Monday, May 30, 2016

Game #57: Might & Magic: Secret of the Inner Sanctum (NES) - Might Be Making Progress

The first of many breadcrumbs
With most of Sorpigal mapped, I took to wandering outside along the paths as far as random encounters would allow. I ended up running across a note or sign near a desert to the northeast of Sorpigal about Kilburn. I wasn't sure if it was a location or person, but it seemed like a solid lead. A game world like this offers up so little information that I wasn't sure what to find.
Finally some direction, although less specific than I was hoping to find
I didn't feel quite ready to dive into the desert. Near Kilburn I ran into a hermit trading for two pirate maps. I didn't expect him to wipe out my entire first character's inventory in exchange. Unfortunately, he was holding the scroll I was supposed to transport to Erliquin, now vanished. I continued down the many roads poking my nose where I could until I leveled up enough to get the fly spell, which allowed me to quickly check out all the different areas. The only other relevant encounter I found was Arenko Guire who asked me to climb every tree in D3 and return to him. One bad fight in, and my party was wiped out. I noted it for once I gained a few levels.
My early grind spot
I scrounged up enough experience to get fly and started to explore. In A2, I found a red dragon that I somehow managed to kill first try. Subsequent attempts weren't quite as simple, but then something clicked after I retrieved a second Vellum Scroll. Quest items are easily duplicated, and a quick check in the store showed that one of the pirate maps I received from the hermit was worth 1,000 gold. Over 20 times what an average fight provided. The game didn't quite break open with unlimited gold, but it provided answers to many equipment and leveling questions. I purchased might potions to increase my chances against the dragon, and used the slow spell to ensure my guys got off their attacks first. The potions were very limited, but each use increased a character's might by 5. They only lasted a single battle, or when crossing a zone boundary, so it was time consuming to use them.
Everyone's a loser that spins this wheel
Grinding levels on the dragon didn't help as much as I thought, but I'm definitely surviving more battles. Now if only I could make progress on any of the hints I've run across: an ice princess has a key, so does a canine, white wolf castle requires a merchant pass, and there are numerous barriers I can't pass until I gain the appropriate spell. Using fly, I found Erliquin. The wizard Agar told me to seek Telgoran in Dusk.
The towns I've found so far
The desert map prevented me from getting lost while traveling on the desert tiles. I wrapped around the E3 side, found a strange lion asking for a password guarding King Alamar's castle, and made my way north. The password is available from a wandering harpist nearby. In the desert I ran into the ruins of Castle Dragadune and the town of Dusk. Delivering the scroll to Telgoran only led me to another clue, this time about two brothers I must find, with clues in Portsmith and Algary. I'm not sure what Kilburn wanted me to find in the desert, but I'm hoping I will know it once I find it.
Not quite the stat or the boost I was hoping to find, but it's a good start and permanent
I picked up the return scroll from Dusk, and I think it'll come in handy as the fly spell doesn't take me directly to any town except Sorpigal. In the desert I also found Nomads that gave me cactus nectar, and the cleric retreat that boosted my team's personality. I'm not sure what the nectar does, nor the garlic, wolfsbane, or belladonna I found elsewhere, but maybe I mix them into a potion at some point. I also have a 10-foot pole I'm carrying around for some reason.
Who is him?
I have a couple of other clues: "9-9 Raven's Lair" and "Zam 12,2" yet I'm not sure what they mean. I also received a clue that there are 8 statues in Sorpigal, but I've only found 7. I haven't completely mapped out all towns, but maybe it's about time I should. Here are inscriptions from the 7 I've found:
  • Corak mapped Varn and found Dusk
  • Gala worked with Savages of Volcanic Isles
  • One by water, land, air, and sand
  • Wheel of luck pays the more of these menacing beasts destroyed
  • Services rendered secrets untold, the brothers together lead to treasures untold - five towns to travel
  • Ranalou the wizard at Korin Bluffs -- Six Castles -- Doom it quite tough
  • Cruelty and Kindness measured throughout Judgement Day is then sought
Stopping for the night
I can guess at some of the above, but it's hard to know where to begin with them. Kilburn's quest seems to start the castle line, while the scroll has me traveling to each town for some untold treasure. I'm not sure which beasts the wheel requires destroyed, or what any of the other clues could mean. I suppose I'll eventually run across other breadcrumbs as I travel the world map. There have also been a few caves I've come across that I haven't bothered to delve into. The deadliness of the world coupled with the size is what makes this a long game. So far, it's definitely not the amount of plot.

Elapsed Time: 11h49m (Total Time: 24h00m)


  1. All the Might & Magic RPGs have tons of sidequests to pursue, optional areas of the world to visit, and optional dungeons to explore. The more stuff you do, the higher your final rating/score is when you beat the main quest.

    The main quest of MM1 is very short. It's roughly comparable to the main quest of Morrowind that way.

    1. Yeah, I remember Gates to Another World being really short if you knew where to go. There aren't as many game breaking fountains in this one, and progress seems a bit slower due to that not to mention the random encounters. I'm probably chasing down way more clues than is necessary to beat this.