Thursday, July 27, 2023

Ambermoon: Ancient History

Nah, we're good.
We're pretty deep in the game, so it's time for a plot recap. Ambermoon, the sequel to Amberstar, takes place in the world of Lyramion. In Amberstar, a party of adventurers foiled (or thought they foiled) the return of a demon-wizard named Tarbos, who had been exiled to one of the planet's moons. It turns out they only delayed his return, or perhaps accomplished nothing at all, as 40 years after the first game, the moon came crashing into the planet, causing earthquakes and tidal waves and turning the continent of Lyramion into a bunch of islands.
The main character in Ambermoon is the grandchild of the hero of the first game--in my case, a granddaughter named Qamara. When the game began, grandfather was on his deathbed, where a vision from his old associate, Shandra, told him that a new evil was rising. Grandfather suggested that Qamara try to commune with Shandra at his grave in Newlake. To get to Newlake, I had to first solve multiple quests for the towns of Spannenberg and Burnville, which finally culminated in acquiring a ship, with which we could sail to all the Lyramionic Islands.
Arriving at the windgate hub--as if we need more fast travel options.
The main quest took us to Newlake, where the spirit of Shandra said that trouble was brewing in the Temple of the Brotherhood of Tarbos (the name gives it away). But the temple is guarded by a powerful demon, and the only way we can bypass it is with a spell called "Demon's Sleep." This requires various reagents gathered from across the islands. At this point, I have all of them except the Kalmir Herb, which is supposed to be found at the "island with the Tower of Lebab."
As we've seen, the game has been generous about upgrading my transportation options. I started on foot and was able to buy a team of horses in Spannenberg to help get around that island. For the first couple dozen hours of gameplay, I was limited to land travel only. The Spannenberg quest culminated in a ring that gave me 99 "Swimming" skill, allowing one character to swim through calm waters to Burnville's island, where I found a skiff that could support the entire party in calm waters. After Burnville was saved, I was able to pay to repair the "Magic Disc" I had found in my grandfather's basement, which combines horse and skiff and allows travel over flat land surfaces and calm waters. During the Burnville quest, I also rescued Spannenberg's shipwright, and he gave me a ship, finally allowing us to leave the starting islands. After defeating the Witch Master, I found a magic broom that combines all previous transportation options and allows swift travel over both land and sea--everything except mountain ranges.
Reassembling the Windchain.
As far as I'm concerned, the game could have stopped here, but it offers a few more upgrades. The first is in the form of the "windgate" transportation system. As this session began, I had 13 Windpearls (I only needed 12) and the Windgate necklace. I flew to the Island of the Winds, used a key to enter the Shrine of the Winds, and put the pearls and necklace on the right altar. It fused them into a single Windchain that, when used, added a permanent icon to the game interface.
The Island of the Winds has a hub of I think 10 windgates, but it turned out all but one were broken on the other side. In the Shrine of the Winds, I also had to combine the Xenobil Staff and a regular gem to create a Construction Staff. This staff allows me to repair broken windgates, but I have to travel to them the long way first.
Entering a windgate that's broken on the other side.
Meanwhile, my explorations of the windgates found one that was not broken on the other end. It took me to an island that I determined by coordinates was Sansri's Island. The island is completely ringed by mountains, so if I'd tried to visit without using the windgate, I would have failed.
I had a reason to be here. The King of Illien had asked us to get some of Sansri's blood to reverse a stoning spell she placed on the eagles that are under Illien's protection. We also have a blood debt to pay; in Amberstar, she told the hero that a particular scroll would destroy the demon Bralkur, and it ended up doing nothing  at all.
The island had two buildings: Sansri's Temple and the town of Snakesign. I went to the temple first but couldn't get out of the first room. It had no exits and no secret doors.
It did have some cool wall art.
Snakesign was a typical town, with an inn, a blacksmith, a healer, a general store, and a sage. From a priest in the tavern, I learned that the lower levels of the temple were destroyed during the flood and remain partly underwater. A young man said that Sansri's winged guards were killed during the flood, so Sansri has replaced them with minotaurs (which doesn't really fit her snake theme). A bandit on the street was worried about war with Illien. A beggar told me that to get into Sansri's Temple, you must have a Serpentstone, which is sold at the general store. But when you leave the temple, the stone turns to dust, forcing you to buy another one. The beggar thinks that it's a scam between the general store proprietor and the priests of Sansri.
A beggar offers a conspiracy theory.
The Serpentstone sold for 2,500 gold in the general store, and it was only one of several things worth buying. The store had a pair of Lightning Boots, which add 25 to speed; a Target Brooch, which adds 25 to the "Attack" skill; and a Mithril Shirt, which offers 25 protection for virtually no weight.
I'm just a smidge short.
To afford everything, I ended up taking the windgate back to the hub, then flying to my house and retrieving most of our money from the chests. I took the opportunity to repair the windgate north of Spannenberg, which must have given me a ton of experience, as almost everyone leveled up. 
We returned to Snakesign, bought the items, and went back to the temple. This time, the presence of the Serpentstone caused a teleporter to become available in the foyer, taking us deeper into the temple. 
The temple was two stories, quite large, and absolutely full of combats with minotaurs. I'm guessing I fought around 30 battles with them. Every single battle had exactly four minotaurs who all started in the same locations on the battle grid and did pretty much the same things. I used the opportunity to get rid of a lot of scrolls. 
Learning about a monster with "Monster Knowledge."
Let me talk about magic for a bit. As I've previously reported, the game has four schools of magic: mysticism, healing, alchemy, and destruction. Each school has a pure spellcaster capable of wielding that form of magic: mystic, healer, alchemist, and mage. The first three schools also have hybrid classes capable of learning those spells, but fewer of them, and with fewer mana points: ranger, paladin, and adventurer. I don't know why there's no fighter/mage class capable of wielding destruction magic. Thieves can use scrolls from all the classes but not learn any of the spells innately.

The schools are very well differentiated. Destruction, as you might imagine, is all offensive spells. About 60% of them do damage, while the other 40% have status effects like "Lame" (paralysis), "Sleep," "Aging," "Blind," and "Madness." Those that do damage come in three varieties: damage to a single opponent, damage to a row of opponents, and damage to every opponent on the map. There are about half a dozen of each, escalating in power as they cost more learning points to learn and more spell points to cast. For instance, if you want to damage a row of enemies, you can choose from "Magic Arrows," "Landslide," "Thunderbolt," "Firestorm," or "Ice Storm." As you move up the scale, the spells also come in batches based on the type of damage, from generic magic ("Magic Projectile," "Magic Arrows") to earth-based magic ("Rockfall," "Landslide") to wind magic ("Winddevil," "Windhowler") to fire magic ("Fire Beam," "Firestorm") and finally to ice magic ("Ice Storm," "Ice Shower"). (I'm honestly not sure if any enemies are immune to particular types of damage. If so, I don't think I've seen it.) Learning point cost ranges from 1 to 25, and spell point cost (to cast) ranges from 5 to 250 ("Dissolve"). The key to spending your spell points wisely is to not get too redundant. If you already have "Earthquake," the lowest "damage everyone" spell, you probably don't want to spend any learning points on "Cyclone," the next "damage everyone" level. You probably want to jump the next level up to "Pillar of Fire."
Mass damage spells never get old.
Mysticism contains navigation and utility spells. It includes "Monster Knowledge," which gives you statistics for your enemies; "Identification," which identifies unknown items so you don't have to take them to sages; and "Mystic Map," which gives you a map of the dungeon you're in. Those are the three that I find most valuable. There are a lot of other ones that show you various features on the automaps, including secret doors, traps, monsters, and people, but my system of exploration pretty much ensures that I find all of these things anyway. I have dozens of scrolls for these spells that I'll probably never use.
A full map of the level is one of mysticism's more useful spells.
Healing has, of course, spells that heal damage and all of the different status effects in the game, including fear, sleep, confusion, blindness, panic, poison, paralysis, disease, intoxication, aging, madness, petrification, and death. Some of these conditions are so rare (or, at least, have been so far) that I doubt I'll ever run out of the scrolls. There are also a few levels of turning undead. Almost all of my healer's casting ability goes to "Medium Heal," the highest cure-damage spell that she has. She can cast maybe 8 of them before resting. Because these healing spells are so important, it's tough to imagine replacing her with a paladin, even though I originally thought I might.
The alchemy school is a miscellany of the remaining spell types. It includes several levels of "Light" spells, exploration spells like "Create Food" and "Levitate," inventory spells like "Repair Item" and "Duplicate Item," and buffing spells like "Magic Weapon" (increases attack ability), "Anti-Magic Wall," and "Haste." I meant to say in an earlier entry, and forgot, that "Repair" means I haven't had to reload because of item breakages anymore, but those have decreased to almost never anyway. I had been neglecting the buffing spells until this session, and I found them very useful. They last for quite a while, often through half a dozen combats, so there's no need to be stingy with them.
Being able to "Repair" broken items saves me a lot of time.
On the subject of navigation, the alchemy school also has "Mark" and "Recall" spells, allowing instant travel back to the marked location. As useful as that sounds, getting around this game world is already so easy that I haven't tried them.
At the beginning of this session, I had hundreds of damage spell scrolls, so I divided them between my thief and mage and just had them go to town on the minotaurs. The creatures were very tough regardless. They hit hard and were capable of casting earth-based spells themselves. But Sabine kept up with healing, and it was rare that I was in any real danger. Each battle earned us nearly 500 experience points, and my characters continued to level rapidly. Each battle also delivered about 1,200 gold, so soon we were facing over-encumbrance again.
A minotaur hits me with a "Rockfall" spell.
Getting through the dungeon meant throwing a series of switches to open passages. I also had to destroy a couple of hourglasses with a special mallet.
I didn't really understand this.
On the second floor, we found a room with eight teleporters, seven of which led to battles with minotaurs and one of which, at last, led us to Sansri:
Before you stands a beautiful woman. At first glance you are entranced by her until you realize that her eyes radiate only coldness and death. As she starts to speak to you, you notice with astonishment and horror her snakelike tongue which curls down to her chin. "Sssso, mortal beingssss dare oncccce more to dissssturb me. Sssso, obssserve my power and die in agony. Ssssss . . ." With the last hiss, a horrific transformation takes place with Sansri. A five-headed hydra suddenly stands before you and, hissing loudly, starts to attack.
Sansri was a medusa in the last game, so I guess she's capable of several forms. She attacked with a pair of minotaurs. I think the battle was easier than any of the four-minotaur battles throughout the dungeon. We dispatched the minotaurs first and then swung away at the hydra until it was dead.
After the battle, the hydra changed forms back into a human(ish) woman, who had time to say, "Why mussssst I always lose? I hate you!" before dissolving into dust. You almost feel sorry for her.
The authors of Ambermoon, unlike the authors of Warriors of the Eternal Sun, know what a hydra is.
We looted from her body a vial of her blood, Sansri's Ring (+25 luck, +25 "Read Magic"), Sansri's Necklace (+5 shield, +5 anti-magic, +25 "Using Magic"), and a key. The key turned out to open the door to a cave that I missed during my initial explorations. In the cave, I faced a battle with eight minotaurs in which I used mass-damage spells liberally. The cave deposited us on the edge of the island (outside the mountain ring), where there was another ship.
We took the blood back to Illien and King Pelanis. As a reward, he gave us a key to his treasure chamber and a magic flute that allows us to summon an eagle, just like we had in Amberstar. Yes, it's another transportation option. This one lets you fly over everything, including mountains, thus replacing the broom (and everything else that came before it). The first thing I did was to ride it home so I could drop off all the gold we'd accumulated so I'd have room for anything in Pelanis's treasure chamber.
I still don't see how we all fit on the eagle's back.
Pelanis's reward was 10,000 gold, 82 magical arrows, an Elf Bow, a Parry Ring, a Mithril Shirt, a Holy Horn, two Wishing Coins, a topaz, and two speed potions. 
Getting low on quests, we next flew north to the fortress of Godsbane. I stopped to restore the windgate on the island before tackling the fortress, which was completely surrounded by a thick barrier of mountains. I guess we couldn't have gotten here before we got the eagle from Pelanis.
Arriving at Godsbane.
The fortress was a single level culminating in two large chambers. To get to the chambers, I had to flip some switches and use some teleporters. I was attacked several times by parties of one or two guard golems, extremely easy enemies for my party.
One of the two final chambers contained a chest with the Amberstar. It kind of gave me a tingle to see it. This game has been generally quite good about callbacks to its predecessor. The second chamber held Gryban, the paladin character from Amberstar, reported to have been sleeping since the events of that game, guarding the Amberstar.
Maybe we'll sell it.
We had to give his name to a magic mouth to enter the chamber. Gryban was up and about, and he immediately offered to join the party. He had no responses to keywords like AMBERSTAR or TARBOS. I don't know, maybe I should have taken him. I was reluctant to give up my pure healer, but Gryban at Level 35 may in fact have more spell points than Sabine at Level 28. He'd obviously be more useful in combat. And yet, I'm happy with my little party. I like their backstories. I've learned their strengths and weaknesses and have a solid approach to combat with them. I don't need some Level 35 hero from the past swaggering in and upsetting the balance. He'd probably insist on leading, too. Thus, despite his grave warning that a "power which is not of this world" is about to destroy Lyramion, we left him in his chamber and exited the fortress--with the Amberstar, of course. I can only imagine we'll need it somewhere.
At this point, I had explored all the islands on the game map except three. One was just southeast of Godsbane--a long island with a desert called Seufzerwüste. I found nothing on the island except a windgate (which I repaired) and an oasis that completely healed the party. I only figured out what it did because I took drowning damage wading into it. There was something that looked like a flower on an island in the middle of the oasis, but I couldn't pick it up or anything.
This could be bad . . .
Before doing anything else, I decided to deal with my surfeit of training points. My characters' totals ranged from 26 (Qamara) to 153 (Valdyn). But even after I did the circuit of cities and put the maximum number of points into every useful skill, I still had plenty left over. I guess I'll have to channel all the excess into "Swimming."
Leaving the world better than we found it.
I also took the opportunity to repair windgates on the islands I'd already visited. I earned quite a lot of experience during this process. At the end of this session:
  • Qamara the adventurer is Level 36. She just got her third attack per round.
  • Egil the warrior is Level 25. He has 5 attacks per round.
  • Nelvin the mage is Level 30.
  • Selena the thief is Level 28.
  • Sabine the healer is Level 29.
  • Valdyn the ranger is Level 25.
Qamara's current statistics. Note that she's hit her maximums on most of her attributes and useful skills. You can equip items that boost you above the maximums but you cannot train above the maximums.
For open quests, we have:
  • Explore the Tower of Lebab.
  • Get the Kalmir Herb from the island with the Tower of Lebab, then make the potion, then invade the Temple of the Brotherhood of Tarbos.
  • Explore a dungeon surrounded by mountains near Spannenberg that I just discovered.
  • Explore the long north/south island to the southwest of the gameworld, which contains the abandoned dwarf city of Gemstone.
  • Explore Donner's Old Labyrinth, but I don't have the key for it yet.
Given our high levels, our maxed statistics, and the diminishing game world left to explore, I would normally say it feels like the game is coming towards an end. But a commenter suggested that he didn't think I'd be able to finish it before I finished Serpent Isle, so I'm not sure what's going to happen. Not bored with it yet, though.
Time so far: 53 hours


Please note that I posted an addendum to Les Chevaliers de l'An Mil; I wanted to keep everything in one entry in case I have to turn it into a BRIEF.


  1. I really enjoyed this post. Having a recap of the story helps me keep track of what's been happening when I can't find the time to keep up with your posts. On another note, it blows my mind that you have too many spell scrolls! I don't think I've EVER had such a problem in a game. Crazy.

  2. Speaking of hydras, in Greek mythology, Heracles and his nephew Iolaos are only able to defeat this monster after burning the severed necks to prevent another two new heads from spawning...

    I was thinking whether any crpg enemy mimics this behaviour, and the closest I could come up with are those annoying oozes, which split in two after you defeat them for the first time, but luckily not the second.

    Any other suggestions, some Zelda boss maybe?

    1. the only similar thing I can think of is using acid or fire to stop trolls coming back to life in various D&D games.

    2. I know I've played at least one RPG (or action/FPS hybrid) in which trolls would continually come back to life unless killed with fire damage, but I can't place it.

    3. I think Trolls in Neverwinter Nights need to be killed with fire or acid.

    4. I think Trolls in Neverwinter Nights need to be killed with fire or acid.

    5. Pretty sure it's in Icewind Dale, though it's probably also in a lot of other D&D games.

    6. In the roguelike Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, flaming weapons stop hydras from regrowing their heads.

    7. That was in Baldur's Gate 2, and probably more than one roguelike beyond the aforementioned on.

    8. A hydra variant in AD&D 1st Ed's Monster Manual exhibits the property, but I can't think of any in CRPGs.

    9. In Pool of Radiance, the trolls come back to life if you don't stand on their corpses.

    10. You also need to use fire on the trolls in The Elder Scrolls: Arena. If you don't, the trolls "twitch," which appears as an animation of the troll swiftly getting back up to a standing position, then just as quickly lying down again. After a few twitches like that, the troll gets up and begins coming after you again.

    11. There's also the cool roguelike 'hydra slayer' that is all about using different blades to chop off a certain number of hydra heads, and you need to account for the rate of regrowth to leave them with exactly zero heads to kill them. Really the game is all about this dynamic.

    12. Fission Slimes in the Baldur's Gate games split into multiple Fission Slimes each time you hit them physically. Unless you use fire to kill them, this will keep up until you're dead.

    13. Trolls in a lot of the Ad&d games, in one of the Icewind Dale's the fire trolls need to be hit with cold or acid instead of fire or acid like the generic ones. The slimes in Gloomhaven really suck for their ability to split, continously, until you have 10 on the board. The hydra in Ad&d was called a Lernean Hydra to differentiate the regeneration ability versus the typical ones.

    14. I think troll burning happened in the sewers in Curse of the Azure Bonds...

    15. Trolls in Pathfinder: Kingmaker also need to be killed with Fire (or Acid).
      It's always irritating when all enemies are dead but the combat interface does not close because one of them is regenerating.

  3. I think you're as far away from the end of the game as your main character is from the level cap. I reached the level cap just before the end, but I think I only repaired half of the wind gates. Unlike Amberstar, this game has some truly optional parts, but it looks like you're being thorough and will hit most of them.

  4. Seufzerwüste means desert of sighs

    1. We have google translate at home

    2. I thought about offering a translated version, but I figured someone would tell me that I was overly-literal or got it wrong.

  5. And I felt the same way about the party - I wanted to take Gryban with me this time, and some other guy. But I really liked the "default" party and couldn't decide who to let go.

    Another thought: I wonder if this is the RPG with the most travel options. I count seven so far including mark/recall.

    A small heads up: there's a place you'll come across probably in one or two posts that will really give you trouble with your colour blindness. It gave me trouble and I'm only very slightly red/green blind. If you're stuck, this might help - it's a very slight spoiler (and I hope I didn't mess it up).

    gra erq gevnatyrf / bar benatr gevnatyr
    gjb lryybj gevnatyrf / bar juvgr gevnatyr
    svir benatr gevnatyrf / bar lryybj gevnatyr

    erq gevnatyr, benatr gevnatr, lryybj gevnatyr
    erq gevnatyr, benatr gevnatyr, erq pvepyr, erq pvepyr
    lryybj gevnatyr, benatr gevnatyr, benatr gevnatyr, erq gevnatyr
    erq gevnatyr, benatr gevnatyr, erq pvepyr, benatr pvepyr

    1. AlphabeticalAnonymousJuly 27, 2023 at 3:49 PM

      @Buck: Yes, that area was a pain even for someone with no colorblindness at all.

      And I agree about the party. As I mentioned in a comment to a previous post, I think the game would have the greatest replay value by trying to get all the non-'default' partymembers as early as possible. After all, the summit of Egil's ambitions was to clear some orcs from a cave -- while Gryban clearly wants to help save the world (and has done it before). Though honestly: in a coldly rational world, who *would* stick with a party like this?

      Finally: the Gryban screenshot up above made me chuckle, yet again, at the character artwork. Looks like Egil is probably the grandchild of Gryban (unless the latter is more in the mold of Galahad...!).

    2. In a coldly rational world, who would arbitrarily stick to 6 party members when the stakes are so high?

      Thank you for the hints. I'll translate that code when I get to the appropriate section.

    3. How many games out there allow you to utilize all of the characters you have recruited at the same time, without giving you an arbitrary limit?

    4. I was trying to go through the options of transportation in Morrowind. You have walking, levitating, silt striders, boats, the Mages Guild teleportation, mark and recall... and I think there is a more obscure option I missed. As soon as quick travel enters the games, these options notably dwindle.

    5. In Arcanum, your party size is limited by your charisma stat instead of a software interface limit. That meant you could have a leader build: a character that maximizes charisma and uses a lot of followers in combat.

    6. Most transport modes in Morrowind are implemented as teleports, right? So you don't actually get to ride a silt strider, but it just tells you that you did. I feel like that doesn't really count. But if it did, there are also the propylon indices.

    7. In Morrowind, there are two spells called "Divine Intervention" and "Almsivi Intervention" that teleport you to the nearest Imperial Cult shrine and Tribunal Shrine, respectively. But FvdB is right: Morrowind's transportation options all mostly come down to variations on "Teleport," with the exceptions of walking and flying.

    8. It's not an rpg (well, it's *probably* not an rpg) but in the original Amiga/PC Syndicate there was a weapon called the Persuadertron that let you brainwash civilians, who would then come under your control as quasi party members. It was possible to "persuade" the entire population of a city, and have literally hundreds of people in your party.

    9. Ah yes, Syndicate! Played that quite a bit. And not too long ago I even still fired up the expansion Syndicate: American Revolt which I didn't know / have back in the day (it steps up the difficulty).

      Syndicate is on Chet's Master Game List (because Wikipedia has it on its list of role-playing games as a "Tactical RPG" even though the game's page only calls it a "real-time tactical and strategic game") and it's a 1993 game, so could show up here in the not-too-distant future.

      Let 's see if Chet considers it fulfills his current criteria. Guess it could depend on whether he views the body and ensuing 'behavorial' improvements of your cyborg team members as "character development" in his sense or merely as "inventory acquisition". Would be fun to see it covered by him, even in a BRIEF.

    10. PS @thekelvingreen: You could/can even brainwash police and enemy agents depending on the number and type of your existing 'followers' in your 'party' and your respective team cyborg's brain version ;-).

      As I recall, every 'persuaded' person acts as a kind of NPC, picking up weapons and fighting on your side without direct player control. Plus after the mission you get to keep added agents in your team as your own.

    11. That's correct. I think it took persuading four civilians to generate the power needed to brainwash a police officer, and the equivalent of four police to brainwash one enemy cyborg. Something like that, with the best brain upgrade, more for the lesser brains

      You could command your army to get in a car, which was fun, as hundreds of people somehow squeezed into a single vehicle.

      Control was semi-direct; the persuaded civilians would follow their "master" and do what they did, but had a little bit of autonomy in picking up nearby items and the like.

    12. Yes, and the enemy agents would then be added to your agent pool if they survived the mission. A fundamentally broken game, though. I suspect it will get a brief as at least one game where there were only cyberware upgrades got rejected before, but we'll see.

    13. @Buck: How is it fundamentally broken? I admit I've just played and not analyzed it much. Which might have been due to my age when I played most of it ;-).

    14. Money and research just accumulates, and the passage of time is independent of mission progress, making the whole economy and R&D aspect of the game pointless (even if you don't exploit it, you'll have researched everything pretty early in the game anyway). And in the missions the enemy agents just beeline to your position after a short timer, making most of them play pretty much the same.
      Some things, like the bad AI and controls, I already noticed when I played it back in the 90s. But I had fond memories of it and was shocked how bad this game is in many regards when I played it again a few years ago. And yet, you'll have difficulty finding a bad review for the game.

    15. Agreed on the bad AI (both for enemy agents and for pathfinding). And yes, the R&D part becomes pointless over time (as opposed to say X(-)Com) - it's just relevant for the first third (?) or so when you have to make do with lesser means and choose your priorities in terms of equipment and research/upgrades. (Yes, you could just set taxation low and wait twiddling your thumbs while enough cash piles up, but where's the fun in that?) A bit like in the Gold Box games where getting your first 'Fireball' is great and makes all the difference, but going from four to five 'Lightning Bolts' and adding some more HP barely makes you shrug.

      There are other aspects which aren't great - you don't see your team members inside or behind buildings, the basic components and look of every city are the same no matter where it is on the world and of course the graphics haven't aged terribly well (which isn't a big factor for me, I don't need photorealistic mass killings).

      Nevertheless, to me most missions don't play pretty much the same. Your objectives and the city layouts are quite varied as are many of the other 'players' in each case and their location and behaviour. And there often are multiple ways of adressing / solving them, depending on the circumstances and your preferences in tactics (as well as how nimble your real-time maneuvering and shooting etc. is). Yes, there comes a point of diminishing returns with more difficult frustrating missions and repeating patterns, but at least for me it provided ample satisfying playtime.

      Add to that the (admittedly limited) 'sandbox' aspects of a world that reacts to your presence and actions (civilians/guards/police men, using vehicles, destroying scenery elements,...) the FX, the whole mood and it was enough to make me try the expansion not that long ago, as mentioned, and not being immediately turned off. But, as always, your mileage may vary.

      (Writing from memory here, so not everything might be 100% precise. Plus my impressions could be somewhat warped by having played the expansion more recently.) For those not familiar with the game, a 2007 Just Games Retro review provides more details on gameplay etc. and sums up many of the pros and cons.

    16. In fact is so broken, that when i played it I went to the end mission having only conquered about half of the map - i had already all the research. Then I conquered the rest and I was a boring cakewalk. And since I had no manual I didint discovered that you could control enemy agents, I believed you only coud control civilians until I read your comments.

  6. I still don't see how we all fit on the eagle's back.

    I guess it's just enormous like e.g. those in (the) LOTR (movies).

    the diminishing game world left to explore

    Since someone already spoiled that a bit a while ago (and you also got a glimpse of it yourself and seemed to hint at guessing something) I'll just say there might be more left to explore... .

  7. "Tower of Lebab". I see what they did there.

  8. I had repaired all the windgates in a row. iirc, everyone went up 5 or 6 levels with all the XP gain!

    One thing I always did in dungeons was keep the offense, defense and anti-magic buffs up. I did notice the increase in party effectiveness. It wasn't a huge difference, but noticeable.

    I'm looking forward to seeing you tackle the Tower of Lebab. Some tricky sections in there. I'm really enjoying these Ambermoon posts, and already find myself wondering how the final ratings will go!

    1. Ah. This is what I get for not experimenting more. I thought "Magic Shield" and "Magic Wall" and "Magic Barrier" were shields, walls, and barriers AGAINST magic.

    2. Oh yeah, the ones you listed are defense from melee and ranged attacks. Magical Weapon (and later Magical Assault, and finally Magical Attack) boosts your damage, but I think not your chance to hit. Anti-Magic Wall (and later Anti-Magic Shield) is the barrier against magic.

      Then there's one last one called Alchemistic Globe, which has all shields at maximum power (the same as the highest spells), plus the highest level light spell. It costs you 250 spell points to cast, and that's rather a waste, since you could just cast all four spells individually with 180 spell points. In case of a fizzle, you'd be better off not spending 250 SP for nothing.


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