly remember my film lecture class 20 years on... barely recall what engineering courses I took.

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    3. My most memorable unit was for an env sci minor I took. It was called something like ‘Environmental Conflict and Resolution’, the syllabus consisted entirely of game theory and social deduction, and the final project was a half-day gaming session whereby eight teams with asymmetric goals attempted to outmaneuver one another.

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    4. @Tristan Gall That sounds like a really great course. I'm trying to do something similar in my Composition classes this semester - there's a packaged game called Reacting to the Past that has students play the roles of figures participating in an important historical event, and they have to do a good deal of persuasive speaking, writing, and research to convince others to side with their faction. I'm using the French Revolution module.

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    5. One of the very few college courses I still both remember strongly and remember fondly was a 'movie appreciation' elective.Weirdly, the super freeform nature of it (we got to pick our own films) seemed to make everyone way more invested in what was on the surface a fluffy general studies class.

      The teacher did insist on us submitting assignments through webpage presentations on Wix, which also turned out to be a very useful skill for me years later.

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  12. "I broke down and asked for a hint and commenter Futility responded."

    When I played this game, this entirely broke my trust of it. There doesn't seem to be even a whiff of a possibility of figuring this out for yourself. I don't know of anyone who's even figured it out retrospectively.

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    1. I didn't see it while I was playing, but there IS a pattern. Some levers open the way forward, but others only open the way to other levers. You want to flip every lever down when you find it, but if it only opens the way to another lever, once you've flipped THAT lever down, you want to flip the original back up.

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    2. That's kind of a relief to hear, as that seems like far less of a betrayal than the inscrutability of the "clue" would lead one to believe.

      (This is a wild shot, but I assume there's nothing in the lyrics to Pink Floyd's "Cymbaline" [sic] that hints at the solution? Now that'd be a puzzle obscured by clouds of allusion, inviting and inciting you to meddle with levers just to open the wall to more rewards, perhaps, and dangerous animals as well...)

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    3. Great Pink Floyd paragraph, PK - really made me smile! :-)

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  13. One of my favorite philosophers, Stanley Cavell, wrote an essay on Coriolanus. It's in his collection called "Themes Out of School."

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  14. Regarding the speed issues: in your first blog post to EoB3 you mentioned not playing the gog-version, which is patched to use a newer version of the game engine and runs much smoother than the original. Have you considered switching?

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3. Please don't comment anonymously. It makes it impossible to tell who's who in a thread. Choose the "Name/URL" option, pick a name for yourself, and just leave the URL blank.

4. I appreciate if you use ROT13 for explicit spoilers for the current game and upcoming games. Please at least mention "ROT13" in the comment so we don't get a lot of replies saying "what is that gibberish?"

5. Comments on my blog are not a place for slurs against any race, sex, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, or mental or physical disability. I will delete these on a case-by-case basis depending on my interpretation of what constitutes a "slur."

Also, Blogger has a way of "eating" comments, so I highly recommend that you copy your words to the clipboard before submitting, just in case.

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.