From The CRPG Addict
|The party emerges victorious from the fourth and final tower.|
A few days ago, I was happy. I had put another 5 hours into Legends of the Lost Realm, but I was stuck, legitimately stuck, and nothing I could find online would help me out of it. I was on the second floor of the Magicians’ Tower and I’d only found one of four map pieces. I couldn’t figure out how to get into two large, closed off areas of the tower. A teleporter in a central room had led me to one area, but it only ever led to the same destination. I had bonked my head against every wall and found no secret doors. I had the perfect excuse just to wrap things up and move on.
1. It’s not so much the game I dislike as the persistence of 1989.
2. I don’t want to bail on two Mac games in a row. Moreover, while I may not like Legends, at least I get it (mostly), while I’m not sure the same will be true of Taskmaker or Theldrow–also both Mac games–coming up.
Then again, my comment boards for Legends aren”t exactly filled with fans clamoring for the latest entry. Maybe if no one steps up to defend the game here, I’ll pull the plug.
Since our last outing, I have completed the four corner towers. I had finished the Tower of War last time and had just started the Thieves’ Tower. I then finished the Thieves’ Tower, the Magicians’ Tower, and the Tower of Pain. I finished collecting all of the map pieces. All towers were two levels, and all levels were 20 x 20 (but some of them were more 20 x 20 than others). All had an encounter on the first level that provided experience rewards to the class represented by the tower, and all had an encounter on the second level that indicated I had “completed” the tower and provided an even greater reward. Each tower offered four pieces of a map or puzzle; more on that in a bit.
|Level 1 of the Thieves’ Tower and the four map pieces I found there.|
Level 1 of the Thieves’ Tower consisted of a bunch of small rooms with locked doors between them–doors that I had to pick open, and which reset every time I left and returned. Each lockpicking expends one “spell point,” so there was a functional cap to how long I could explore the level before I had to leave to recharge. (You can recharge by sleeping, but the easier way is to pay the magic shop owner, a theme that goes back to The Bard’s Tale.) Occasionally, thieves would drop “Lock Blasters” (which allow you to pick without using a point) and “Thieves’ Stones” (which restore a few spell points) after random combats, extending my time.
Another common post-combat loot item was a 50-foot rope. In a grievous mistake, I didn’t realize I needed more than one of these–and thus stopped collecting them after I had one. This turned out to be a big problem when I reached Level 2 of the tower, which consisted of several sections connected by holes in the ceilings and floors. The thief can CLIMB up into a hole ceiling and then lower a rope for the rest of the party. For floor holes, he just has to lower the rope. Either way, the rope remains with the hole after you use it–you can’t pick it up again. I thus could have used about 10 ropes trying to explore this area. You can go through the floor holes without a rope, but you take a lot of damage.
Let me pause here to explore one of the game’s mysteries. The equipment shop sells ropes in 10, 20, 30, and 40 foot lengths, but if you try to use any of them at a hole, it says that they’re not long enough. You need at least 50 feet. That alone is pretty crazy; unless these dungeons have cathedral ceilings, 10 feet should be more than enough. But even if you accept the weird length requirements, all of the store’s ropes are useless. Only the 50-foot ropes that you find, relying on random chance, get you to where you want to go.
|How is that remotely possible?|
Maybe. I can’t help but think there must be a way to combine, say, a 10-foot rope and a 40-foot rope into a 50-foot rope. It seems crazy that you can’t, the same way that it seems crazy that you can’t combine small stacks of arrows into larger stacks. But I can’t find any explicit instructions for doing so, and I’ve tried COMMAND-clicking and COMMAND-OPTION-clicking and such to no avail.
Anyway, by grinding thief battles on the first level, I finally found enough ropes to explore the second. The holes eventually led to a large maze-like area with lots of traps, and neither my thief’s “Remove Trap” ability nor my magician’s “Zap Trap” spell did any good. I just had to eat the damage and cast healing spells. Eventually I got to the “completion” square and left. There are three doors on the first level that I still haven’t unlocked, as the game says my thief’s level is not high enough to pick them.
|Trying to pick a lock in the dark.|
The first level of the Magicians’ Tower consisted of a bunch of equally-sized rooms with unavoidable traps that caused electrical, fire, cold, and wind damage; fights with magicians and wizards; and the occasional message. Of the puzzle, I learned that “four [pieces] should be found in this tower” (that’s true of every tower), that “the blank must be used more than once,” that I should “beware the false pieces,” and that “Cirinik’s puzzle has but one solution.”
|A repetitive level.|
The battles weren’t too hard except that wizards inevitably cast “Fireball” every round, so I had to prioritize attacking them and try to clear them out as quickly as possible.
|Killing the wizards is the top priority.|
The second level had a central room with the teleporter described above. In its passages, I found an iron key and a Cap of Mind Shielding. I had to kill the game at one point when I faced a battle with three green slimes. They resisted every magical attack, and every physical attack just caused them to divide and create more slimes. I couldn’t run away, either. It was pretty infuriating. But eventually I reached the end of the level and the mage in my group got enough experience to make a level.
|It didn’t take long for the slimes to get out of control.|
The final tower was, for some reason, called the Tower of Pain. It was aspected to the shaman class. It wasn’t too hard except that my characters kept dying suddenly for no reason. I have no idea what was happening, but I’d be wandering down a hallway at full hit points, then I’d go through a door, and with no intervening message or anything, one of the characters would suddenly just die. I had to keep zipping out of the keep to get resurrected.
|This was actually the answer. Didn’t we see the same “riddle” in another RPG?|
To even enter the keep, I had to fight battles with shaman guardians, and shamans were frequent random encounters inside as well. Shamans are tough foes because they keep casting “Dancing Blades” every round, and two rounds of the spell are enough to kill at least a couple of characters. Usually, I could kill the shaman in the first round, but if I faced a couple of them, or I got unlucky, it was off to the temple at the end of the battle. I should mention that there isn’t much to spend money on, so I don’t really mind all the resurrections.
The Tower of Pain had a lot of messages. “Only those who solve Cirinik’s puzzle can conquer the moving walls,” one said. “The Great Tower must be conquered in four steps,” I learned, and “the second step is the teleport maze.” Another suggested that I “take the path of least resistance.” One message was maddening because it cut off: “The greatest resistance presents the greatest challenge, and the greatest–” What? The message didn’t continue.
|Level 2 of the Tower of Pain was mostly 4 x 4 rooms.|
Both the Tower of War and the Magician’s Keep provided special items to their respective classes–the Gauntlets of Ogre Strength and the Cap of Mind Shielding. The Thieves’ Tower may have such an artifact behind one of the locked doors. I’m pretty sure I explored every inch of the Tower of Pain and didn’t find anything for the cleric.
Last time, I talked about the experience imbalances and how all the experience awarded in the Tower of War obliterated anything I’d earned through combat. Well, the situation changed in the other three towers, but not necessarily for the better. Where the Tower of War gave a lot of experience to fighters and only a little to the other classes, the other three towers gave experience only to their specific classes, and that was only enough for one level-up. In eight hours of gameplay, then, my thief, mage, and shaman only leveled up once and my three fighters didn’t level up at all. It’s feast or famine with this game.
|Why only mages?|
At this point, I’ve found all 16 pieces of the map puzzle, and as per the clues, I know that some of the pieces are “false” and the blank is used multiple times to make up for those false pieces. Given those parameters, I started to get to work on it.
I’m assuming the pieces are meant to be arranged 4 x 4. Every piece shows a 5 x 5 grid, so if you arranged them 4 x 4, you’d get a standard 20 x 20 dungeon level. I could be wrong, but if there’s no 4 x 4 restriction, the number of variations is much higher and I would say impossible to deduce. Even with that restriction, there are a lot of possibilities. Here’s one:
|In this configuration, the three pieces to the right are “false” pieces.|
A3 and A4 are clearly end pieces, to they’re a “must,” and the A4, B4, and C4 all have to go together because no other configuration continues their lines. Same with B2 and C2. I also like this configuration because it ensures that no row or column is completely blank. But note that B1 and D2 are completely interchangeable (and either could be replaced with the pair in column F). A2 is superfluous; I could move A3 into its spot and replace A3 with a blank. Unless I get more clues, I’m not sure how to solve it. Then again, I’m also not even sure what the puzzle is for.
- And oddity that only an experienced RPG mapper would comment on: stairwells take up two tiles instead of just one.
|This stairwell doesn’t look 20 feet deep.|
- The game’s copy protection is really annoying me. Because it’s so hard to read the codes in the manual, I decided to record each answer in a text file every time I had to look it up, assuming that the game would eventually re-use some of the same codes. Days later, I have 53 entries in the text file and do you know how many times the game has asked for a code I already recorded? Once. I don’t think it picks a random code so much as cycles through all of them. At least Pool of Radiance had the decency to only ever ask you for like six possibilities on its codewheel.
- Mystery items in the general store: bottles of oil (ostensibly to refill lanterns, except that they cost as much as new lanterns), blow torches, crow bars, pick tools, dynamite, pieces of string, pieces of wire, and I suppose any of the ropes since they’re never long enough. I’ve tried all of them in various scenarios, and they do nothing. Pieces of wire don’t help with lockpicking, dynamite doesn’t create a hole in the wall, etc.
- The icons across the top of the party indicate whether certain spells are active, just like in Crusaders of the Dark Savant. In this game, though, each icon has multiple purposes. The shield indicates whether any of the “Group Shield” spells are active. The eye lights up with both “Detect Traps” and “Detect Secret Doors” and perhaps others. The torch blazes when both magical and physical light sources are active. The circle contains the magic “Compass.” The “X” changes to represent a summoned creature, NPC, or other addition to the party, none of which I’ve been able to explore yet.
- No prestige class is available yet.
I’m not sure about next steps. I figured that the four corner towers would take about half the game and the central tower would take the other half, but there are way too many spell levels left, without even considering class changes, for me to be anywhere near halfway through the game.
In addition to the central tower, there’s an underground to explore–the first level of every tower had one or two pits. To explore this area, I’ll need to find more rope. There’s also the dungeon attached to the magic shop.
Time so far: 28 hours