Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Game 49: Elvira - I ain’t afraid of no ghost

By Deimar

Jake Spenser Journal Entry #2: This sucks. This chick asks me to banish a five hundred year old dead witch and gives me a dagger, a kick in the ass and a “I don’t what are you waiting for”. She has her castle full of soldiers and monks trying to kill me and she expects me to bring her her spell book? I don’t know who is crazier of the two, she for asking or me for doing it… On the other hand I have met a beautiful girl today. She is kind of shy and sleepy, but I think we can have a beautiful relationship.


We are no longer in Kansas. Not even in the US. Just in this land of fantasy called England.

So, the last time around, we had been left to fend for ourselves in the castle courtyard with a little dagger, two offensive spells, a healing cake (someone doesn’t care about my carb diet), our trusty bag and a meager excuse to explore the castle and eliminate its inhabitants. And these are not the friendly-ghost kind of undead, I decided to run directly into that room we explored last time with the axe and the shields, just next to the main gate. Go arms race!

Navigating Elvira is quite simple. Movement is controlled by the four arrows at the left, which allow you to go forward and turn to the left, right or 180º degrees. Basically, we are a tank. Although a limited one, because some of these options may disappear when the artists didn’t feel like drawing that part of the game… erm… I mean, when options are limited by the environment. A clear example of this are the up and down arrows which only light up when there is a way of going upwards or downwards.

We can examine any item in the graphic window by double clicking on it, although don’t expect the witty messages from Sierra or LucasArts. This is a pretty straightforward description. An axe is just an axe. We can take items by dragging them to the inventory at the bottom of the screen. We can select any item by clicking on it and some verbs at the right will light up depending on which actions are available for that object. For example, almost any item can be examined and you get a simple although longer description than by double clicking. Or we can use something, like the axe and the shield, which makes our character equip them. I seriously don’t know where this obsession with axes comes from…
Now I have an axe. Ho ho ho!

Now that I am armed and dangerous, it’s time to try to chop the main gate down and get the hell out of here. No way out. So after accepting our current predicament I decided that the best way to get started was to get even more weapons and armor. And for that we have to explore the main keep of the castle, whose entrance is directly in front of the main gate. At the end of the post you can see a whole map of the keep. As there is no point of reference, north is the location of the main gate.

I entered the main keep and got up a set of stairs. I was in a hall with several options. One door at each side, a set of stairs going up, and ahead through a hallway. I recalled the existence of an armory in this first floor, but I couldn’t remember which door it was, only that it wasn’t one of those. So I started to wander the hallway but got interrupted by what was clearly a renaissance faire actor, fully in character. With a real sword even. Such dedication is commendable. I tried to speak with him to no avail. Sadly, the man was not interested in roleplaying, just in soft combat. But with real swords. And real blood.
He just wanted to show me the quality of his weapon. And how the tip can be inserted into my heart

Combat in the game is also quite simple. We get a close up of the enemy in the main window, the cursor changes to either a sword or a shield and two new options appear over the verb list. The enemy and we take turns attacking, and defending when an attack gets blocked. When defending, we can block or parry, which is what the programmers understood for block left and block right. And there I thought these guys were English and knew how to write in the language... The enemy has a different animation when attacking to either side of the screen, but to be honest it is so fast and the cursor so imprecise that it is better to just guess an option. Hey, It’s a 50% chance! It is almost a viable strategy! When attacking, we can lunge or hack. I haven’t noticed any difference between them. So to sum up, my combat mostly consists in me spamming parry/hack.

As the door from where the guy came from was already opened, it seemed like a good place to start. Luckily, it was exactly the place where I wanted to be, the armory. A crossbow (without bolts), a sword, several axes, several shields and even two old flintlock pistols. I didn’t mention it before, but once we have double clicked an item in the room, if it can be taken, it appears in a special inventory called “Room”, accessible by selecting it at the upper left corner of the screen. We can also see which items have been left in the room, which cannot be seen on the main window unless the item had originally been found there. And we can drag the Room icon to the Inv icon to get all the items in the room.

Wherever you find a large quantity of weapons, it feels like Christmas

I took the sword, the armor, the crossbow, and the best shield. Just by getting the armor we wear it. Feeling very protected now that there was a layer of fine metal between me and the other soldiers which may be roaming the castle, I started to make my way into the keep. Sadly, as soon as I put my foot outside the armory, a message appeared telling me that the weight I was carrying was too much, making me lose one point of strength. 

I considered my options and decided to go to the kitchen, a nearby location further ahead in the hallway, down some stairs, where Elvira told me she would wait for me. I left everything I was carrying there but the sword, the armor, the spells and the bag. I am kind of attached to the bag, it was a present from my mom. And then I explored the kitchen. There are a lot of items in the kitchen: frying pans, casseroles, spices, wine, ham… And a dark passage behind the goods lift which Elvira offers to explore, but because of the darkness she can’t do anything there.

But it is not as if the trip has been in vain. If you know what I mean.
Wink Wink. Add more sexual innuendo that I couldn’t think of...

And now it is time to explore the keep. With just 44 points of strength left from the initial 50. And yes, I realize I could have left everything in the armory to avoid losing points… but where is the fun in that? Probably in Hawaii with my brain instead of in this castle. In any case, this first exploration allows me to kill every single guard in the first floor safely, and discover some objects along the way, but without getting anything due to the weight limitation.

The door across the kitchen stairs leads to the bar, but the only interesting thing here is a bottle of absinthe. At the end of the hallway there were two rooms. The one to the left was empty, while the one to the right had a yellow soldier, instead of the red ones I had found until now, and leads to the chapel. Here there is a prayer book, a strange silver cross with an octogonal hole in the center, a gold chalice and two gold candlesticks.
If only I could somehow get out of here with these, travel to France, use the money obtained from selling them to become the mayor of a city, take under my care the daughter of one of my workers and spend my life fleeing from the police… If only…

The left room in the entry hall leads to the library, where I take Elvira’s spellbook. Whoever took it from her clearly had OCD and needed to leave it in the right place. The other door leads to the sitting room, where we can find Elvira’s diary, saying something about a lost ring, a stake and some monsters among other things.

With the first floor totally explored, I went upstairs to the second one. The enemies on this floor are some jawa… I mean… monks, which are far easier to beat than the soldiers. The whole floor is mostly unremarkable. There is a bathroom with nothing in it but a bottle of laudanum hidden in a hole in the wall. I’m guessing Elvira is just that kind of girl. There is a locked room, to the west, next to an empty room. And there are a lot of bedrooms where we can find crossbow bolts in the drawers and wardrobes, a bible with a christian prayer in it and this girl...

Just like the sleeping beauty. I wonder if I should kiss her...

I think it’s better if we leave her be for the moment. And so, we have finished exploring the main keep. I came back to Elvira to give her the spell book, hoping for a warm, and maybe wet, thank you. But not even a glance. Elvira is surely playing hard to get with us. But that’s something we will see in the next session.

MAIN KEEP MAP:




DEATH BONUS ROUND (TOTAL DEATHS: 1):

No. Definitely no kisses
Session Time: 0 hours 45 minutes
Total Time: 0 hours 50 minutes

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There’s a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!

12 comments:

  1. Haven't played this in a while, but in combat you never need to click on the hack, parry, etc. buttons, you can simply click on the main screen. The left side is the first command, the right side is the other. This especially helps when defending, as, if you're quick, it's just a question of clicking on the side that the enemy is attacking.

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    1. Yes, I know, but I found that clicking on the screen is a lot more imprecise. I don't know way, but the split is not exactly in the middle of the screen. Thus sometimes it will parry or block when you don't want. In any case, I find it quite difficult to click at the right moment. I'm usually late although the hit has not yet connected in the screen, and in a few instances I'm too quick... I'm not very fond of this combat system to be honest...

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  2. To be fair, the left blocks (assuming the character you're playing is right-handed) because he is holding a shield and the right parries because that hand is holding a weapon. You can't really parry with a shield or block effectively with an axe, even with its broad side.

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    1. Oh, that makes a lot of sense :)

      I'm still puzzled by why you can "block" without a shield, but your explanation actually makes a lot of sense...

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    2. You are probably using Expensive Wristwatch with +3 defensive bonus.

      Loved the Les Miserables -reference, by the way.

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    3. Theoretically, a battle axe could be used to block a blow by being turned flat, using the thick side of the blade as a shield as distinct from a parry (turning aside the incoming blow instead of receiving it against something firm enough to take its impact solidly).

      In the same notion, this era of gaming did not often worry about such things. I'd say they were hoping that Elvira's cleavage would distract anyone from looking at the game too closely.

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    4. Theoretically, yes. But it would mean giving up your shield to free your left hand to aid in leveraging effectively or the impact may cause your axe to bury itself into your shoulder, wouldn't it?

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  3. New adventure game:
    Tengami: Tengami is an atmospheric adventure game set inside a Japanese pop-up book. Fold and slide the beautifully crafted paper world to solve puzzles and discover secrets.
    Also on sale: SPECIAL PROMOTION! Offer ends 22 January -25% CDN$ 9.99 > CDN$ 7.49

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  4. Also PC Gamer has a 'Games to watch out for in 2015' list, including adventure games:

    Included:
    Minecraft: Story Mode. Yes, Telltale games is turning Minecraft into an adventure games. No, no one else gets it either.
    Firewatch
    Broken Age: Act 2
    Grim Fandango Remastered
    Tales From The Borderlands: Also by Telltale
    Game of Thrones: THREE games in a year? o.0 They are either going to get really rich, or burn out their writers.
    Life Is Strange: "There are shades of Twin Peaks and Heavy Rain in this episodic mystery about a young girl who can rewind time." That sounds interesting.
    Cradle: Science fiction!
    Virginia: That is the 2nd game on the list to talk about Twin Peaks. Man, I missed all the good shows by being too young, didn't I?
    Syberia III: Another game to go on sale every other month?
    The Black Glove
    That Dragon, Cancer
    Children of Liberty
    Last Life
    King’s Quest: Your Legacy Awaits
    Armikrog: Late 90s adventure game is in the description.
    Blackmore’s Bane
    Caffeine
    Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today: Point and click
    Decay: The Mare
    Return of the Obra Dinn

    http://www.pcgamer.com/best-pc-games-2015/#page-10

    Man that is a lot. Now, not all of them are actual adventures as we define them, I'm sure, but still. It seems the adventure game is making a comeback. What are you lot looking forward too?

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    1. "That Dragon, Cancer" is a rather inspiring adventure for cancer-stricken kids. A little too depressing for me, though.

      As for "Game of Thrones"? I dunno. All of its games sucked so bad that I don't have enough balls for them to suck on.

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    2. It is by Telltale though. From what I understand nothing has been as good as Walking Dead, Season One, but that everything they have put out is well above average.

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  5. Nice Die Hard reference at the top there, but I do like the Les Mis reference more, since I really like the song in which that scene happens.

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