Sunday, July 28, 2013

Game 16: Dungeon Magic: Sword of the Elements (NES) - Unlocking the Magic

There's something intriguing about a game that allows for exploration and discovery. It's part of what I consider a good RPG. Alchemy and runes have a mysterious nature that lend themselves to this wondrous aspect. But, as tempting as such a system is to investigate, the experience is sullied when there's very little feedback. Such is the case with Dungeon Magic's magic system, but I'll get to that shortly.

Last I left the game I was told to seek out the wizard in Bell. In exchange for my newly enchanted sword I was offered earth magic. I tried to take the sword instead to the fairy magic wizard in Granville, but he refused. Earth magic allows me to heal status ailments. This magic is necessary for the next dungeon.
If that's all you're offering I guess I don't have a choice
At the next town, Sull, I was directed to the Galess Maze where I was to find a ring of flight. The worst enemies in this game are the magic wielding ones. While my physical shield is powerful enough to block nearly all damage, my magic shield blocks only a quarter. In addition to that the spells have chance to darken my vision, paralyze, hurt, curse, or poison. Poison is what the enemies in this dungeon did. Without a way to rid myself of it, it would mean certain death.
Where's my poison spell?
I continued to notice the majority of my time was taken up by mapping. So, I decided for the next few dungeons I would hug the wall and hope for the best. Eventually I should get fairy magic which has a map spell.
The HP difference is starting to scare me
With the ring of flight I found myself floating up to the island of Temrass (according to the map). The only point of interest here was a cave. Townsfolk of Sull suggested I'd find a ring of sight that would allow me to see something currently invisible. My plan worked well and I found the ring in only one loop of the cave. Stepping outside I found a fortress that wasn't there before.
Okay, now it's getting a bit ridiculous
I recklessly charged into the Versus Temple. Everything was going well until I managed to get myself killed. Isn't that the way it usually goes though? I forgot that my character gets weaker the longer I stay away from an inn. It also doesn't seem to be a gradual weakness. This is another area where there isn't enough feedback to make good judgement calls. Luckily I hadn't lost too much time.
These guys cast darkness
My second attempt went much smoother with a rest at the inn between the cave and temple. I found an already enchanted sword at the bottom of the temple. Returning this to Sull allowed me to learn the magic of the fairies. Finally I had the ability to display the current map, my character's stats, and the enemy's stats. I was a little underwhelmed when I saw I could only see physical attack power and defense.
Every sword I'm finding is apparently a sword of Magi
I was next directed towards Gran where there was mention of a sword frozen deep in the forest. I remember seeing a strange figure, statue, possibly frozen object in the forest. It was easy to find again. I tried a spell from the fairy magic I had just received and managed what I believe was a fire spell. This shattered the ice and left a sword in its place.
I was fairly certain this was the fire sword. Taking it to the flame spout nearby enchanted it with fire magic. This was by far the easiest sword and magic to obtain. Why, if they were all this easy I'd probably be done by now. Only wind magic left.
And enchanted a mere 15 steps away
Going from plot point to plot point seems to only require going to the nearest town, and then being directed to another town. Alternatively, if you're already in the correct town, then you'll get a slightly cryptic NPC suggesting something you've never heard before.
Why do I want this flower?

The Darius Maze near Zandor was fairly easy, and I picked up the flowers without much trouble. Returning to town I received no more clue about what to do with the flowers, and instead was directed to Deirus. In Deirus I was told of a Legendary Temple under the sea south of Bell. Well, I guess that's my next sto... wait; how exactly do I go under the sea?
The map shows monster locations as M, treasure as T, and points of interest as solid squares
It seems one of the spells in the game allows me to either walk on water or possibly breathe underwater. Well, that's simple enough; I'll just try every spell I can. Of course that's easier said than done.

It's a daunting task to say the least. There are 5 types of magic, of which I have 4. Each type has  4 runes; one is shared between all magic, so really there are 3 per type. The one rune shared by all magic if used first seems to always cast the same spell. Each spell can have one, two, or three runes. That means there's only 12*13*13 + 12*13 + 12 possible spells: 2196 spells if my math is correct. Luckily I only got as far as two rune spells inside the same type of magic before I found it.
The majority of magic spells seem to be attack spells, but there isn't a noticeable difference. Some look like fire while others look like ice. There are purple ones, green ones, and sometimes yellow. Do any of them have status effects, lower enemy attack or defense, or take advantage of elemental weakness? I found six different shield spells, but I don't know if they increase physical or magical defense. It's interesting that so far all the attack spells have had a unique animation.

Well, I wasn't going to spend more time with spells than I had to, so off I went to the underwater temple. There I found formidable foes; in fact a foe so formidable it forbade further forward progress.
This guy wasn't too bad, but I'm only doing 20 damage
This guy on the other hand took 1 damage from my spell and 0 from physical attacks thanks to 201 defense
I was at a bit of a loss for what to do; I searched the temple as much as I could, avoiding the dragons. Eventually I came to a point where all paths were blocked. I needed to find a way past. I tried magic, but even a 10 HP spell only did 1 damage. The book hidden within will remain until I find my way.

I tried other dungeons, but so far they've all proved more than I can handle. I hadn't been avoiding combat, so I don't think I'm under-leveled. In fact, I ran through the floating island dungeons twice so if anything I should be a level ahead. Maybe there's a spell I'm missing that would be really helpful at this point.
Doing 51 damage and taking 2
Math checks out, it seems combat calculations are very basic
The problem with playing such an obscure game on such an obscure blog is I can't really reach out for help the way Trickster and Chet do; however, if there just so happens to be someone that can point out what I'm missing I'd be grateful for the assist. It's either that or I try to grind some levels and test more magic. Both are something I'm sure viewers wouldn't exactly find fascinating. As I see it though I'd have to double my damage to even have a chance at killing a dragon.

Session Time: 4h55m (Total Time: 9h11m)


  1. It's possible that the game just requires a lot of grinding... which would be a shame because it doesn't sound like it'll be much fun for you.

    Have you tried looking at a guide? I had a quick look, and there are a couple on GameFAQs. I expect you'd probably want to avoid looking at hints, but maybe it'll be helpful on a game which those of us reading are unlikely to have played.

    1. It's possible. I skipped over that dungeon and went to another. Made slow progress, but eventually cleared it out. Long story short I'm near the end. Once again I have to fend off dragons. I guess grinding really is my only option.

  2. I don't remember playing this game, so I don't have much more advice to offer than Andy's gringing and gamefaqs comments.

    1. Thanks for chiming in anyway. I check out the boards on gamefaqs to ask my question, and got a small spoiler in one of the thread titles. Red potions increase my damage slightly for a short time. Well, this helped me out when trying to clear out a tower north of the main island. Without that advice I would definitely have had to grind out a few levels. Turns out the last dungeon is even more difficult though, so I'll be grinding anyway. I'm level 13 and there are even more dragons. I'm not sure what the expected or max level is.

      I figured out a way to kill the dragons, but it really drains my resources (basically going toe-to-toe and taking a lot of damage). I'm thinking if I should get a post out now or press for the end.

  3. It does require a lot of grinding, and use of magic. There are huge increases in your defense and offense with each level as well. The dragons, both red and yellow, have very high physical defenses, but are effected by high power magic. A combo I use takes the strongest symbol from fire, water, and earth. Powerful spells use a lot of HP, so be careful and watch it - you don't last as long when both you and the enemy are dropping your HP. I catch them in a doorway or an open area where I can back up freely, then jump in, fire the shot, then jump back before I get hit by the dragon's attack. Repeat a few times until the dragon is dead. I use similar methods fighting any magic user enemy. Also, since many of the doorways the dragons are behind do not allow you to back away in the sea dungeon, you may need to use your faerie magic to map and see where the dragon is, come in to another area of the dungeon, and draw the dragon away from the door (the monsters move straight towards the player anywhere on the same level, regardless of walls or line of sight), once they're away, quickly return and bolt through the door. You'll have to be quick because they will move back, but this can get you through the door so you can maneuver.

    1. I appreciate the discussion of tactics. I've since beaten the game, but maybe these tips will help someone else in the future. I hope you're enjoying the blog.