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Reply 4020 of 4053, by newtmonkey

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Ultima II: Revenge of the Enchantress (Apple II)
Finally done with this!

I'm not gonna lie: I followed a walkthrough for this one. I can't even imagine how many hours upon hours of grinding you'd need to do to save up enough gold to replenish your constantly dwindling HP and food as you explore these massive maps to slowly figure out what you need to do. Even knowing exactly what to do, I had to grind like crazy to get the point where my character could survive and then finish the game. The game took less than 10 hours to complete, but 9 hours of that was grinding gold. It's too bad, because there is a good game somewhere under all this grind. Although the quest seems completely bizarre and random, there are hints and clues all over the place, and it all fits together pretty well. I really enjoyed figuring out the time gates, for instance.

Anyway. I ran into a few annoying issues even though I did plenty of research beforehand on how to avoid the major ones. First, my torches rolled over from 99 to 1 at one point (this is what convinced me to not even bother with the dungeons). Second, during the final stretch a thief stole my Magic Ring (a crucial quest item)! Good thing I was paying attention, and reset the game without saving.

Other than that, it was generally smooth sailing, and I'm glad to have finished it finally. Next up is Ultima V, but I will probably play some other games before that.

* I really wanted to play this on my actual Apple II, but sadly couldn't get the disk image to boot. I played it through on AppleWin instead.

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Reply 4021 of 4053, by Shreddoc

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Here I am to irritate the serious gamers (said tongue-in-cheek! I've been gaming over 30 years) with the next installment in my groundbreaking "Never Played Zelda Prior To The 2020's" series.

After starting with more modern 3D entries like Wind Waker HD and Breath of the Wild, I worked my way chronologically backwards through the best of the 2D games, and have finally landed back at the 3rd and perhaps most seminal entry in the series, the SNES's "A Link To The Past". Here, the first game's formula had been refined and expanded to become a remarkably complete template which pretty much all future 2D Zelda games would follow, barely altered, for many years.

It is remarkable to experience basic characters, locations, and musical melodies back at their formative stages - for their impressive completeness even at this early stage, but also to greater appreciate in context the enhancements and refinements that followed as the series developed.

The gameplay and story are excellent. There is something extremely compelling about the game's beginning, with it's stormy, mysterious wake-up in the aftermath of an ethereal "rescue me" dream. The SNES's sound capabilities are used to great effect throughout to create and enhance atmosphere, like the oppressive rain-effect filtering at the beginning, and the various evocative musical themes which also continued on to populate later games.

The standard Zelda game template is almost zen in it's simplicity, effectiveness and style. Playing through these older games for the first time at this late stage is less a challenge (these games are designed to be fun for the average person), and more of a dreamy, idealistic love letter from the entire early 90's console scene and the roots which went on to inspire many of the games people play today. It's a great time.

Reply 4022 of 4053, by Joakim

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Shreddoc wrote on 2022-05-13, 19:16:
Here I am to irritate the serious gamers (said tongue-in-cheek! I've been gaming over 30 years) with the next installment in my […]
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Here I am to irritate the serious gamers (said tongue-in-cheek! I've been gaming over 30 years) with the next installment in my groundbreaking "Never Played Zelda Prior To The 2020's" series.

After starting with more modern 3D entries like Wind Waker HD and Breath of the Wild, I worked my way chronologically backwards through the best of the 2D games, and have finally landed back at the 3rd and perhaps most seminal entry in the series, the SNES's "A Link To The Past". Here, the first game's formula had been refined and expanded to become a remarkably complete template which pretty much all future 2D Zelda games would follow, barely altered, for many years.

It is remarkable to experience basic characters, locations, and musical melodies back at their formative stages - for their impressive completeness even at this early stage, but also to greater appreciate in context the enhancements and refinements that followed as the series developed.

The gameplay and story are excellent. There is something extremely compelling about the game's beginning, with it's stormy, mysterious wake-up in the aftermath of an ethereal "rescue me" dream. The SNES's sound capabilities are used to great effect throughout to create and enhance atmosphere, like the oppressive rain-effect filtering at the beginning, and the various evocative musical themes which also continued on to populate later games.

The standard Zelda game template is almost zen in it's simplicity, effectiveness and style. Playing through these older games for the first time at this late stage is less a challenge (these games are designed to be fun for the average person), and more of a dreamy, idealistic love letter from the entire early 90's console scene and the roots which went on to inspire many of the games people play today. It's a great time.

I love the Zelda series. I seldom revisit the 2d games though. My favourite is Ocarina of Time or perhaps Link to the past, but at the moment I'm playing Twilight Princess (Wii u version).

The first time I played Twilight princess I enjoyed it more tbh, maybe it's better when the dark part is over I can't remember.

Reply 4023 of 4053, by clueless1

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newtmonkey wrote on 2022-05-13, 13:16:
Ultima II: Revenge of the Enchantress (Apple II) Finally done with this! […]
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Ultima II: Revenge of the Enchantress (Apple II)
Finally done with this!

I'm not gonna lie: I followed a walkthrough for this one. I can't even imagine how many hours upon hours of grinding you'd need to do to save up enough gold to replenish your constantly dwindling HP and food as you explore these massive maps to slowly figure out what you need to do. Even knowing exactly what to do, I had to grind like crazy to get the point where my character could survive and then finish the game. The game took less than 10 hours to complete, but 9 hours of that was grinding gold. It's too bad, because there is a good game somewhere under all this grind. Although the quest seems completely bizarre and random, there are hints and clues all over the place, and it all fits together pretty well. I really enjoyed figuring out the time gates, for instance.

Anyway. I ran into a few annoying issues even though I did plenty of research beforehand on how to avoid the major ones. First, my torches rolled over from 99 to 1 at one point (this is what convinced me to not even bother with the dungeons). Second, during the final stretch a thief stole my Magic Ring (a crucial quest item)! Good thing I was paying attention, and reset the game without saving.

Other than that, it was generally smooth sailing, and I'm glad to have finished it finally. Next up is Ultima V, but I will probably play some other games before that.

* I really wanted to play this on my actual Apple II, but sadly couldn't get the disk image to boot. I played it through on AppleWin instead.

Thanks for posts on this game! I can't remember hardly any details, but I did finish this game on my Apple II probably when I was 13 or 14 years old (almost 40 years ago!). What I do remember is it seemed to take way longer than 10 hours though, and seemed bigger than life at the time with the time traveling aspect. I must've gotten some help, but I can't remember. Maybe CGW hints or something off a BBS. I'm pretty sure there wasn't a hint book for that game at that time.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
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Reply 4024 of 4053, by Joseph_Joestar

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Currently replaying the original Max Payne. I think I've only played it once, back when it first came out, and my PC at the time wasn't the greatest. Now, I'm running it fully maxed out (except for AA and AF) on my Athlon64 rig.

I don't remember much about the game, aside from the Matrix-like slow motion mechanic. Should be fun to find out if it's still to my liking.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / SBLive / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3000+ / Asus K8V-MX / GeForce4 / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 4025 of 4053, by newtmonkey

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clueless1 wrote on 2022-05-14, 11:46:

Thanks for posts on this game! I can't remember hardly any details, but I did finish this game on my Apple II probably when I was 13 or 14 years old (almost 40 years ago!). What I do remember is it seemed to take way longer than 10 hours though, and seemed bigger than life at the time with the time traveling aspect. I must've gotten some help, but I can't remember. Maybe CGW hints or something off a BBS. I'm pretty sure there wasn't a hint book for that game at that time.

Playing through the game blind would definitely have taken more than 10 hours, so I think your memories are accurate 😀
I do sort of regret not completing the game legitimately, but I didn't want to spend much more time on it, and so much of the game is just empty nonsense. Like I mentioned above, it's too bad because the main quest itself is pretty cool, and learning how the time gates work is a lot of fun. I didn't spend much time in the dungeons, but they also have have much more interesting layouts than in Ultima I.

---

In other news, I'm considering what RPG to play next:

Lands of Lore
I've made a few attempts at this, but just don't like much of anything about it other than the graphics. Maybe later.

AD&D: Secret of the Silver Blades
I've already made some good progress into this one earlier, so now might be a good time to resume.

Dragon Wars
I played this for a few hours last year and liked it, but got sidetracked at some point. I'd like to go back to it, and I'm somewhat in the mood for for drawing some maps after enjoying what little mapping I did in Ultima II.

Spirit of Adventure
This is supposed to be a pretty short game and I made some decent progress in it a year ago or so, so it might be a good one to get through (I really want to complete this before I start Blade of Destiny, even though this has nothing to do with the RoA series other than using a similar engine and being developed by the same people).

Reply 4026 of 4053, by Joseph_Joestar

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Continuing my Max Payne playthrough. The music in this game is subtle, but very fitting. The main menu theme is especially memorable, and I do recall it from way back when I first played this.

Interestingly, the game appears to use some form of positional audio and has full 5.1 speaker support. For example, you can hear when water from a leaky pipe is dripping behind you and so on. Graphics are pretty good for the time when this was released. Coupled with the noir art style and the slow-mo mechanic, they kind of give the game a cinematic feel.

I like the gameplay so far. The maps are fairly linear, but well made. The slowdown feature is a must since Max is constantly outnumbered. I didn't have too much trouble with the difficulty until now, but we'll see how things go.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / SBLive / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3000+ / Asus K8V-MX / GeForce4 / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 4027 of 4053, by clueless1

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newtmonkey wrote on 2022-05-16, 02:56:

Lands of Lore
I've made a few attempts at this, but just don't like much of anything about it other than the graphics. Maybe later.

What about music? At least with a decent GM device it was one of my favorite gaming soundtracks.

My vote is either LoL or Secret of the Silver Blades. 😉

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
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Reply 4028 of 4053, by NovaCN

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Shout-out to the lesbian catgirl couple I met in Limsa last night who were extremely patient carrying me through the Coils of Bahamut so I could see the story content there. I can honestly say I think Final Fantasy XIV has the coolest community of any online game I've played.
(I first tried doing Coils with a group of friends, but their average level is only around 55-60 and we gave up after dying six times against an early boss)
Anyway, now for the patch quests and then it's on to Heavensward.

[Insert late-aughts-style overly-elaborate animated signature banner here]

Reply 4029 of 4053, by newtmonkey

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clueless1 wrote on 2022-05-16, 12:53:

What about music? At least with a decent GM device it was one of my favorite gaming soundtracks.

My vote is either LoL or Secret of the Silver Blades. 😉

Music is really good too 😀
I'll probably do LoL or SotSB then. Maybe both, since they play differently enough!

Reply 4030 of 4053, by Sombrero

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2022-05-16, 11:13:

Continuing my Max Payne playthrough. The music in this game is subtle, but very fitting. The main menu theme is especially memorable, and I do recall it from way back when I first played this.

Interestingly, the game appears to use some form of positional audio and has full 5.1 speaker support. For example, you can hear when water from a leaky pipe is dripping behind you and so on. Graphics are pretty good for the time when this was released. Coupled with the noir art style and the slow-mo mechanic, they kind of give the game a cinematic feel.

I like the gameplay so far. The maps are fairly linear, but well made. The slowdown feature is a must since Max is constantly outnumbered. I didn't have too much trouble with the difficulty until now, but we'll see how things go.

The difficulty gets annoying at some point, enemies get super senses and incredible accuracy. It gets to a point where the enemies behind a corner, who haven't noticed you yet, fire their weapons at the exact moment you start a shoot dodge behind the corner where they still cannot see you and hit you directly to the face as you emerge from behind the corner. Not very fun, for that reason I like the first half of the game way more than the latter.

I personally much prefer the sequel overall.

Reply 4031 of 4053, by clueless1

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I'm at a point in my life where I have almost no gaming time. Work has gotten so busy that I'm sleeping the extra 30 minutes I used to devote to gaming by waking up early. My alarm is set for 5am for work, but before things got so busy, I was regularly waking up 30 minutes before the alarm and taking advantage of some alone time. Also, this part of the season my wife does not work at all in the evenings, and I never game when she and I could be doing something together. So that just leaves weekend mornings before she wakes up.

I'm starting to rethink the game I'm currently playing -- Avernum: Escape from the Pit. I'm still enjoying it, but the pace is so slow that I'm wondering if my time would be better spent on a FPS. I've been chomping at the bit to start Terminator: Resistance, and from what I've read it's a pretty short game, so I'd get more a sense of accomplishment for completing that in a month than taking 6 months to get through Avernum. I'm just afraid if I set Avernum aside, I'd rather start a new game than pick up where I left off months earlier.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
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DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 4032 of 4053, by Joseph_Joestar

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Sombrero wrote on 2022-05-16, 16:47:

The difficulty gets annoying at some point, enemies get super senses and incredible accuracy. It gets to a point where the enemies behind a corner, who haven't noticed you yet, fire their weapons at the exact moment you start a shoot dodge behind the corner where they still cannot see you and hit you directly to the face as you emerge from behind the corner. Not very fun, for that reason I like the first half of the game way more than the latter.

I just reached the last chapters in the second part of the game and I think I'm starting to see this behavior. For some of the tougher fights, it almost feels like the developers want you to go in, see the enemy placement, get wasted, quick load and then use your knowledge from the last attempt to have an easier time.

The manual also states that the game will automatically adjust the difficulty based on the player's actions. Meaning, if you're doing well it gets harder and if you're struggling it gets easier. I'm not a fan of this approach and would much rather have the standard "Easy, Normal, Hard" difficulty settings to choose from.

I personally much prefer the sequel overall.

I'll be playing that after I finish this one. Is its gameplay better balanced? I don't remember much about it, except that it ran worse than the first one on the old PC that I was using back in the day.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / SBLive / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3000+ / Asus K8V-MX / GeForce4 / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 4033 of 4053, by Sombrero

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2022-05-17, 04:28:

I just reached the last chapters in the second part of the game and I think I'm starting to see this behavior. For some of the tougher fights, it almost feels like the developers want you to go in, see the enemy placement, get wasted, quick load and then use your knowledge from the last attempt to have an easier time.

The manual also states that the game will automatically adjust the difficulty based on the player's actions. Meaning, if you're doing well it gets harder and if you're struggling it gets easier. I'm not a fan of this approach and would much rather have the standard "Easy, Normal, Hard" difficulty settings to choose from.

So that's why it gets like that, 20 years and I had no idea. Yeah I don't like adaptive difficulty either.

Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2022-05-17, 04:28:

I'll be playing that after I finish this one. Is its gameplay better balanced? I don't remember much about it, except that it ran worse than the first one on the old PC that I was using back in the day.

It is, to me it feels easier but still not a complete walk in the park either. While there are some more challenging situations occasionally it doesn't get frustrating like the first game. Overall I do find it a joy to play, wouldn't have unlocked the hardest difficulty and finished the game on it to see the alternative ending otherwise.

Reply 4034 of 4053, by Joseph_Joestar

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Finished Max Payne. Combat really did get tedious in the last third of the game. Some of the more difficult encounters required way too many reloads for my taste. Basically, if I timed everything perfectly, Max would survive the fight without a single scratch. But if I'd miss even once, Max would either end up losing a huge chunk of health or get offed. Fortunately, the game is fairly short, less than 15 hours total. The combat would have felt even more tedious if it dragged on any longer.

I liked most levels except for those trippy dream chapters, which got really old by the time I hit the third one. The platforming sequences on invisible ledges in dark rooms were particularly annoying. IMO, Max's dreams should just have been non-interactive cutscenes.

On the plus side, the story was pretty decent overall. But the ending could have been better as Max's fate was kinda left open to interpretation. But I guess they deliberately hid the details until the second game, which I'll be playing next.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / SBLive / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3000+ / Asus K8V-MX / GeForce4 / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 4035 of 4053, by newtmonkey

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Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos
I've attempted this several times over the years, but usually end up quitting out of boredom (early on) or frustration (later in the game). The furthest I've gotten is the White Tower, which I remember being extremely tedious and/or frustrating.

Anyway, I decided to go back to this one, but realized I had the floppy version installed. I had read that the CD version fixed some bugs and also rebalances some of the areas so that enemies respawn less often, so reinstalled from CD. I wasn't really very far in my previous game (Draracle's Cave), so it didn't take long to get back where I was.

I'm always impressed with the start of this game. The graphics are top of the line, it's got a great soundtrack (playing on SC-55), and--on the CD-ROM version--suprisingly professional voice acting. I love the attention to detail, where UI elements (map, compass, magic scroll) are fully animated when they are added to the UI. It's even got a fun little starting area with a little bit of extra exploration off the main path for some nice early equipment. Enemies seem to respawn when you walk around, because I can almost always rest in place immediately after a battle, but if I try walking around to find a "safe" spot I'm almost always interrupted during sleep.

Hopefully I'll see this through to the end this time!

-----

As a side note, this is the first RPG I've played on my DOS machine in some time (I've been playing games mostly on my Apple IIc lately). I managed to pick up a used but nicely working 15" CRT monitor to replace my 19" 4:3 LCD monitor (which had replaced a 17" CRT monitor that died), and it fits just perfectly on the printer stand I'm using for my DOS PC space. I was a little worried at first that 15" would be too small, but on the contrary it feels like the perfect size for the games I like to play (1995 and earlier). It feels nice to back to a CRT again!

Reply 4036 of 4053, by Sombrero

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newtmonkey wrote on 2022-05-18, 11:50:

Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos
I've attempted this several times over the years, but usually end up quitting out of boredom (early on) or frustration (later in the game). The furthest I've gotten is the White Tower, which I remember being extremely tedious and/or frustrating.

I'll give you the same advice I gave someone else earlier in this topic: do not go to the tower without a Vaelan's Cube . Without it the tower is a horrible slog.

newtmonkey wrote on 2022-05-18, 11:50:

Anyway, I decided to go back to this one, but realized I had the floppy version installed. I had read that the CD version fixed some bugs and also rebalances some of the areas so that enemies respawn less often, so reinstalled from CD. I wasn't really very far in my previous game (Draracle's Cave), so it didn't take long to get back where I was.

Interesting, do you know is this rebalancing only on CD version or do the updates released to the floppy version do the same? 1.23 patch is the last one released to floppy version but the readme seems to mention only that it fixes minor bugs with no mention what the previous patches did, or so I interpret it.

Reply 4037 of 4053, by newtmonkey

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Sombrero wrote on 2022-05-18, 12:33:

Interesting, do you know is this rebalancing only on CD version or do the updates released to the floppy version do the same? 1.23 patch is the last one released to floppy version but the readme seems to mention only that it fixes minor bugs with no mention what the previous patches did, or so I interpret it.

Thanks for the tip on the White Tower!

As for the CD version, I honestly do not know. I'm not even sure if the CD version rebalancing is true or not, I just recall reading someone mentioning it possibly on a forum or blog, and figured even if it wasn't true, I might as well go with the latest release!

Reply 4038 of 4053, by newtmonkey

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The Legend of Kyrandia: Hand of Fate
I also ended up playing this for a bit. I finished the first game back when it was released (it was literally the first PC game I ever bought, along with Ultima VII and Quest for Glory III [that was a great day!!!]). It's one of the handful of point and click adventure games I've completed.

I never played HoF until just a couple years back, but didn't really care for it then. I found the puzzles to be pretty obtuse and random, and I gave up on it early into the second act.

Restarting it now, I can see that adventure games are just not for me. Even though I generally knew what to do in the first area (having got to act 2 back when I last played the game), I got annoyed pretty quickly. You have to find gold to ride a ferry, and to get gold you need to convert lead into gold. There's a couple of fishermen anchored in a river, and your first thought is to try converting their anchor into gold (maybe it's made of lead). Nope. The solution ends up being to give them cheese to catch fish (????????), then they catch a fish and leave. Then you are supposed to walk back home (why???) and find their abandoned boat on the land. Then you can pick up the anchor and convert it into gold.

I just don't see the connection between cheese and fishing. It seems like one of those "just try everything on everything" solutions.

---
I attached a photo of my DOS gaming area. Annoyed at Hand of Fate, but pretty pleased with this cozy little corner.

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Reply 4039 of 4053, by clueless1

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newtmonkey wrote on 2022-05-18, 14:42:
The Legend of Kyrandia: Hand of Fate I also ended up playing this for a bit. I finished the first game back when it was release […]
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The Legend of Kyrandia: Hand of Fate
I also ended up playing this for a bit. I finished the first game back when it was released (it was literally the first PC game I ever bought, along with Ultima VII and Quest for Glory III [that was a great day!!!]). It's one of the handful of point and click adventure games I've completed.

I never played HoF until just a couple years back, but didn't really care for it then. I found the puzzles to be pretty obtuse and random, and I gave up on it early into the second act.

Restarting it now, I can see that adventure games are just not for me. Even though I generally knew what to do in the first area (having got to act 2 back when I last played the game), I got annoyed pretty quickly. You have to find gold to ride a ferry, and to get gold you need to convert lead into gold. There's a couple of fishermen anchored in a river, and your first thought is to try converting their anchor into gold (maybe it's made of lead). Nope. The solution ends up being to give them cheese to catch fish (????????), then they catch a fish and leave. Then you are supposed to walk back home (why???) and find their abandoned boat on the land. Then you can pick up the anchor and convert it into gold.

I just don't see the connection between cheese and fishing. It seems like one of those "just try everything on everything" solutions.

---
I attached a photo of my DOS gaming area. Annoyed at Hand of Fate, but pretty pleased with this cozy little corner.

Looks good! I think I'd prefer a 15" CRT to the 17" I have, but it's what I had access to, so I'm living with it. 😀

I share your feelings for Adventure games. As much as I like the idea of them, the silly solutions just make me completely uninterested in them. I went so far as to buy a bunch of them off of GOG when I first got into retro computing about 5 years back, but quickly remembered why I never finished any of those games.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks