Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Game 49: Elvira - Ladyhawke

By Deimar

Jake Spenser Journal Entry #3: The job is going well I think. Better for me, as there seems to be no escape from this hell hole. The main keep is clean of ghosts, although one of them still attacks me from time to time. I went to the garden to see if I could escape from there but I only managed to meet some more monks, a guy obsessed with archery training and the castle gardener. A pity he was dead. Not dead as in “returned-to-the-world-of-the-living-to-feed-on-brains” but more in the vein of “viciously-killed-and-tormented” dead. I really want to get out of here but I only get complaints from Elvira that now wants me to get rid of some lard.

Having cleared the main keep, it is time to explore the rest of the castle. Or at least another section of it, the garden, with the hope of finding a way out of this madhouse. I left the armor in the kitchen, because it was quite the burden, and took with me a large shield and the crossbow with the crossbow bolts we found on the first floor. Leaving the keep, I notice that there is a large shield with a written inscription, but we don’t know the language yet. There is a spell in the spell book that can help with that, but we can’t cast it for now. And so, to the garden!!


Let’s see the many horrific ways of dying in this apparently peaceful place

The entrance to the garden is on the opposite side of the castle courtyard from the keep. Once we enter the garden the scenery changes completely. The music changes from a somewhat repetitive and mysterious tune to a slow-paced melody. It makes me sleepy. The grey stones transform into a green yard, but with walls covered by plants and moss. The road from the garden entrance is quite straightforward, with no branches. There are quite a few trees and bushes in the way containing several plants that we can take to make spells later.

The first crossroad takes us to a locked door we can not open at the moment. In front of the door we can find a straw archery target. In the vein of the first Quest for Glory, we can also practice our archery skill here. And that’s exactly what we do. The first bolt gets lost into the bushes, but after three more shots hitting the target, we become a master crossbowman.

Doesn’t have the appeal of throwing knifes in a goblin infested forest but it will have to do

I think now is a good time to explain the RPG part of the game, the character stats. There is a bar just over the inventory showing our six stats: Strength, Resilience, Dexterity, Skill, Life and Experience. Life is just our hit points and experience, contrary to typical RPGs, is just a score pointer that rises whenever we solve a puzzle and is not related to combat. Strength influences the weight we can carry and how much damage our hits cause. Whenever we are damaged, we lose life and strength. This is quite important because the more damaged we are, the less we can carry and the less damage we do in combat. We can get really screwed, although healing spells also restore strength.

Luckily for us, resilience reduces the physical damage we take. Wearing the armor gets us to 68 resilience and mobs did very little damage. With only the shield we just reach 22 so we need to be careful. Dexterity affects the time we have to chain hits and who starts the combat. Finally, skill is the stat that decides if our hits connect or not. It’s based on the weapon we are using and increases with use. With the dagger I had 20 skill, with the axe 10 and with the sword I started at 40 but now I’m at 46. Taking into account that if you hit you can keep chaining strikes, taking the axe instead of using the dagger was a very poor decision. But come on, it’s an axe. AN AXE!!

Hence, what we just did was raising our skill with the crossbow. Which is actually quite a good thing because as we continue through the garden the only way we can, forward, we reach a T crossroad, and continuing east we reach another of those friendly guys. Only this one wants to play with us, and launches a disc to see if we can hit it with a bolt. Only that the disc has the shape of a falcon going for our eyes. And flies like a falcon. And cries like a falcon when we strike it down with a bolt. But it is definitely a practice disc. The man must be a really sore loser, as he dissolves after watching his falc… emr… disc fall to the earth. Please don’t call PETA on me.


Not at all something a pet protection agency should be concerned about...

And that was our first puzzle. The reward is our first chest key, which is tied to the fake falcon disc’s leg and has the name “Tertius” on it. For those of you lacking knowledge of Romance languages or Latin, that means “Third”. Five more to go!. We also recover our bolt, one simply doesn’t know when you are going to need to shoot a disc from the sky again, and a feather.

But this part of the garden was another dead end, so I went back to the T cross road and took the other way. That led me to the entrance to a maze, but I’m going to skip this for the moment, as there are some nasty creatures inside. Following the road along the maze wall we reach the gardener’s cottage. It seems to have been assaulted. The door has been bashed down and the windows are broken. When we enter, the view is not prettier.

Yea, look at that decoration. Hideous! And the furniture! Don’t make me talk about the furniture!


Summoning my inner CSI, I examine the gardener’s body. He seems to have been trapped under the door. His throat was ripped off and now he is completely covered by worms. I even take a few of them for further examination, as my “Bones” sessions have taught me bugs can be very important to determine date of death. Or maybe I just saw worms are an ingredient for some spells. Whatever suits you best.


In spite of these posts, I am not that sadistic. This is just for giggles 


After cleaning my hands on the deceased’s jacket I proceed to take everything that isn’t nailed to the floor. A silver crucifix, a sledge hammer, some onions, sage and a biscuit tin. The tin is full of small packets of seasonal seeds, but taking them from the tin reveals a hidden key. Translated to game inputs that means looking into the tin, putting the seeds in our inventory or the room and then the key appears. It seems a little far-fetched to me. It would have been more natural to say something about the key after examining the tin or the seeds.

I have a feeling about the key and race back to the locked door. I try dragging it to the door to no avail, but selecting the door and clicking on “unlock” does the trick. However, now a pair of Jawas block our way. I deal with them swiftly thanks to the “even-more-awesome-than-the-axe” sword and enter the new room, which is a vegetable patch, full of plants that we can’t identify and that our character refuses to take until he knows what he is dealing with. As with most problems in life, anything can be solved with the right spell. In this case, Herbal Honey, which requires honey and hay.

I forgot to show these guys in the last post.
They tried to sell me some droids but we didn’t reach an agreement.

I had seen some hay in the courtyard so I decided it was time to explore it, albeit avoiding the four castle towers. I decided to go counterclockwise and the first room I found was a forge, just opposite to the entrance to the dungeons, our starting position. Not a lot to do here at that point but I found a crucible inside a box. I have to say that the enemies we can find behind almost every door always produce a very gratifying “AAAAAHH” each time they are hit.

The next room had a pile of hay just outside the door, from where I took a bit. As the hay hinted, this room is the stables. Again, nothing very flashy. Only a tormented guy that said something about saving him by killing a hound with a silver something. He must be a very bad kennel keeper who hates his job or something. The guy even started revolving in pain so I opted to leave him.

Some people just want to be noticed. Such a drama queen!

With no other things to do in the courtyard, I went back to the main keep, but when I went in, a woman’s cry got my attention and Elvira came running. She said that she was not going to go back to the kitchen until I got rid of that “lard bucket”. Wondering what she is referring to? So am I, but that will have to wait until our next installment.

GARDEN MAP:

COURTYARD MAP:



DEATH BONUS ROUND (TOTAL DEATHS: 4):

Go for the eyes, Boo!! Go for the eyes!!


The colour of each mob indicates its difficulty


This guy takes work too seriously. You have to guard the kennel, not become it...



Session Time: 0 hours 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hours 35 minutes

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There’s a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!

8 comments:

  1. Looks like they saved a bit of time with the werewolf guy by just drawing/animating one side of his face, then using a mirror image for the other half. Looks a little odd though, especially since the artwork is generally a lot better than that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand that it's the niche they were going for, but a little variation in the deaths would be nice. It feels like all of the deaths are head captures. How about a gory chest wound? A fatal belly slash? I'm all for variety!

      Delete
    2. Remember that this game came out on floppy disk (2 720KB disks, I think). Every KB was precious.

      Delete
    3. I'm afraid it was just 1.44 MB per disk. 5 disks to be precise.

      Delete
    4. I meant *two* 720 KB disks, not 2720 KB disks. :) I just checked, and on the Amiga it was indeed 5 disks, but they only had 880 KB each (the Amiga used a special format).
      On the PC, my Elvira directory under ScummVM takes up 4.7 MB, so, yes, it's possible that that version used high density disks (1.44 MB).

      Delete
    5. I'm guessing that the problem was moreso to do with the possible varieties. A torn throat with a guy who is wearing full plate armour and carrying both a shield and a battleaxe taller than himself should by rights not be capable of having his throat slashed without at least one of these things being in the shot. Headshots give them the freedom for the main character to be dying any old way. :)

      Delete
  2. Cool! Excel-format maps! My eyes are saved!

    ReplyDelete
  3. GOG's having a 'Timeless Adventure' weekend sale.

    Lots of great games there.

    http://www.gog.com/promo/weekend_promo_timeless_adventures_230115

    Particularly relevant are Horrorsoft's pre-Elvira game Personal Nightmare from 1989 and their post-Elvira game Waxworks (1992) for $1.99 each.

    Also includes all the Tex Murphy games (including the new Tesla Effect for $4.99 and the coming-soon-on-this-blog Martian Memorandum bundled with Mean Streets for $1.79), a bunch of Telltale games, WadjetEye's games and the Simon the Sorcerer games (by Adventure Soft, which is just a new name for Elvira's HorrorSoft)

    ReplyDelete