Tuesday 5 December 2017

Quest For Glory I - Baba the Hutt

Written by TBD.

Okay. Time to see what I've been up to lately in the land of Spielburg...

Martak the Magic-User Journal Entry #3: I finally met a wizard whose skills rivalled my own, and beat him at his own game on only my second attempt (as far as he knows). I also made a deal with a Frost Giant and a witch, who I now have a plan for dealing with permanently. I just need to deal with those pesky bandits...

I left off last week with a to do list for each character. One of the things my magic-user needed to do was get a spirea seed, which I thought I'd need a Fetch spell for. I still couldn't afford a Fetch spell, having avoided fights with my mage, but trying my rarely useable Open spell on that screen told me I didn't need the Fetch spell for this puzzle.

Much more satisfying than the usual response of “The spell has no effect.”

One thing I haven't yet mentioned is that, apart from the skills for attributes and abilities, my magic-user also has skill levels with each spell, that increases each time I use the spell. I checked my Open spell skill, which was 19.

Rather than practice the spell until I ran out of spell points, sleep and repeat (which I tried but got killed in my sleep) I decided to pay a visit to the castle instead. Being faced with a closed portcullis I found the perfect opportunity to practice using my Open spell


The solution was simply to click on the portcullis, which has the guard, Karl, open the door for me. Karl also tells me the familiar information on the Baron's children disappearing and Baba Yaga's curse.

Inside the castle I can talk to a weapon master who won't train me because I'm not a fighter, and find the stables, which I can clean.

Computer game hero, ladies and gentlemen

I get a fun little cutscene of me cleaning, taking a break, being yelled at and cleaning again, then getting 5 silvers and being able to talk to the stablemaster.

Um... the only horse here is the exact opposite of black, pal.

I can sleep in the stables for free now that I've cleaned it, but after I wake the stablemaster demands I work again. That doesn't bother me as it nets me an extra 5 silver, which I'll need for more spells.

I can also check out the barracks to the west, and when I touch the guard, I get dragged into the dungeon.

That's a harsh penalty for trying to get someone's attention, but okay.

I can't open the barracks with either my hands or my Open spell, and I can't enter the castle proper, but I'm sure I'll be able to once I recover one of the Baron's children.

I leave the castle area and do some plant gathering in order to make some money, selling my plants to the healer. She buys my fairy-ring mushrooms and my Erana's peace flowers, giving me enough cash to buy another spell.

Fetch spell here I come....

I buy the Fetch spell, and now only need to buy the Flame spell, which I can't yet afford. I go to the nest outside the healer's house in order to get the nest and her missing ring.

I see this message a lot. I seem to be constantly short on Magic Points or Stamina.

Instead of sleeping the night I take some advice from Kus of the Valley and Fenrus, who commented on my previous post that I should be able to rest instead of sleeping for the night. I can, but have never considered it before purely because I always only considered resting when my points were empty and thought I should sleep until morning to increase my points back to maximum

This is the sleep screen. This time I went for the 60 minutes option.

The small rest took me from 3 Magic Points to 15 Magic Points, which is easily enough to cast a Fetch spell.

Fetch spell in action. Now to learn Sit, Beg and Roll Over.

I take the ring, leaving the remnants of the nest on the ground, and go inside for my gold reward. I use my gold to buy the Undead Unguent in order to hopefully be able to survive the cemetery at nighttime.

I then go back to the spitting spirea plants and cast my open spell again, which is now at 34 points of expertise. This turns out to be enough to open the plants, which has them spit the seed onto the ground.

I am now one with the woods!

I take the seed to the dryad, who asks me if I'm willing to give her the seed. I say no, just to be annoying, but all that does is make her retreat back into the tree until I give it to her. I leave the screen, then come back and give her the seed.

I also get the meep fur, which my thief got last week, and the meep gives me a Detect Spell scroll that my fighter and thief was unable to get.

Time to visit the 'ermit! Using my trusty hand-drawn map, I return to the waterfall and cast my new Detect Spell spell near the hermit's cave. I'm not sure I would have thought of doing this if my thief hadn't been told that there was an invisible magic ladder on the cliff-face, so I'll take it as an advantage of playing with all three characters. Thanks, Trevor the Thief!

The ladder should be there even if I can't see it. Why couldn't I feel it? Adventure game puzzles I suppose - required to make the game fun - ah, fair enough.

I climb the ladder and cast the open spell on the door. But when I do 'Enry the 'Ermit just says, “'ello” and closes the door before I can go in. Being too stupid to think of the obvious solution, I leave and make my way to the cemetery

Before the ghosts kill me at the cemetery, I rub the unguent on my body, which makes the ghosts ignore me, then take the mandrake root.

You're going to make me time this perfectly aren't you, game?

I recall being told something along the lines of getting the mandrake at midnight, and when I check the time am told the night is still young.

I take a 60 minute rest, but the night is still young. Annoyingly, the game won't let me rest twice in a row.

And not allowing me to pass time until I get to do something fun is supposed to make me LESS impatient?

I walk around randomly for a little bit (I think I need to expend a few points of stamina before it will let me rest again) including a few lost fights and reloads, and after a few 60 minute rests it is 'the middle of the night'. I go back to the cemetery, nervous that time will tick over or my unguent will wear off before I get there, but it all works out and I get the mandrake root successfully this time. I also notice I have an empty flask in my inventory – I don't know how I got it but I'm not one to look a gift flask in the mouth so after spending the night at the meadow of Erana's peace I get back to exploring.

I go to the troll cave (which I find out is actually an ogre cave) that I went to last time and cast Calm on the ogre so I can get past him. He's easy enough to walk past, but I figure it never hurts to get spell experience. I cast my spell again to calm the bear and get into the kobold section of the cave. Armed with my Fetch spell I use it to try to get the key from the sleeping kobold. It unfortunately wakes him so not only do I not get the key but I have to dodge his lightning bolts. After doing so for a while hoping he'll run out of magic points, I die.

Reloading, I cast my Detect Spell spell in the kobold section, which notes the magical key, as well as an invisible chest at the south of the cavern. The chest is trapped, which I can avoid by casting a Fetch spell, but not without waking the kobold. I leave to come back later.

I go back to the hermit's cave and use the empty flask that I somehow acquired to get flying falls water and once again attempt to enter the hermit's cave. I try various things to get the hermit to notice me after magically opening the door and run out of magic points in my attempts before the obvious solution hits me...

I knock on the door.

It works.

I feel very very stupid.

I talk to 'Enry the 'Ermit with the only difference to my thief's conversation being that I can learn the 'Trigger' spell.

I go back to the healer's with all the items she needs apart from the fairy dust, which I can only get at night.

I then spend a bit more time flower collecting to raise money and casting various spells before resting to increase my skills.

In my travels I meet a fox who's stuck in a bear trap. I can rescue it with either my hands or my open spell and it gives me some extremely useless information...

And now you know what the fox says!

I'm already working for the Dryad so I saved the fox for nothing. Okay, I saved the fox because I'm a nice guy, but that's probably the same liar of a Fox who ate the gingerbread man so Screw You, Fox.

I was hoping I'd be able to take the bear trap, but I can't do anything with it, so I explore more and attempt to deal with the Frost Giant.

As has become my habit, I cast all my spells on any screen of interest, largely to get spell practice. My Detect Spell spell detects magic from the glowing gem on the Frost Giant's belt. When I try to cast a spell in order to win a fight with him, such as a Calm spell, my character stupidly runs right up to him before attempting to cast the spell.

Having the game make me run up to him in order to cast the spell, thus enabling him to kill me, annoys me. A better solution would be for him to throw the axe at me while I'm casting the spell – it would achieve the same result but not have my character do something I clearly didn't intend.

Anyway, I continue to explore and visit the mage Erasmus' castle.

It's only a model

A gargoyle at the mage's tower entrance asks me three questions before he'll let me enter.

Any fan of the excellent Monty Python and the Holy Grail can guess the first two questions I'm asked. The third seems to be random and usually another pop culture reference, which I enjoyed.

If I answer honestly, I'm invited in. I start off in a room full of magical items. If I try the wrong thing, such as touching a glowing orb, it annoys the dragon head.

I'm teleported back to the tower path's entrance. I return, and this time my character is physically exhausted and collapses at the entrance. After regaining consciousness, I'm once again asked three questions.

I was very tempted to go with the Guybrush Threepwood line, but after already tiring myself by walking here twice I go with the first option instead.

Instead of touching Erasmus' stuff, this time I go straight upstairs to meet Erasmus and his familiar, Fenrus the rat. I talk to Erasmus and he randomly inserts punny jokes into the conversation, and has a friendly ribbing relationship with Fenrus where they keep making jokes at each other's expense.

The most interesting thing he has to say is that there's a countercurse to the curse that Baba Yaga's put on the Baron.

My guess: Me!

My guess: a dispel magic potion on the bandit minotaur

My guess: a dispel magic potion on the bandit wizard

My guess: get rid of Baba Yaga

That gives me another nice list of things I need to do. I like having a clear purpose in adventure games. Onward!

After talking to Erasmus for a while he offers to play a game with me and if I win he'll teach me the spell “Dazzle”. To play I need to already know Fetch, Open, Flame Dart and Trigger. The only one I don't know is Flame Dart and I still can't afford it yet.. Apparently the “Dazzle” spell will cause anyone looking at it to be blinded for awhile - sounds useful.

I try to stand up and Erasmus gets upset and sends me back to the beginning of the path. Which is fine with me because I was ready to leave anyway.

I decide to visit the antwerp, who looks like it might be made of water. I try the 'Open' spell, thinking maybe if I open it its insides might spill out. But I'm surprised by what happens instead.

I found a camoflaged door I hadn't noticed.

I should mention that when you cast most spells in this game, you just cast them on the screen and the game guesses what you meant. In this case, it guessed wrong but told me something I needed to know. Thank you, game! The game mentioned my Open spell skill wasn't high enough, so I leave for now and do more exploring, skill increasing and money earning.

At the entrance to the town, I find a thief throwing his knife in the air. He offers information for money, so I save my game and give him some money.

He also offers special information for two gold. If I give him the two gold he tells me the rhyme to get into Baba Yaga's hut, but I already got that info for free elsewhere. I reload, because I'm not giving that thief my hard-earned money for useless info. Besides I have just enough cash to buy the Flame Dart spell.

I buy the Flame Dart spell, leaving me with a coin pouch full of nothing.

Who needs money when I have a full spellbook?

Now that I have all the spells I need, I make the long trek back to Erasmus' tower, answer the gargoyle's three questions (including the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything) and prompty lose my first game of Mage's Maze

I had only a few magic points when I started this game – not a good idea

Having no idea how to play the game, I decided to come back later after sleeping to refill my magic points. I had a few other things I wanted to try anyway, so I went to the Frost Giant, confident that a flame dart would be the best way of dealing with a being of frost.

Disappointment rose in me as my character walked right next to the giant before casting the spell.

I was all the way to the left of screen when I pressed the Cast Flame Dart spell button and directed it at the Frost Giant.

Well, it was a nice idea. After a reload, I decided to see what the manual had to say about Erasmus' Mage's Maze game.

After reading this I still wasn't sure what I was supposed to be doing.

With the instructions fresh in my mind, I returned to the tower, answered the gargoyle's questions, including turning the tables when he asked me the mean air speed of an unladen swallow, and challenged Erasmus to a game.

I'm still confused

One of the biggest problems I had with this Mage's Maze game was that, despite two pages of instructions, the game or manual never told me the actual objective of the game. To quote the manual, “The object of the game is to encourage your bug to finish the game first.” This might be helpful, manual, IF YOU TOLD ME WHAT FINISHING THE GAME ACTUALLY ENTAILS! Should I try to get to the cave the other bug started at? Should I attempt to lock the other bug in a cave with a boulder? Is there a part of the map I need to reach that is essentially a finish line?

What I eventually worked out was that finishing the game consists of getting to the bottom right of the screen. (Come on, that wasn't too hard to explain, game manual!)

I think the game is making a joke, guessing that most players will save the game at the start of the maze and actually make many attempts before succeeding – like I did.

I do give the game credit for allowing me to save the game while in the maze. Many games would not allow it, adding to the frustration of trying to win the mini-game. I appreciated that touch, game – thank you!

Now that I have the Dazzle spell, and have earned some more money, I go to town and but a lot of fruit and vegetables in an effort to buy the glowing gem from Brauggi the Frost Giant. I give him my 50 apples, and he seems content.

Brauggi went back home, now that he had a handful of apples, and I take the gem to the skull outside Baba Yaga's hut.

I put the gem into his eye socket, and as promised he opens the gate. I then talk to the hut and say the rhyme, “Hut of Brown, Now Sit Down.”

The hut sits and I enter, then watch as the witch turns me into a frog. She offers not to cook me in exchange for a mandrake root.

Technically, I already have a mandrake root, but along with my clothes you must have turned it into part of a frog.

She sends me outside and turns me back into a human. Having the root already, I immediately re-enter her hut and give her the root. She can now make her greatest creation, Mandrake Mousse!

As a reward, she doesn't kill me but threatens to do so if I return - she really knows how to make a guy feel appreciated. I guess that I'll need the magic mirror that the bandits have in order to reflect her spell back at her, but go back in after saving just to see what happens.

This pun confirms my suspicions. So I know to come back after dealing with the bandits.

I go back to the antwerp scene, and try to kill it with my new flame dart spell. It has the same effect as attacking it with a sword - it flies off the screen and reappears above me on the next screen. I use my dagger to turn it into many small antwerps, but can't do anything with them despite trying a bunch of spells. I leave them for now and try to open the camoflaged door the antwerp was in front of. With some more Open Spell skill, the door now opens.

Inside the cave is a troll. I'm immediately put into a fight, and knowing my troll lore from other games or legends I try to kill it with fire.

Fire does absolutely NO damage to this troll. This is going to be a problem.

I can't escape this encounter, so after dying I reload.

Now I attempt to vist the other place I haven't solved yet in this game – the bandit area. I attempt to cast a spell, but the game won't let me.

This message annoyed me more than it should have.

Let me try to explain why I was annoyed. This is what happens when I first enter the screen...

This whole sequence takes about ten seconds, and for that entire time I'm unable to access my spells or inventory.

One thing I tried due to the death message was moving around before casting a spell. That didn't work though. I got particularly annoyed that the game made fun of me for stopping for so long before attempting to cast a spell when it was the game itself that refused to allow me to act while the archers slowly appeared and drew their bows at me.

Anyway, I reloaded and went back to the antwerp screen with a new plan. Here's my thought process...
  • The antwerp moves away from me whenever I get close to it. 
  • On that screen I have an open door that leads to a troll cave.
  • I cannot damage the troll.
  • Perhaps the antwerp could kill the troll for me. 
I attempted to herd the antwerp into the troll cave but when it got close to the door it just manoeuvred around to the other side of me instead. Oh well, it was worth a try.

Despite my recent failures, I feel I achieved a lot this time. And rather than go into detail on what my Thief and Fighter have been up to and making this post too long I'll deal with their adventures next time.

Here's our updated to do list after this section

  • Get spirea seed (I suspect after buying a fetch/telekinesis spell) 
  • Get Healer's ring (Again, I feel telekinesis is the answer) 
  • Find a way into the hermit's cave 
  • Get Fairy Dust from mushroom ring without dancing to death 
  • Get flying water (after buying an empty flask from the provisioner) 
  • Get mandrake root (after buying Undead potion from healer) 
  • Do something about the antwerp – it's not bothering anyone, but I hate that it exists and want it dead! 
  • Get better at fighting (magic) 
So we've achieved 6 out of 8. Not bad. Let's add a few more things to our list
  • Deal with troll cave (real troll cave this time – I thought the creature outside the bear/kobold cave was originally a troll, but now know it's an ogre 
  • Deal with Ogre/Bear/Kobold cave 
  • Deal with Bandits 
  • Get even better at magic
Tune in next time when we visit the guild of thieves and hopefully get rid of the annoying kobold shaman and bandits.

Here's my magic-user's current stats, including his expertise in each spell. Most of his skills are much higher than last time, which makes me feel like I've achieved something - ACHIEVEMENT! INCREASED SKILLS.

Spell skill expertise:
Open: 50
Detect Spell: 26
Trigger: 14
Dazzle: 10
Zap: 20
Calm: 18
Flame Dart: 12
Fetch: 28

MARTAK: And that's my story. A lot of action, fun, spell casting, winning a battle of wits against the area's eminent wizard.
TREVOR: But what about our story? We don't have time for you to hear about my time in the Thieves' Guild headquarters...
FRODO: Or how I managed to cleverly get to the hermit's cave without either spell or climbing ability...
TREVOR: You probably just threw stones at it until he opened it in annoyance
FRODO: Fine, but I'm going first next time.
MARTAK: Fine with me.
TREVOR: I can't wait. Just be sure to wake me when you finish.
Session time: 5 hours 50 minutes
Total time: 12 hours 35 minutes


  1. My guess: get rid of Baba Yaga

    In the original EGA version of this game that might have been the only interpretation, but in this mouse-interface one, we always liked to joke at this point that the remake had already "driven out the curser" in its change of interface.

  2. Ok, now I have to know: What DO you get when a Tyrannosaurus running 25 mph eastward meets another Tyrannosaurus running 15 mph westward?

    Good and funny write-up. I caught myself chuckling more than once.

    I see you sometimes apply adventure game logic to situations where rpg logic would be more suitable. As your spell skills increase, the effectiveness of some spells will increase too.

    1. Glenaabfnhehf Jerpxf!

      Thanks, and hmm, something to keep in mind.

  3. In the EGA version it amused me that you could hide in the castle gatehouse and ask to be let in. They'll refuse the first time saying "Not without showing your face!". The second time they'll let you in fine. I loved the sneak animation, muahaha...!

  4. I was always curious whether Erasmus would say something different if the player actually took more than 500 tries to win, though admittedly, not curious enough to put i the effort to find out.

    1. I always worked the cursor keys during the game hoping the somehow managed to motivate the bug in one way or another. I remember it being mostly luck.