Thursday, September 9, 2021

Dungeon Master: Eye of the...oh, Wait...

Floor 3 started off with a few small but heavy encounters. New here was a giant wasp, which I didn't notice until he had me trapped in a small section of the map. His sprite is deceptively small, but he packed a mean punch, including poison. Then after that, for a good chunk of the level there was nothing. This was suspicious, but I didn't notice anything there. I'm not sure if there really wasn't anything there or if I just missed something.

Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of the ghost, so here's more rock monsters
Then came the first real challenge. A ghost. An actual, classic-style ghost. No using swords or arrows against this guy, and believe me I tried. Magic goes straight through him too. So this is either a puzzle, unlikely, or I need to do something else. I know the spell system is designed in such a way that if you have a vague idea of what you're doing you can do other spells...but my idea depends on whether or not fireball actually works like the typical DnD fireball. It works...sort of. Its very easy for my wizard to run out of mana casting a fireball above the weakest level, which presences problems on multiple levels. The first is I don't know if that did anything. It goes past the ghost like usual, but it doesn't seem to have done any damage. The second is I don't know how to get better mana consumption. It seems the characters are quite strictly limited in their stats, and the low starting mana seems to be all I'm going to get.
At which point I realized I was screwed in some way. Turns out that is a legitimate way of dealing with the ghosts, but that only deals 25% damage. There's a weaken non-material beings spell. Checking the spell's words, I think I could figure it out given enough time. In theory there might have been a different way of dealing with the ghost, as there's a gold slot that summons a field nearby.
Joy, more worms
But surprisingly, that's not the end of my troubles, I find a pack of worms soon after. They are not easy enemies to kill. I found a way to sort of deal more effective damage against them...but its slightly slower. Characters don't get just one attack, they get several, including a parry function. My two melee fighters currently have a generic attack and a melee function. The melee consistently deals 30+ damage but takes a while to recharge. Its extremely draining, but I win. I go to retrieve my thrown weapons...and there are more worms. Huh. I retreat, get my health and mana back up, and return. Another pack dead. Then there's another pack of worms. Its not that they keep respawning, its that they respawn so fast. At this point I'm running low on water, and the only way to get more is to trek up several dungeon levels and then return here. Hopefully there's another fountain down here somewhere, because its going to get annoying if I have to trek through this level again.
Here are Zed's attacks, a light attack, I guess a block function, and a strong attack
Once I picked up my thrown weapons its fairly easy to get around the worm spawner. There's even a convenient room to rest in nearby. And a door after this area to prevent the worms from sneaking in. The rest of the level proceeds smoothly. There's another spawner, this time for the mushrooms, but that's not quite as fast as the worms to respawn. There are some more items, most notably more potion vials. The game is getting too generous with those, as my priestess is already out of space, and I'm not about to put potions in a chest, but I guess it isn't a bad thing...yet. Zed gets a rapier, which gives him a better low damage, but I'm not seeing as good highs.

Couldn't he just jump down the pit at any time?

Well it turns out that was a bad thing, because not long after I find a bow. Previously my priestess has been throwing arrows, because that's entirely logical. This feels like the fantasy equivalent of getting a shotgun. (I mean, it is in Heretic) But interestingly enough, I find a mummy across a pit, with the message above. Is this a puzzle or just for my viewing pleasure? I'm not getting anything back if I attack him, but he's standing on a pressure plate. After further exploring the area, I decide, hey, why not? That kills it, and opens a wall behind him, in addition to creating text on the right wall: "You will regret that". Oh, I get it, since they're going to be connected to the door I didn't bash open a little way down?
This gives me ample opportunity to test the bow. Its not that much better than throwing them as of yet, but I figure that's just because my two mages are only apprentice ninjas, assuming ninja governs bows and throwing weapons. Curiously, the rapier does much more damage than the axe Sonja had. I also figure that I'm supposed to use some of these items I don't know what they're for in an unused slot on the character equipment.

Gee, I wonder where this leads
As soon as I step down the stairs to the next level, I see a blessed water fountain. Well-done game, you knew exactly when to do that. I see another, and another, and then a stairs back up. Huh. That leads to a pit, which is...interesting. And by interesting, I mean it takes you exactly in front of the stairs up. It gets more interesting, because pretty quickly I see the way down. Is this level optional? I mean, its obviously not optional if I want a fighting chance against later enemies, but nevertheless.
Hydra because it has many heads

My mind is doubtful towards that. Continuing to explore this level, which is 4 or so, I come across another Tricks 'n' Traps-style section. This one says treasure rooms. Really ought to be a better name for that than referencing Doom again. There were monsters at the hub, but hopefully they're non-respawning. There was a new one, not a hard enemy by any means, but hard enough should I come back nearly dead.
Starting from the west, there's a teleporter maze. Ah, teleporter mazes. How I hate you. I especially hate it here because I'm not used to mapping these things myself, I just brute-force these. And it wasn't really worth it. I get another gold coin, which is starting to be a problem, another gem...wait, that's gotta be something important. Not liking the transfer value yet, I used three poison potions to get there. Turns out the weird snake thing, a hydra I guess, has ranged poison attacks. I'm getting poisoned darts, but I'm not sure how well they work yet. They've only hit the hydras and I doubt poison attacks work well against poison monsters.

This is always the "fun" kind of maze
Going clockwise, now north, a pit trap maze. At which point I hoped that would be the only kinds of maze I found, heaven forbid there's a regular maze...or a spinner maze. You go on a tile and trap doors open, and you're supposed to take a specific pattern. I'm not worried about falling as much as I'm worried about falling into enemies. Speaking of which, while attempting to figure out how long the room was, I was attacked by a giant dragonfly. This continues, and I also discover that I messed up my map. Huzzah. It feels like there are respawning dragonflies, which is annoying, but not ruinous. Until you factor in trying to navigate this confusing place. There are two exits out of here and while one is easy enough to get through, the other is by no means close to obvious.
As you can see, Syra has her hands full
The dragonflies are tough, but are like glass, a little bit of damage, compared to other enemies, and they go down quickly. They can kill you if you aren't careful. They're not truly deadly on their on, though they are fast, but in combination with this section's intentionally screwy design, they're not easy to fight. My mage has been able to consistently start off fights with a prepared fireball, but sometimes that combined with 80 points of damage, isn't enough. I'm just going to point out that the east door has nothing really of value in there, its the west you want. There's nothing really valuable here, I already have way too many potions, and the game is just handing them to me like they're candy. Fun fact, the game doesn't include a FUL, or fire bomb potion, because the designers were worried about making unwinnable situations. Which doesn't make sense since you could screw yourself on poison bombs, and I've already got an inventory full of potions. Real worries now include there being multiple stairs down, which makes me think the stairs down is as much a trap back at the start as the unusual stairs up.

Open spaces make me nervous, you don't know how big it is or what's there
So backtracking, I needed to do that anyway, takes me to a riddle room. Is this a treasure room too? Who knows. They're not hard riddles, I got two of them straight off, and the third I got after some thinking. I suspect this might just be because I already had those items.
Returning to the mini-hub, I go east. Unsurprisingly, its another maze-like area, surprisingly, its weird. The room is 6x7 tiles in size, and the way it works is that on the fourth tile you teleport back to the second. Its got a really clever trick in getting past it, which I liked more than the other two areas so far. Beyond that it didn't offer anything interesting or helpful to the puzzles, unless a staff is all and nothing.

You probably shouldn't be poking holes in walls since there's more likely to be creatures than switches

Finally, south, which compared to the other areas doesn't seem very interesting at first. Then the concept of the area is made clear, hidden buttons. It first came to me in one of the smaller rooms, one with a gate. That contained a cross, another gem, and a mace. The mace doesn't seem to be doing any more damage than the axe, so I dumped it not long after. Not long after, there is a series of these hidden buttons, revealing a treasure cache. That's it for this level, surprisingly enough, I guess I have to figure out that final riddle.

Bright yellow is a bold color choice though
I'd like to say I figured it out, but I really only used items until something happened. Made sense afterward, so I feel silly. Didn't even need to put down all four items, but since one of them was the bow my priestess was using, I'm glad they had that small amount of mercy. This level seems to be increasing the amount of puzzles tenfold. In the level? Puzzles. Enter a room, there's another puzzle. While there are indeed monsters on this floor, now featuring beholders, they're small potatoes compared to the last floor's enemies and while they do damage to all party members, I'm not having the slightest amount of trouble killing them one by one. Each room here gives me an iron key for figuring out the puzzle, and while two doors were easy enough for me to figure out, the third was surprisingly difficult and I couldn't crack it.
To the city of refuge?
Fortunately, only two doors are necessary. But after that comes a note on a fork in the dungeon, telling me to turn away and run. If I go to the right, there's a message saying he doesn't like to be ignored, and the other just has coward. That doesn't really matter, since it leads to a locked door I don't have the key for. To the right seems to be quite an ample supply of monsters, including an encounter with two beholders. Surprisingly, not hard. What really causes me trouble are the skeletons, of which there are many. They all have swords and shields, and they drop both always. There are four to a group, and I've taken out two groups. That's a lot of swords and shields to shift through just to get my thrown weapons off the ground.
This game is really picking up. The puzzle aspects of this game are really what sell it to me. Combat is fun too, but against those worms man, there was a good chance this game could have been given up there and then. Its a funny thing, its the exact thing I would criticize Doom's nightmare mode for, having too much meatshields in the way. Nothing is new under the sun.

This Session: 2 hour 20 minutes

Total Time: 5 hours 40 minutes

No comments:

Post a Comment