|I'll be honest; I have no idea what I'm looking at|
There are many reasons to avoid this version, and I've found a few more. The only reason I'm still enjoying the game may be that I don't know any better, having never played Might and Magic on PC. While exploring the Slithercult Stronghold I came upon a statue that asked who sent me. It took some piecing together to find the answer. What led me to Epsilon was the cache of Quatloo Coins there, and that the Greek brothers Alpha -> Zeta gave me the same coins. In one of the fountains of Fountain Head there was mention of six brothers, and one was lost. Referencing the Greek alphabet, I was reminded of the missing letter, and guessed that.
|A wrong answer had no consequences|
What's missing from the dungeon, in fact from all dungeons, are notes written on the walls. I only know this as I was streaming the game, and someone commented on the lack of them. A direct hint of a message was present on PC that read "the missing brother sent me." The lack of wall messages has me a bit worried; however, I know others have completed the game, so while uneasy I have faith it's possible. There are some hints in dungeons, from statues and old bones, but the game might be just a bit easier with the full story as intended.
|The reward for passing that section was slot machines that buffed might, endurance, and accuracy at the cost of one of the coins|
I was in a dungeon crawling mood, so I continued into the Fortress of Fear, said to be home to the Mummy King. I cleared out all the enemies, and was left with a message that suggested I should turn four corners into statues, but I didn't quite understand what that meant at the time. My first problem was I kept teleporting around the place, which reset the statues replacing the energy field in the center of the map.
|The real mystery is why the game thinks there's a head here when it clearly doesn't show one|
My second problem was that the puzzle is bugged, and doesn't properly reset. So, stuck and unable to complete the puzzle, I attempted to teleport randomly into the walls searching for the Mummy King. Luckily this worked.
|At least this sounds like a very important item|
Next, I stopped by Castle Whiteshield, to see what I could learn from the dungeon there. Spread throughout were old bones that gave me rhyming passages. They seemed to culminate in a limerick, or I could have possibly missed a line (ordered by myself in what makes the most sense):
-The good King Zealot was quite a knave.
-To his wife and her lover a box he gave.
-His wive's young lover was an Orc named Smello.
-With dark-hound's breath and hair of yellow
-The Queen was shocked by her pine box.
-For the open end had golden locks.
-Smello's box sent him reeling.
-And wooden planks were his last feeling.
-The countersign lies in the Queen's box.
I'm not quite sure what to make of it, but the countersign is the key to opening the chests in the king's throne room. Hopefully I don't need anything from them anytime soon. With my luck they'll just be a few more ancient artifacts that merely give my party experience.
|So I moved on...|
I had found a clue that suggested I should sit on the seats of power in both castles of Greywind and Blackwind on their wedding days to the same water nymph. They had both been tricked, and were now locked in an undeath they wished to free themselves of, but could not alone. The seat of power in Greywind gave one character boosted stats, and in Blackwind I received some items. The dungeons, and keys to their salvation, were a little more confounding.
|One in each corner, I flipped them over, rang a gong, and unlocked a fourth|
Once I unlocked all four centuryglasses, I wasn't quite sure what else to do. I set them all down, all up, rang the gong, and nothing more happened. There were monsters, and a couple treasures, still locked inside walls. I'm not sure they can even be unlocked with how buggy this game has been. Pondering what else I could do, I headed back to Greywind, who told me I had done exactly what was needed.
|I guess that means I need to help out Blackwind... or guess three numbers|
Now Blackwind was a bit more confusing. One statue demanded 100,000 gold, which was easy enough. Another statue that demanded 1,000 gems, again easy. A third statue that demanded... well, I'm not sure.
|To be pet?|
I feel like I'm missing something key here. No matter what I do, this third statue always eradicates the character that touches it. I don't believe that's the solution, but then again I realize now that I never did return to Blackwind after visiting all three statues. I'm not even sure there are only three statues as the dungeon is filled with teleport squares that send the party back to the beginning. I'll have to give it another shot, maybe even recruit a character I don't care about eradicating (a fate worse than death). I wonder if I could make one of the hirelings do it.
|If only I didn't have to give up a character slot|
|Either the game is lying to me, or subtly telling me to stop playing this version|
So, I moved on, and turned my attention to Castle Dragontooth. The clues to get into the dungeon asked me how many troops survived a final battle with the werewolves, but it only spoke of troop size in legions. It wasn't until I found a life giving statue nearby outside that I could survive two wizards capable of dealing 1,000 HP with a single spell. Behind them, reachable only through use of the teleport spell, was a statue that told me a legion was 4,000 soldiers. With that, I correctly answered and explored the dungeon. It wasn't much, only offering some strange witch's brews that talked of math in the hands of time, and few others that increased my stats.
|I didn't have much luck deciphering the question "if you used the key, what might the Mighty Moose be?" inside the Cathedral of Darkness|
I finally made it through the dungeon locked by the blue key, and found two Ultimate Power Orbs inside, but I couldn't gather them as they were locked in stasis (my guess until I answered that question). I don't know if those letters on the map are part of the riddle, or merely John Van Caneghem signing his work. There were also five statues I could turn in each of four cardinal directions (Positro, Penetro, Dynatro, Barytro, Proto) as well as a message to "set the lock, solve the key, drink the cup, and I'll hear your plea." I moved on, and cleared out the cyclops cave, gathering the red and green colored keys.
|After raising from erradication I noticed my endurance took a dive -- this happened in the cyclops cave when I hadn't saved for sometime, and I didn't check his stats until after I saved... did I mention there's only one save file on SNES?|
I pressed on. Tired of my full inventory I spent the rest of that night finding the pirate lady that wanted pearls. After scouring the Fire Isle, I managed to find her off the coast. Each visit, she took one pearl, then dumped my party in Swamp Town. I repeated the process four times, and now have a quest to give her enough so she stops her marauding ways. Remembering a caravan that trained in might and endurance, I brought my knight's endurance up to a more respectable 25 while the rest of the party has 60+.
|Cracking the secret of the skulls leads to knowing more about the (one?) purpose of the pyramids|
Already suffered the consequences, I figure my knight can take the hit again from Blackwind's dungeon. If that doesn't work I'm not sure what else to try there. I didn't give a good effort in the Moo stronghold, although I'm not sure the ultimate orbs of power are truly necessary. At this point I have over 3 million gold, over 20,000 gems, and enough experience that my characters are in their high 20 to low 30s. I feel like gaining more isn't really gaining me anything.
|This plus 25,000 gold doesn't seem like a whole lot at this point--I was more excited getting those pearls out of my hand|
So, my next goals are the red and green dungeons, Free Reign castle dungeon, and another shell once the 99th day rolls around again. I suppose I should pick up the golden pyramid card, and see what lies within. Even with the quest log it's difficult to know what will lead to a major revelation, and what garners only more riches. I'm almost tempted to dump most of the gold into the experience fountain back in Fountain Head, but I'll let the bank accumulate a bit more interest before that.
|I could always go for that 76th arena win the tavern says no one has done before|
With no end in sight, I'll carry on with the various quests before me. That's usually how these Might and Magic games go. With or without notes on the dungeon walls there should be enough to make it through... I just need to finish everything. I still haven't figured what goes up and down yet never moves though. Not a clue on that one.