Thursday, November 7, 2019

Catacomb Abyss: Welcome to Hell

The title might be a spoiler, but how are you going to talk about trolls when there's a portal to Hell near your town? Come to think of it, that's basically Waterdeep in Forgotten Realms. What would possibly possess someone to live near unending terror? Are there really that many cute little bistros there?
Have you gotten that this is the Lair of Trolls yet? I suppose I could complain about the troll statues here, but this was supposedly contructed by Nemesis's minions, not some random trolls cave. There's blood on the walls too. Little treasures behind the entrance.
The area takes a hard right to the first enemy. A bunch of orcs. Eh, I'm not going to complain too much, the trolls eat damage like it was breakfast.
Here we go, first troll just saunters towards me. Like the water trolls, they aren't stopped when in their pain animation. Being that they're the same genus, if not general species, I don't know if that's a shock. The hallway the orcs were in is called "Byway of Brutality", and we're now entering the level of the game that is just covered in blood. I guess that's something Catacomb can say it did first. Hell, Doom doesn't really have mysterious bloodstains all over the walls, you know why they're all there. Quarrels between minions or outside victims?
Behind these bloodied walls are chests, which at this point are starting to be useless to me. You can't get anymore than 99 of an item and unlike some games, items are always consumed when you touch them.
A troll tries to sneak up on me. If only I had more zappers than I knew what to do with. One and a few more shots and they'll go down. The room he was guarding? Some more blood splatters on the wall, but this time they're clever. Instead of just blowing up all the same colored bricks in the group, they only blow up two. Amazing! These "Secret Passages" lead to a room with another troll in it. I'm sorry, they're still "Secret Passages".
"The Gallery of Horror", you need more than statues of trolls for that to be true, game. Those troll statues lead to a dead end covered in blood. That's actually a very disturbing idea, and if this were more high-res this would be really freaky. Well, until you advance and discover it to be "Entry to the Troll's Keep". Full of items in front of trolls, including a key. The room is even more full of blood on the inside. The key turns out to be useful ten seconds later, when I find a door.
"Torture Chamber of the Trolls" has two trolls, more magic and a hourglass. The hourglass is quite frankly, completely useless throughout the game. It stops time for 99 seconds*, allowing you to fire a bunch of magick missiles at once. It stops the magick missiles at some limit or another. In order for it to be useful, you'd need to fight several enemies without any other attack items. You'd need to find a level pack that has that kind of limitation put into it. I want to point out that there are no such level packs. You'd have to be really clever and like this game for that to work. Three trolls versus 96 zappers in an open room. There are three hourglasses in this room.
After the slaughter, I discover that naturally, the door to the next level is locked. I know where it'll be. Back to the start, to an area filled with more blood. "Eastern Caverns". Which implies that there are other caverns, despite the only other area involving secret passages. I swear this game's level design is better than I'm making it sound.
An orc just pops out while a troll I can't have possibly seen revs himself up. I take them out. Check around, hey another troll on the other side.
Crap, I really awoke some beasts here. Hey, they're guarding a scroll. I wonder what it says? There are also some hourglasses in "Treasure Room of the Trolls", but they're behind the beasties, so who cares?
Now, this I buy someone in this game wrote. Some orc with a bigger ego than talent thinks he's being clever here. Its not a very effective taunt. Even if you went straight here you'd still be past half the level's trolls. Not a lot of trolls on this level all about trolls. How droll. There's no key in here, nor is there in a hidden treasure room a little ways back. A passageway leads off from the right of the entrance here. Well, a passageway with a door. As I walk down it, I notice a troll activated himself behind me. Not actually behind me.
This is on the other side of the wall at the end of the passage. Quality work, Jim and Mike.
Okay, half the trolls is unfair, more like 1/3. Oh, this is it for the level?
Are the walls supposed to be living or are the walls supposed to be burning things? The green blood is also a question I have. The game calls them "The Fire Breathing Walls of Hell", which doesn't uncomplicate things any.
Check out that deep dark blue on the radar. Talk about a raw deal. Demons take about three zappers or a lot more use of the Ctrl key than you probably ever wanted. I wonder how many children back in the day got in trouble with their parents for hammering the Ctrl key so much. This is probably a good time for me to hammer the right Ctrl key for a change. There's about three paths open to me here, I pick one completely at random.
"The Way to Certain Peril", which is certainly true. Demons sneaking up on you is certainly nasty. After I take him down, using a couple of exterminators for a change, I suspect the walls won't break. None of the walls here burst upon getting hit. Does that mean they're not exploding walls?
No. Oh...three sacks of meat that deal 15% damage at once. How troublesome this would be without a full inventory of cures. Next door? Another demon. Ah, this is why the troll lair had barely any trolls. Because its lame shooting at a single opponent over and over again for 6 minutes. Another demon pops up behind him. Its not really difficult or terrifying, just annoying. I'm sorry, the demons in the "A secret cave". With an hourglass hidden behind a chest hidden behind a wall.
Okay, an hourglass that has a chance of being useful depending on how you look at the room. This level sure blows, now all the encounters are similar to the ones in the earlier levels, except this time the walls are ugly and everything takes thirty shots to kill.
Yeah, this level sure feels like a death march. Wow, I'm using the special weapons in every encounter and I still haven't hit below eighty. Let's change that, Nemesis isn't going to take 90 zappers to kill.
I should still keep fifty. That's thirty of them I can use against these guys. The end of this passage leads me to two more green stains on the walls (that are doors) and a demon who thinks he's clever trying to sneak up on me.
Four at once. I'm pretty sure I could be surrounded by these guys and I still would barely be able to see them on the radar. I'm not color blind, but this game is making me wish I was. A dozen or so exterminators later and all my effort was for naught at this moment. This way leads to the next level and I have no key.
So, I wander around for a while and eventually hit these guys. They're not very troublesome. There's a few passageways out of this area, as everything is apparently "Death March Way", so kidding its a death march if its everywhere. First I want to check out this explodable wall.
More demons, and is that a key I see? No, its even more demons. Fortunately, there is some treasure. I need it after using fifty zappers and exterminators. More exploration.
I don't know if this was in the original sprite or not, but that's an extremely large nostril. After this, more fighting in a room called "The Demon's Haunt". As opposed to the other players demons just happen to be in?
Hidden treasure room, hidden demon room. Call it whatever you want. The real good news is that there's a key in here. Do I have enough? Can I make it back to the level exit?

I think I have a bigger question. When will this game be fun again? Find out next time when I ask another rhetorical question.

*Not really seconds. They're faster. The game makes sound effects about time starting again at 15.

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