Jake Spenser Journal Entry #6 "Ah! Fresh air and a gorgeous view. Just what I need to forget everything about these gho...Oh. They are also here. Never mind. And the fresh air is making me feel sick. I think I need another of Elvira’s concoctions. Not like I’m now an addict. I simply feel the need to get more of her juice. The other one. She says I need some more plants. Is it not enough to have the whole kitchen covered? Why is it always me going to the dangerous places? At least she is good for getting another of those damn keys. These things are hidden everywhere. Well, I guess it’s time to show these gremlins the meaning of the word “genocide”"
Last time I expressed my intentions of going to the top of the castle walls. And I kinda did. There were some problems there that made me reconsider my choice, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Up, up and away!
The stairs from the northwest tower took me to another floor. Mostly empty but for another set of stairs going up and two doors. One in front of me and another one to my right. Going up takes us to the very top of the tower, with a glorious view of the English marshlands. Gorgeous view, but with nothing to do.
|The marshes are alive with the sound of music
I went back down and took the door in front of me. As I had guessed, a.k.a I remember because I’ve played the game before, this led me to the castle walls. What follows is a series of outdoor wall sections with a new tower and outskirts view. None of them have anything worth mentioning beside the new iteration of soldiers, but with a closed helm and the usual range of colours. The other thing worth mentioning is that you can take ivy from some plants dangling over the walls.
|Spot the seven differences between these guys and the soldiers
After two identical towers I reached the northeast tower. I went down to check if there was another entrance to the castle catacombs but I only found a well. You can actually go down the well, but its is better to avoid it for now, at least until we have a reason to go there. Going up again the next tower has a nice surprise for us, a cannon. Yep, at the top of the tower there is a cannon pointing to the next tower. Suspicious. If I had some violent tendencies I would be tempted to shoot the cannon. Oh, wait. I DO have violent tendencies. I’ll add it to the list of things to do before dying. Next to killing puppies.
|Yeah, baby. That’s exactly what it is.
The next part is where I stopped exploring the castle walls. You see, I went further ahead, but soon enough I started to realize I no longer could start a combat in the attacking position and had very little time to attack when I deflected a blow. After studying my char for a while I realized that my dexterity was close to single digits. I don’t know why, but it seems my dexterity has been continuously dropping. It could be due to injuries, but the healing spells can’t bring it up just like they bring up strength, and I had run out of them by now. Fun.
Well, let’s just load a savegame from just before the catacombs, as we didn’t get anything there, and let’s see if I can be more conservative in combat. Nope. I started to panic. I use an incremental naming convention for my saves. From Elvira001 to Elvira005 which was my current save in the tower with the cannon. Each time you save or load, the game asks you to introduce a name. Fine until now. The problem is those names are file names. Old MS-DOS users have probably already spotted the problem. MS-DOS only uses 8 letters for file names. My current naming scheme had 9, which means that all my saves, or more accurately the only save, were overwritten by the last one, as the only character varying was the last one. So… no savegame. Great.
I started to panic. This is a horror game, but I think this fear inside is quite more than the developers intended. Was restarting my only option? I could go ahead anyway but it was clear that soon enough I wouldn’t be able to win any combat. I went back to the kitchen to see If I could make some spells to enhance my dexterity or recover it. Careful study of the spell book revealed that yes, there are a few, but I was missing ingredients. If I wanted to finish the game, I would need to gather those missing ingredients without fighting too much. The missing ingredients were mostly plants. I was not sure, but I had a pretty good idea of where to find them. Time to go to the garden maze.
Until now I have avoided this place because its inhabitants are nasty gremlins. They don’t do damage, but whenever you find one he steals from you unless you can kill him using a missile weapon. Ammo for the crossbow is quite limited and still needed for later sections, meaning that you need ranged spells. I had left only the other starting spell, fingerlight, and I didn’t know it that would be enough to clear the maze. Only one way to know…
I explored the maze until I ran out of spells and had to run back to the kitchen. But the exploration was not in vain. Although I didn’t find any special room, only more green maze, there are some items dispersed through the map. I got back with some thistle, nettle, fern and even a bird’s egg. I was still missing a four leaf clover for the lucky surprise spell, but I could do something with what I had gathered. For starters, get another fingerlight.
Do you remember the first time we were in the kitchen there was a dark passage behind the goods lift? Time to bring some light into the heart of darkness. My Growing Pride will light up the way. And that’s definitely not a reference to my penis but the name of the spell that can illuminate the way for Elvira, who now comes back with another golden key. Quintus (fifth). Two more to go.
|Could you… erm… go back in and out again? A few more hundreds of times?
I resumed the maze exploration to see where it led. The maze is approximately a 10x10 grid with not many things worth notice. At the center, you can reach the gremlins’ lair. A hole between bushes full of little evil eyes. I had spent some spells and bolts to reach here, so I was not ready to just leave empty-handed. I starting raining fingerlights into their little lair until there were no more eyes left.
Now that I was safe, I entered the lair. The first thing I noticed was a ring with a big ruby on it. Elvira’s ring, the eye of Dawn, which her diary indicated had gone missing. Dirty little rascals. A bit further ahead I reached a little pond with a stone cross in the middle. There was not a lot to do in this place but for gathering quite a few lilies and algae from the pond. It’s something, at least.
|I like the celtic touch. May I call your designer?
I was still missing that clover so I searched the maze and the rest of the garden clicking on everything to no avail. Sadly, it is still a mystery if I will be able to complete the game. And it will keep like that at least until the next instalment of this series. Keep tuned!
|FUN FACT: Take this map and the garden one and explain how can you put this maze in there
DEATH BONUS ROUND (TOTAL DEATHS: 10 and a half):
|Ok, ok. Not a death, but I wanted to show it anyway. Now you can see the sacrifices my eyes are making for your sake.
|Rockin’ Ricky Rialto fans? No, you are not f… AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!
Session Time: 1 hours 50 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 20 minutes
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