Written by Morpheus Kitami
With the mausoleum protected by someone with more shotgun shells than brain cells and the "1st floor" presumably flooded with spirits who likely hate my guts...that leaves the basement. Seeing as my supply of food consists of a vague meal contained inside a tin foil pouch, possibly spoiled, it seems the wise choice.
|Pictured: Not the wise choice|
Unfortunately, Roberts of Boston failed to drop a letter mentioning these things. They look a bit like gargoyles, so that's what I'll call them for now, never mind that gargoyles are winged fellows. I'll probably need some kind of sledgehammer or explosive device to deal with these things. The poker doesn't do a lot of damage and one J. Olson meets the sweet embrace of death once again. But death is fairly cheap.
|Either this guy's been teleporting or there are many of him, I don't know which is worse|
Fortunately, the gargoyle isn't blocking the only way into the basement...Whether or not I'll be able get out again is going to be interesting. There's another one of the weird floating things, still neutral. He's in a hallway that could be described as VHS-shaped, if one counts the secret room in the middle. That contains a couple of vials of holy water, which I shall leave there for now. The three northern doors in this section, from the northeast wherein I entered are: Another gargoyle, and an open door that teleports me back whenever I attempt to open it.
|Nothing's going to scream sanity like wandering around with a kitchen knife|
There are two doors on the western side. I pick the central one. The layout of the room perplexes me, a chair, a set of drawers, and a kitchen knife. The drawers were empty too. You know, I haven't seen a kitchen yet. Maybe its like Alone in the Dark and its on the 1st floor. The knife is probably an upgrade from the poker. Probably. Doesn't matter if it's not. I threw the poker to get rid of it and now its apparently stuck behind the drawers. That's nice.
|Is this a spell or an advertisement?|
The other western door leads to a hallway. An open hallway. Suspiciously clear of gargoyles. I find a little hidey-hole containing another spell. This one's actually useful. Belgor's Mental Violation. Sounds like a straightforward offensive spell. Let's see if it works. Let's find one of those gargoyles and kill him with magic, since might did nothing. They actually make noises as they walk along, in stark contrast to the silent killer, the zombie. This is effective at creating a sense of dread, since so far they're lethal.
|Now I just have to try every other item until I find something that works|
That doesn't work. Spells seem to work depending on how skilled the player is in magic and I have not put any points into magic yet. Whether this is due to a base stat and not the specific spell's stat...the spells all have a stat, like a regular stat. So, because Olson doesn't know which edition of D&D Magic Missile is in and instead does important things, like talking to Superman. Fortunately, the old standby of tricking the monster into a closed room still works. Barely, now I'm nearly dead. You can even hear them walk when they're safely tucked away in another room. I still have plenty of bandages.
|I feel like this should have been accompanied by some kind of majestic fanfare|
With that guy out of the way, I get a lot more options. There's a corridor south, which turns dark. There's a sort of cross-shaped hallway before the area opens back up again. Gargoyle to the north, stairs up to the south. Behind the locked door in the lobby to be precise, its not a way back up yet. Quite a few locked doors to the west, the furthest being in the line of sight of another gargoyle. Oh, and north there's a room with a shotgun. It fires rock salt, and if its effective against the gargoyles one shot isn't going to cut it.
|An entire floor and not enough for an attribute. Good.|
I suppose I should talk about the RPG aspect for a little bit. As mentioned in the opening post, there are attributes, which govern a set of stats. I think I get experience from reading notes and walking around, otherwise I filled up that bar with a single zombie. I put all my points in dodging, seems the wise choice with the gargoyles blocking me and getting a free hit along with it. No telling what else is lurking around here.
I slowly advance down the darkened hallway. First room, no footsteps. A note and a key. The note is written by yet another person and in blood.
Alberoth may be one of Robert's all-powerful and invincible Dark Gods, but he's "Old Nosey" to me. The slimy toad may be in more than one place at the same time, but he can't stop me from exploring beneath the house or rushing past him up the eastern stairs.
Brother, you are a fool. The powers of darkness will not protect you from my axe!
This...this tells me nothing. I haven't seen this Alberoth guy yet. What, is Alberoth all these gargoyles? That'd make sense. Probably why I can't kill them. Also, why can I read this in the dark?
|Note that this is apparently a triangle shaped room|
The hallway continues to be thankfully empty. There's one of the gargoyles in the middle room, but we never get close. The next room is interesting...yet not interesting. Its pre-rendered and yet I can examine nothing in it. Not the jewel, takes a while for the skull. No, apparently the interesting thing is the ray of light. The only thing I can think of to use here is the rune stone I've been lugging around. You know, I probably should have left that upstairs. I use it on the ray of light. It only throws the stone. I think that answers the question of whether or not this could stand on its merits as an adventure game.
|Sometimes things work out better than expected|
The series of darkened rooms ends with a big room containing...a box of snacks. Probably stale crackers. Hmm-hmm. There's another door, this one leading roughly into the same area I arrived from. I think I'll wait on going into that door. I figure since I have a new key I can try some of the locked doors I left behind. It opens, but the room's empty, except for a safe. Surely I don't have the key to this safe I think to myself. Nope, I have it. Inside, an electronic tool kit, this must be what I need to fix the power upstairs. My luck certainly is changing.
With this kind of luck I think of getting the gargoyle out of his hiding place, but no, the guy won't do anything unless I advance north from the most western door. So the only reason why I'd ever fight that guy is my own incompetence. The key works wonders on the central door, and there's even more treasure in here. A healing spell, a pair of batteries, oh, and a M-16 magazine. Which is a strange thing to find casually on the ground. The western-most door also unlocks, and contains a gallon can of gasoline and some rock salt. I'm really supposed to just plop that in the shotgun as-is, huh?
|These guys look ridicious from the side|
I decide, since I've got three shots of rock salt now, hey, I can take something out. This ends badly. I fire off a couple of shots at a gargoyle and nothing happens. I'm starting to think the bloodwritten note was about these guys. I don't have the time to turn around, so I run north, barreling past a door. This guy's here, and he isn't doing anything. Probably can't see me. Why mess with perfection? But in my panic to protect myself, I turn around, get confused, see a gargoyle and barrel right past the gremlin...into a room with nothing. Nice.
|Or is this the triangle?|
So I run back out, since I have no choice in the matter. He's still just hanging there. No gargoyles around, but I swear I saw one somewhere. I'll call this guy a gremlin, its what he looks like. There's another gremlin past him, this one's walking around and attacks me. But he won't enter this here triangle thing. The door back's gone, so I take a door north. Which was another bad move because the door there is also gone...accursed one-way doors.
The room contains another pair of gremlins, one standing still, one in guarding a door. The guard chases after me, but after some clever movement on my part, I get past him. This is bringing me further and further into territory I don't know how to escape from. This rock salt shotgun is a joke and does nothing. I might as well be tossing that grave dust I found on the ground floor into their faces. There's a book in here, and another anchor thing, but no way out. The book seems to be something that isn't magic. I'll hold onto it for now, reading it now might end up summoning Belgor or Alberoth or Agatha, and I don't want that.
|I've going to have to come to this basement a lot, aren't I?|
As it turns out the entire northern half of the map is a maze specifically designed to screw over the player. Oh, there are quite a few staircases down here...to the second basement. I don't want the second basement, I want the ground floor. So I can repair the fusebox and then see something that isn't stoney and grey. There's lots of nice stuff here, funeral urn, ammo, including for a .44 revolver, hope its a for a Model 29. There's just so much stuff and I don't have the room for any of it.
Of interest, there are three different stairs down. One which has a note from one Anton Wisniewski talking about how he's been offering up the lunatics on the 2nd floor asylum to the sea daemons in his basement, natch. The room with the urn can only be navigated by walking sideways, forward or back causes a feeling of dread. Doesn't apply when you're walking out a door, because you can only open it facing it. Another door that doesn't open, but you can walk straight through. Also, I feel compelled to mention it, if you click the aim button and there's no enemy nearby, until you actually click on an enemy, the crosshair replaces the cursor. In addition to imprecision, it also prevents me from picking up items with the left mouse click.
|WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS!?|
Wanna know how you get out of the concrete hell Winthrop or Wisniewski or Prentiss made? On the eastern side of the feeling of dread room there's a door. From there, a long hallway, which breaks off to go back to one of the downstairs. Gremlin in here, which is annoying, but there doesn't seem to be anything. Probably a mistake on my part. At the end of the hall, there's nothing. Its right up against a wall in the area that I started in. This is a secret door, and if I didn't already know that there was literally no other way back there, I wouldn't have even tried it. At first I hated it, but then I got to thinking. Somebody's trapped up on the northern half of the map, they probably came from the unlocked basement door. Further, they also probably ran away from the first gargoyle, after all, why engage in violence when running away is an option? They're hiding the fact that you can see through secret doors cleverly.
But then as I am running up the stairs I notice something. Something awful. There's a note here. What's in the note? I don't know, I didn't drop it. Its clever making use of the limited visibility of the player to prevent them from noticing important items, but at the same time, what purpose is this? I'm going to go down there again, there's like thirty items and several staircases down. Probably where the final boss is too, if Alone in the Dark and general Lovecraftian experience holds true. Sea daemons are just a code word for fish people, after all.
And what was all this for? A couple of spells, a shotgun that doesn't do squat, the toolkit to restore power and a hide-bound book...well...Anton Wisniewski's diary. Might still be made of human skin. Now I know to burn incense to get rid of "servitors". Or maybe it's for the sea daemons. Well, at least the power goes back on after throwing the electronic toolkit at it a couple of times. Plus, the door at the entrance, the one that leads to the basement? I did indeed have the key for it. Come to think of it, doesn't that mean I screwed myself on half of this entry? I have to go downstairs and back up again to move some things. Yeah, that's gonna take a while.
Inventory: Medikit, kitchen knife, S&W M10, speedloader of small calibre ammunition (x2), keyring, flashlight, music sheet, briefcase, juju fetish, M16 clip
Spellbook: Shroud of the Shadow Walker, Agatha's Iron Fist, Belgor's Mental Violation, Elixir of Health
This Session: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 00 minutes