Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Game 13: Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord (NES) - Fumbling in the Dark

At least there aren't any grues
Every step I take deeper into the dark depths of the dungeon sends shivers down my spine. I'm paralyzed by the fear of losing my party, any one of them. Any moment I can meet enemies that paralyze, poison, or instantly kill my party. And now, I've made a terrible mistake... actually a few.
No amount of planning can prevent this
I've now made it as far as the fifth floor, and I've yet to find much treasure in Wizardry. I found another statue and key on the second, which I can only guess allow me to progress past certain squares since there are ones marked as special, but nothing notable occurs.

On the third floor I finally started to get equipment from chests, but only things I could already purchase. I'm hoping to get something more interesting from the fights soon; otherwise, I don't see much benefit from fighting anything but Murphy's Ghost based on the risk involved. On the fourth I found the ninjas above, but more interesting is an area just outside the elevator.
I got lucky and no one died this time
From this fight I received my first real treasure. A rod of flame that can cast Mahalito (group fire damage), and a ring of death. Following this fight I received a congratulatory message and another quest item that allows me to use a second elevator.
How exactly does a blue ribbon unlock an elevator?
It's with this ring of death that I made my first mistake. I accidentally put it on. Now, how you may ask did I accidentally put it on? Well, it's all due to a handy little feature that allows me to equip all party members without visiting each of their equipment lists.
Can't cancel out of it once started either
So, there I was, having to continually click through all the equipment options. I honestly wasn't thinking about it, and started to click faster to get it over with. Then the following screen flashes for but a second, and my heart sinks.
Yes, Archivis, equipped the Ring of Death. The only way to remove a cursed item is back in town, and I was lucky to have enough healing to make it back as the ring ticks 3 HP every step. I then found the cost to remove a curse is equal to the cost of selling the item, 250,000 gold in this case. That would have been a helpful sale.
Do you take loans?
I considered my options. Maybe if he's dead I can remove a cursed item? No. Maybe I can get another ring from that fight and sell it to afford the removal? Maybe... but I'll need another character. I make one, Jaspar, and am underwhelmed by his progress. I headed to bed for the night.
Jaspar, why are your hit points so low?
At the start of my next session I reviewed my notes and stumbled upon a spell I had previously written off as useless, Loktofeit. It's a sixth level priest spell. It causes the party to return to the castle, but drops all  equipment and most gold. Drops all equipment? Could that really work?
Here goes nothing
And, it works! I welcome Archivis back to the party. Let's see now if I can get back on track. I head out to get another Ring of Death. This is was another mistake. First, Archivis dies during the second fight as I fail to silence the two mages before they both get off powerful Lahalito spells that damage the entire party for 20 HP each.

No worries, Durian just learned Di, which brings back the dead.
Oops? What do you mean 'oops'?
Apparently, it's not as effective as the temple, or I'm just really unlucky. Archivis is now ashes. When a character is ashed it costs double for the temple to raise the character. And, even then, the temple has a chance to fail.
And they bury him with all his gear
Sorry Archivis, again. I still had the second ring, so I made a new wizard to identify it so I could sell it. Somehow when I identified the ring though it immediately equipped on him. I rewatched the footage, and it was definitely not an accidental equip this time. Maybe this is a bug from how I got rid of the first one?

Around this time I decided to take the default party out for a spin on level 9. I handed off the blue ribbon and took the two elevators all the way down. I quickly found the chute down to level 10, and was lucky to run into only friendly monsters that I let leave.
Anyone know what Contra-dextra avenue means?
I didn't get very far though, as I never ran into a friendly monster past the first door. I wonder what chances my current party have at surviving all the way to Werdna. Would I really miss anything by attempting a raid on him already?
Werdna's lair offers the only change in scenery
Well, I know where Werdna is now, but I still have five dungeon floors left to explore. I've found my mage very useful in combat, and the wizard less so. I decided to make another for my next character.
Now if only I could stop getting decapitated
I'm unsure what more to do to prepare for the floors ahead. Should I continue floor by floor, or jump to the last and hope for better equipment? I could continue grinding on Murphy, but the return has nearly stopped. I've also considered grinding out a backup party in case my current gets wiped. I feel like I don't have a good grasp on where to go next.
I've hit a wall
Session Time: 6h00m (Total Time: 12h00m)


  1. It seems to me the best strategy is to only raise the dead in town as it would be highly unlikely to fail twice there. In fact I don't know if you can fail in town if you aren't ashes already from reading an FAQ. Ya I nioticed watching the p,at through you really fly through the menus. It's hard to keep up. Too bad you equipped that ring. I'd just keep attacking the floors and grind it out. You'll get it done.

    1. The temple screws things up too occasionally. There's no certain method of resurrection.

    2. I've yet had the temple flub a simple raise dead, but according to the instructions you're right, it's never certain. I wonder what the actual probability is for temple and spells.

  2. That's why I love the game so much, you're never at the point where anything is a sure thing, from level 1 on.

    I've lost many characters permadead for various reasons. It's a vicious game, you can hear the programmed-GM behind it all cackling evilly as he puts another skull sticker on his Wizardry GM screen as he has managed to rub out another virtual soul. :)

    1. It did seem as soon as I put the ring of death on Archivis that the game had its sights set on him, including his successor.

      My plan is to take the party down to level 9 to see if I can manage a few fights for some new gear. I think some back up characters is a good idea too, at least up to level 6 so they can continue to grind themselves if this party gets wiped.

  3. Your playing with fire. Did you get your new Genesis yet?

    1. I did. In fact, I tried to figure out what was broken on the old one (adapter or console), and it turned out to be a loose cord. <.< It seems the A/V cable was in a weird position that prevented the power from turning on. I really don't get it, but now I have two genesis consoles, so I should be good to go. I still want to play through Crystals, which should be an easy game, before I head back into the unknown of Super Hydlide.

  4. I really enjoyed that sense of fear as I played Wizardry. No other game has come close to making me as scared as Wizardry has.(Wizardry IV should fix that) Every encounter is terrifying as even a high level party can be wiped out easily; when I went to fight Werdna I was almost killed by dragons in front of the elevator on the fourth floor!

    Hint for Contra Dextra Avenue:

    Onfvpnyyl vg fnlf qb abg ghea evtug. Pbagen zrnaf ntnvafg naq qrkgen vf yngva sbe evtug

    1. Well, maybe I can get lucky with fighting on the 9th floor then. I'm skipping the hint for now unless I'm just completely baffled. I don't remember getting to Werdna being very difficult. I swear I beat this game before, but I don't remember it being this arduous.