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Reply 2300 of 2663, by Hezus

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Just arrived at the end of Dark Seed 2. Years ago, I had finished about 95% of the game but wasn't able to beat the monster in the hall of mirrors, so I never got to see the ending. This time around I actually drew a map of the maze earlier in the game, so I knew the fastest way around. Now I have finished it and it was quite surprising! Glad I revisited this title 😀

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Reply 2301 of 2663, by newtmonkey

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Pool of Radiance PC
Completed!

The final area was a bit longer that I expected, but it was full of unique encounters and I was able to reach maximum level for all characters other than my fighter/thief. The final battle was surprisingly easy, partly because I saved all the powerful potions, etc. until the very end. You fight a bunch of high level guards who are all susceptible to standard humanoid spells (hold person and stinking cloud, specifically) which means they went down without hardly a fight. The final boss himself was a joke as it's just a single dragon; surrounding him on all sides with my hasted and invisible fighters completely crippled him and he went down in just two rounds 🤣.

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Awesome game. Over the last couple of years I've been really focusing on playing and finishing CRPGs from the 1980s, which I consider to be the absolute greatest decade of CRPGs. With this, I've completed Wizardry I-III&V, Wasteland, Ultima I&IV, The Bard's Tale I-III (and IV and IV: Director's Cut...), and Might & Magic I. I would rank Pool of Radiance in the top five for sure. It's simply an amazing game especially for 1988 (especially for NOW), with plenty of interesting content including exploration and combat. It never feels like it is wasting your time with fetch quests, mapping puzzles, or mindless combat. The setup of the game, which has you, as a band of mercenaries, slowly pacifying areas around a settlement, is extremely satisfying. The game even removes all random encounters from individual areas after you've cleared them (by either defeating a "boss" enemy or winning X number of random encounters), so you really do feel like you are clearing out areas for civilization.

I'm excited to transfer my characters to the sequel, Curse of the Azure Bonds but I'll wait a bit. I want to read the novel first (spoiler alert: I've begun reading it and it's not great, but it's not bad either), and I might even take my fighter/thief into Hillsfar, which allows you to import individual characters from Pool of Radiance and run them through a city adventure wherein you play a bunch of arcade-like minigames to gain a single additional level.

Reply 2303 of 2663, by newtmonkey

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Shagittarius wrote on 2020-09-25, 17:24:

My advice to get through pillars is to spend some time setting up the auto pause settings so that it mimics turn based, for example you can set it to pause automatically every time someone is able to take an action. I know that I eventually achieved a setup with auto pause that was somewhat acceptable to me, maybe you can find more enjoyment that way too...

Thanks for suggesting this. I went in today and enabled all autopause options, played for a bit, disabled the options that were annoying me, and now I've got it right where I like it. Combat is a lot more enjoyable and I'm really getting into the game now. I basically have every pause option enabled except character attacked, character hit, and the auto-pause every x.x seconds. Now it feels a bit like playing a turn-based game, though I do wish they had gone back and backported the turn-based option from PoE II back to this one. 😀

Reply 2304 of 2663, by newtmonkey

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Legends of Amberland
Completed! All in all, the game took me 13 hours to explore the entire map, kill every enemy, and explore every dungeon, with my characters ending up around level 50. It was a fun time, and was a great way to relax between playing more demanding games.

This is a party-based RPG with turn-based combat heavily inspired by the classic Might & Magic III: Isles of Terra. You'll create a party of seven characters, explore a massive world, solve quests, and fight a LOT of monsters. Like many recent games of this type, there are no random encounters and enemies do not respawn. This means that the early part of the game is quite linear as you'll be "gated" by enemies that are too difficult for a low level party to defeat. This also means that, once you've cleared an area, you can travel through it without having to worry about getting jumped by enemies.

The soundtrack is excellent whether trekking through a dangerous desert or exploring a dark castle. It truly provides the atmosphere that the graphics aren't quite up to the task of providing. It's one of the more memorable soundtracks I've heard in a game for some time, and reminded me of the atmospheric and catchy music that accompanied my quests in such classic RPGs as Might & Magic III-V and the latter Ultima games.

Although the game is a lot of fun, I was somewhat disappointed with its simplicity. The dungeons are the major problem here as they are far too simple without any unique gimmicks or puzzles outside of flipping switches to open locked doors.

Overall, though, I enjoyed it. The developer has mentioned on his forums that he definitely plans to do a sequel, and I would definitely be onboard for that.

Reply 2305 of 2663, by clueless1

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Betrayal at Krondor

I spent about 90 minutes this morning test driving Betrayal at Krondor. It's definitely a unique RPG! The interface has a bit of a steep learning curve as does the style. I barely left the start point, searched the first body, entered the village of Yabon, bought a whetstone to sharpen my swords, did the (very!) mini side-quest where a villager basically gives you his armor if you retrieve it from the out-of-business cleaner he left it at, then had my first combat encounter on the road. That alone took 90 minutes because I was doing so much reading and poking around through the interface. I definitely dig the emphasis on story and think I'll like the turn-based combat system. I guess I can also get used to the utter lack of character creation and seemingly minor emphasis on character development? I remember when I first started playing Realms of Arkania, I had a similar culture-shock getting used to its unique style and interface, and ended up really liking that game, so we'll see if I fall similarly in love with this game. The Aces of the Pacific graphics engine is pretty bad--it's very confusing navigating and I found myself frequently jumping to the overhead view to get my bearings. The character models (live actors with terrible wigs) are laughable too. But somehow the story and music hold it all together...at least so far! I did end up reloading after the first combat because my main character Locklear was left near death (1 HP, apparently needing more than just the Herbal Pack and Restorative Fluid I had in my inventory). The 2nd try at the first combat ended up much better. Owyn's blind spell helped him to take one guy on himself while Locklear and Gorath teamed up against the second guy. Speaking of spells, this is another weird system. Even the names aren't always intuitive (Despair Thy Eyes, Scent of Sarig) and you don't know what the spells actually do unless you look them up in the manual or try to cast them. Just looking at Owyn's spells in his character screen doesn't describe them, only the casting interface does. And I'm not sure when I can cast spells. After having the option to cast a spell at the opening of combat (where I cast Despair Thy Eyes, ie, blind), the spell icon never came back for the rest of combat, which meant Owyn could only attack with his staff. I have to do more research about how it all works.

Yesterday I played a little with Ravenloft: Strahd's Possession, wasn't impressed with the real-time combat clickfest. I've played and enjoyed other real-time systems (Stonekeep, Lands of Lore) so I'm not giving up on Ravenloft just yet. I'll revisit it on the next go around.

Other games I've been considering are Darklands, M&M3, Realms of Arkania 3, and Ultima 8. I'll play (or at least try to play) all of them at some point, but assuming I don't have a show-stopper experience with BaK, this is the one I'll stay on for this go-around.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
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Reply 2306 of 2663, by newtmonkey

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Nice to read your thoughts on BaK and Ravenloft. I pretty much agree on all counts 🤣

I really dislike the graphics engine in BaK. I know you can set it to automatically follow roads, but I never got comfortable with it. I would have preferred either step-based or free-moving, but not the weird thing they ended up doing.

Ravenloft just feels completely clunky to me. I can deal with clickfest combat in a step-based game like Dungeon Master, EotB, Lands of Lore, or Stonekeep, but the combination of free movement and real-time combat turns me off for sure.

Reply 2307 of 2663, by leileilol

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Yeah, Krondor had to target 386s with the graphics. At least there's noisy gouraud and some mild amounts of texturing, it was certainly tolerable for 1994 when I first played it. (though the costume department+actors..did stick out unusually even for then. Nowadays it looks like as if [adult swim] tried to make SAO or something)

apsosig.png

Reply 2308 of 2663, by clueless1

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newtmonkey wrote on 2020-10-11, 14:48:

Nice to read your thoughts on BaK and Ravenloft. I pretty much agree on all counts 🤣

I really dislike the graphics engine in BaK. I know you can set it to automatically follow roads, but I never got comfortable with it. I would have preferred either step-based or free-moving, but not the weird thing they ended up doing.

Ravenloft just feels completely clunky to me. I can deal with clickfest combat in a step-based game like Dungeon Master, EotB, Lands of Lore, or Stonekeep, but the combination of free movement and real-time combat turns me off for sure.

I appreciate your feedback. The one thing that keeps me believing in Ravenloft is that back in late 94 or early 95, I have a very vivid, positive memory to plowing through Menzoberranzan. It was my one and only experience with that game engine and while I don't remember the details, I remember it being super fun and addicting and I actually beat it in only a few weeks.

Thanks for the report on Amberland, it's still on my wishlist waiting for a sale. 😀 Have you tried the Eschalon series? I've beaten the first two and it's actually one of my favorite RPG series to date. Looking forward to Book 3 when it goes on sale.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
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Reply 2309 of 2663, by newtmonkey

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No problem clueless1! I'd suggest that maybe Menzo is just a better game, but I haven't played that one and people tend to rate the two Ravenloft games higher (Stone Prophet, in particular, seems to be well-loved). I tried the first Eschalon game but had trouble getting into it as the mix of turn-based combat with a single character party sort of turned me off. My general rule is multi-character party: turn-based strategy, single character: real time action 🤣. I will give Eschalon another shot, though, for sure.

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Hillsfar
I decided to play the Gold Box series "like it was intended" (lol) so I've imported my thief/fighter into Hillsfar for some urban thief adventure. Unfortunately, the game apparently randomly chooses a class for multi-class characters and prevents you from accessing quests from the other guilds, and stuck me with the fighter questline. Oh well, that's probably for the best since the character has a high strength but only middling dexterity.

I think this game gets a lot of hate, but I'm enjoying it. It's like walking into a Dungeons & Dragons themed arcade, and it's not meant to be anything epic or complex. I finished the first quest for the fighters guild, and had a fun enough time robbing houses (sounds more like a thief thing...), practicing archery, and rising up the ranks in the arena.

I don't expect this game to be very long (at least, I hope not), but it will end up giving a decent little boost to my weakest fighter before I transfer the party to Curse of the Azure Bonds.

Reply 2310 of 2663, by appiah4

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Mezzoberranzan is a mediocre dungeon crawl, its only saving graces are Underdark/Drizzt. I mever played the original Ravenloft and it looks a bit cliche (though I will play it) but the second game (Stone Prophet) oozes atmosphere and has a fantastic setting/story.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 2311 of 2663, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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Bruninho wrote on 2020-10-09, 01:01:

I can. I have never played it.

Man, you should try.

By the way, I think I'm a police detective right now. Can anyone guess the title?

you-think-it-s-murder.jpg

Never thought this thread would be that long, but now, for something different.....
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman.

Reply 2312 of 2663, by Shagittarius

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Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote on 2020-10-12, 15:31:
Man, you should try. […]
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Bruninho wrote on 2020-10-09, 01:01:

I can. I have never played it.

Man, you should try.

By the way, I think I'm a police detective right now. Can anyone guess the title?

you-think-it-s-murder.jpg

It's Her Story. I don't really like the genre, every visual novel or walking simulator is created by people that aren't good enough to achieve success in the actual arts they are interested in. So they come to video games and put out bad stories with minimal or no interactivity that get celebrated by the gaming press that want to be revered like they use to be when people actually needed gaming press to get their products talked about.

Story for me doesn't even crack the top 3 of most important elements of a video game. Sure some genres need to rely more on it to move the gameplay forward than others but really premise should be enough for most games. Also a great story that works with the gameplay can certainly elevate the game to another level, take Portal for instance, but in general story isn't the focus of games.

Reply 2313 of 2663, by clueless1

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Betrayal at Krondor

Okay, I'm about 4 hours in and it's starting to grow on me. I love the emphasis on story telling. The world is actually a lot bigger than it seems while traversing it. Here's the first section that I'm still in:
http://mikesrpgcenter.com/krondor/maps/lamut.html

The music is catchy enough that I find myself humming it while at work. 🤣. I do like the repair system that lets you fix up weapons and armor prior to selling it in shops to get more money. This may be a keeper...

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
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Reply 2315 of 2663, by newtmonkey

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clueless1 wrote on 2020-10-13, 01:21:

Betrayal at Krondor

Okay, I'm about 4 hours in and it's starting to grow on me. I love the emphasis on story telling. The world is actually a lot bigger than it seems while traversing it. Here's the first section that I'm still in:
http://mikesrpgcenter.com/krondor/maps/lamut.html

The music is catchy enough that I find myself humming it while at work. 🤣. I do like the repair system that lets you fix up weapons and armor prior to selling it in shops to get more money. This may be a keeper...

I might have to put some more time into this one! How did you eventually get to terms with moving around? Do you still just rely primarily on the overhead view outdoors?

Reply 2316 of 2663, by clueless1

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newtmonkey wrote on 2020-10-13, 01:51:
clueless1 wrote on 2020-10-13, 01:21:

Betrayal at Krondor

Okay, I'm about 4 hours in and it's starting to grow on me. I love the emphasis on story telling. The world is actually a lot bigger than it seems while traversing it. Here's the first section that I'm still in:
http://mikesrpgcenter.com/krondor/maps/lamut.html

The music is catchy enough that I find myself humming it while at work. 🤣. I do like the repair system that lets you fix up weapons and armor prior to selling it in shops to get more money. This may be a keeper...

I might have to put some more time into this one! How did you eventually get to terms with moving around? Do you still just rely primarily on the overhead view outdoors?

I jump back and forth between the views pretty frequently to keep my bearings. It's akin to walking around an unfamiliar territory with a map in hand. 😀

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

Reply 2317 of 2663, by hyperrmachine

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I'm playing Full Throttle at the moment. I thought the story was cool.

I played Sam & Max: Hit the Road a while back. Sam & Max: Hit the Road felt like an extended Day of the Tentacle but with better graphics, a more engaging story, a interface that feels broken sometimes and a mediocre ending. I first played Sam & Max with the hint book, but I gave up and used a walkthrough.
My rating for Sam & Max: 6/10

Reply 2318 of 2663, by newtmonkey

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hyperrmachine wrote on 2020-10-13, 13:49:

I played Sam & Max: Hit the Road a while back.

Sam & Max: Hit the Road felt like an extended Day of the Tentacle but with better graphics, a more engaging story, a interface that feels broken sometimes and a mediocre ending. I first played Sam & Max with the hint book, but I gave up and used a walkthrough.
My rating for Sam & Max: 6/10

I tried playing through Sam & Max a while ago and felt similarly. Purely in terms of graphics, sound, music, and dialog it's 10/10, but the puzzles made no sense to me at all.

Reply 2319 of 2663, by newtmonkey

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Hillsfar
Completed the second quest for the fighter's guild. It's not an amazing game by any means, but I think it is also a bit underrated. If you go in thinking it will be an epic RPG comparable to other SSI games, you'd be disappointed... but as a collection of arcade minigames with a quest structure, it can be a lot of fun in small doses.

I actually did have this game back in the day on my Commodore 64 and remember having a fun time with the various minigames. Some of them hold up pretty well imo, especially the lockpicking minigame which is really very clever... Bethesda should have just stolen this system for their games! The arena combat is actually a lot better than it seems at first, as you can listen to gossip in taverns to learn hints about each fighter, but you can also just master combat through practice as each fighter has animation "tells" to indicate when and from which direction it will attack.

The thieving minigame, sadly, is the least fun but the most common. You explore a large random building looking for chests on a time limit. After a certain period of time guards start to chase you down, and then a short while after the exit is revealed. This means you have to search the entire building again to find the exit! It really leaves no room for strategy or anything, it's completely random. It would have been better if the exit was always revealed but inaccessible until the guards appear; that way, you could decide to first search for the exit (with less time to spend on treasure hunting).

Dark Forces
I finally cleared Mission 4, which is where I have always stopped playing during previous attempts. Like a LOT of missions in this game, it's very mazey with large portions of the level looking mostly the same and no real "flow" to the level design imo. I understand that the levels were designed to be more "realistic" than something in Doom, but I think the game suffers sometimes for doing this, and Mission 4 is definitely one of those times. Having said that, I was able to get through it pretty quickly while only getting lost at the very end 🤣.

Although I'm not a huge fan of some of the level design in this game, everything else is fantastic. The cleaner textures give it a sharper look than Doom, while the the audio is simply amazing—between the excellent sound effects and the fantastic dynamic soundtrack (Sound Canvas), you feel like you are in a movie. I also love how it controls. It controls slightly more grounded/realistically than Doom and all the guns feel just right.

Last edited by newtmonkey on 2020-10-14, 05:51. Edited 1 time in total.