Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Game 34: Starflight (Genesis) - It's Ancients! (Finished)

There's no final end screen, the ending sequence loops until a button is pressed, whereupon the game continues without a goal
I greatly enjoyed this game. The explorer in me has been neglected in these early games, and then Starflight takes it on a wild wide through an expansive game. Unlike Rings of Power, which also had a huge area to explore, every location was immediately available in Starflight. In fact, once I'd finished, I realized just how easy it was to beat the game with complete knowledge. With just three steps I ran through the game in seven minutes. There's a TAS that does it in less than 3 with perfect luck and execution (the very definition of a TAS).
Being best Veloxi buddy after providing stone of focus
I became besties with the Veloxi, but I still wasn't invited to the holy hexagon on the home planet. I learned of an old Phlegmak battle site, and found a black egg there. The star system was described as in the handle of the axe, which I determined was a constellation in the lower right portion of the galaxy. Most everything else the Veloxi spoke about centered around history of the first and second waves of fleeing aliens from the core. All waves were aggressive before moving on or being destroyed. The bad blood between Veloxi and the old empire stemmed from the first wave where after Veloxi helped defend, the old empire failed to return the favor as the wave hit Veloxi space. So, when the second wave hit, the Veloxi did not assist. The old empire was crushed.
What else do you have six of?
I noted the small egg was on the home planet, but unlike a FAQ I just read, I was never invited to visit. With the knowledge of the correct number, I went back to the planet guarded by a drone. I tried 'yes' for any number with a 6 in it, but that failed. The key was numbers that were a multiple of 6. There was a black egg on the planet. Everything with the Veloxi went haywire then. As soon as I entered the star system 163,119, they suddenly appeared. It was strange as that system was technically outside their territory. Even stranger they attacked immediately. I'm guessing they didn't take kindly to me landing on their planet and taking their egg. The Dodecahedron prevented me from arming my weapons, so I had no choice but to flee. I definitely need to sell that thing next chance I get.
I ran across the Elowan while exploring other alien territories since the Veloxi turned antagonistic
Of all the races, I think it was meeting the Elowan that really broke the game wide open. While the Mechan 9 set me on the right path, the key piece of information I gathered from the Elowan was the location of their home planet. They also told me Akerton (of which I was looking for the sixth planet) was in a nearby constellation called the seedling. The deep animosity between them and the Thrynn was due to the Elowan's seed producing heads (known as headfruit) being a delicacy. They revealed that the Uhlek act from a hive-mind that is buried deep within a cavern of one of their planets.
I only had a single encounter with the Thrynn where they answered my questions, and it wasn't very illuminating
The Elowan told me of the crystal planet, which according to the old earth empire institute was the source of the solar instability. The manual, outside the complete walkthru, had illustrated alien descriptions and locations for certain constellations and planetary locations (like the great hexagon). One of those was the seedling; one of those stars was Akteron, and there I found the remnants of the institute. Their logs described the items required to bring down the crystal planet: the crystal cone to locate the controls nexus, the crystal orb (known as the small egg to the Veloxi) to protect against the radiation, and a planet destroying black egg (described as anything capable of destroying a planet). The logs described an attempt to blow it up by teleporting someone to the planet.
Well, let's just go into Uhlek space to get that crystal cone and OH GOD WHY?
I knew the crystal orb was on the Veloxi home world. The crystal cone was said to be deep within Uhlek space. They didn't take kindly to my intrusion, even taking the suggested back way in described by the Spemin. I already had two black eggs, so more than enough. After the defeat at the hands of the Uhlek, I decided to outfit my ship with all the bells and whistles. Phasers, class 5 shields and armor (which doesn't repair on its own; I kept needing to sell and buy it again), and everything for my terrain vehicle. Having the advanced radar and second mineral detector I was able to find huge veins of expensive material. At that point though it wasn't really necessary.
Glutbloop? Glut nuh? Ngahdeng? Fekblunk? That's it, you're fired communications officer
The Spemin told me the key bit of information for taking out the Uhlek. Since they're controlled by a single mind, destroying the planet that mind lived on would disable them until a new mind was established. Trouble was the first time I saw this message it wasn't clear what planet I should attack. This happens when the communications officer doesn't have a perfect 250, which is only available to Thrynn or Elowan. Due to the animosity between the races I settled on a Human with only a max of 200. Luckily repeating the dialogue produced a different translation.
An alternate translation by the same person; you'd think he'd learn from his mistakes
Anyway, I got a bit off track there while I explored all the dialogue options for the other races. I returned to the Elowan and Thrynn space to explore the old Elowan homeworld. I hoped to find some lost knowledge. I got really lucky with my landing point and found the one structure that led me to the best artifact in the game: the red cylinder, an artifact locator device.
Here's where the end of the game started to happen
The planet where the red cylinder was located was outside any alien territory, so I easily picked it up. Once I had it I visited all the other planets I'd heard about having ancient ruins, and swiped all the artifacts I could get my hands on. The crystal pearl was described as a device that would save my ship when in immediate peril; the tesseract improved my ship's efficiency; and the rod device increased my laser's power.
Plus marks the spot
With those items in hand I felt I could take on the Uhlek. It didn't turn out well taking them head on even outfitted, so I took the information I gathered from the Spemin and blew up the life-bearing planet at the specified coordinates. Uhlek ships disappeared entirely, and I was free to pick up the crystal cylinder. I was a bit torn on the next step. I had just started making amends with the Veloxi and was accepted again as a friend right when I needed the small egg. Using the red cylinder I didn't even need to land on the planet to see if the crystal orb was present. I was stopped by the Veloxi as I absconded with the artifact. Seriously, I was just borrowing it. They demanded; I refused. Then they tried to blow me up.
The cone pointed me to the control nexus
With all the eggs I needed in one basket, I found my way to the control nexus on the crystal planet. Here I learned the fate or Commander McConnell described in the institutes files. They had the idea to teleport the commander to the planet to plant a bomb. Unfortunately they lost all communication due to the heavy radiation of the planet. The explosion was not large enough to destroy the planet, so the plan was ultimately a failure. Many years later I was now going to follow through on that plan as I armed the black egg.
What's this? The ancients!
McConnell had made an amazing discovery. The ancients were still alive, and on this very planet. They were in fact the ones responsible for destroying the suns because the ancients were actually the Endurium crystals I'd been burning for fuel all along. Blowing up the suns was a defense against all the carbon based life-forms stealing their people, and incinerating them. In the end McConnell said it best, it's either us or them at this point. Due to the slow metabolic rate of the ancients, communication with them was impossible. It's only because of the long exposure the commander received that he could understand them; however, there's still no mention of him being able to communicate. I armed the egg, and left the planet.
If you weren't trying to blow us up, then maybe we could have been friends
A sad tale all told. A fun game nonetheless. Space, virtual anyway, is a lot of fun to explore; there was so much to learn, and so much to find. After the credits rolled I played around with the game. I returned the small egg to the Veloxi, and made friends again. With the time constraint gone I could probably explore the 150 other planetary systems I didn't stop at. I'm left wondering about that mysterious alien orb. Also, how in the world was I actually supposed to manage to get through the game? I felt like I jumped certain points, but maybe not. Does the game have a path through the dialogue that doesn't make you guess where the next point of exploration lies? If I had more time I might just try to find those answers, but let's move on.

Elapsed Time: 8h29m (Total Time: 15h54m)

It looks so flat
Combatant - As an action based, and completely removed from stat based combat, it's no surprise the rating here is low. While combat was challenging throughout the game, there's little benefit to fighting. Most ship spoils weren't worth the fuel expense for firing weapons (variable for each weapon) and running shields. So, don't play this game for the privateer one-man (ship) army feeling.
Rating: 3

Admirer - What guys? The crew was ancillary window dressing; set 'em and forget 'em for the most part. While each position had its own menu of options, it felt more like one ship's options. There's very little to customize, and maxing out stats was trivial. Ship control was decent, but entering orbit was too difficult. Names were about the only option for personalization.
Rating: 2
Is that the planet the space station is orbiting?
Puzzler - Figuring out where to go and what to do was fairly straightforward. It's easy to get lost though, and finding the one bit of dialogue throughout all the races grew tiresome. I felt engaged enough to continue discovering solutions to problems. I'm going to assume I missed bits of the game as the trail from one point in the story to the next was often missing, but I enjoyed the multiple ways at arriving at the end. Maybe I was meant to explore entire planets blindly.
Rating: 5

Instigator - The story is where the game really shines. It's slow to develop, but the depth of history and lore packed into the game is astonishing. Figuring out how to speak to each alien and what questions would lead to good information provided good feedback. My only complaint was the looping dialogue through the whole script rather than highlighting key information. Player actions actually meant something with a kind of faction based loyalty (e.g. fight the Elowan, and the Thrynn were suddenly friendlier).
Rating: 7
It's funny that I can make this flight back even if I was completely out of fuel on the crystal planet
Collector - There's an assortment of weapons, TV upgrades, and artifacts, but no real sense of collection. It's difficult to judge one weapon's strength against another, and I only hoped the higher fuel cost meant more damage. At least cargo space was plentiful, so I never had to forgo any unique item. The variety was nice, and I eagerly checked each artifact as I picked it up.
Rating: 3

Explorer - The galaxy felt well populated while not overly crowded. The music and sound was a bit off-putting, and would sometimes drop until the next scene change. Star systems are populated with worlds filled with ancient ruins, mountainous valleys to mine, and an artifact if you're lucky. Some planets bear life that can be collected, cataloged (manually), and sold. Finding colonies for Arth kept me hopping from one planet to the next. The best part about the game is that everything is open, from beginning to end.
Rating: 7
Sorry I took your egg, you can have it back now
Final Rating: 25 [42%]

In addition to my own experience with the console game, I invite you to check out CRPG Addict who played through the DOS version. There are some differences, and I always find it interesting to compare. I'll stop by there and comment soon.

I've already been playing through Might and Magic: Gates to Another World (the II is dropped on console), but I should be able to get a post out before I'm done. I still hold out hope I can catch up my blog posts to my play state. Maybe this is the weekend.

This is my first Might and Magic game, and I've been a bit overwhelmed by it so far. In some ways the difficult even rivals Wizardry, but at least it's possible to save the game. Still, it's a lot fun, and I'm finally feel like I'm making progress. Strap yourselves in because this is a long one.
Extra special thanks to Brent Allard

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Game 34: Starflight (Genesis) - A Motley Crew Saving the Galaxy

Game 34

Title: Starflight
Released: May 1991
Platform: Genesis
Developer: Binary Systems (Ported by BlueSky Software)
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Simulation-RPG
Exploration - Top-down
Combat - Action
Series - Starflight (Standalone on console)

Unprepared for names, quick who's in chat!
I actually played this for 2 hours and decided it wasn't an RPG. Then, after calculating it on the RPG scale for the cut post, I found it scored a 12. What really counted in its favor was the open world, the deep story and lore, and just enough character development to push it over the edge. Characters stats are on the edge: bought instead practiced, and easily maxed out before the maiden voyage. The game expects the player to have read through all 140 pages of the manual (50 of which include a short story plus a walkthrough).
See? Not even an introduction! How can this game be an RPG? That's it, I'm calling it off... never mind, I already beat the game. Might as well complete the write-up. The game starts in the Arth Starport. Different bays doors lead to various options: the first is a message center, second personnel, third ship engineering, fourth market trading post, and lastly the airlock to leave. The message center had announcements and reports based on my activity; there was a welcome message that recapped some objectives from the manual.
Enterprise doesn't even fit in the ship name field
The welcome message served to point me towards a few coordinates, and a couple planets. Each solar system has galactic coordinates that never change. The home system is near the center of the map at 125,100. At 135,84 ships had been disappearing. Alien activity was said to be high near 175,94. In the nearby system, on the second planet at the planetary coordinates 17N x 162E, was said to lay some ruins of the old Earth empire. Lastly was a hint that minerals were readily available from the first planet in the home system. With a fair bit of locations to explore I entered the next door to hire a crew.
I made one crew member per position, but I later found I could assign multiple positions to the same person, so it might be better to make one person of each race
I followed the manual's suggestion and trained my crew (minus the android), and purchased the turbo charger for the terrain vehicle along with 3 cargo pods. I then named the ship "Its Ours" and headed to the mineral rich first planet. Ferrying mineral back to the star port I quickly bought up the best engines, armor, and terrain vehicle accessories. I also had enough for a couple of cheap weapons and a class 3 shield (class 5 is the best).
A sad start, I learned quickly to steer clear of water until I bought the pontoons
Beyond the normal minerals in the trading outpost, and fuel, I noticed a couple of odd items: a flat device and a whining orb. I purchased them since they seemed unique. My science officer examined them to find the flat device automatically teleports the terrain vehicle back to the ship once fuel ran out. The whining orb made the Spemin (an alien race I hadn't found) worship me as a superior being.
Collecting some surface minerals
I became mindful of the game date and time as it slowly ticked away while I toiled the land. After accumulating a small fortune and outfitting myself to the teeth, I checked the message center and found new postings. The main goal of the game was revealed as all able bodied crews were to investigate the unusually high solar flares and fluctuating radiation levels in the sun. In fact, as I venture into the galaxy I found all suns were reporting elevated radiation and imminent burnout. Find the cause and stop it; that was my mission. Secondary objectives were to locate fuel sources as well as planets suitable for colonization. Criteria for colonization was laid out in the manual. The other messages included a warning of androids attacking ships 20 sectors coreward, and a group of fluxes 40 sectors outward and downspin.
Really those are just fancy ways to say south (downspin), west (outward), east (coreward), and north (upspin)
Equipment in place, I made my way to the nearby system to begin my exploration. At the coordinates I had for the second planet I found some ruins. A message there led me to another set of coordinates (16S x 20W) on the fourth planet in the system at 118,146. When I returned to Arth another message was waiting. This one indicated ruins on the third planet in the home system were found; however, without coordinates I was blind in the snowy wasteland. So, I headed towards the flux nexus, and ran into my first alien.
Found the cause, that was fast
So, these crystal ones are causing all the trouble. First crystal aliens I find I'll have to ask them why they're blowing up suns. I then headed towards the other system location where alien activity was high. On the way I ran across a satellite, an old earth empire nomad scout ship that reported three planets viable for either minerals or colonization. I noted them and moved on. When I entered the star system at 175,94, I encountered a broken down starship. It was repeating a message left by the captain that was forced to take refuge on first planet.
Something's odd about that date
Following the coordinates in the second half of the message, I learned that the ship was called the Noah 9. It was headed to the colony world known as Heaven. The logs indicated that the Mechans were waiting for them to arrive where upon the Noah 9 would signal a change from code blue to red. The captain believed it was the Laytonites that sabotaged the ship, as they had a strong opposition to space expansion beyond Earth. I wasn't quite sure what to do with that information, so I returned to Arth to report my findings; however, there wasn't any way to do so. Instead I picked up a few locations for fluxes from the message center and headed towards the flux nexus.
I drink water, isn't that enough?
That squid faced alien is a Gazurtoid. No matter how I spoke with them I couldn't get past their proselytizing, so they're mostly around for window dressing. When speaking to aliens it's necessary to choose a tone (known as posture). Obsequious comes across as pleading or praising, friendly is peaceful, and hostile is aggressive or demanding. In most cases friendly was the best option, but the Spemin responded favorably to hostility (possibly because I had the whining orb). It takes a few encounters with the same aliens to get all the information out of them. To make things more complicated aliens remembered past transgressions, and even rewarded with favorable interactions when I attacked one of their enemies.
In hindsight I might have gotten more information speaking to them with an Obsequious posture
The Veloxi, pictured above, idolized themselves above all others. I had to pay some fuel (referred to as energy crystals; they have funny names for everything) to appease them of my trespass. They held a deep hatred for the old empire. I didn't learn much from them, but a friendly interaction is a successful one. I ran into their space as I followed up on the location from the message I found in the old empire ruins. In the spot indicated I found the dodecahedron, and another message: the auto-scan device was lost to the Gazurtoid, but it was tracked to the star at 68,66. At the time I didn't analyze it, but the dodecahedron prevented me from arming weapons (not that I was doing that very often).
A small example of what an imperfect communication score produces
The Spemin were most friendly, although I have a feeling it was due solely to the whining orb. Despite hearing I should use hostility, I opted for a friendly tone. From my short conversation I learned of an ancient city near the Spemin home world, and a back way into Uhlek space. The Uhleks are an unforgiving enemy to all other aliens, and reside in the remote areas of the galaxy. They also spilled the location of a Veloxi focusing stone @ 81,98. Without planet coordinates there's too much ground to cover to reasonably find anything, unless you get lucky.
Resistance is futile
The Mechan 9 were guarding a single star system. They refused to answer any questions, but interrogated me endlessly to determine if I was the Noah 9 expedition. With the knowledge I'd gained from the logs, I passed myself off as the ship they were expecting. Yes, I'm part of the old empire; yes, I know about the Noah project; no, I'm not a Layton. Initiate code red please, and start talking. This didn't happen right away though. The Mechan 9, like all aliens, had a bad habit of ending communications and leaving just as it was getting juicy. I didn't catch on to how the dialogue system worked right away though, so I kept traveling around hoping to find something useful.
Random nonsensical messages appeared more often than helpful ones
It took some time to explore some planets I'd heard about without exact planet locations to find the items. I got lucky and ran across the ellipsoid (Veloxi focusing stone mentioned earlier) and the shimmering orb. The first I returned to the Veloxi for a favorable response, and the second auto-scans alien ships. While looking around more I found some alien ruins that pointed me to the location of the shimmering orb.
I didn't realize how lucky this find was until I tried to reproduce it on another planet
I returned to the Mechans, and noticed they continued their interrogation with different questions. It took three different conversations before they concluded I must be who they were waiting for, and they opened their data banks (for the next time we spoke... terminating communications). I learned a great deal of the history of the old empire including the two great wars, the first endurium discovered on Mars, and the scientific institute that discovered solar instability in Earth's sun was stationed on Akteron 6. Earth lay in the Pythagoras constellation, which I figured was the triangular set of stars coreward. The Phlegmak (part of the first war) were known for their planet destroying black eggs, something I'd probably need eventually. I also noted the location of the Spemin home planet.
The Mechan were a wealth of information
After pumping the Mechan for all they had, I had a number of more locations to explore. I stopped at the frozen planet in Heaven's star system to find an ancient ruin, which resembled a pyramid, and a bit of endurium laying nearby. The ruin itself didn't have any decipherable message. The nearby system had a planet guarded by a Veloxi drone. It prevented me from landing unless I properly answered yes or no to a number value. 72? Maybe... I tested prime numbers, but neither always yes or no proved correct. While I wrote down some hints about the Mardan system, I failed to note that it was in the same constellation as Sol. So, when I landed on Earth and Mars to gather information, I missed everything about Mardan at the time.
oh, 75 class shields, is that all?
While traveling to Earth I ran into an odd spacecraft. It belted out some 0s and 1s before leaving. I have no idea what any of it meant. From Earth I picked up the hypercube, and from Mars I retrieved the ring device. One marked nearby encounters while the other marked nearby fluxes. Earth had a lot of abandoned structures that served as an outlet for the developers' humor. One example, "In primitive societies it became popular for a short time to sit countless hours in front of 2-dimensional phosphor screens and live out fantasies. Many historians believe this activity marked the downfall of civilization." Indeed.
It's really hard to take these guys seriously
Before I stopped for the night I encountered the Thrynn. They were an aggressive bunch. For every artifact in my possession they asked to purchase it for an insultingly small fee. At the end of a string of noes, they suggested I buy a black box said to make me invulnerable. Curious, I bought it. It did nothing.
It's very black in its inky blackness
I returned to starport to end the night and found a message warning me against dealing with the Thrynn. It seemed every time I said no it angered them. I didn't think I was going to get anywhere with them. I also received the coordinates 192,152 where ships were disappearing. Endurium increased in price due to the increase in demand from fleeing people. At this point I was having a lot of fun with Starflight. As is the case lately, I've already beaten the game, and should wrap things up shortly. Might and Magic II is going to be a long one, so I should be able to get a post out on that before I finish it.
I do wonder what would happen if I sold this to them and then attacked
Elapsed Time: 7h25m (Total Time: 7h25m)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Game 33: Tombs & Treasure (NES) - Deadends & Demons (Finished)

Well they look happy
Despite all the signs indicating I should, I didn't restart the game right away. However, maybe it was a good thing as I happened to stumble upon a couple areas I missed. While revisiting the High Priest Tomb I looked at the skeleton again, but this time I got a close up view instead of a vanilla description of a skeleton. However, I couldn't find anything to do with the keyhole behind the skull.
Silver key doesn't fit, so it must be that key behind the Jaguar
I reviewed the map and noticed an area to the southeast described as the Secret Path to the Voice. In the game, I only found a forest with no discernible path. Eventually I stumbled on a hidden path at the end of which I found myself in the Nunnery. Entering through this secret door caused the voice of Kulkulcan to assist with solving the current puzzle. The advice I received was to ascend to the 2nd floor of Caracol and place the golden globe and wait; and repeat with golden stand.
I totally see the path now
Still not deterred I decided I should figure out how to reach the second floor of Caracol. I stared at the screen while inside Caracol. Nothing came to mind though, so it was time to try every action on all parts of the scene: the window, the floor, the wall, the pedestal. I received a message that the lead character wasn't strong enough when I tried to push the pedestal. Of course, the move command produced no relevant response. I switched to Jose, and revealed the staircase.
Seriously, what's the difference between move and push?
I climbed upstairs and found a second pedestal sitting in the middle of a room with two windows. Only the golden globe fit. Doing as instructed and waiting for the proper time of day, a beam of light lit a single stone. Crushing the stone I found a crystal key. Repeating that process with the golden stand on the pedestal first, caused a second beam of light from the other window to light up different stone. I crushed that as well and collected the censer, said to raise the dead. While both items were necessary, it still didn't help me progress. So, I wandered around again until I stumbled back into the Castillo Pyramid, and put the head on the statue.
I found a leather bag with incense, and two flasks holding odd smelling liquids
It was at this point I found I was truly out of options. More items didn't help me get that green jewel, and the jaguar statue was permanently fixed in front of the hole in the Warriors' Temple. I realized that the compass I made was magnetic, but there was no way to remove the spinning rod. I restarted the game, and had to do everything over again. Twice actually because I once again created the compass too soon. Using the rod on the key in the hole retrieved it easily. Once I had the key I knew exactly where to use it.
Good thing I got my arm out in time
I descended the stairs below the tomb and found myself in a maze of twisty passages that all looked the same. In fact, the stairs up mysteriously disappeared as well. The only way out was to create the compass. Following the directions of the compass I found myself in the room with the Akbal Jewel. Unfortunately, I hadn't opened the other passage, so I was once again stuck. I restarted the game a third time. Doing things in the correct order, I was able to take the jewel with both passages open. When I did, only the passage back into the maze closed. I was then free to take the pawl and drain the water from the well of sacrifice. With the green jewel I was able to weaken the demon Venum and finally made some progress.
Never split up!
Behind the demon was a door guarded by two statues. It opened when I twisted the right head. The next room held a crystal coffin. It was lit by a single ray of light, and held a mummy covered with a two-eyed mask. I used the crystal key and took the mask; however, I noticed the light disappeared and I was then stuck. Luckily I had a password close to that point, restored, and used the mirror on the light to activate a door.
Always create an exit first
The exit dumped me into the lower room of El Castillo Pyramid, alone. I made my way back to the well, but only found Jose unconscious. He said some demons took the girl to the Ball Court. I grabbed the pawl and handle from Castillo, and used them to open the passage inside the Ball Court chamber. With both the red and blue jewel affixed in the two-eyed mask I saw an odd stone in the wall at the end of the passage. Pushing it opened a side door, and inside was a miniature pyramid with another demon guarding it. Tezcat required all other adventure aspects completed before I could defeat it. This included getting the hint from the tablets in Castillo, even though it didn't directly benefit my progress.
The mini temple/pyramid hides the sun key
Since I had to look at the tablets again close to this point, I knew I had to shrink down near the midnight hour. I tested out the potions, the large one was the key. The smaller one made me larger. However, before I could quaff it, Jose turned on me. Apparently he was a demon and only helping me so I would lead him to the sun key. He planned to overthrow Tentacula and rule the world himself. Seems he should have done this before I was powerful enough to defeat him. I picked up the ring he took from the girl.
Inside was the sun key, so large I couldn't move it, and a key hole. At first I thought I needed to find a way to move the sun key into the hole. I couldn't find a way to move it though. I tried the silver key, and received a message that the temple unlocked, but I still couldn't find a way to open it. Any guess at which command worked? Push? No. Take? No. Move? Finally! The top pulled up and allowed me to take the sun key. As soon as I did though, the screen went black and I was transported the Shrine of Tentacula.
Use Akbal Jewel, use Ring of Itza, kill with sword
As final bosses go, this guy was a push over. Really the final puzzle was more challenging. The girl laid on an altar, asleep. When I looked at the girl I was told the censer would help wake her up, but I couldn't join it with the incense. The key was to put the Censer on the floor, put the incense in it, and then use the lighter. Anything short of those exact actions was met with the same "you can't use that" message. Once awake she sat up and pointed out a keyhole under her. Sliding the sun key in and giving it a twist caused the temple to collapse.
What exit? Oh, this conveniently place time portal?
The game ends with the girl and boy stealing away to the time of ancient Mayans where Prof. Imes (the girl's father--I incorrectly called him her grandfather in the last post) was alive and well. More than that, he was a high priest and they were all praised as heroes for banishing Tentacula.

Elapsed Time: 3h58m (Final Time: 6h21m)

So, in the end, not really an RPG, but on the surface it can easily be confused as one. The adventure aspects are good, but the dead ends are a drag (not unheard of for the time though). I had fun. Time for the rating.
At least this time the final area didn't collapse just because the boss died
Combatant - This was a joke. It's like someone heard what RPG combat was and implemented it without having played one. There's no challenge, and it only serves to make the game more linear. It's passable for the style of game, but could have been so much more.
Rating: 2

Admirer - The party is always set, except their names I suppose. It's interesting that each have their own phrases when attempting different actions; too bad switching is so cumbersome. I would have used it more if it were say the select button rather than an icon.
Rating: 2

Puzzler - Most of the puzzles were great. It's obvious in some cases that some traps will require a reset, but there were an equal amount that don't really warn against taking certain actions. Overall it's paced well, and there are multiple puzzles to seek out while mulling over others. The addition of the voice of hints ensured I wasn't completely stuck. Because this isn't an RPG though, this category suffered from a lack of side quests and multiple solutions.
Rating: 4
So, in the span of a month or less, Prof. Imes was declared the leader of the Mayans; sure that can happen
Instigator - The story is farfetched, but it's consistent with its description of the items, demons, and various locations. I have trouble suspending my disbelief when a story draws so much from reality, but then adds things like time travel and shapeshifting demons. There's nothing to influence or change on subsequent playthroughs, but it's a short enough game that I might pick it up to enjoy a second or third time down the road.
Rating: 5

Collector - Items yes, but not the collectable kind. Most items are used up and never seen again. I like the use of weapons with item enhancing jewels, but I wish there was a bit more to do with the full inventory. There's no economy at all.
Rating: 3

Explorer - There's not a lot to see. Music is nice and subtle, and graphics indoors are nice, but the world connecting each place is bland and uninteresting. Entrances to each location aren't always obvious, so unless you had the map it'd take a while to figure out how to enter the pool of water or the secret path to the hinting voice.
Rating: 3
Not likely
Final Rating: 19 [32%]

This was a nice little side game, but it's time to get on with a real RPG. Actually, Starflight is next, which is another debatable game. In fact I almost didn't include it, but outside of limited character advancement and combat not really fitting an RPG there's a deep economy, expansive story, and a "world" large enough to rival nearly any other game I've played to this point. Let's see how it holds up in the end.