From The CRPG Addict
|The extent of Umure.|
|A gnome rewards me for clearing a nearby city.|
|I can equip both the small knife and the +3 slingshot, but only the latter is actually equipped. I’m not sure what a “schwinger” is except that I can’t equip it and it sounds like something that would have been featured on Wayne’s World.|
- The only difference I can determine between fast and strategic combat is that in the latter, you can position characters around particular monsters and each participant gets multiple actions per round instead of just one. Since the party always goes first, this would seem to offer a major advantage to the party, particularly if you can kill anyone in the top half of the round. But are there other differences between the two that I don’t know?
- None of my characters are at their maximums in any attribute. For instance, the game says that a “normal” strength for my paladin is 17 but his aktuell strength is 13. It doesn’t seem to a be an encumbrance issue, sleep issue, or disease issue.
- There are several places with question marks, which indicate a special encounter or chest, where stepping on them does nothing. There isn’t a “search” option or other obvious feature to use.
|Nothing happens when I walk over this.|
- As I note later, I’m not sure what some of the spells do.
- There’s a little tilde symbol next to some of my items. I wonder if it means they’re broken. But the “Fix Item” button never seems to do anything in stores.
- A lot of the doors are locked, but there seems to be no lockpicking or bashing mechanic.
- I paid for the “Forestry” skill and it allows me to walk on some of the squares with more wild terrain, but not all of them. How do I get better at the skill?
- What do the various “conditions” mean? “Stoned” and “weak” are obvious, but how am I to interpret “~~?~”?
|At least he suffers a -0 penalty for it.|
|Coming upon a new city.|
|My first cave map.|
|At least it’s not that expensive.|
|A message on the wall is very much in the Might and Magic tradition . . .
|. . . but this mechanism for entering a combination seems original to this game.|
|“Soft Ghost”? “Nothing vs. Nothing?” (in Spanish). And what could “Hoemopatus” possibly mean?|
The “magic number” from above turned out to open a combination door in a cave called Talmos. It was a small cave, using only about half of the squares in its 12 x 17 area. I had to trip a lever to open a secret door–the closest thing we’ve seen to a Dungeon Master-style puzzle. There were some non-interactable alcoves with mystifying graphics.
|Any idea what that’s supposed to be?|
Like the first cave (which was called Brelock, if I forgot to mention that), Talmos had no random combats, but it did have one fixed combat in the final square. Graphically, it looked like three undead and a cleric. The cleric died easily, but the undead had hundreds of hit points and lasted many rounds. They were also capable of some serious damage. It took me a couple of tries to win without a character loss. I had to keep up with healing each round and use spells like “Individual Shield” to improve each character’s armor class. The battle was about as satisfying, tactically, as any battle using this system could be.
|I really wish the game had given the monsters names.|
When it was over, I was rewarded way out of proportion with the combat difficulty, with each character getting more than 1 million experience points (the average until now had been around 1,500) and the party getting 741,000 gold, or about 7 times as much as we’d already collected in the game. We also got the Ring of Light.
|The post-combat reward screen has never been more rewarding.|
I returned to Brelock and gave the Ring of Light to Harib, and I re-visited Baltus now that I had “Townportal.” Both offered much more modest experience and gold rewards. Baltus suggested I use “Townportal” with the keyword VERTIGO.
|Ooh, 1000 gold. I’ll just add it to the pile of 700,000 we got when we found the ring.|
Back at Umure, they trained me one more level and then said they didn’t have the ability to train me anymore. This is another Might and Magic borrowing, where you have to find progressively more advanced training academies.
|Sounds like you guys need to level up.|
VERTIGO ended up being the name of a town nestled in dense thickets, so I never would have gotten there on my own until I find teachers of more navigation skills. As usual, a gnome in a hut nearby told me how many marauding parties there are and invited me to return when I’d slain all of them. I entered the town, hoping to visit the trainers, but I was almost immediately attacked by a party of 8 monsters and soon killed.
|The full-party death screen is freaky . . . and for some reason shows the bartender in the tavern.|
- Nobody ever completely misses in combat. You always do, or are hit for, at least 1 point of damage.
- The game has no sound at all.
- You can get hints in the taverns.
|I have no idea what this hint is saying, however.|
|This one solves the character creation mystery. Motelsoft apparently sold a separate “character editor” for 19 gold pieces.|
- I have yet to find any gems. Nor have I had to use any.
- The “Townportal” and “Caveportal” spells require you to type in the names of towns and caves, so you have to have visited or at least heard about a location.
|Teleporting to the town of Vertigo.|
- Each cave has presented me with a four-button puzzle at the entrance. You have to hit the buttons in the right order to open the entrance. So far, I haven’t found any clues to these doors, but since there are only 24 possible combinations, it doesn’t take much effort to get in.
|Only 23 more to go.|
- Although some of the indoor areas have no monsters and some can be cleared of monsters, if you want more combats you can always hit the “ambush” button on the main screen, which has you lie in wait for a suitable party.
I’ve been enjoying regular equipment upgrades throughout the game, too. I often find an item or two after combat, and I regularly check the city armories for new items that seem better than what I already have. The game has been generous enough economically that I don’t feel constrained from buying things. At first, I thought that all the German I had learned from previous games had been forgotten, as I was only recognizing half the words in phrases like Uta schild, Brelum stiefel, and Ramin kappe. But it turns out that the first words in each of those phrases are (usually) made up by the developers–this game’s equivalent of “mithril.”
|Some of Monky’s items at the end of this session. I need to evaluate whether an Uta shield is better than a small Holzschild.|
Time so far: 8 hours