Thursday, September 8, 2022

Sleeping Gods Lie: Lost

The Misty Mountains of Simala, once a tourist trap, now just a trap. Home to some of the wildest creatures of Tessera, these now haunt the abandoned wastes. Only the wierd sisters remain as possibly friendly inhabitants. I'd take this a lot more seriously if Simala didn't feel like such an obvious take off of Himalayas.
Anyway, starting off, I can't tell that much, but I do see the mist...and I see some mysterious grieves. Then the mist clears.

It was about now that I realized the DOS version really screwed the player, are you really saying you can't have a white ground here?
At first this area is basically the same as the last one, towards the end. Sea demons, or I guess snow demons, roam the land, not dropping anything. What's new is that every so often I get damaged, because its too cold.

There's a molehill here, which means I get something useful. Boots, which as long as I'm in this area, make me immune to the cold. Elsewhere I'm very much in danger. Unfortunately, there's nothing here except endless demons, so I have to advance.
Its really too hard to make the ground white, guys
A curious trick of this area is that each area is linked by a pass, which has a few demons, and no ammo. At least, that's what I think at first. I first get a heavy crossbow, which can fire pebbles, then I get the bolts to go with it. Its very slow weapon, but unfortunately, the demons here feel stronger than they have in the past. Using the bow against them takes forever, but it seems like the crossbow is doing slightly better. Either way its not great.
Why do all the mean nasty monsters look so...cute?
There's a worm here for some reason. Its just your typical guarding boss, doesn't seem like there's a trick to getting past him beyond killing him though.
I'm not quite clear as to the events that follow, because this kingdom is very confusing. You get passes, which contain a lot of demons. The thing about these guys, is that they barely drop ammo, are very good at dodging, run faster than you, and take a ton of damage. The bolts take them out in 2-3 hits, which compared to the pebbles is much better. I was in trouble here. Then you have the regular areas, which means chasing demons across the entire map.
I took a video just to show how tedious this is getting.
Is this supposed to be an implication that he doesn't care that much about it?
At some point, I find myself fighting a brother of the first bandit leader, guarding a cave. He drops a pair of gloves. Oh, what, you thought because he was unique he would be tough? No, he's a joke.
Inside the cave is the hermit from the beginning, who gives me a tinderbox. This is more useful than it seems. Its here that I can rest for the first time since the dwarven caves. This isn't really related to the damage I take from the cold, just staying outside is enough to stop me.
I find a third brother guarding another cave. He's a joke too. There's nothing inside the cave, but he drops a cloak, which is very useful, because this actually mitigates the cold damage somewhat.
Two events lead to me escaping this kingdom. The first is that I find wood. The second is that I find the wierd sisters. They tell me your standard bizarre prophecy which I'm sure someone thought was profound, but in practice I didn't even realize was important until after I hit the required objectives. That is, I started a fire.
I don't believe the Archmage's troops are going to believe all I wanted was to keep warm...
This causes mysterious smoke to fill my lungs, and then I'm teleported to...
"Guys, do you want me to try something new, or do you want me to draw three people standing around a fire again?"
The Urban Capital of Morav. Where a quarter of the human population resists, inter-city travel is barred off, and the only way out is so locked off only a magician could hope to get out. Am I a magician? I'm apparently the preserver of the land. Reminds me of the Stephen R Donaldson series The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, but I couldn't tell you if that was anything more than a surface comparison. There's a group of people here to remind you of most of these facts if you lost the manual.
This place is much easier than the last place, the town guards, some of which aren't chasing after me with their bows, are fairly easy. They drop bows, arrows and sometimes fire arrows. A magician quickly appears to accuse me of traveling without a license and attacks me. He's not tough either. I get a clue from a molehill that I should enter the church before the castle. As these are the only two places I can go to, I enter the church.
A figure disappears, but not before telling another magician to attack me. He drops a robe. AHA! I get it, stealth! The hallmark of all great RPGs. You actually can't enter the castle without doing this, which must be annoying if you assumed that, like the rest of the game, there's nothing special about the enemies. Inside there are a lot of guards. A lot. I wonder if this is the game guarding me from getting killed quickly. Admittedly, that'd be slightly higher quality work than they've been throwing at me, but we'll see. There are a bunch of side rooms here.
The first is a storage room...where guards attack me upon entering. The guards out in the corridor aren't hostile yet, either. This is a room with musical instruments. Nice ones...and I can only carry one. I find this out by grabbing a mandolin and then a trumpet. This feels like a proper puzzle, pick one of three items in the hopes that one is the correct solution. I just have to figure out why.
The castle has four corridors, the storage room and the portrait room are on the south. I'll get to that one in a moment. East and west link to a dining hall, where I get some chain mail off a guard I kill, and a cup and plate. I do wonder if I'm not slightly glitching the game out this way, because it doesn't look like I should have this many items. I also get a quiver of renewal at some point. I also figured out what that does, it regenerates ammo for me. I thought it was funny that I got regeneration after getting the sling staff, despite the game not including regeneration as a part of that.
You can tell some of the graphical loss is because they just didn't care, because no one who did would have let these portraits by
North is the throne room, and in the corridor leading here, I end up opening it by accident. Because the trumpet opens this door. Considering that my usual method of collecting items is to go from one end, I wonder if this would always happen? Nevertheless, I explore the rest of the castle. The portrait room shows the answer to the puzzle I already solved by accident. A man approaching the throne with a trumpet. And some portraits of what I assume are gods. You know, despite how much time the game devoted to that, that has come up approximately zero times. I'm still on month one. I take this moment to rest. Firstly because I took a little damage, and secondly because I want to see if my magic power will ever reach its full strength.
See, I got what seems to be full health at around 1897 XP, but it does look like it also increases my magic power. The thing is, beyond the nebulous thing the manual says, I still haven't a clue why. Maybe its an indication of my sleep status? No, I spend like half a in-game day resting and I'm still at 25% of full, or less than half of what I currently have. Its so bizarre.
All that's left here is to clear out the throne room. Feels pretty cool being powerful enough to take out all these guards, I think there were like 8 of them. Naturally, this is the teleporter out.
The Deserts of Sunderabad, where the current Archmage is. Does this mean we'll have our confrontation here? You know, for a desert, an over-exploited place as the manual says, this sure feels like every other place I've been to. I shouldn't worry about that now, I have a woman to save.
From a distance I see two figures running in one direction. Aha, I think, the person ahead of the other one must be the woman, while the chaser is my foe. I approach, since I want to be safe. Its the archmage leading, as apparently he cast a magic spell on the woman. Can't kill him here, obviously.
The woman, thankful for it, reveals that she's a princess and gives me something. What? I don't know, and trying to talk to her further does nothing. This is the beginning of my troubles. This area is incredibly large, confusing and tedious. It seems to be like the mountains were, hurting me gradually, except the pain trigger isn't happening.
There's a cave in the area I start out at, guarded by a weird creature. Inside is a pair of shades. A pair of ultimate cool shades...I just realized that's a stupid pun. Anyway, it blocks the sun, meaning I don't get hurt anymore.
I explore the area quite a bit, and despite going around the whole place, I don't find anything that seems to advance the game. I get a dagger, which can't be used for combat, and a rod of flame off the regular enemies in this area, a kind of zombie pharaoh. Surprising range, they seem to detect me much farther away than any previous enemy. They deal about 33% of my health in damage, but they're easy to deal with otherwise.
Especially with the rod of flame. This is by far the best weapon yet. I shoot it, the game stops, a beam of red pops out, and its basically hit scan. Up until a certain distance, then it seems to just stop existing. It kills them in one hit, and the best thing is, it regenerates ammo, and if I pick up another rod of flame, it gives me its full ammo, 5.

Wandering around this area surprisingly doesn't reveal anything. I find a strange beetle wandering around, which does nothing. Can't kill it either.

I also find a pyramid that looks like it should be an exit. All the other pyramids around are supposedly mini-pyramids. Scale in this game is completely bonkers. I do find a breastplate in there, but that just decreases the damage I take. So, I guess I better look up how to advance...and it turns out, I was supposed to be able to do something with that beetle, and that pyramid should be an exit.

With that, I think its best to just cut my losses and quit. From one review that managed to rough it out, the game gets easily broken towards the end anyway, and I'm not really missing an ending. The archmage gets defeated, the sleeping god comes back, and then you get a generic "YOU WON" screen.

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