Written by Morpheus Kitami
Before I continue, I thought I'd take the opportunity to talk about the house and the family tree of Winthrop. I decided to check the manual for once. Its funny, because I usually do that and this is one game I've never read the manual on before. There's a point sort of in favor that this game plays so well without a manual. Funnily, it basically confirms that my playing style, because whenever combat comes up, running is suggested, only "if the odds are on my side" should I fight. On the other hand, it also says that I should extensively check everything, implying that some items are hidden. We'll see if that happens for once, because I've had to find more hidden objects in shooters. Also, its Agatta's Iron Fist, not Agatha. I'm assuming that was misspelled on the spellbook otherwise I have much worse reading comprehension than I thought.
|The mansion, supposedly|
There are two problems with this map. First, and you probably already figured this out, is that every floor is roughly a square. It might not be a perfect square, but the entire possible map space is used. This map could not actually depict the house as it is unless I've been exclusively moving through the bit rebuilt after the fire. Its not vertical either, the stuff at the bottom is the front of the house. Some of the images included in the manual show that, and that there are six floors. Two of them are just the tips of towers though. Second, in-game documents describe north as the top portion of the map, I'm not just using that conventionally. North in the picture...is right. I realize that time passes between the writing of a manual and the finalization of a game, but that much, really?
|The family tree|
This is the same one seen earlier in the game, except I know these people now, and I can actually read it. There is of course old Elias, married to Ann, who died in childbirth. Then Hildebrand, the drunkard, who apparently magically shot a child out of his tacklebox on two separate occasions. Seriously, how hard would it have been to make up a "Severina Baker" or something? Lord knows we haven't heard much about Lawrence Mayhew and Grace Alton yet, I don't remember anything. And this doesn't even mention all the named members of the family. Where's Miles's other daughter, the "Siren of Lockport"? Unless Miriam "Feeding the insane to the sea's son" Murchison pulled some 'Allo 'Allo level trickery off, she isn't that kind of evil. Then its relatively unmentioned until Ellen "Axe" Prentiss and Robert "I am the One" Prentiss.
What's important is that these two people are Jane's 2nd cousins once removed. I think. Once you get into removals I start thinking about why they were removed and why they're back. Which means she does actually have the Winthrop blood. That's a pretty good chance that at the end Jane's going to say screw it and praise the Dark Triumvirate. This issue of Superman's Pal, Jane Olson is going to get dark. Its also important to note that Carl could actually be a real person, and not just Elias putting up an illusion. Nevertheless, the game should get on with explaining some of these unmentioned characters stories before my only concern is defeating the Dark Triumvirate.
|BEHOLD, the magic inventory space, see it now, but not later! SPOOKY!|
Now, where was I? Ah, yes, examining a wall. "It's a wall!" Fellas, you're the ones who let me do that. Room one, featuring another crab. I really hope I'm not setting myself up for trouble later on by using the shield. I don't know why I think that, none of the items have had a durability before now. Unfortunately, the shield turns this fight into tedium. Whack him with the axe, wait half a second, repeat until he's dead. I'm not going to find out when I finish the game and finally consult a walkthrough that I chose the worst possible item to use on these things, am I? After his death, I examine all the plaques. This is the room where I'm supposed to place all the statues. I think this was a missed opportunity to do some real adventure game stuff and not specify what name is on the statues, leave notes in places. Sure, it'd make the game harder, but it'd be nice if I felt like I was playing an adventure game for once. Still, since this is supposed to remove some kind of enemy from the game, I should get on it.
|You try getting a picture of something disappearing|
Its more of a journey than I expected. You see, I forgot I left the statues on the other side of the floor. I go down to the asylum, get the one I left there, go to the 1st floor, think I left them on the ground floor, and as soon as I reach there realize my mistake. After all that, and saving, I put the statues where they should be, explode them with fire, and get told all the night crawlers are gone. That doesn't tell me anything, because the night crawlers aren't in this room anymore, because in a few short moments I realize the crabs are gone. The floor is free of enemies. The slimes don't really count. Freedom...except for all those locked doors. Had to use that experience on the fireball spell, hope that isn't going to screw me over later.
|Eh, I've seen worse fast food|
Now there's a couple more items I have to retrieve from downstairs, the plaque, which I keep misspelling as plague and the urn. I can't forget about that little nook isolated from the rest of the floor either. That turns out to be rather useful for my "supposed" objective of summoning the Karcist, his heart, plus another crystal. With another confusing incident regarding the hand of glory and the juju fetish, resulting in me going back to pick it up, I'm off once again to exploring the 3rd floor.
|If I can't find the M16, this rifle is going to have to do against that shotgun-toting zombie|
My journey begins in the northwest, here, there are a couple of rifle clips. It doesn't specify what, and it uses the same image as the .45 clip, but its different. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that it fits in the Winchester in the south, but that wouldn't have been helpful if I was scrambling around grabbing items while getting chased by a night crawler.
|Instead of the shuriken, here's a picture of Alberoth, note the third oil can|
After that I tried to solve what I believe is a puzzle I lack all the items to. There are two pedestals in a southern room, one with a shuriken plate on it, and another with a shuriken on it. Since I had the plate, I assumed the puzzle was to use the other shuriken plate from below, move shuriken over to the over one, but that did nothing. I guess I have to find another shuriken.
|I appreciate the idea, but couldn't they have checked this beforehand?|
I gradually move room by room through floor, finding little more than before. Dodging the slimes is not the most fun activity, there are icy winds all over the map which require you to relight the hand of glory. So after dodging a slime during one such incident, I look to my right in a little niche and see this. Must be a teleporter, I think to myself, I'll be moving into another room. How nice of them to do this. Then it loads...the music changes...they're not really doing this, are they?
After the initial shock, I take a look around. Eldritch squirrels are in the distance. I wonder why the 3rd floor is the one open and not the 2nd, but far be it for me to question the design choices of this game at this hour. There are these cubes, which take you back to the physical plane, but most are blocked off. Except the one I came through. This was actually a bit of a problem, because there's no minimap. Which I hope is related to that Mayan God I was supposed to pick up earlier in the game and not just a way to make the game more difficult. Last thing I need is the game throwing that at me.
|I'm starting to understand this floor less and less|
When I go back exploring I find myself checking a room I've already checked. Its supposed to have a horned skull, but I didn't see the other pedestal. Its supposed to have the Hand of Glory. So I save, put it on there...and nothing happens. I'm not really going to have a choice here, am I?
|Charles Wenlock, Magician of the Right Hand|
Exploring the Ethereal Plane, as I soon discover it is called, might have already read that, who cares, is a tricky thing. At first I think I have to precisely remember where I am. I find a person, but not the person I already met, in a sense. This one doesn't say anything about the Karcist. Instead he's yet another new character in this ever-expanding drama. Charles has been stuck here for some time and only sometimes reaches out to the physical realm when he can. He tells me about how to kill Belthegor, bad news is I haven't even begin to touch upon defeating him. Charles will give me stuff I need to do that if I give him a little of my power. I actually assumed it would be a lot more than it was, my meter barely moved. In return I get a spell to kill Belthegor and a pair of crystal glasses which will help me reach the Astral Plane.
With that I return to the physical plane. At this point, I have a problem. All these doors on this floor, well, they're not going to unlock with my current skill in mechanical, assuming they can be unlocked at all by that method. I'm not going to try the mausoleum again until I've got that M16 or its readily apparent I have no other choice. I still technically have two other choices, the beyond...and the basement. There were two doors in the basement I left untouched. One that shot me back and another with one of those stone gargoyles. I'm thinking I should test to see if this shield protects against the teeth of other monsters.
|As creepy as these guys look from a distance, up close they look like a joke|
My approach into the basement was through a non-traditional method. One of the rooms on the ground floor contains trap doors that can be toggled with a switch. My line of thinking is that because one of the rooms in the basement shoots you away when you try to enter, that there's a trap above. It leads me into ghoul country. But I have a shield and a .38. It takes many rounds to take him out, but what's important is that he's dead and I'm feeling fine. However, it'll probably be for the best if I keep the .38 as a zombie killing weapon rather than ghoul-killer.
|Note that this guy is protecting a single vial of holy water|
I come back with an axe. With the shield and the axe, I can do the one thing I haven't been able to do the entire game. Gargoyle guarding the east stairwell? Dead. Gargoyle guarding the fusebox. Dead. The southern area is completely clear of any wandering beasties that might interfere with my peace of mind. That means I can, at my leisure fix the fusebox...and...uh...there's nothing else down here. Now for the northern half.
|The health meter flashes between the heart symbol and a poison one when poisoned|
Now, the problem I didn't quite have when taking out a single ghoul is that they are poisonous. This isn't a minor thing, if you're poisoned in combat, and they're actually hitting you, you are dead. With a shield? Eh, minor problem. See, the poison only seems to actually hurt you in combat, out of combat it's much slower. I guess that's realism. I take out a good clip of ghouls before coming into a group of three, with myself being nearly dead and lacking a vial of holy water. Because down here I find another plaque, for an eye, eh, I'll find out what it is for next time.
Inventory: circlet, bullet-proof vest, zulu shield, axe, rune stone, medikit (x3), holy water, spellbook, keyring, matches, mechanical toolkit, snack box
Spellbook: Shroud of the Shadow Walker, Agatta's Iron Fist, Belgor's Mental Violation, Elixir of Health, Aura of Mystic Defense, Flames of Desolation, Dimensional Rift, Key of the Shadow Lord, Crimson Mysts of Myamoto, Xython's Guiding Eye, Wind of Destruction
This Session: 2 hours 00 minutes
Total Time: 18 hours 00 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!