Saturday, July 3, 2021

Mysterium: Putting the Myst in Mysterium

Yes, its another Game Boy exclusive FPS, this time developed by Maxis, from the same guy who would bring you SimFarm. If anyone tries to tell you the '90s weren't a more interesting time for video games, well, shucks, you have this. The story is...

Oh, the story is I'm a wizard sent to solve some weird mystery plaguing sentient ants. That's cool and I guess the author has a theme he likes, ants. Surprised he didn't do SimAnt. I guess alchemy elements factor in. Gotta say I'm not digging the soundtrack, but its not the usual blend of 8-bit noise I absolutely despise. 

In-game...okay, A shoots, B aims, start pauses and select opens a menu?

A menu. That's right ladies and gentlemen, this is not only a FPS on the Game Boy, but its also an adventure game. Despite my hatred of Faceball 2000, and other general issues, I don't hate the platform. Its just this isn't going to be playing Yu-Gi-Oh! games or something else the platform was decent at, its action games. This whole thing just blows my mind. This is just...bizarre.

Anyway, the first puzzle is very subtly told to you by the game. There are items here, a lizard statue, a torch and some iron. A scroll tells me to drop the iron in fire to get a glass key, and there's a pit of fire here.

Behind the door is my first pair of enemies. A snake and a wizard of some kind. I start with a staff that works well enough. Its mediocre at best, but loads above the previous Monster Maze style games. Turning does a weird quasi-turning quasi-Dungeon Master flat turning spectrum, you turn and the direction shifts a little before changing views. With aiming activated, you shift inside that view aiming at whatever nasty tries to kill you.

The shooting here can be as mediocre as it wants though, since this is no longer just some crummy portable FPS, its a crummy FPS with puzzles! Does the previous incident with iron mean that all further iron items contain keys? Yes, because that's how magic in this game works. Further experimentation revealed that dunking iron in mercury creates a sword, in acid a monster, and in water a herb. The sword doesn't seem to be stronger than the staff I start with.

The first level is really just getting used to what iron does with various objects. Most of the keys needed to progress are just lying around, with exception to two glass keys I need. There are several useful, but not technically necessary items I've found so far. That lizard statue allows me to see what key a door requires, not absolutely necessary yet. The torches allow me to see. Not sure if that has any real effect on things in-game or not beyond a slight change in color, but I've been using them. The third are roses, which are health items. Its proving difficult to find enough to safely counteract the amount of damage enemies are doing. I so hope that monster I accidentally summoned won't be my own undoing.
What is it with B&W games and cute dragons?

I reach the next level via a hole in the floor. There's another door I can't open, but my map tells me it just leads back to earlier, and there's nothing to be done about it. There's more story, apparently a dragon is preventing the ants from digging further. I'm pest control for pests. Yeah, this game has some of the Maxis charm in it. Its a bit buried, but its there.

The item of choice for this floor is tin. Everything I found out earlier is useless. That's cool. What's not cool is this level is a bit denser than the last one in terms of monsters. Either my new weapon is an unwise choice, or the game isn't so good about combat. Controls aren't responsive when it comes to menus, but wandering around is decent.

And I die. The game offers me the chance to respawn, but I just reload, a savestate, since it seems this game lacks a real save function. Choosing my encounters better, I find that I can get silver strength from a well combination from tin, but I doubt I'll be using that. Using tin in water gets me small arrows, which seems to help me survive some encounters. That, or figuring out the pattern. Turns out enemies go in a set path. They'll still attack you, and it seems the only solution then is to quickly run out of the way. Fortunately, they don't attack me as much with this tactic.

The rest goes by very quickly. I'm unsure how I cleared the final monster, as I didn't really have the same do to the same tactic I was doing. Perhaps he fell down the level hole. This game is very interesting so far, but it has a distinct flaw in having no in-game save function. I suppose my method of using savestates is cheap, but smoke them if you have them, so to speak.

This Session: 40 minutes

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