Saturday, June 28, 2014

Game 26: Rings of Power (Genesis) - Finished!

The final screen, but it's possible to keep playing
Lucky. That's the only reason we're getting to see the ending so soon. I may have, at one point, met other parties that didn't attack me right away; however, those meetings never turned into an opportunity to purchase a dragon stone from a wandering merchant. I wonder how long it would have taken to meet another one, and figure out how to interact with them. Considering this random encounter didn't happen for me within the 20-some-odd hours I've played, it's probably the one thing I'd be most afraid of going wrong in a speedrun (something I considered doing based on how much can be skipped).
Here's how I got a dragon stone, from a random chest just like the sand
In my last post I mentioned how very little information I had left to go on. I visited all the inns I could reach, and found no ring. I ended up going back to Tutu to fight him, and only received some extra experience. I returned to where I picked up Obliky to face off against the group of random enchanters. With my exceptionally high levels I gained initiative and wiped them out easily. They left behind a picture of the Ring of Mutation.
Is this like a collector card or a pinup?
With little more to go on, I revisited all the inns showing all the women the picture. I ran across a couple interesting locations. A volcano in the middle of the sea spewed fire. I couldn't find anything to do with it at the time; after I beat the game I learned it contained additional clues for one of the rings of necromancy. There was also another temple area northeast of the Fens, which provided a spot for random treasure (in fact there was one screen that always had new treasure), but nothing more.
A very boring abandoned temple
I commented in my previous post that I tried to return an orb to the sorcerer in Oxbridge, but he wouldn't acknowledge it. Sean helpfully mentioned this was the correct step to take, and I should have received the next clue. It turned out this was only partially correct, though I appreciate knowing something I tried should have worked. According to a FAQ I looked at, to confirm this bit after trying and failing to give the orb again, there was a sorcerer in Oxbridge I should show the orb, but it was a second one. One I'd failed to notice during my original exploration of the town.
In my defense he won the hide'n'seek championship this year
Knowing there was a sorcerer in one of the houses made the search much easier, but I still nearly missed him hiding in the corner with his cloak blending well with the bed/mirror/window colors. I showed him the orb, and he told me to visit an island of light at night. Doing so allowed me entrance, and I gave the sorcerer on the island the orb in exchange for a key. Showing the key to the first befuddled sorcerer back at Oxbridge allowed him to recall a riddle for seeking out Flamory, the dragon who stole the ring.
This part made no sense as I could not find a glowing path
Although the first part of the riddle made little sense (I scoured that desert without even a twinkle of a path), the second part mentioned the dragon resided near where life meets death, which could only mean Necropolis. He also mentioned selling doves for a bit of money, but having already purchased one I couldn't get another. I searched around Necropolis and at last found a dark cave. Inside was a battle against three dragons; beyond them three paths: blue, yellow, and red. Flamory was at the end of the red one; the other two had two single battles with nameless dragons. In exchange for the dove I was allowed anything from his treasury, and Buc automatically chose the Ring of Intuition.
The game is a bit confused at times... order of skeleton is a necromancer designation
Could you also be my pet dragon and fly me to Mesa?
It was after this point when I entered a random battle and found the dragon stones. I wandered around for at least an hour trying to drum up a wandering merchant. I even decrypted the hint regarding them, but it wasn't very helpful. I was ecstatic when the treasure description flashed on the screen. I hoped it was possible, but didn't really know until that point. I'm glad the game showed mercy on me. I took out my new dragon stone and... wasted it. It's only possible to use the stones where a dragon can land, and using it without a spot for it to spawn wastes the stone. I'm glad I got four from that chest.
Landing triumphantly at Mesa!
Mesa provided a store to purchase more dragon stones (I picked up 10, just in case). Strangely, I couldn't purchase magic sand.  It's only available from a single square if searched, but I missed the hint the first visit (not like I needed it any more). At the bottom of the government building was a piece of paper that explained why Mr. Belmont's business interests never took off in Mesa. Taking that back to Mr. B netted me a Bandit ID. There was also an inn, and wouldn't you know it, it's the one with an extra NPC.
I've heard it before, you were young and foolish, needed the money?
It's all very dramatic
One ring left... it felt good. I flew my new dragon over to the Power Lord's fortress. After a bit of effort to find a place to land, I entered and found no one named "Power Lord." Instead, four hostile parties attacked me as soon as I spoke to them. Each floor required a key to progress to the next, keys gained from the vanquished parties. On the last floor I gained a key to Motarin's crypt. I picked up a diary page that noted the crypt's location. The fight with Motarin was by far the hardest battle I faced. Really, combat is completely random. Like I said previously, it's a good thing enemies don't always choose the most devastating spells; otherwise, I'd never win.
Case in point... this spell three times is too much
I was sure I needed to gain that last level to have a chance. I took my time and purchased all the spells. I took a trip down to the bandits hideout to see what was behind the members only door. The ID I picked up from Mr. B's allowed me access, and I found Lenny hanging out next to the vault. For helping him out of his earlier jam he opened up the door. Inside was the Holy Seal stolen so long ago. Mr. B apparently heard the news that someone was rummaging in the vault, and came by with his elite guard. It was a tough battle, and I could have skipped it with the camp command, but I thought I might receive some item I needed (not the case). A strange incident happened that I haven't been able to reproduce. At one point, my knight cast a spell to hit each enemy (Puree), and for some reason it cast itself four times.
Mr. B miscast Pain and these giant swords remained on the battlefield until the end of the battle
I gained 50 whole experience from the battle with Mr. B. It's then that I realized just how far away I was from max level (at least 3000 more experience). I didn't really like the idea of grinding, so I saved outside Motarin's and just tried to get lucky. It only took a second attempt; Motarin and his other zombies only cast healing spells the first round... I told you it was random.
The last ring!
I made a beeline for the last location only available by air: the Fount of Heaven. It was there that Nexus was said to reside. Inside was a locked door. It responded to the holy seal by opening. Somehow, not ever explained, Darius was waiting for me inside. Darius explained how he was waiting for someone to arrive with all the rings. Why seek them out on his own when he could rely on someone else to succeed? His plan, to snatch the rings at the last possible moment. Little did he know... yeah I got nothing.
Best bluff all game
A fight ensued, and in the end I must have lucked out again as I succeeded on the first attempt. Darius put up a good fight, but with Buc and Mortimer paralyzing multiple enemies he really didn't stand a chance if I was able to survive a single round. All in all, there are a lot of spells to disable that luckily the enemy never used.
Uhh... what now?
Wee... off the map
After the battle, Buc floated off the screen. Scrolling text informed me that Void was now banished. Buc met Nexus in another realm and handed over the rings without question. Nexus deemed his return too great a risk as Void would return as well. He used the rings to recreate the Rod of Creation and gave it to Buc to rule the land. Nexus then set off in pursuit of Void. The world would now bow to me!
No setup for a sequel here
Is that... am I... how am I breathing?
Giving the rings... all eleven
Getting the rod... eleven ringed sections, nice attention to detail
Returning to the land Ushka Bau
It's been a rocky road, but overall the game was well paced. Unfortunately there were a lot of issues. Little things like misspellings, discovering the name of NPCs (which seemed to change, or the wrong one might appear in a few cases), and trying to find a wandering merchant added up over time. Big things like combat being a deadly affair for nearly half the game and being able to kill NPCs before learning certain hints (although I don't believe it's possible to save in a dead man walking state) created aggravation instead of challenge. A lot of the game came down to getting lucky. I'm not sure what purpose continuing after the end serves, but I think it's the first time it's possible for a console game (that isn't a PC port--i.e. discounting Wizardry).
Buc... your adventures have aged you so
One of the longer endings for a game of this era, complete with fireworks
The closest thing to a final screen, I barely caught this
Another game behind us. Next up I need to King's Bounty, then play through Magician. First though, let's get that final rating out of the way. Magician is a short game, so I may attempt to get through it completely (apparently it takes three times to get the true ending). I'm really looking forward to Warsong though, so let's get there quickly.

Elapsed Time: 5h01m (Final Time: 27h11m)


  1. Congratulations!

    That ending in space is reminiscent of the ending of Ultima VII: Serpent Isle. Makes me wonder if this game influenced any others? Certainly the collecting of parts of a staff thing occurs in The Elder Scrolls: Arena also.

    1. Thanks.

      Assembling parts to make a whole staff isn't really an original idea. I know of at least one early D&D module that had players assembling a seven part staff.

      On second thought, maybe Solstice (NES) is just a rip off of Rings of Power. ;)

  2. One thing I'll say about Warsong is that it's more of a strategy game than an RPG, really. The sequels have a few more RPG elements, but the games share more with Advance Wars or Military Madness than with a game like Rings of Power. That said, the Langrisser games are criminally underrated for fans of the subgenre.

    1. I've always had a soft spot for strategy games, even though I'm normally not very good at them. Still have lots of fun trying to figure them out.

  3. My favorite part of this game is that there's a spell that summons Slash to murder you.

    1. That's the one the zombie/necromancers kept using on me.

  4. Dammit, I've just posted a comment on the previous post explaining the wandering merchant stuff, not knowing you had figured it out on the next session, sorry about that... On a side note, I've completed the game two times (once some years ago, once earlier today) and I assure you that getting the stones from wandering merchants it's fairly easy if you play the game knowing that you need to keep an eye out for neutral parties.

    1. No worries. Yeah, I've been done with this game for quite a while, but it's still one of my favorite discoveries as I make my way through my list. I'll trust that what you say about the stones is true, but it doesn't help make it any less random for such a necessary item.