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Lexington VA

Posted Tue Apr 02, 2019 12:27 pm

intric8 wrote:soul crushing
yes. That is a good two words to describe this game in its entirety :lol:

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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:21 am

After two solid nights of playing (and several reboots) I finally got my party out of the ice crevasses and back to the surface. These aren't really hard battles. But I keep facing weak spellcasters who randomly cast Disintegrate and simply destroy one of your characters before you've even gotten started.

I first decided to go train all of my characters. I mean, why not? I wonder how high they can go? (They now range from 12 to 17!)

Next I went to the well. I literally have crates of gems at this point, so I figured I needed to feed it and be told which level in the mine I missed a tiny piece of the staff. It told me a few things related to a Lich, but nothing of real importance and nothing related to my current predicament.

So I just sat and stared at the screen for a while. What did I miss? What did I forget.

Out of ideas, I decided to go back to the temple and find that old dwarf, Derf. Ka-Click!

As soon as I walked into his chamber:
Now that that's done, I can go back to where I left off. OMG! I really don't remember being told to come back here before going to the castle, but it must have said so and I just brushed past it.

On to the final slog through the eastern ice crevasse (again), and to the castle. Looking forward to seeing this Lich.

One a side note, I picked up a CIB Pools of Darkness and installed it to my HDD last night, too.

Wow - just, wow! The intro is fantastic. Talk about a giant leap forward. The engine might not be seeing any marked improvement from game to game, but SSI definitely invested in a very cool intro for Pools.

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Posted Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:18 pm

The SSI Gold Box Games hold a special place in my heart. I spent a significant part of my youth with them. I was an avid Pen&Paper rpg’er back then. It was thrilling. It felt like real interactive books. After lots of grinding and such i remember the glorious feeling of success when I hit a milestone within a game like you did. Well done!
I’m surprised, though, that you missed something here. I thought Ultima IV had taught You a lesson ;) .

Great progress!!!

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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:38 pm

Took me several more battles and mappings and travels (so many Medusas....). But the "final" battle was epic. Took me 3 tries to get'er done totally cleanly without any losses.
The Lich

The Lich really wasn't that big of a deal after all. But I enjoyed fighting him. On the third try I didn't lose a single character in the party, and finished the game the same way.

Oddly, the game was strangely bi-polar. I was so excited to beat the final boss, only to be left standing after it was over wondering what was going on. Then - a secret door in the room and another battle! But not a very difficult one (just scary as it was unexpected).

And then even after that battle... it didn't seem over. For a Gold Box game I was extremely disoriented to say the least.

So I went back to the game's "oracle" for answer as I wasn't sure what else to do. And then, finally, I was told I was done.

How strange... Interesting, in that it made the game seem more open-ended, but strange as I could seemingly walk around and just "do things" after I'd beaten the game.

In any case, I'm glad it's over. I think I may have liked this game more than others have mainly because, in terms of technical advancements, there weren't many. But it was fun if a bit grindy.

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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:59 pm

Every time I finish a dungeon crawler or Gold Box game, I kinda need to reset myself. They are SO much fun and very rewarding, but they can take a lot out of you, too.

Point-and-click adventures take just as much, if not more. But sort of from a different part of your brain. I've played Loom before (and was captivated) but I never pushed myself to finish it. I just barely scratched the surface to be honest.

I acquired the game a few years ago, but last year I got the audio cassette, too. I now have the entire experience, and it's been ready and waiting for me. For some reason I've been afraid to start. It's got such a deep history and cult following I feel like I'm walking on hallowed ground. But I'm ready now. I installed it to HDD tonight and the disks worked flawlessly.

I need to read the manuals (which the recommend I do). And I can't read music - so I may be pulling my kids over to help me from time to time. But frankly, I like the idea of that.

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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Sat Jun 29, 2019 3:16 pm

I completely re-wrote my original review for LOOM now that I've finally finished it for the first time.

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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:56 pm

I’m in the midst of working (aka dying) my way through Elvira. Yesterday I made my way outside the castle for the first time.

The battles can be so strange and hard to master. But I do feel like I’m getting better. That being said, the fear of taking damage has trained me to save my game before opening any doors, or even walk very far as I learn my way around.

The game was actually challenging to install to hard drive, but I did manage to get that working. And then, last night, while trying to save after finding lots of things (that I hope I need - no idea, I grabbed everything that wasn’t bolted down) I got a disk error! It made no sense to me at all. I ultimately had to quit the game and restart. Thankfully I’d saved before picking everything up, so I hadn’t lost much.

Then I fired up DOpus and went to the Elvira install. For some reason, all of the new files I tried to create were completely blank. I could see the file names I’d created, but there was no data. They weren’t zero bytes, the size was just blank!

So, chalk that up as a weird one. Glad I hadn’t lost too much of my game.

Anyway, at one point I made it to a hedge maze doorway, so naturally I walked through it. At the end of a long green field stood a man with a hawk sitting on his arm. Not quite sure what to do, I clicked on the man which caused the game’s camera to do a close-up on his face. He winked at me.

I thought, “That can’t be good.”

Suddenly the bird launched off his arm. I watched helplessly as the bird went full-screen, and then...
sscrrrrr-itch pop!


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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:18 pm

I've lost count of how many times I've had to restart this game and/or revert to earlier saves (like WAaayyy back).

My most recent debacle: I feel like I got really far into the game, but I met a knight on top of a wall that was impossible to kill in hand-to-hand combat. You're even told this tidbit before fighting him. But I'd used all of my crossbow bolts days earlier. Arrrgh! I feel like half of me loves this game, while the other half is growing to hate it. The trial by fire approach is wearing me down big time.

At least I've gotten a little better with the sword play. But if your Dexterity drops below 20 you might as well start over, too.

Oh sure, there's a spell book where there's at least one spell that boosts your Dexterity. But it only increases it by 1 or two points per sip (and there are only 3 sips iirc) so it's pretty useless. And you only have enough ingredients in the game to make one potion per spell. So...

And most of the spells are like this.

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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:46 am

I finally beat this game last night. Full review to follow soon.

One thing that has nagged me from the beginning: where it was made.

The game was published by Accolade, which was a US company based out of California at the time. But the game was made by Horror Soft. And everything I've been able to find (not much) states Horror Soft was based out of the UK.

If this game was made in the UK, did the people making it even know who Elvira was? I used to watch her show (eagerly) when I was a kid in the 1980s. They showed it once a week, and if I remember correctly it was on late at night on Saturday nights. The movies she hosted were absolutely terrible, but it didn't matter because it was all about her commentary (and charm).

Was her show exported to the UK? Did the folks there, or other parts of Europe, ever see her show? Did this game make any sense at all to folks back then? The manuals sound exactly like the Elvira character, and I could even hear her voice in my head when I read them. But did kids in London have a clue?

Final scenes after disposing of Emelda:

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