Thursday, April 5, 2012

Game 7: Faxanadu (NES) - Bolt of Blue

"I've returned home from a long journey. Expecting to revel in a crowd of well-wishers, I'm instead met with a closed gate and a crumbling facade. Quietly making my way through a side door, I note the town is nearly deserted. Needing to know what is happening, I prepare myself for an audience with the Elf King. The local Guru gives me a ring to prove I'm a friend of the elves. Has so much time passed that I'm no longer recognized in my home town? I learned much from the King: the dwarves attacked, an evil power is corrupting them, and I'm the only one that can possibly bring peace back to the land. The path is a treacherous one, and I must prepare for another long journey."
Faxanadu has a simple story that covers just enough for the game to drive the player forward. After getting the back story from the Elf King, and taking some of his money, I equipped myself with the only weapon available plus some magic. I remember from my prior experience with the game that the small creatures are best defeated with magic as my sword swings breeze above them. There's no crouching in this game.

The game relies on a lot of platforming, and active combat. Some of the jumps require very precise timing, but the penalty for failing one is usually only time lost. Dying isn't too much of a pain; while experience is lost up to the last rank achieved, getting it back isn't that big of deal. In fact, I didn't realize what ranks did until I was told. One of the coolest parts of the game is that it shows different weapon and armor sprites depending on what you're wearing. Definitely a first, and probably won't be seen again for a while.
Look, I'm actually using the Long Sword and it's longer
After 30 minutes of playing I had a sudden thought, "I don't think I'm playing a game that can be considered a CRPG." This surprised me. I pushed it aside though and played on letting the idea roll around. Could I really have not noticed a second game falling below the threshold--not to mention a consecutive one, and one I'd played before? The point of contention here was that while I was gaining ranks (levels) by grinding experience, my HP and MP were not increasing, and my character appears to have no stats beyond those.

So, what good are levels if it doesn't make the character more powerful? Well, I'm told that ranks determine what level of equipment I'm able to equip. This really pushes the definition of gaining levels to an uncomfortable limit, but I'm allowing it as I didn't really put restrictions on what levels should mean--only that they exist to show character progression. They do allow for advancement by equipping better armor, and if not the proper rank, then equipping new armor isn't possible. In fact, I have two pieces of Battle armor that I'm not allowed to wear yet.
Anyone know what that's supposed to be?
With that surprise out of the way, I was in for another one as I quickly paced through the game. In fact, I might have been able to complete the game last night if not for missing a key item. Somewhere in the vast world of the game I'd missed a ring. The Sapphire Ring (Dwarf) is what I believe I'm missing, and I haven't found anyone to hint at its location. It's either guarded by a boss, or gained by talking to the right NPC after triggering some event.
Would have been nice if you mentioned that the first time I was here
There is one area in a castle I had failed to explore, and it's here I believe the ring is waiting to be found. I'd left that castle because I had found the only item spoken of there, and felt it was time to continue on. Maybe I should have been more thorough. If it's not there, then I'll have to search the rest of the world. With luck, things will move quickly, and I'll wrap this up tonight.
Beyond this point is unexplored territory
In any case, I'm taking the weekend off from playing again (should be the last time for a couple of weeks), but with the previous game cut and this one wrapping up quickly, I think I'm still on track with my estimates. I really hadn't considered breaks, so overestimating game times has helped to offset that.
The password... hopefully it works
 Session Time: 3h48m


  1. The whole "You must be this level to use this item" is really common in online RPGs, to prevent your buddy from giving you level 50 gear, so you can walk all over your level 5 compatriots.

    Oddly enough Boarderlands and Torchlight did the same thing, so I'd have an item sitting in my inventory for ages till I was ready to use it.

    1. I can see why Boarderlands and Torchlight would implement that system if you can play your single-player character in multi-player. Preventing twinking doesn't dissuade players from jumping to high level content if they're still able to group with and gain experience from their level 50+ friends killing level 50+ enemies.

      I actually don't understand why such preventions need to be implemented at all; while I haven't researched it, my initial opinion is that preventing players from playing the game the way they want isn't a good idea. It seems more like the developers are forcing the players the play the game the way they intended (i.e. "the proper way").

    2. Torchlite doesn't have multiplayer. I think it was a balance thing, due to the random gear.

      I can see it in games with open servers and PvP to prevent low level characters from ganking people much higher level then themselves; lure them into a fight, use level 50 gear to gank someone 20 levels higher then you, profit.

    3. So there's at least one good use for it. Random gear can be limited other ways than having the player lug around armor that he can't wear until he hits a magical number.

    4. I agree; It seems like an algorithm cludge to me.

    5. I'm okay with stat based limitations on equipment, as opposed to level based limitations. You want that Godly Plate Armor of the Gods +2 with Mana Burn and Holy Fire? Guess what? You need a bit more strength....