Thursday, June 16, 2016

Game #57: Might & Magic: Secret of the Inner Sanctum (NES) - Will It Make Sense Eventually?

Probably not
By this point in any other game I'd expect to have some handle on the situation (in fact most would be done), or at least some inkling about the trouble I should be righting in the world. Instead I'm left wandering a vast world with nary an end in sight, let alone a beginning. When things do happen, I'm lucky to get any acknowledgement. Take the above for example: somehow my cleric gained a max of 256 MP, but it went back to normal after I rested. I tried to reproduce the effect, but other than recently visiting the cleric's retreat I couldn't think of anything that may have done it (and a revisit didn't trigger it).
I found a list of tourist traps on top of a random island
Might and Magic definitely isn't one to hold your hand. I think I've said it before regarding the second game in the series, but there's something engaging about finding my own path through the game, knowing that the particular order of events that unfold are fairly unique. Still, I'd rather have some feedback. Enemy spells in particular are rather ambiguous. Sometimes they'll reflect and disperse, or reflect and cause damage, and other times they only specify "affected" or "not affected" without telling me what spell was cast. I found one person that had some answers though: there's a fortune teller in Algary that lists individual character resistances. Using this I could potentially figure out added resistance from equipment.
Well this is a thing, but is it the thing I was supposed to be looking for?
Finally the desert wandering paid off. I stumbled to the east of the cleric's retreat and came upon a wrecked alien ship. The alien told me his prisoner escaped, and is disguised as one of the nobles. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to determine which one, so I continued my fumbling. This quest could also be related to Ranalou the wizard at Korin Bluffs that's supposed to direct me to the six castles.
And now for something completely different
Before I got to that though, I continued to explore the world. I answered the man above correctly (apparently auras change every day though), and gained a coral key. I picked up a silver key in B1 as well. I found Zom, but his clue (1-15) wasn't helpful in combination with the note I found from Zam. I discovered Portsmith is controlled by a Succubus Queen, but didn't live to tell the tale. I found the Jolly Raven, a sign that notes the queen as the (current) piece, castle Doom, Blackridge north and south, Raven's Lair, the Dark Rider, Og, some ancient ruins, and a number of other random things.
All these have one thing in common: I have no idea what to do with any of them
On the brighter side I found places to increase my endurance and intelligence by 4. I climbed those trees from last post and received cleric beads. I found some fountains that increased my available spells (all of them unlocked) and put my might at 50, and continued to gain some easy levels from a pack of red dragons in A2. Eventually I came across the merchant pass in the C1 area. In Castle White Wolf, Ironfirst required me to venture on a few quests. I had already found Raven's Lair and Kilburn, so two quests were quickly satisfied. However, when he asked me to discover the secret of Portsmith, I was stumped. There was no way to defeat the Succubus Queen, and I had yet to find any  secret other than her.
Less answers, and more questions keep piling up
It really doesn't feel like much progress, but I have large portions of the world mapped. Up to this point I've made small progress. The fly spell helps, but the combat seems to drag on without large party clearing spells. I've been avoiding exploring most caves, but it may be time to map those out too. First I'm going to focus on the castles though, and see if I can figure out which lord is the fake. I may find the one clue that pieces this all together and then progress will finally cascade like an avalanche. I've increased my play time this past week, and next post will cover a large chunk of the game (possibly through to the end if I may be so bold).
Please be more vague
Elapsed Time: 17h13m (Total Time: 41h13m)


  1. Maybe Carrot was affected emotionally or something. No status afflictions, just a moment of quiet reflection.

  2. When I played MM1 on the PC, some of the endgame enemies were brutally difficult. In the deadliest dungeons, I remember that I would buy and chug speed potions out of battle just to make sure I had the first move when the next random encounter started. Since speed potions wear off after one battle, this was kind of expensive.

    I especially dreaded monsters that eradicate, since they always tended to go first and nail one of my party. My response was typically to reload rather than attempt to resurrect an eradicated party member at a penalty to their stastistics.

    Monsters that eradicate are rare, but I clearly remember Arch Devils and Demon Lords as the worst.

    1. I tried using speed potions in the succubus fight, but the Demon Lords still went off first.

      I have yet to even be able to touch a Demon Lord. I'm not sure this was in the PC version, but it seems that whenever one of my party faints, dies, or is eradicated, my party turn order seems to reset and the enemies get another full turn. If there's an enemy that can 1-shot my characters, then it turns into an endless cycle where the enemy automatically wipes me out.

      I wouldn't mind recovering from an eradication or two as gaining stats back seems fairly trivial. Age is currently my only concern as my lead fighter is pushing 53 at this point.

  3. I'm pretty sure the endless 1-shot cycle is a bug for the NES version. I don't remember anything like that in the PC version. Back line party members would be moved up if a front line party member died, but that was all.

    I also don't remember gaining stats as "trivial" in the PC version. There were fountains that gave +4 to stats, but only once, until the player did something very long, complicated, and tedious to reset them.

    The Inconsolable blog mentioned that the NES version of MM1 was chock full of bugs, so I hope you have plenty of mosquito netting. :)

    1. Aside from battles, I haven't found any other bugs. Although, I think some of the buffing spells don't actually work as intended. Still, as long as I can finish the game I'll be satisfied. They're more annoying than game breaking so far.

      I did find the cleric of the south to reset them. I figure it's easy enough, but as soon as one character gets eradicated it's all over anyway.

      It'll be interesting to read Shen's take on the game once I've finished. I'm hoping it will wrap up soon as I only have a handful of locations left to explore.