Saturday, February 5, 2022

Pathways into Darkness: Won

Gee, I wonder what's going to happen here?
Last time I had just gotten past the sentinels, or those guys creating shields, and was about to go downstairs. Seems innocent enough until you trigger a trap in which the walls open. Nice touch, I don't think any other Wolf-clone works like that. I guess this means I should check the area I found the crystal in first, since that's the obvious choice. I'm starting to hit upon a problem with the game. Since finding ammo is no longer necessary, its not really a reward anymore. Point giving items are connected to health and you can't give those out like candy, and the rest of the items have to be more scattered by default. So there's not really anything behind the sentinels on this floor.

Apparently the dishwasher reference is based on something that happened to an actual Budgie employee
But there are still the corpses of my friends. Here, Greg, the last of them, the last of any known people who entered this area. Greg had the nuke. Where is it? In one of the exploding pods. This sounds...potentially dangerous. Greg also didn't know the password, which...Greg wasn't smart, was he? I don't know how Greg got past the sentinels, but he ran out of ammo. Wait, that's the last of them. I don't get a M-16 or any Colt ammo? I mean, I don't really need it, but that seems cruel. Then again, that is this game.

I wonder if there's anything in the other pods. Like I'm going to check that. I now have everything I need to complete the game. Now I just need to find where I should place the bomb.
Its always a question if there's something in that darkness

Back at "I'd Rather Be Surfing", there are yet more spiders and ghasts, and a lot of resting. There are two winding sidepaths that lead nowhere, but the real event here is a long hallway full of enemies. Even with plenty of pillars, its hard dodging enemies here, especially the zombies. Their attack doesn't really work like you expect any attack to work.

Reading about the production of the game afterward, its clear this is padding by people desperate to get a game out on time
One path at the end of this hallway leads to another door room with enemies. This one has a corpse in it. Which is interesting, since I thought everyone else was dead upstairs somewhere. What is a corpse doing here? And why did the door close behind me? Is this a trap? An AK-47? RUSSIANS!? No, Cubans? And its a trap, he has nothing to say, and I can't get out of here. I have to do the whole hallway again, huzzah.
Doing it all again, I only have this way forward, the only thing in pathway I didn't travel down was a save point. Do I really have to wait for some time down here? I guess I have to use the cloak. I wonder if the cloak is required to do this or if its just ideal? No matter, time to pad the game out. The easy way out. I wonder how much of the game is left? I have 32 out of 41 points, but it doesn't feel like I'm anywhere close to winning the game. There can't be much more treasure and there just can't be anymore weapons beyond the M-16. That assumes there even IS a functional M-16. The game is being cagey about this stuff and I may have all the weapons I'm going to get, plus hopefully some ammo for the AK-47.
Seriously, this is annoying, even with the cloak. You don't know if there's something behind either door and if you die, well, shucks, you have to wait again! I do check the hintbook again, and there is something down there that's going to be nasty, but at least there's a save point before that...? Frankly, you do lose a bit of willingness to deal with this if you have to wait out-of-game hours. 3 of them. There are some of the ghasts downstairs, so it isn't a sure thing, but it isn't insanity at least.
Earthquake zone, because the enemies cause earthquakes
Its annoying fighting the ghasts on this floor, because you don't have the proper amount of space to escape their attacks. Earthquake attacks don't really require a line of sight. So at the end of a tunnel I find another Cuban, who has a magazine. Soon, I shall be able to get rid of the MP-41. Anyway, there are slimes on this floor, and this guy didn't get eaten like his comrades. He does mention that he was poisoned and I do have some bottles of poison. Gotta admit, I didn't expect that would come in handy.
I can forgive recoloring enemies for this
Kind of weird playing a game like this. Feels like I'm cheating somehow. Naturally, this area is not only filled with the slimes, there are more ghasts. The poison doesn't kill me quickly, but it does prevent me from resting, drinking a potion (that cures the poison, then a second heals me) or otherwise increasing my health.
This guy's name is Barney...ah...'90s humor
After a save point, there's this guy and a whole bunch of ghasts. Just, so, many ghasts. The big guy seems to be invulnerable to damage, or at least, all the damage I did to him wasn't enough to take him out. Fortunately, using a red potion, I can move faster than all my opponents and go the the next level. Really banking on there being an alternate route back.
As you can see, this is going very well
Hey, wait a minute, this is pretty deep. "Don't Get Poisoned". In case that subtle clue wasn't enough to tip you off, this level is all about not getting poisoned. We have greater nightmares, which shoot homing projectiles, still explode and may poison you; We have venomous skitters, which poison you. Grenades are required against the greater nightmares. The game actually plays this very annoyingly too. Because there are teleporters, and you think this leads to a room you need to go to, but it just has potions. Good thing I've been saving up, so I'm just going to avoid that.
Despite the large number of these guys, spray and pray is not a valid tactic

Its a very tense, yet annoying situation. I know that if I play it normally, I'll get killed. However, there are a couple of violet potions here that grant temporary invincibility, including against poison. Even without that, it seems like the game is encouraging you to play it way too safe here. Ghasts are what respawn here, and their presence is annoying, but not deadly. What's deadly is that right after the teleport out of this section, you are teleported right in front of a greater nightmare, and not too far away is a horde of more poisonous enemies. And we've gone back up. Wonder if that was a misplaced decimal point or something.

The only way to find out where these portals lead is to go through them

The use of teleporters is causing the map to become empty every time I enter one, even if its the same floor. That, combined with the game liking to throw me against large areas full of poison enemies, made me rush through the area without fully checking everything. "But Wait! That's Not All!" At least there's a save point. Its just like Tricks and Traps, if every other enemy poisoned you and you had no room to dodge. The game is practically demanding you use a blue potion here.

Absolute darkness, what does it hide? In this case some pillars
I can't help but feel like these later levels are becoming endurance levels. "Where Only Fool Dare Tread", we've got the same enemies as always, but now with those alternating alcoves. At the end are two more Cubans, I guess these are the last of...anyone, really. They've got some HE ammo for the AK-47. That's not really how things work, but more importantly, since I created a bunch of fragmentation grenades, I've been done dirty. The frag grenades make the grenade launcher work like a shotgun, but they don't deal damage to the greater nightmares. Luckily the AK-47 SABOT rounds work. I think I'm not going to worry too much about creating ammo in that way.
Anyway, the Cubans, who are surrounded by dead enemies, lucky them, uncorked the bottle with the demon. Man, it feels really silly going into the pyramid for killing some elder god when everyone else is concerned with the spiritual equal of Pregzt. More tense battles dodging venom attacks, and a black crystal. What does it do? It turns enemies into stone, which seems less useful than the other crystals.
Hello again, my old friends
After a teleporter maze, yes, a teleporter maze, the next level is weird. You start off in front of a smoking man and a lot of headless. Okay, cool. I kill them all, but the smoking man is still there. Next room, the same thing, but with zombies. Huh...that's...what is this exactly? Its the final boss...? Yep, goes through in roughly the order they're fought. Its intense, but the game is showing some mercy here, because some of the more dangerous enemies are in less quantities. Some. Even with all the potions I haven't used, its still a tricky fight.
Its magic!

After the greater nightmares, which I use the black crystal on, I just shoot the smoking man a couple of times. Is this the demon? Seems kind of lame. He drops a gem which drains my health, but I figure since I got a lead box earlier, I can put it in that, which works. Now, do I put the bomb here, or do I go through the final portal first? I put the bomb here, and then I'm teleported back to I'd Rather Be Surfing, at the door I couldn't open. Its a mostly easy-going walk back up. Even the labyrinth is not so much trouble. Though I do take a side trip to a locked room with 11 gold ingots, for scientific purposes.
That's not really an unusual-looking pyramid, but I'm no expert
The entrance throws a bunch of ghouls at me, but by this point the AK-47 is making short work of everyone. And the pyramid is destroyed, the mission is a success. Its your standard big explosion ending. There are, of course, other endings, but something tells me these don't have special graphics. That is the end of the game, and despite some issues, it was pretty good. Soon enough, the summary.

This Session: 4 hours 30 minutes

Total Time: 10 hours 50 minutes

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