Saturday, January 28, 2023

The Mystic Well: Won! (with Summary and Rating)

I wonder if they have Berenstein Bears books on that plane of "existance."
The Mystic Well
United States
Jing Gameware (developer); published as shareware
Released 1990 for Atari ST
Original version c. 1990 titled Mystic Mirror
Re-released as Daymare for DOS in 1992
Date Started: 3 January 2023
Date Ended: 23 January 2023
Total Hours: 19
Difficulty: Hard (4.0/5)
Final Rating: 26
Ranking at Time of Posting: 243/483 (50%)
This has happened so often that it should no longer come as a surprise: An independent or low-budget developer creates a simple game with simple graphics and yet enough innovation and spirit to earn a certain amount of good will. I enjoy it for what it is for about a dozen hours, not worrying about what I could be playing instead. And then, instead of continuing along that vein to a swift and satisfying conclusion, the developer decides to become a total knob for the game's last act. Finishing the game involves impossible creatures, new and confusing mechanics, and punishment for not doing everything perfectly along the way.
The road to this inevitability picks up where I left off last time. I had explored the bottom three levels of the dungeon, which seem to exist solely to help the player grind and find new equipment--with one key exception that I nearly missed. When I wrapped up last time, I had not yet used the teleporter found next to the mystic well in the underground temple (G-3). Fortunately, I decided to clear that up before moving on. It brought me to a small area in the southeast corner of G-2 where, after dealing with the enemies, I found a "strange key." I also found a special mace called The Iron Saint. Its special ability is to heal the user. I failed to notice a slot on the floor that would have delivered some vital equipment--more in a bit.
The strange key was necessary to reach the endgame; it opens all of the doors on G+5. But it also opened the final unlocked door on the ground floor, behind which was a pair of sylvan slippers (agility +3, plus resistances), a piece of "twisted mythral," and a cornucopia, which provides unlimited food. (If it ever runs dry, I didn't experience it.) 
At this point, I could have moved forward, as I had already found the necessary ruby key on the fighter's level. But at this time, I was still committed to mapping the entire game, and even if I wasn't, I figured that as a priest, I should experience the priest's level (G+2). It was pretty easy. Unlike the other levels, it didn't really rely much on the priest's unique abilities, although it did have a certain "clerical" theme. The western half of the level was organized into small cloisters with evil clerics occupying them and treasures strewn on the floor.
An evil cleric attacks me with some kind of fire spell.
The eastern half was presented as an outdoor area, just like the starting area, with a group of four mystic wells in a central courtyard. I found a second copy of the ruby key in just about the same square as on the fighter's level.
I started to explore the rogue and wizard levels, but my interest in the game was beginning to flag. The rogue level has numerous places where the rogue needs to jump over pits or teleporters using his special ability. Other players can mimic this with the "Enchantress" dagger, which casts the "Two-Step" spell, but at the time, I was under the impression that a weapon's magical charges were limited, like in Dungeon Master. Commenters had alerted me that the "Two-Step" ability was needed on one of the upper levels, and I didn't want to run out of charges.
The rogue's level had lots of pits to jump over.
Before I move on, let me cover a number of things I discovered, either on my own or from a video I watched later:
  • Illusory walls, which are always dark, sometimes have items hidden within them. You have to pay attention to the automap and the various colors it shows.
  • Turning in gems, gold, and other valuables to the wells (it doesn't matter which one) definitely does give you experience. I leveled up a couple of times while doing so. I guess certain items offer more experience and the mythral items offer the most.
  • Some of the vials you find are special healing vials which not only fill your water meter but heal your wounds. These do not look any different than regular vials and are not named any differently. I must have left them strewn on the dungeon floors.
  • Early on Level G+5, I found a "skeleton key." I don't believe it opens a single door in the game.
  • I'd been taking up an inventory slot carrying the compass. It turns out that once you use it and the compass icon appears on the screen, you no longer need it.
  • I guess magical items never run out of "charges." They deplete your food and water meters instead. I was thus probably a bit too conservative through most of the game.
  • Some wells apparently deliver items when you click on them, including valuables that you can just feed back into the well. 
  • Those green pools that cast poison fields are beatable--they're basically green versions of the water elementals--but it takes so many hits to kill them, and their poison fields kill you so fast, that it's almost impossible. Except for one other enemy I'll mention in a bit, I think they're the hardest regular enemies in the game.
  • Vampires seem to come out of nowhere because some bats turn into vampires. That might be the coolest aspect of the game.
Moving on to G+5. It ramped up the difficulty so much that it was like playing a completely different game. The level was full of green slimes, blue dragons, blue probes, red balls of fire, and ghosts, and every one of them was capable of ranged attacks, often from so far away that I couldn't even see them. Any time I stepped into an open area, I got buzzed and blasted from four different directions and died nearly instantly.  
G+5, the last level I fully mapped.
Nonetheless, I mapped the entire thing. It took me three times as long as a normal level, and I had to make multiple trips back to the well on the ground level just to catch my breath. Upgrades included an elvin cap and a "Shield of Khan." There are a lot of items "of Khan" in the dungeon, but for the most part, they seemed to offer lesser upgrades than the "elvin" equipment. This might vary by class.
I'm getting hit by three things at once here.
The purpose of the level seemed to be to activate a pressure plate that opened the way to G+6. I have no idea where the plate was, but I must have crossed it at some point, because on one of my return trips, I noticed an open wall where there hadn't been an open wall before.
Lots of teleporters on the final level.
G+5 took so much out of me that I was no longer interested in the game. I knew from commenters that G+6 would be the last level, and I refused to even map it. I just said, "I'm going to follow the rightmost wall until I find the damned golden skull." This turned out to be a lot harder than expected, and frankly it probably would have been easier if I had mapped. In addition to teleporters, sliders, and pits, the game introduced three new elements:
  • The need to use "Two-Step" (or the Enchantress dagger) to avoid pits and teleporters and, in some places, to jump through walls.
  • Illusory walls blocked by enemies that you have to kill before you can go through them, only until you kill them, you don't know that it's not a regular wall unless you're checking the automap frequently.
  • Enemies somehow embedded in regular walls. Again, you have to study the automap to find them. You then run up to the wall and attack what looks like a wall to kill them, but you never see what kind of enemy you're fighting, you can't actually tell when they die, and I don't think you can kill them at range.
There's some enemy attacking me inside this pillar.
The level also introduced a couple of new enemies. One, a flying blob with spikes, was capable of massive damage but at least had the decency to die in a couple of hits. The worst enemy--the worst in the game by far--was this blue guy capable of casting the same poison fields as the slime puddles on the levels below. Killing these guys took multiple reloads, 10 minutes of waltzing, and every resource I could muster. 
I was exploring the final level with several weapons: the mythral sword, which I think is the most powerful weapon I had; the Iron Saint for healing; The Enchantress for the "Two-Step" ability; and Flametongue to cast fireballs. I was also carrying the cornucopia and a water skin, as the use of these magic items depleted my food and water meters fast.
The worst enemy in the game.
Slowly--hatefully slowly--I made it to the final area of the game, which was a huge twisty maze full of the worst enemies the game could muster, including a bunch of those blue jackasses. I must have reloaded 30 times trying to find the final chamber. I eventually found it across from a pillar that read: "DEATH CAN WEAR A GOLDEN SMILE." I spent a long time and another dozen reloads clearing the enemies in the area around the chamber so I could have some breathing room.
I opened the chamber. In the doorway was "Khan's Ashes"---I guess the remains of the person who'd dropped all that equipment for me. I wish the backstory had said anything about him. There was a well in the center of the chamber. In the back, flying around, was the golden skull.
Looking into the final chamber. We now know what happened to Khan. We just don't know who he was.
It took me another half dozen deaths and reloads to figure out how to even approach battle with him. Sliders kept pushing me to the south side of the room, making waltzing impossible, and he was too fast anyway. He started blasting me with spells the moment he saw me and didn't let up until I was dead. I tried hitting him with various weapons and spells, but since the game gives you no indication of enemy health or the amount of damage you're doing, I had no idea what was successful.
After a series of failures, I turned to the Internet for help. I found it in only one place: a pair of videos by a YouTuber named Stuart Lloyd. Together, they were less than 90 minutes, driving home exactly how much of my own time had been spent mapping.
The fat blue dragons are worse than the fat red ones.
I watched the entirety of the videos because Stuart was clearly an expert on the game. I learned a lot from him, including some of the bullet points above. Stuart's experience was a bit different from mine, as he was playing a fighter. But he reached the final level at about the same experience level as me. The only major thing different about his character was that he had found a sword in that little room where I found the strange key and the Iron Saint. It was hidden in a slot on the floor. The sword is simply called "Iron Sword," looking no different from a regular iron sword, but it's apparently the best weapon in the game. Enemies that were taking me a dozen hits to kill he was killing in four or five. 
I didn't feel like going back and getting that sword, even if it would have helped a priest. His video showed him defeating the skull in about a dozen hits, but he had found one of the vials that acted as a healing potion, and he stood next to the mystic well, healing when necessary in between attacks. 
The Golden Skull blasts me as I attack.
Facing two options--obstinately beat my head against the golden skull, or reload an earlier save and go get that sword and find one of those vials--I naturally chose the former. I figured if he could kill the skull in 12 hits, I could do it in 30. It took me perhaps another dozen deaths and reloads to get to 30. I had to attack him until my health was low, then waltz out of the way and use the Iron Saint to heal myself, then re-engage--and I had to do all of this using the mouse instead of a proper set of key commands. Nonetheless, I eventually succeeded and got the anticlimactic winning screen, then managed to click off of it before taking a screenshot. So the shot at the beginning of this entry is from Mr. Lloyd's video. You'll just have to trust me.
You can keep playing the game after killing the skull. Lloyd does for another 10 minutes, using a "Teleport" spell (which I never found) to return to the opening area. I was surrounded by hostile enemies whose leader I just killed, so I decided to shut it down there.
  • 1 point for a bare-bones game world. This game definitely needed more of a backstory. It wouldn't have been hard to write one. I have no idea why the documentation is so sparse.
  • 4 points for character creation and development. There isn't anything original to the attributes and classes, but the author does a good job giving the classes different strengths and weaknesses (and fundamentally different games), and character development is well-paced and rewarding.

  • 0 points for no NPCs.
  • 3 points for encounters and foes. I can't complain that the game's bestiary isn't varied or challenging. I just wish the enemies had names and there were some non-combat encounters. I gave a point for a few Dungeon Master-like puzzles, but Well's approach to puzzles is pretty shallow compared to Dungeon Master.
I think the button count in this game was three: two on the first level and one on the last.
  • 3 points for magic and combat. I can't give much to what amounts to just swinging away, although I allot some credit for the magic items inherent in items and in the wizard class.
  • 4 points for equipment. The equipment system is a relatively strong part of the game (excepting the limited inventory). Statistics make it easy to determine what armor items are best, and I like that you have to experiment with some items to find their uses. On the other hand, the game is a bit too obtuse in the areas of relative weapon damage, and I don't like that items with the same names have different powers.
It's possible that I found rubescent pants on a previous level, not "pubescent" ones.
  • 2 points for the economy. It's not a classic game economy, but scrounging treasure does offer an opportunity for some character development.
  • 3 points for a main quest with some additional credit for the class-based floors that offer multiple paths to the mid-game.
Can't argue with that logic!
  • 2 points for graphics, sound, and interface. The graphics are at least functional, and there are some basic sound effects. The automap deserves a little credit. But I can never countenance an all-mouse interface, and the game skimps too much in some other areas. For instance, you can't see missiles or ranged attacks in transit (except, oddly, for fireballs).
  • 4 points for gameplay. I give it credit for nonlinearity and some replayability (with the different classes), but the levels are too big, the game is too long, and the difficulty ramps up too much towards the end.
That gives us a final score of 26. When I first started playing, I thought it might make my "recommended" threshold, but the only way a game of such limited content could do that is to offer a more detailed story and balance itself better in the "gameplay" categories. Still, there's more to recommend here than the game suggested at first glance.
I spent a little time with the Daymare DOS remake. The changes are mostly unwelcome. The different experiences of the different classes is one of the few things Well had going for it, so it's a mystery why the author decided to do away with the classes and make every character a generic adventurer. Spells are cast by stringing together combinations of eight runes like in Dungeon Master. You don't have to have the spellbooks in hand to do so, making the books themselves more like Dungeon Master's instruction scrolls. The maps seem to be the same, although some of the objects have been replaced. In particular, blank scrolls now have specific spells on them.
The runes for the "Softens" spell (the use of which I never figured out) are shown with its name.
The signs leading up to the first four levels are unchanged. I'm curious how the rogue level works since the ability to jump doesn't seem to exist (I could be wrong; the version I downloaded comes with no instructions of any kind), but I wasn't willing to play long enough to find the necessary keys. The one good addition is a "Strike" statistic that tells you how much damage your attack has done. There also seems to be an encumbrance statistic; it's possible this played a role in Well and I just didn't realize it. There were times my food and water meters seemed to deplete faster than others.
Author Jim Todd followed up with Daymare 2 in 1993, which I've added to the list. His web site shows that his latest game is a multiplayer dungeon crawler called Myriad Maze (2022) which "features a unique loot and inventory system combined with a real POW cryptocurrency backed commodity" (his other major project is a cryptocurrency called Myriadcoin). Suddenly 2022 seems too close.


  1. On the plus side, you're never going to get to 2022 at this rate. That's a problem for your successor whomever they may be.

  2. Next game on the list is "Ultima 7.2: Serpent Isle". Like you, I thought there was something wrong in "Ultima 7: the Black Gate", but Ultima 7.2 is... (no spoilers)... Let me just say: my favorite in the series by far. I am eager to read your take on it !

    1. Will be interesting to see his take. I prefer part 1 by far because it’s an incredible sandbox with more simulation elements. Part 2 is much more linear, even if it’s in service of an interesting (though compromised) story. But both of them are lousy RPGs, mostly because of the rubbish combat system.

    2. I don't know how well you remember Amberstar, but Ambermoon makes many references to its prequel. It might help reading your old posts on the game. It's not at all necessary though, there's nothing that requires knowledge of the earlier game.

      Fitting that you play Ambermoon and Ultima VII Pt. 2 so close together, as you did with Amberstar and Pt. 1.

    3. Ultima VII Part 2 was my first RPG, so I'm very glad we reached this point (I later played older games, of course). The first half of the game, while the cities are "normal", is excellent, then the plot becomes too convoluted.

    4. AlphabeticalAnonymousJanuary 28, 2023 at 9:59 PM

      I'd agree that it's worth doing a bit of a refresher on Amberstar before starting its sequel, but I wouldn't call it essential -- just something that would help enhance the ambience a bit.

      Re. Ambermoon, the other thing to look at is the "" remake. Probably too much of a technical upgrade for our host here to play, but I'd highly recommend it for anyone interested in giving the game a try.

    5. My memory is that it's far more linear than U7P1 and it lasts way, way too long. Still, I look forward to blogging about a game with an actual story again.

    6. Oh, and thanks for the tips on Ambermoon. I'll be sure to go over everything.

    7. I disagree that the plot of Ultima 7.2 is too convoluted. I would rather say that sometimes it is easy to miss a clue and wonder: "What am I supposed to do now ? Where to ?"

    8. I think both Ultima 7 are great games (even if not maybe great RPGs), but prefer the first on account of the greater nonlinearity.

      SI feels a lot more constrained in terms of freedom, even if it's as a game it's still huge. The amount of McGuffins and keys (definitely worth it to play the expansion ASAP) you have to juggle through the end it's kind of ridiculous.

    9. About Ambermoon... I have been wanting to play it for some time and now that it came up in the queue it's a good excuse, but in 2023 the question is what version.

      The only official version is the original German Amiga release (v1.05) . There is also an original unreleased English version (v1.07) that notoriously has game-breaking bugs so I wouldn't recommend that.

      A fan of the game (Pyrdacor) in recent years has updated both versions with various bug-fixes and improvements and now there are new Amiga versions available (v1.17) both in English and German.

      The same guy has also ported the game (v.1.17) to modern PCs (, which of course it's the easiest version to get running, but as far as I can see it lacks the intro and it has upscaled 3D graphics (the 2D graphics are the same).

      I would say a good compromise would be playing the bug-fixed English Amiga version, on the other hand it's an 8 disks game and without installing on an Hard Drive (which the game supports natively, but it can be a pain to set up on WinUAE) loading times and disk swapping will be painful.

    10. Serpent Isle is a good game salvaged from the remains of a great game, but the parts of it that are good are really good.

      Black Gate's simulationist elements never really did much for me. The systems are all pretty primitive and incomplete. Baking bread was a fun gimmick but that's it. The NPC scripting + schedules are cool but there's not really much you can do with them. And despite being an open-world game there really isn't much you can do other than pursue the mostly linear main quest. I still really love Black Gate but I think it's developed a reputation for being more pioneering than it actually was. There's not much that it does that wasn't already in Ultima VI.

    11. AlphabeticalAnonymousJanuary 29, 2023 at 3:42 PM

      @Vince: Unless you have a deep-seated compulsion to only experience Ambermoon in its original form, I would highly recommend playing Pyrdacor's modern remake, updated for modern hardware. I agree it doesn't include the intro movie, but... YouTube.

    12. @Vince : regarding the 8 disks for the Amiga version, there is a WHDL file for English (Bugfixes) version 1.16 that would currently be the most comfortable way of playing the Amiga version - easier to set up than creating your own HD install in an Amiga emulator at any rate.

    13. Quick warning: seems to have a new owner and sends you to some generic junk page instead. is still working, though.

  3. it's the journey not the destination that matters

  4. Since it's multiplayer, there would still be a good reason to dodge it. But yes, not an immediate concern... .

    Anyway, congratulations on your perseverance, Chet. I have to admit I wouldn't have had the patience to deal with this and invoked e.g. the "six hours rule" earlier, but I've learned to understand you're quite hesitant to do so as long as a "Won!" post does not appear to be totally unachievable.

  5. A contemporary short review of the shareware version (whose author probably didn't play too far into the game) calls it "very much in the style of Dungeon Master" and "very nearly as good", complaining only about the instructions (

    Stuart Lloyd wrote down his impressions on the game in 2012 on his website which is otherwise mainly dedicated to gamebooks:

    He also links another short relatively contemporary 'review' (1993) which only reports first impressions, summing it up as "Overall not a bad game", but also mentioning the (limited and confusing) instructions as a drawback (

    According to Jim Todd himself, after getting a bit more from earlier games apparently published through magazines, he "probably earned less than a $100" with 'Magic Mirror' / 'Daymare' (I assume that includes this version as well - pun intended, if it counts as one) even though "[t]hey were fairly popular as shareware [...], with articles in several European magazines" (

  6. Spell effects a courtesy of MS Paint.

  7. You’re doing God’s work here, Chet.

  8. that was a twist at the end I was not expecting

  9. Oddly enough, it's actually "Berenstain "

    1. Yes, it's an intentional reference to the Mandela effect.

    2. The joke was supposed to be that on a plane where it's spelled "existance," perhaps the books will be spelled "Berenstein."

    3. For what it's worth, I got the joke.

  10. Man, it's always so disheartening to hear about developers of straight-and-narrow games who have went into predatory/scam territory. One I'm sure you guys have heard about is Richard Garriot/Lord British, who not only tried to sell virtual land for his "Shroud of the Avatar" MMO, but also tried to sell a "reliquary" containing his actual blood to fund development of the game. A reliquary is a "container of a holy relic". Jesus. If Jigsaw taught me anything, it's that we're ALL the same colour on the inside! And now the guy's interested in getting back into game development again... and integrating NFTs. He says he's noticed that there haven't been any good NFT games yet. Gee, Tricky Dicky, I wonder why THAT could be?

    This reminds me of a recent disappointment - I recently discovered a DOS platformer by Stephan Vogler - Kid (that's what's it's called...). Not QUITE a diamond in the rough, but still an impressive solo effort considering how much of a dickens non-Windows game programming was! However, Vgler would not only go on to be one of the founding members of CipSoft and the MMO Tibia, but he was also one of THE first proponents of cryptocurrency/tokenization-based art ownership, the predecessor to NFTs - and is, of course, all aboard the NFT train now that it's moderately-well-known. Apparently he's been doing that since about 2013/2015, which would be quite impressive if NFTs weren't burning the environment to ensure that you can verify who "owns" a .jpg. Never meet your heroes, I suppose.

    1. There are oldschool developers I'm happy to see back in business...but sadly there are also those who really should've stopped their comeback attempt(s) by now. Two of the latter are from Origin.

    2. I wholeheartedly agree, and you can add Jon van Caneghem to that list with his newest project 'Cloud Castles'. Never meet you heroes, indeed.

    3. There's part of me that really hates speaking ill of the guy who created Quest of the Avatar, but the truth is that he's been coasting on "I'm Lord British" for decades. I don't begrudge him that, and it's cool that he gets to go to space and the Marianas Trench and the like, but I wish he wouldn't also lend his name to scammy products. I understand that he doesn't have a way to profit directly from the Ultima brand anymore but he's gotta have enough money to make a living on investments, right?

    4. To all appearances LB's got enough money for several lifetimes. Perhaps that's not actually true, but if it is, I can think of at least a couple reasons he might feel inclined towards trying to push unnecessary, scammy products: 1) if the burn rate on his lifestyle, mansion and trips to extreme places and all, is quite high. 2) At some point wealth becomes more like scoring points in a game. Or even the ability to still feel alive when all your needs and wants are met and then some. All just speculation, of course.

    5. @BESTIEunlmt Could you elaborate a bit on Cloud Castles, it's the first time I hear about that and a quick look in Google doesn't return much besides the official website for the game like an independent info source.

    6. After reading our host's review of Wizardry 4, I though that the philosophical part of Ultima 4, that makes it so unique, actually came less from the mind of Richard Garriott and more from Roe Adams. Am I wrong?

    7. What I said in that entry was that "there are some accounts that indicate he had more to do with the plot of Ultima IV, including the creation of the eight virtues, than Richard Garriott." There are other accounts that say the opposite. I was hoping to speak to Adams to clarify but I never got a chance.

    8. I wish I could say I was surprised. Garriot always struck me as having the same exceedingly strong Dunning-Krueger energy you see from your really unsavory techbros, but the social environment of the tech industry at the time of his "peak" wasn't as fallow for that sort of thing, so he remained further on the "charmingly quirky" side of the axis than the "toxic and sociopathic" side.

  11. Since we're talking about the 'upcoming' list, while 'Lunatic Dawn' sounds like it combines some potentially interesting elements and spawned a whole franchise, it seems the English fan translation is only a partial one.
    According to its authors:

    "Currently here is what is done
    - Main Menu & Character Creation Menu
    - Magic & Item Names
    - Most of the Menus
    - Some of dialogue for the shops, requests, and actions
    - Battle dialogue & menus

    Whats left to be done
    - Dungeon, City, & Town Names
    - Enemy Names
    - NPC & King/Lord Names
    - The Untranslated Dialogue
    - The Introduction Movie

    Unfortunately due to compression in the game, we were only able to do what was able to be accessed within the HEX editor."

    The last I see from the authors on this is in a Steam forum in 2017 where one of them wrote: "Guess this is dead in the water for English players :(" (unless and until the compression issue is solved).

    On the other hand, since it appears not to have an overarching story arc and goal, these elements could still be enough to make it playable. Might depend on how interesting it looks to Chet and in what mood he encounters it.

    (I did not reply to the thread above since that one is primarily abouf U7.2 and Ambermoon.)

    1. I'm not sure where I got the idea that it had a full translation. If some of the dialogue and the introduction remain untranslated, that's probably enough to remove it from the list.

    2. Lunatic Dawn: Book of Futures (1995) and Lunatic Dawn: Passage of the Book (1997) have allegedly complete translations available. That my be the source of the confusion.

    3. So here is a short overview based on a quick search:

      - Lunatic Dawn (1993) - see above

      - Lunatic Dawn II (1994, FM Towns & NEC PC98) - only other one on Chet's Master Game List - unfinished/partial English fan patch (similar issues and status as the first game)

      [- Lunatic Dawn FX (1995 port to the PC FX)]

      - Lunatic Dawn: Book of Futures (1995, Windows) - not listed as RPG so far on mobygames or (English) Wikipedia, only on other sites (e.g. gamefaqs, igdb, ...) - "fully playable" English fan translation

      - Lunatic Dawn: Passage of the Book (1997, Windows) - listed on mobygames as RPG - "fully playable" English fan translation - original sold on Steam

      - Lunatic Dawn III (1998, Windows & PS1) - mobygames just quotes Steam ("Lunatic Dawn are non-linear RPG games") as part of the Lunatic Dawn: Legend Pack (sold on Steam) which contains I-III - currently unfinished English fan translation, though could be done by the time Chet gets there (if he decides to play it)

      - Lunatic Dawn Odyssey (1999, PS1) - no English translation so far, it seems
      - Lunatic Dawn IV (2000, Windows)- no English translation so far, it seems
      - Lunatic Dawn: The 3rd Book (2000, Windows) - only WIP English translation, not playable
      - Lunatic Dawn: Tempest (2001, PS2) - no English translation so far, it seems

    4. PS clarification on 'Book of Futures': it's not that mobygames doesn't see it as RPG, it's just currently not listed there at all yet.

      According to a commenter on a HG101 forum, "Lunatic Dawn is the simulation gamer's RPG. Nothing at all like Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy or similar games like you'd expect out of Japan, they're more like open-ended fantasy quest simulators with little storyline (especially the early games) and randomly generated worlds.

      There are four general types of Lunatic Dawn games. The first few are almost completely free-form and feature a semi-tactical real-time battle system. [...] [Seems to be RTwP according to other sources.] They are followed by the "Book" spin-off series, which streamlines the world map by making travel waypoint-based and uses a more JRPG-typical turn-based combat system, although in structure the games still work similar to the early ones. Lunatic Dawn Odyssey for PlayStation also seems to fit this gameplay style, although it is a bit more focused on story than the Windows games.

      Lunatic Dawn III and IV are Diablo style point-and-click action RPGs [...]. Then there's Lunatic Dawn Tempest for PlayStation 2, which is a really weird single character first person game and completely different from all the others."

      The box cover art for some of the early games appears to be a still with tabletop miniatures - don't think I've seen that before.

    5. FWIW, I'd also suggest skipping partial translated games. The list is big enough already.

    6. As the person who originally brought up the games way back when, I would suggest at least trying to brief the games that have partial translations, with a note to go back if the translation is ever finished. They're basically the only Japanese-made games that are available to play, if in limited English, that Chet'll actually enjoy fulyl.

  12. And also on the 'upcoming' list: 'Les Chevaliers de l'An Mil' - man, that really seems to be an obscure one. I wonder what/who managed to convince Ubisoft to publish a game for Thomson computers in 1989 that looks like a clone of the early Ultimas. At least it has an somewhat original premise. Will be interested to see what Chet thinks (and writes) about it!

  13. Nice job beating Mystic Well. I had it as a kid, but never got much further than level one.

    Yeah, it's as home-made as they come, but the price tag was hard to argue with since the full version was distributed on PD disks and the registration was on a honor system.

  14. Thank you for the review.

    A couple notes: The game can be finished without the Enchantress. When I started making this game, as far as I knew, it's only predecessor was Dungeon Master. I avoided puzzles for progression because I didn't want people to be stuck. Every barrier to progression has at least two solutions. The Enchantress was a backup for the last puzzle. Instead, I tried to create more of a challenge in finding and figuring out the best equipment.

    The 25*80 layout for the map was because the map was made by using a text editor. In retrospect, I think this worked out well though. The excessive inventory management, well trips for water, and lack of automapping were an artifact of the times. There weren't that many games around at the time, so making a game take longer was actually a virtue. As you saw in the video by Stuart though, the game can still be completed in just a few hours once you figure stuff out.

    By the time I did the PC port, quality of life stuff was becoming popular, so I got rid of classes and added a backpack to make inventory management easier for the PC port. Any class can use any spell (like mapping). In a way though, you still have a class system since attribute scores have a big effect on how you approach the game.

    Once again, thank you the review. If you decide to review it, Daymare 2 should only take about half as long to complete due to multiple quality of life improvements.


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