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Sload Soap
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Re: Together Retro: First-Person Dungeon Crawlers

by Sload Soap Tue May 01, 2018 5:58 pm

I'm currently replaying Morrowind as it just came out on Xbox 1 and am looking to finally start and finish Shining The Holy Ark. If I have time I might try and finish Eternal Ring, even if it is lesser Fromsoft.

Forgotten how rough the opening few hours of Morrowind can be. Slow walking speed and getting abused by cliff racers is a far cry from the semi-invincible god you end up at the end of the game.
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Re: Together Retro: First-Person Dungeon Crawlers

by marurun Tue May 01, 2018 6:13 pm

Just make sure to jump spastically up every hill and you’ll be leveling up in no-time!
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Re: Together Retro: First-Person Dungeon Crawlers

by Nemoide Tue May 01, 2018 6:38 pm

I got a head start playing The Dark Spire for Nintendo DS and already have many thoughts to share!
I had started this game years ago and met with great frustration: you go into the tower and it's entirely likely that your first battle against the weakest enemies will kill you. You might equip a piece of armor on your thief that's incompatible with the class and then wonder why he's springing every trap he's supposed to disarm. There are traps, there are puzzles, the game doesn't tell you how much damage weapons deal, and even though there's an auto-map, to display your location on it requires a spell (even level one spells are a valuable commodity) so you need a good sense of direction. Of course there are also teleport-pads so that sense of direction isn't always enough!

I expected that I'd start playing this again and that it would be a total slog and I'd be lucky to beat it within a month even if it's as short as HowLongToBeat.com suggests (28 hours - a completely unreasonably fast time IMO). I remember struggling to find my way and level up during my first attempt at the game. My save file was only ~4 hours but I'm pretty sure I played closer to 6-8 what with all the deaths my party met with. Early on I was resistant to save in the tower (because any combat might wipe out a level 1 party) and foolishly only saved in one slot. But this helped me bypass the difficult beginning of the game and I was at a point where I could safely traverse the first floor. So this time around I WAS HOOKED INSTANTLY.
This is good because I suspect that the game is pretty clearly going to take me the whole month anyway. I'm playing with 3 pre-generated characters and one I created. It doesn't make a huge difference because you can improve all their stats with experience points, though grinding for EP can get a bit tedious and having a vitality below 10 for any character is fairly serious handicap.

The game is an homage to Wizardry and its ilk, and while I've only ever fooled around in Wizardry for a little bit, this is making me want to take a serious stab at those games. The Dark Spire's schitck is that you can alternate between "modern" style (which has pretty good looking graphics and music) and "classic" with the labyrinth in wireframe, retro-looking combat characters (just standing there clinically) and 8-bit sounding music. Both modes are really excellent and I enjoy switching back and forth. Usually when I arrive on a floor, I'll go with modern to see more detail and get a feel for the floor (they all have very different characteristics). This game might only be a decade old, but it really captures the feel of something from the 1980s.

This game is really great once you get into it. It might seem sparse and minimal, but as you explore, you find different things to explore and different ways to strategize your trips into the tower. I still find myself looking at guides online because I find it frustrating that the game doesn't tell you things like how much damage weapons deal. I haven't yet experimented with different forms of attacking or spellcasting, but I'm sure I'll have to at some point. Every time you advance to a higher floor, the game seems to smack you and remind you that it's boss. You get confident on the first floor, and the second floor monsters are stronger. Then you need to explore in the dark. Then you need to cross a series of traps. Then you encounter enemies that are behind others and cannot be normally attacked but have ranged attacks or magic that can wipe out your weak party members. But it's constantly interesting and I'm enjoying every session. But as hard as the game is, it isn't as unfair as Wizardry in which I've read that some enemies can one-hit kill a party member regardless of level and the game auto-saves so you can't undo it.

I'm extremely glad to be picking this game up again! When FPDC first came up, I expected I'd go for something else because my memories of it were just of how brutal it is. And I didn't realize until this TR was picked that it became a super-expensive game over the years! I remember buying a complete copy for around $10 because it was pretty much the least desirable Atlus-published RPG.

If I somehow manage to complete the game within the month, I'd like to play Class of Heroes next. Because I love me some anime characters!
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Re: Together Retro: First-Person Dungeon Crawlers

by Markies Tue May 01, 2018 6:49 pm

noiseredux wrote:My copy of Morrowind hasn't arrived yet. As soon as it does, I'll get cracking.


I could play Shining in the Darkness (GEN) or Morrowind (XBOX) for this month, but...

I am a bit RPG heavy at the moment. I'm currently playing two of them and I don't know when I am going to finish them. And when I do finish them, I don't think I'll be in the mood to play another RPG.

So, unfortunately, again, I will be sitting this one out.
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Re: Together Retro: First-Person Dungeon Crawlers

by Xeogred Tue May 01, 2018 6:59 pm

Any good 16bit recommendations?

I dabbled into Legend of Grimrock last year and sunk some hours into it, I really enjoyed it but the puzzles were annoying and I got stuck. I've heard from some here (Ex) and around elsewhere that some people don't think it's that great compared to the rest of the genre. So... considering I liked it for the most part that has me pretty curious to play things that maybe influenced it and are better. I also don't mind the strict four way movement, gives it a cool feel.
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Re: Together Retro: First-Person Dungeon Crawlers

by Ack Tue May 01, 2018 7:26 pm

marurun wrote:Just make sure to jump spastically up every hill and you’ll be leveling up in no-time!


Don't forget to set your character to auto-run into a corner for several hours! Free level ups AND you move faster.

Xeogred wrote:Any good 16bit recommendations?


Arcana, Dungeon Master, Eye of the Beholder, Wizardry 5, and Might and Magic III are all available on the SNES without needing to import. There are others too, though I don't want to recommend Obitus or Drakkhen to folks...
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Re: Together Retro: First-Person Dungeon Crawlers

by marurun Tue May 01, 2018 7:34 pm

If you want to play Might and Magic III on a console, consider the TurboDuo version. Very good port.
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Re: Together Retro: First-Person Dungeon Crawlers

by CFFJR Tue May 01, 2018 9:14 pm

And I would recommend the Sega CD version of Eye of the Beholder.

Also a great port, with a lovely soundtrack by Yuzo Koshiro.
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Re: Together Retro: First-Person Dungeon Crawlers

by Exhuminator Tue May 01, 2018 9:49 pm

Sload Soap wrote:I might try and finish Eternal Ring, even if it is lesser Fromsoft.

I beat Eternal Ring many years ago and enjoyed it. Eternal Ring was actually the first FromSoftware FPDC I ever beat. It's one of the easiest FS-FPDCs (only STA is easier). But for what it lacks in challenge, Eternal Ring makes up for in atmosphere and sheer mystique. It's basically like if you mixed King's Field with Jewel Master. Here's a trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aN3m7LyelI8

Nemoide wrote:The Dark Spire for Nintendo DS

Bless you for this. I will be very interested to read your final thoughts once you finish it. Of all the many FPDCs on DS, The Dark Spire is likely the most difficult... good luck!

Xeogred wrote:(Ex) and around elsewhere that some people don't think it's that great compared to the rest of the genre

Legend of Grimrock has nice graphics. That's all the good I have to say about it.

Xeogred wrote:Any good 16bit recommendations?

Ack covered you pretty well on SNES. There's more on SFC, like the first two SMTs have been English hacked for example. IIRC all the SFC Wizardry entries have been English translated also. On Genesis you've got Might and Magic: Gates to Another World and Shining in the Darkness. On PCE check out Lady Sword.

I know you're a Game Boy fan, so:

Mysterium
Sword of Hope II
The Sword of Hope
And there's a bunch of English translated Wizardry games on GB/GBC also.

marurun wrote:If you want to play Might and Magic III on a console, consider the TurboDuo version. Very good port.

Speaking of good TurboDuo FPDC ports. Somebody oughta check out this guy:

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Dungeon Master: Theron's Quest

It's not a straight port, it's a bit more streamlined and easier:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeon_M ... e_original
PLAY KING'S FIELD.
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Re: Together Retro: First-Person Dungeon Crawlers

by Ack Wed May 02, 2018 11:08 am

Dragon Wars

Dragon Wars does have a couple of problems, one of which is that I'm not really sure what it is I am supposed to be doing beyond taking down the big villain, Namtar. There appear to be several ways to go about weakening his influence and making parts easier, but I'm not sure how all of it comes together. At times, I feel a little aimless as to what I should go do next, but at others I feel slightly overwhelmed by the possibilities of what I can go do.

That said, I still feel like I am making progress. Events transpire so that I know I am moving forward, if nothing else. I've amused one god, released another, opened a passage to the dwarven city and freed them from their stone prison, and found three of the four necessary pieces to repair a statue in Mud Toad. I've also killed a group of pirates to get access to their ship, which opens up a variety of places for me to go, and once I finish a run to a shop to sell a bunch of unneeded gear, I'll be heading to Freeport for what I believe is the last statue piece I need. There's also a special sword in Freeport, the Sword of Freedom... I have to find out how to get it.

I've also earned something called the Dragon Gem, but I haven't used it yet. There is a place called the Valley of Dragons. I wonder if I can use it there, but considering I don't want to have to take on a dragon, I'm a little hesitant to push into it.

Stats play an important part in Dragon Wars, but the game is also heavily gear-dependent. Having an AC of 15+ will negate large portions of damage, and weapons dictate your damage spread, which I believe is slightly enhanced by your Strength stat. I've discovered a nasty trick in the game with a weapon called the Gatlin Bow, which can apparently be fired in "Full Auto". I also have a Magic Quiver, which never runs out of arrows, but for the purposes of the Gatlin Bow there is a limit. This combo now enables Bone to easily outdo all other characters in damage output, though Ack, Popo, and Elkin all have higher-tiered weapons that are giving them better damage outputs. Unfortunately, certain tougher enemies can still one-shot folks if they hit, so I often go in and use my tanks to block while Bone mows down whatever gets in my way. It's an effective tactic against smaller groups.

Speaking of which, let's talk about combat. Dragon Wars is one of those games that requires you put in all commands at once and then executes them. It also has packs of enemies that are grouped and can be at varying distances. For example, you may encounter A) 5 King's Guard at 30' and B) 6 Pikemen at 70'. Groups may move up towards you for melee action or may hammer you with spells while you try to advance under the barrage. From what I can tell, if you attack a group, your attacks will randomly target individuals within the group, so it isn't easy to focus fire. Spells often make up the difference, and some of the best offensive spells don't care about groupings, they just hit every enemy in range.

Skills also play a part, with weapon skills giving you a bonus to hit based on how many points you have. This stat is not reflected in your overall attack stat because it is weapon-specific. The nice thing about weapons is that you can examine them to determine the class of weapon (sword, ax, flail, etc.) as well as any requirements needed to equip it. Most skills only need a single point for benefit, though magic skills allow you to channel more magic points into certain spells for boosted damage. The most crucial skill, however, is Bandage, which lets you heal up to a max of 10 + the healing characters Bandage skill. In short, if I have a character with 17 hp and a healer with 4 in Bandage, the most I can do is get that character up to 14/17 hp. While hp doesn't drop nearly as fast as stun, so it's easier for characters to be knocked out (meaning they will survive the combat but not be useful), some enemies will be able to flat out kill a character, and that is a massive pain in the ass. Resurrections can only occur at one place, so keep your health up by bandaging after every fight.

It's an interesting system, but I am greatly enjoying working my way through the game and discovering new things as I go. There is a lot of hidden stuff in Dragon Wars that you may never fully discover. Just keep coming back and see what you can find out.
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