Sunday, February 8, 2015

Game #35: Might and Magic: Gates to Another World (Genesis) - Fabulous Fountains For Frolicking Frivolities

Let's brawl!
It's interesting how much time I can sink into this game and feel like I'm not really getting anywhere. In other games I'd probably be done, or at least have sense of how far I've come. Here, I have levels that matter only a bit; I've unlocked nearly all spell levels, but I've only finished a handful of quests. I also find myself facing full party annihilation more than I thought I'd face at my current level. I'm not going to go into great detail with this game due to the sheer size of it, but I'll continue to mention the highlights. The bar brawl above opened up more possibilities as I learned the trick to getting tips from the taverns.
I still have yet to reach day 180 for the next set of tips, I hope I don't miss one
Taverns are great for a drink, some food, and tips. The food enables different encounters. One meal in Vulcania, the fire town, caused a riot with easy enemies. Once defeated, a couple of hirelings appeared, but I was happy with my current set. Other locations in the world map were triggered after eating a meal. One of those was the nature's gate spell given to me by a druid after eating red hot wolf nipple chips, and hinted at by the smell of them when I passed him in his grove. The drinks are said to boost stats, but I've tried them all multiple times with no such benefit.
Who can say no to such a name?
One of the tips led me to rescue a cleric and archer from the local Atlantium jail. I was just thinking how I'd like to have a second cleric in the party, so I bid Sir Hyron farewell. I explored Atlantium a bit more, and came across eight statues that described tasks for each class. Finally! Some semblance of a main quest presented itself. Looking at the stats of those I was supposed to take on led me to believe I wasn't quite ready to take any of them on. So, I started looking for easy ways to grind. I went to each arena with green tickets, and while it was working at first, it was slow going after a level or two. At least it helped Big Bootay catch up. So, I spent some time aimlessly wandering the countryside.
After some questionable soup this party of ghouls was now afraid of me
I stuck to the main roads and short side paths off it. One of the biggest discoveries I found was fountains that enhanced my characters (and a few that debilitated them). The one behind the ghouls for instance set my spell points to 200, for every character. I now had no reason to rest and waste days to regain my strength. At about the same time I started exploring my spells, and found the fly spell to be exceptionally useful. I then went back through the taverns on day 60 to collect the 30th day tips from all the towns.
In one of the castles I actually found a king, Hoardall, that wanted me to help him collect some items, the first... a dagger
Getting a dagger for Hoardall was a simple task. The squire's level quest was for some S Splint Mail, a bit tougher since it can't be bought at a store. I continued to explore the land seeking other fountains that would aid me. One enhanced accuracy to 40 for one battle. In fact, I found a lot of these one battle buff or debuff fountains. One reduced my effective level, and another raised my spell level. I found another while seeking out the rest of the green messages. It seemed to set my might to a random value. The most helpful though was the fountain that set my max HP to 150. My highest character at the time was barely pushing 70. With 150 I felt like I could take on the world, and unlike other fountains this was an effect that lasted a full day.
I even tried taking on the black triple crown challenge, and failed miserably
Near the starting town I found gatherings of orcs and merchants, which I broke up and looted. A hermit named Mark asked for his keys, but even when I'd collected all four colors he instantly killed one of my party members before disappearing. I unlocked a few more spells as well, including water walking, but it wasn't altogether necessary as Big Bootay already has them all unlocked. There were a strange set of islands with prisoners tied to them. I tried to free them, but paladins showed up and I was no match for them.
The Horvath drops good gear; I only wish I could grind on him more
With my added HP I took on the ancient druids' well. I would map out a portion, head back to the fountain, and then avoid any squares I could that might have a snare trap. The well was separated into four elements, so I started to run into air, water, and fire snares as well. By this time my sorcerer had the teleport spell, which allowed me to easily bypass most traps. I found some cans of spinach that upped all party members' might to 50+ after a few expeditions. At the end of one section I was told I would receive some great magic if I brought The Horvath to justice. He was an easy battle, only stoned my party. Strangely only three of my party members were susceptible to turning to stone. I'm not sure what governs status effects, or how I could improve my protection, but it always seems to be the same three that would fall to it. I fought Horvath three times before I returned to the druid and gained Divine Intervention, a ninth level spell. Here I was hoping for the second level Nature's Gate. In any case, sadly, when I tried to farm Horvath more he was only repentant of his actions and would no longer battle.
I visited the Jurors Mount described in the robber's quest after not receiving a reward for defeating the jouster
I spent some time grinding instead on a group of three barbarians near the HP fountain. I then ran across another very useful "fountain", a sewage outlet near Atlantium. This one raised all party stats to 100, but it only lasted for one battle. Still, 100 everything is great. I set out to find the dread knight, and instead found a Jouster, not sure if they're one and the same. While he could, and did, fell my characters in one hit, combat works in such a way that this wasn't hard to handle. Enemies always attack through the party in order, and the first hit to bring them below 0--no matter how much under--only knocks them unconscious. The last character attacked carries between battles, so if they attacked the first four, then the fifth would be attacked the following round or next battle. It's a strange system, and calls into question the advice in the manual of fighters in the front and mages in the back. The manual also fails to mention some status effects like stat, level, and experience draining. At first I didn't know if these were permanent, but I've discovered they aren't. The magical aging is however. So, I beat the jouster by healing any character he dropped, which revived them ready for battle, and continued to beat on him. So where are my 5 million experience points?
Ah, so that's it
I didn't figure for this twist, but apparently each character needs to solo their boss fight, or at least in the company of only a robber. I later pieced together the green messages, which echoed the advice except it seems to suggest I could create a whole party of knights and robbers. I don't think I really want to train that many party members though. Making an extra 4 robbers might not be such a bad idea though since they could accompany each character in turn. They don't even have to do much, just heal my mains when they drop. By this time I'd been drowning in gold, bought access to all mage guilds, and even purchased the black key. I was fairly well equipped, but it'd be much better if alignment specific items didn't exist. Their alignment rarely makes sense. One magic charm +5 might be evil aligned while another is neutral. Alignment doesn't show when identified, so it takes some trial and error equipping to find out if I can even use it.
This was a hard sell, but the wrong alignment for both my fighters
I did find some S Scale Mail at about this time. Some +6 mail I could have really used. Instead, I gave it to Hoardall, and I was rewarded with 400,000 experience, which doubled my experience at the time. Next quest is for a Grand Axe, a specialty magical weapon I haven't seen yet. Back to exploration, I followed the road past Mandagual's castle and came upon Queen Lamanda. She lamented that I had yet to achieve my pluses and the triple crown. I found some more fountains in the area, but nothing to write home about. I then ventured to the corners of the realm.
Air seems like the best place to start, with the easiest elementals
Around each triangular portion I found an elemental transmutation spell (necessary to travel to the corresponding plane) and an elemental encasement spell, which holds and damages an enemy (effectiveness based on the element I presume). I didn't feel quite ready to take on the elementals on their home turf, so I went back to the towns to explore all the caverns I'd passed over. I did find another helpful fountain near the air zone, which raised my effective skill level to 25 until after the next battle. It gave me an idea for all the skill potions I'd collected as well. Some spells are dependent on level, and some of those are buffs useable outside of battle.
Boosting effective level to 155... I'm not sure how helpful this is in general, but it might be useful for when I venture into the elemental zones (usually Forces is about equal to Magic resistance)
The cavern under Vulcania was strangely void of battles, except inside the secret passages. Some walls are false, but there's no way to know without charging headlong into them. Luckily no damage results from this prodding. I found a couple more hirelings, none I'd take with me, and a singing giant. Listening to this giant multiple times raised my endurance to 50+. I wondered if every cave had something similar, except I didn't find one like that in Middlegate. After this cave it was just about day 93, so I readied myself to use nature's gate. I ended up in the middle of ground zero, the location of the final battle between the elemental lords and humanoid lord. My reward was the spell Star Burst, another high level spell. Useful for taking out large contingents of enemies (as long as they fail their magic resistance). A lot of the high level spells seem rarely useful for the amount of resources they consume (either SP, or age).
I wonder if this is another stat gaining encounter, but I didn't notice a change when it said I felt more street smart
I then explored Corak's Cave (gained a spell and a bit more information), but reached a point where I was told only a group consisting of clerics and robbers could continue (it required an admit 8 pass as well, which further suggests a full party of clerics/robbers is recommended). Strangely teleportation failed in this cave, and spells in general failed around a special barrier protecting a final inner sanctum. I went through the caves under Sansobar as well, and only found the above thief encounter as the only thing of consequence (as well as some additional hints, and a friendly zombie handing out admit 8 passes). Even with the caves I've explored I find myself thinking I really haven't come that far. I've still yet to explore all of Tundara and Atlantium. There's also another cave I found near Middlegate that I could explore. I learned of a couple of hirelings stuck there.
I wonder how long it'd take to actually reach this level
The strange combat system threw me at first, but I've gotten used to it. Apparently it's not the way Might and Magic battles are supposed to work according to a commenter on the previous post. I wouldn't know any better though since this is my first Might and Magic game. After exhausting the town caverns, I think I'll explore the world a bit more before heading to the elemental planes.

Elapsed Time: 16h48m (Total Time: 35h22m)

2 comments:

  1. When I played MM2 on the PC, all the class challenges (including cleric) were doable with two, one of whom was of course a robber. Assuming the player wasn't underleveled or underequipped, of course.

    I just now realized that the main plot of MM2 centers around its royalty (i.e. doing what the Queen tells you to do). The main plots of MM1 and MM3 are also about their royalty, and advanced through interacting with royalty. The plot of World of Xeen (MM4 & MM5) is as much about its royalty as it is about the evil overlord your party fights.

    In Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes most or all of the five main heroes are royalty.

    MM is an incredibly royalist series, who knew?

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    1. I'd say most fantasy games have royalty playing a central role. Wizardry had lord Trebor, Final Fantasy had its kings and princesses, and Ultima had Lord British. Dragon Warrior was all about royalty as well. It's hard to think of a game that didn't have royalty playing some role.

      I went ahead and made myself four more robbers and tackled all the quests. Cleric is by far the hardest, and the only one I haven't completed. (Although I don't have a ninja or paladin, so I can't compare to those.)

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