Saturday, February 22, 2014

Might and Magic III - Part 1

Here we go, the beginning of a brand new adventure. Hopefully one that will not take four years to complete (haha, yeah right). 

As you will see from the images, MM3 has made HUGE advances compared to MM2. One very noticeable difference is the graphics. The graphics were almost non-existant in MM2, but that changes in MM3. The outside environments are actually pretty lush for a DOS game. MM3 also features MIDI background music. MM2 did not have music, only sound effects and jingles. Finally another large difference between the two games is how the battles work out. There really are no random battles in MM3, which is sort of unfortunate. Instead monsters will roam around on the world map. Well, roam isn't really the right word. They are on the maps and will not move until you can see them, in which case they will start to run towards you. The world is turned based, so when you move one step, so will the enemies. I'll explain this better when the time comes.

And with that, lets start Trying to Play Might and Magic III: Isles of Terra!

Wait, what?  Corak is dead...

Great...  Guardian of Terra?  What?

Surprisingly enough, Sheltem actually speaks in the introduction.  Its kind of hard to make out what he says though, since the sound quality is pretty bad.

Yay!  Thats us!

That is NOT us...

The game starts with a default party you can jump into the game with.  They're a decent enough party I guess, theres a cleric, a mage, a robber and a few tanks, so its not too bad.  However, we're not using these freaks.  Another thing about Might and Magic 3 is the portraits.  If you want to use the portraits of the default party, you have to delete the character.  So good bye default party! On to the character creation!

Similar to Might and Magic 2, character stats are randomly generated.  You can reroll the stats if they all suck.  Best thing to do is to reroll until you don't have any numbers lower than 10.  The stats determine what class you can be.  For instance you need something like 15 or more Might to be a knight.  A cleric would need high personality, and a mage would need high intelligence.  In addition to rerolling, you can swap the scores around so if you're trying to make a knight, but you only had 13 might, and 16 intelligence, you can swap the two stats in order to make the knight.

Unfortunately to video-game/high-fantasy racists, such as myself, each portrait corresponds to a race.  There are only 2 male and 2 female portraits per race.  You can have 6 party members.  These means I have to have at least TWO freaks in my party!  Well, as it turns out I made three freaks.  In fact Swift (shown above) is going to be a dwarf, because I like the skull helmet.  The race doesn't really affect the game all that much.  As far as I know at the moment, each race has different resistances.  Humans have high resistance to everything, dwarves have slightly less resistance than humans, and elves have terrible resistance.  There are also half-orcs and gnomes, but who cares about them?  They're all ugly as hell.

As far as I can tell so far, alignment has no bearing on the game as well.

Jeanne the good human Paladin.

Hein the evil human Robber.

Elayne the good elf Archer.

David the good human Cleric.

And finally, Ian the neutral elf Sorcerer.

There are two new classes that were absent in MM2: the Druid and Ranger.  The Druid is a mixed mage from what I understand, getting both Cleric and Sorcerer spells.  And the Ranger is like the Archer/Paladin, only getting both Cleric and Sorcerer spells instead of one or the other (Paladins can get low to mid level Clerics spells, while Archers get low to mid level Sorcerer Spells). They're kind of like Final Fantasy's Red Mage class, where they do not particularly excel at anything.  The Druid doesn't get the high-level spells that a Sorcerer or Cleric gets, and the Ranger would probably get even less.  To me, these do not appeal to me at all, and sound more like wasted space.

So with our party, lets go out into the World of TERRA.

The first city of the game is called Fountain Head.  A rather fitting name since there are numerous fountains shaped like heads.  And yes, you read that right.  Mooserats.  Mooserats are bad news.  If you throw a coin into the fountain a bubble man appears.

Not the same bubble man that appeared from the fountain. Bubblemen can be pretty tough to hit at low levels, and can still pack a punch on the weaker mage-type classes.  They also have a ranged attack that can deal a fair amount of damage before you can even fight them.  Overall, the bubblemen are too bad, but the one thing about them is that they don't give any loot at all.  Which brings me to another difference between MM2 and MM3.  In MM2 you had to search after you fought a battle and you'll typically find a treasure chest which needs to be disarmed/unlocked by the (usually pretty shitty) robber.  In MM3, there is no search function, and loot is automatically given when the battle is over.  There are still locked/trapped chests in the game, so its still a good choice to bring a Robber or Ninja (see my first post of MM2's lets play to see what I think about the Ninja).

Time to see how bad the mooserat really is.  Also notice the chest in the background.  Kind of jumped the gun about chests by explaining it before this image.

And, what do you know?  We haven't even hurt the rats, and they already killed Elayne and knocked Hein unconscious...  You can tell the health of enemies by the color of their name.  Green means unhurt, yellow means slightly hurt, and red means almost dead.  The same goes for the bars underneath the party portraits.  Blue means the character is out of commission.  Lets just say this battle led to my first game over, the first of what will most likely be many over the course of this Let's Try and Play.

So I reloaded, and steered clear of the mooserats and decide to explore the town.

Meet Fen, he runs the equipment shop in all the cities.  Well, okay probably not him, but his identical twins or something.  Creepy little midget thing...  The equipment shop is pretty nice, they sell 10 items per item class, so like 10 weapons, 10 armor, and 10 misc equips.  The first 8 are standard items, nothing special.  The last two you kind of want to keep an eye on.  They usually have enhanced properties.  In MM2, the wepons and armor could be +1 or higher.  MM3 doesn't use the + system.  Instead they are made of different materials, like crystal, lapis, iron, etc.  And each material has a specific increase that goes with it.  The last two items in the shop can be made of these materials, but at the same time can be REALLY expensive.  The two special items refresh every day or so, so be sure to check back often.  Fen will also repair equipment should it break in you travels.  Typically armor breaks when the character dies or goes unconscious in battle, I'm sure there are other ways, but thats all I know at the moment.

The temple is where you can revive dead characters and get blessings by donating.  Pretty standard.  They are also apparently Jedis and talk just like Yoda.

Good to see that the games humor is still present.  At least its only a lonely hearth, after all its much better than a broken hearth. You can buy food at the bar.  You use food when you rest, and if you rest without food you won't get healed (at least in MM2 you didn't).  You can also get rumors which can tell you secrets about dungeons and such.  You can also get drunk!  Drunk is a status ailment that increases personality, but decreases everything else.  If you rest when you are drunk, you will have the weak status ailment, effectively a hangover.

The bank is kind of important.  It is only found in Fountain Head.  You can deposit gold and gems.  Why?  Interest.  You can collect quite a bit of interest every day money is left in the bank.  Gems as far as I know do not collect interest.

When I played this game YEARS ago, theres a trick you can use to get infinite money at the beginning of the game.  You take the default party and sell everything they have and go to the bank and deposit all your money.  Theres an NPC around the corner that gives you 50 gold if you work for him for a week.  A week instantly passes and you get a week's worth of interest in the bank. What I would do is do this a metric shit ton of times, occasionally depositing the money the party got into the bank.  I did this until the characters started dying of old age.  Yes, you can dye of old age.  As you get older your stats begin to decrease, and eventually after like 70-80 years, the character just dies.  I don't know if you can revive them at the temple or not, but chances are they would just die again shortly afterwards.  Anyway, at this point you should have like 100 million gold or so, and never have to worry about gold again.  I didn't do this for this play through, because its pretty cheap.  Also I don't know if the game has a time limit or not.  Like MM2 had to be completed within 100 years I think.

Training grounds work a little differently than they did in MM2.  In MM2 you could train at any city, but the health and SP increase would be high in other cities.  In MM3, each training ground only trains to a certain level.  Fountain Head's training ground is only good until like level 10, at which point you need to get to the second city to train.  I believe you cannot train at the next city until you can no longer train at the previous city.

Finally the mage guild.  This is where you can buy spells.  Clerics and Sorcerers (probably Druids too) can buy spells at cost. Paladins and Archers and probably Rangers have to pay twice the cost to learn spells.  You have to be a member to use the guild and you can find membership through NPCs in town, or in the town's dungeon.

The magic system is MAGNITUDES better than MM2's.  You can actually see the name of the spell you are trying to cast, and how much SP/Gems it takes.  I think you can right-click the spells to see what it does too.  Speaking of right-click... MM3 lets you use the mouse, although for the most part you can just use the keyboard and in some cases its easier to use the keyboard than the mouse.

Messages can still be found written on walls.  This particular message is easy enough to interpret.  Each city has a magic teleport orb thing, by speaking the right passage to the orb, you can easily teleport throughout the Isles of Terra.  When you say the word HOME the teleport orb will take you back to Fountain Head.

Castle Whiteshield is actually pretty close to Fountain Head, but we won't be visiting it for quite some time.  Both the Artifacts and Power Orbs are end-game stuff so it will be quite a while before we find any.

After exploring as much as we can of Fountain Head, without going to areas that have Mooserats, we head out to the world map.

And almost immediately get fought by goblins.  Goblins are pretty easy, however they come in HUGE numbers.  As you can see over his shoulder theres another goblin.  When you are in melee you can only fight the enemy in the front, with the exception of spells.  Some spells can rip through enemies and kill things in the back.  Once the goblin in melee is killed it is possible to use ranged attacks to injure the goblins that are farther away.  The mage and cleric cannot exquip bows, but the rest of the party can. When you use bows, each party member with one equipped will shoot it, so you can do quite a bit of damage to enemies before getting into melee combat.  However, some enemies, such as the bubblemen, also have ranged attacks and therefore they can do damage to the party even from afar.

While exploring around Fountain Head, we came across this well.  If you want to make it far into Might and Magic, always, always, ALWAYS save before drinking from wells or fountains or whatever.  Sometimes good things happen, like in the case of this well. This well gave us enhanced defense for a short time.  Other wells aren't so nice, and instantly kill whoever drinks from it.

After getting a few levels from killing goblins, we head back into Fountain Head and finish exploring the city.

We managed to kill the two Mooserats guarding the chest, and get some fairly decent loot.

Going to the storeroom was probably not a good idea...  Mooserats are still some of the toughest enemies we can face at this time. We can hold our own to an extent, but its still a really hard battle.  Both Jeanne and David were casting healing spells just to keep us alive.  We somehow pull through.

We find one last NPC in Fountain Head and he even gives us a quest.

Then we find the pit, which is where I will stop this update.

Nothing has really happened yet, so I don't have any real closing thoughts, after all the game has just started.

End of Part 1.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Might and Magic II - Final

Yes, you read that right. Final. As in Last. After four long years, I have finally finished Might and Magic II: Gates to Another World! This was no easy task, the game made progressing more or less impossible at times, but I have prevailed!

On with the epic conclusion!

So last update we ended with all the Elemental Talons, and all we had to do was find the Orb. The Orb is located in Dawn's Cavern.

Dawn's Cavern is in the middle of the swamp, which is annoying to traverse since it randomly teleports you.  Random teleports are REALLY annoying, for obvious reasons.  I actually had Ian cast the spell Teleport, which jumps you 1-9 spaces forward, you can select how many spaces.  It made it a lot easier.

There's a lot of junk lying around in Dawn's Cavern.  She needs a maid or something.  Occasionally you can find stuff in the rubbish.  The Monster Tome casts Identify Monster, which is pretty useless.  It shows the HP of the monster, whether its undead or not, and if it has special skills.  It doesn't actually say what skills the enemy has, it says something like "Special Skills (Y/N)."

Throughout the dungeon there were doors with random labels.  There was a lounge, an employee's room, a steam room, a weight room, and a cafeteria. I think each room had enemies more or less themed to the label.  Nothing of interest was found in these rooms.

The Top Dog Kennel was mildly interesting.  We got fought by a small army of Lucky Dogs.

After fighting off the dogs we found a bunch of lucky charms.  And hell yeah we're gonna roll around in them!  This probably increased my Luck stat, but since we're already with broken stats, I can't be sure.

In the Target Practice room we find some floating heads picking on some poor adventurers.  We freed them, but I can't remember who they were, as I totally forgot to screen capture them.

Finally we find Dawn's Throne Room, and fight Dawn.  She was not the least bit scary.  Most of the battles in this dungeon were more scary.  Strangely enough, she does not have the Orb.  Thats somewhere else in the dungeon.

The Orb Guardian was about as scary as Dawn was.  Ian blew him to pieces with the spell Implosion, I think.  Well, I guess Implosion wouldn't blow him to pieces, but you get the picture.  We annihilated it.

And the Orb is ours!  The problem is the Orb will not let us leave the dungeon.  The trick is to have hirelings.  You can give the orb to a hireling, and dismiss the hireling and the hireling will go back to the last inn you stayed at, allowing you to leave the dungeon. We went back to the inn and picked up the hireling, and take the Orb back.  Now its time to go back to the past!

We go back to the 8th century, where last time we saw King Kalohn get eaten by a dragon.  But this time it will be different!

Okay I guess, maybe it was the 7th century?  They call the 900's the 10th century so I guess so.  I always get confused when naming centuries.  

We return to Luxus Palace and King Kalohn tells us the password for the final dungeon!  But first, we must break the game!

Meet the Cuisinarts.  You may remember them from a few updates ago, where they totally owned up my party.  Well, they still do. But there's a trick to fighting them.  The trick doesn't work all the time, but it helps.  Cuisinarts only have about 1000 hp, so they're not THAT bad.  Basically just pray that your mage doesn't get killed.  The cuisinarts almost always fight first.  They hit EXTREMELY hard as can be seen in the picture.  2000 damage is a one-hit KO regardless of who it hits.  Fortunately that only knocks the character unconscious.  A second hit to an unconscious character kills the character.  The trick is to have as many people in your party as possible, so bring some hirelings.  Clerics and Paladins are helpful since they can heal unconscious characters, specifically the mage.  The cuisinarts are cheap though, and even with eight people in the party you can still lose the fight in the first round.  The cuisinarts have a frenzy skill which I've described in other updates.  When in frenzy the cuisinart will attack six random characters, but kills himself in the process.  If two cuisinarts use frenzy, you're screwed.  So basically the strategy is to keep the mage alive.  Hopefully the mage will have 8th or 9th level spells.  Implosion is basically an instant kill on these, but it only hits one cuisinart.  I use Megavolts, which does 4-16 damage per level of the spell caster, which can do MASSIVE amounts of damage, depending on your level.  Have the others finish off the cuisinarts, healing whoever is unconscious.  If everyone is alive, each character gets something like 10 million experience which is pretty much multiple instant levels.  The loot is crazy awesome as well, things with enhancements that can be higher than +20.  We trained here for A LONG time.  We got a lot of awesome loot, and now we're stupidly high in level.  So stupidly high that we can't even afford to level anymore.  It takes 20,000+ gold to use the training grounds.  I thought I was insanely rich, but from farming these cusinarts, I'm dirt poor now.  I can't even afford to keep the hirelings.  We have so much health that the game just puts "+++" instead of a number, indicating we have over 1000 hp.  In the character's status screen you can see the actual health.  

Anyways back to the story.  Final Dungeon Time.  This was a pain in the ass.  The Final Dungeon is right next to Middlegate, in a lone mountain in the middle of the river.  The layout of the dungeon is a long ass hallway.  There's a one space turn that always has a battle.  The battles are annoying.  Theres always 50+ enemies, and half the time, only the first two character are in melee range so it takes like 10 minutes to win a battle.  The enemies are stupidly easy for the most part.  More or less enemies you'd find in Middlegate's dungeon.  However, some battles will have insanely powerful enemies, making this dungeon horribly unfair.  You'll waste half an hour fighting retarded enemies, only to run into a single monster later towards the end that wipes the party out in one move.  The only saving grace is that the enemies are not set, so you can run away and fight again and the battle will be different.

After spending upwards to an hour we finally get to the end of the hallway which is guarded by 66 devil Kings.  We're up for the challenge, until we see that they cast 8th and 9th level spells, and are kicking our asses.  We run the fuck away.  Now the interesting part here is, you get a choice.  You can't really see it, since the floating head is in the way, but there is a door behind the monsters.  I figured these were a guardian, and you had to kill them to get to the door.  Thats not true.  You can choose to fight them, or not.  If you choose not to fight them, you can walk right through the door.  So we decide against fighting them, and go through the door, which leads to another hallway.

The hallway has no enemies, just signs that are pretty friendly sounding.

Maybe, probably not.  I mean we couldn't kill the Devil Kings, so I doubt we'll be able to kill the boss of the game...

Well, you certainly are, Mr. Programmer.

Jesus Christ, shut up!


God dammit!  Fuck you, game...

Better not be shitting me again...

Are you for real this time?

AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!! Its another floating head!!! 

I'll try to explain the plot of the game involving the VARNs and CRON and things at the end of this post.  Its weird.

 We're also fighting the version of the game itself apparently?

This was just sad.  No other way to explain it.  We killed the elementals first, because I knew I could kill them fast and just wanted to get them out of the way for the real battle.  Ian attempted to cast Implosion on Sheltem, but Sheltem was immune to it.  I don't even remember what Sheltem did in his turn.  Hein killed him in one hit.  It was pathetic.  I was seriously expecting this to be hard as hell.  And then I was like, "Oh, this can't be the end of the game, there's gonna be another boss battle, right?" Nope.  That was it. An hour long dungeon for a boss I killed in one hit.  Wow.

King Kalohn told us the password earlier.  It was WAFE.  We save the world of Cron just in time.  

Or not...

This was just pure hate.  I have no idea how cryptograms work. Apparently the cryptogram is randomly generated too. I had to look online for the answer, but every fucking walkthrough online does not tell you how to do this.  They all say "Translate Preamble into the cryptogram to get the code."  LIKE ITS THAT FUCKING EASY!  What it means by "Answer= Preamble" it really means that the cryptic message is a cypher of the Preamble to the United States Constitution. "We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union" etc.  Substitute Terra in for United States and you can see that the US Preamble word sizes match with the cryptogram.  I still have no idea how to solve the cryptogram, but I found a way to answer it.  Too bad it was too late in this attempt, and I got game over.  So I had to go ALL the way through the dungeon again, and murder Sheltem again, and do it.  For those of you that may ever play this game, here is the solution:

P = Row 1, Word 3, Letter 1
r = Row 2, Word 1, Letter 3
e = Row 1, Word 1, Letter 2
a = Row 2, Word 2, Letter 1
m = Row 2, Word 3, Letter 1
b = Row 2, Word (last), Letter 5
l = Row 1, Word 3, Letter 5
e = Row 1, Word 1, Letter 2

You may need to capitalize the first letter, whatever corresponds to P.  So in this case the answer is "Apesqwfe"

After entering the right code, we finally save the world.  After viewing this screen, the game takes you back to Middlegate, and you can continue playing for whatever reasons.  

If you go back to King Kalohn, he's the only person that seems to recognize you saving the world.  

And my Game End Stats for each character.

Now to try and sum the game's plot up.  I never played  the first game, Might and Magic: The Secret of the Inner Sanctum.  I'm basically just summing whats on Wikipedia.  MM1 takes place on the world of VARN, which is really a giant spaceship thing.  Thing is the the heroes don't know this (at least I don't think they do), and to them VARN is their world.  It has outside environments, towns and castles.   The heroes learn of Sheltem when they enter a crashed space ship.  Aliens tell them that Sheltem was their prisoner and he managed to escape when the ship crashed.  Corak apparently came before the heroes and is already trying to stop Sheltem..  The heroes stop Sheltem, and enter a Gate to Another World (The subtitle of MM2) and are transported to the World of CRON.  The heroes never actually defeated Sheltem, and Shletem escaped to CRON as well.  It turns out that CRON is another spaceship thing, and Sheltem is trying to steer it in to the sun.  Apparently King Kalohn tried to stop Sheltem by changing the past or something, which resulted in tragedy with his death, which we then had to fix.  I guess Sheltem stole the power orb in the present time, hence why we had to find it and give it to Kalohn to save him from the Mega Dragon.  I don't really know.  Its pretty convoluted, especially since Sheltem was pretty much never mentioned in the game.

So I've finally finished Might and Magic II: Gates to Another World!

Overall I'm glad I finished the game, but I doubt I'll be playing it anytime soon.  The game was fun at some points, but it was also brutally unfair at other points.  If you like dungeon crawlers, maybe you'll like this, but its definitely not for everyone.  

Stay tuned for my next Let's Try and Play Project: Might and Magic III: Isles of Terra!  I promise it won't take as long as this one did. I hope.  MM3 is my favorite game in the series, so I'll probably play it more frequently.