Friday, 20 May 2016

Elvira II - Witching & Bitching

Written by Deimar

Dirk Gentley Journal Entry #2 "The red liquid dripping off the tip of my new jacket was a giveaway of the mess Elvira had gotten me into. A 20-foot tall doggy from hell has taken her. His friends are running amok the Black Widow studios, focused on reading the entrails of any human being they cross paths with. While they are alive. And here I am, in front of the studio doors thinking about fighting this demonic horde. I hope she is really a dame to kill for..."

Last time we ended in front of the main door to the Black Widow studios. Upon entering, we are greeted by a fairly common and boring office entry hall. There are some posters making fun of known B-movies and a fire extinguisher that we can take, but otherwise the room is fairly inconspicuous.

Elvira II: The jaws of office space


Attaaaaaaaack of the killer cucumber!!

Ooook… the creepiness escalated quickly…

From here we can go to the three cursed sets or keep exploring the offices through a lift. Well, there is also the option of going to the gentlemen and ladies restrooms but there is nothing to do there. Actually, that’s not completely true, there is one thing. You can think about the time the programmers spent coding the tap and drier so you can play with them in two virtually identical locations. Or flushing the toilet. Or infringing Tampax and Jiffy’s copyright. It is at this point that I realized that simply walking gave me experience points. Leveling gives an increase in stats and allows crafting new spells so my disappointment with these locations lessen a bit. Free experience is always welcome.

The lift allows us to go to two new floors, the second floor and the basement, and has also a keyhole, which I suppose allows accessing a private floor. I decided not to start the house from the roof and go to the basement. Here I found the first possible dead end. The basement is home to an indian janitor. Bonfire included. Surprisingly for these games, we can talk with him. It is a welcome relief discovering that Elvira and us are not the only living humans here. Even if they don’t have a name beyond “indian janitor”.

I’m pretty sure this violates some kind of security rule even if you have a fire extinguisher nearby...

The conversation system uses a multi-choice pattern just like Monkey Island. However, unlike Monkey Island, it is simply not possible to obtain all the information in a single conversation, and the choices reset with each new conversation. To get all the information we have to speak with him multiple times and piece the information together for ourselves. Even more, there are some comic lines introduced in the system. Choosing any of them will angry the janitor and he will stop talking to us. Given that the NPC is key to get to the ending and the number of times I had to restart the conversation, I will just say that I am not a fan of the system.

I don’t know why he got mad about this line. I mean, if I were asking for CHEAP firewater...

Summing up, the man tells us that he warned against building the studios on top of sacred land but nobody listened and now Cerberus is planning on sacrificing Elvira before dawn to open a portal to hell and let is loose on earth. There is only one thing we can do to stop it is use his magic tools to kill the beast. First, we must bring the janitor his pipe of peace so he can create powerful magic. His words, not mine. Then, we have to speak to a holy man, use the indian’s magic bag to call the spirit, throw him a magic spear to kill it and extract its hearth with a magic tomahawk. Seems simple. Obviously, there is a caveat. He has lost everything. And there is no holy man around. At least they should be easier to find than six keys...

So you follow the Middle Earth’s style of magic then?

In the room there are a lot of items we can pick up. I will say now that I am going to try to be brief describing what can be taken and what not because there are a lot of items that can be taken. Even more than in Elvira I. And we have to take most of them because the way magic works. If you recall the magic system in the first game, we had to take ingredients to Elvira so she could mix the spells. The spells themselves were presented as items in the inventory that we could use, with each of them having a limited amount of uses.

In this game the system is similar, albeit there are some differences that make it more demanding. First of all, we don’t need Elvira. That is quite good as she has been kidnapped and there could be some minor problems to get her to mix them. Conveniently, she left her ultra-powerful spellbook and the ruby necklace that allows casting them in our car. No wonder she gets into trouble so often. Another difference is that spells now require a minimum level before we can mix them, which gives some use to the experience stat beyond just simply serving as a score for the game. Spells are mixed just like in Elvira I, using ingredients. However, the definition of these ingredients is quite more liberal than in the first game. For example, the level 4 Fireball spell simply states that it needs a flammable item. This can be any piece of paper found in the game, alcohol, matches… Guessing which items can be used in spellcrafting is a puzzle in itself. And of course there are some items that are needed for finishing the game but can be used in a spell. Welcome to my personal nightmare!!

As noted by Laertes in last post, I have already mixed some spells that require no ingredients: Ice dart, healing hands and invisible shield.

The final difference consist in how we cast the spells themselves. In Elvira I if the spell had enough charges, we could use it. In Elvira II spells still have charges, but we also have power points that limit the amount of spells we can throw at any given time. The points recharge with time, but at such a slow pace that I don’t think going full spellcaster is possible without having more patience than the fans of The Walking Dead. Both the power point recharge rate and the number of charges produced when mixing the spell are influenced by the intelligence stat.

Therefore, I will be taking everything that is not nailed down. There is a weight limit in the game, that depends upon your strength. Luckily, the game simply states when you are going to go overweight and doesn’t allow you to do it instead of reducing permanently your attributes like in the first game. I have noticed that you can take objects when overweight if you use them to craft any spell. If the ingredient is not right for the spell, it is not lost but gets thrown back to your inventory. As you can mix spells with items in the room and not in your inventory, this is a way to go overloaded. In spite of this bug, I resorted to make a pile of objects just by the sets’ door.

Playing adventure games certainly incites the development of kleptomania...

Going back to the basement, there are a lot of cleaning utensils like a mop, a broom, a metal bucket, bleach… There is also a fire extinguisher. There is a door leading to the boiler room behind the indian guy. Hanging from the door there is an indian medicinal bag, but it doesn’t seem to be the magical bag he was asking for. Or at least he doesn’t react when I tried to give it back to him. It must be where he stores the magical herb he smokes to make powerful magic.

The boiler room is a cool place. Quite literally, as everything is frozen. There is a white mist covering all the place and only two items in the room: a copper rod resting by the left boiler and a brass key hanging next to the door. Trying to take the copper rod angers the resident ice demon so it is better to leave it alone. However we are quite free to take the key and start running back to the elevator. I didn’t manage to use the key on the elevator so it will be used somewhere else.

Man, the heating bill is going to be amazing

The second floor of the main studio is nothing to write home about. There are seven rooms in this floor, with all sort of items. The first room on the left after leaving the lift is the computer room. This room contains a lot of office supplies.

Elvira II: The jaws of the main frame computer

The room in front of this one is the canteen, with some food and drink cans.

Elvira II: The jaws of the twinkie

Next one is the makeup room. This room is a tad more interesting than the previous ones. There are a lot of mirrors in this room and we can take a look to our handsome face. There are some props in the room like fake mustaches, helms and wigs that are actually reflected on the mirrors. Nice touch. There is also a mirror inside a bin.

Seems too tidy to be a real makeup room

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?

Not me! My fashion sense is horrible!

Opening the door in front of the makeup room reveals a dark room, the costume room. Entering reveals the cause of the darkness: a not very friendly witch. We will deal with her later. The next one down the hall is Elvira’s very own room. Which is a mess. Not a problem, as it is our nature to clean up after Elvira. The cleaning results in some lacquer cans, some papers, a file, scissors, some of Elvira’s underwear (which is still warm, elevating ever further the creepiness level), a silver lucky charm, makeup, a gas powered curling iron, some towels…

The cleaning crew must have been the first to leave or die. Or maybe they never existed…

In any case, it seems like another job that falls on our shoulders

The director’s room is in front of Elvira’s. Yes, director. A single director for all the productions of the studio. Now I can see how B-movies are profitable. And I also understand why the only remarkable thing in this room is the drinks cabinet, full of beverages of the alcoholic nature. Right on! Good way of starting a fight against a demon army!!

Looking at this office, I think this guy would have a seizure if he ever took a look at Elvira’s room

The last room at the end of the hall is the typing room, full of more office supplies. There are two items of special interest here. The first one is a floppy disk inside of a disk filer. The second one is a radiocassette. They are both screaming “NINETIES” at us.

How many readers will NOT know what this is?

Time to deal with the witch. The old fashion way. Stab to the hearth!. Combat in this game is a bit different than in Elvira I. Long gone are the parries and blocks. Now the cursor becomes an attack cursor and let us click on any area of the enemy to hit them there. After each hit there is a little cooldown before we can hit again. In the meantime, the enemies keep attacking us. The combat is a click fest, but there is some merit to the idea. Enemies usually have a weak point where we inflict more damage. The damage we do is shown in the red bar at the right of the screen, while the damage done to us is shown in the green left one. There is one last subtlety regarding the combat. We can set the combat mode at any point in the game. There are four of them, varying the speed at which we can attack and the damage we do, while affecting the speed at which enemies attack and their damage in the same manner. I set the combat mode at “berserker”, the fastest and deadliest, and never ever looked back at combat modes.

Now, that’s a headache!

I casted invisible shield before entering the room, and some ice darts once inside. After that, it was a quick dead and gruesome death from introducing pointy objects into the eye cavity. A neat improvement over the first game regarding spells is that active spells are shown in a little window on the left. With the witch gone, we can explore the costume room freely. We can turn on the light next to the door to find several costumes hanging. Who would have guessed?. The thing is there is a costume of Sir Walter Raleigh, with a fencing sword included. I have found a new friend. Bye, bye, sad knife. It is the age of the sword! Taking the sword is tricky, as it doesn’t appear anywhere until after you have taken the costume, appearing in the inventory. It is one of those quirky interface shenanigans I have come to expect from these games. Before leaving we can take a look at the witch’s eye. I am sure it will be needed for something. (hint: a spell).

Subtle reference to The Simpsons’ bumblebee man?

And with that we have finished exploring the main studio building and it is as a good time as any other to end this post. Next time on Elvira 2: ACTION! ADVENTURE! LOVE! HORROR! EVERYTHING!. Or maybe just an old haunted house. Don’t forget to come back for our next adventure in the pursue of the three-headed monke… erm… dog.

The game is on!

MAP OF THE MAIN STUDIO:


MAP OF THE BASEMENT:


MAP OF THE SECOND FLOOR:


DEATH BONUS ROUND (TOTAL DEATHS: 2)



Session Time: 0 hours 43 minutes
Total Time: 0 hours 53 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!

5 comments:

  1. Welcome to my personal nightmare!!

    Reference unintentional?

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  2. Not this time. The intention was there when I wrote it :)

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  3. I would have taken the fire extinguisher and put out the fire for the poor Indian. I think he seems so hopped up that he didn't even realise there was stuff burning in front of him.

    Full kudos for the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes reference, however. Probably a little high-brow for Elvira (given she joined the cast of MST3K at one point), but still.

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  4. Is your character name a Douglas Adams reference?

    Also, I'm finding the crash test dummy looking character creepier than what's going on in the game, but love the way it turns more skeletal as you take damage.

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    Replies
    1. Let's just say this is a very holistic character ;)

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