Gates of Delirium Live - Post 3

yakumo9275's picture

BL: Welcome to yakumo9275's (Stu) ongoing "Gates of Delirium Live" recounting of his play through this obscure Computer Role Playing Game for the Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer, released in 1987 from Diecom. Post 3:

Lets touch on a bad UI decision by Diecom. All game actions are based on single key entries on the keyboard. R for Ready Weapon, W for Wear Armour etc.

So Diecom, instead of mapping Inventory to I, which you would think is a pretty important command, mapped it to a dual keypress, the only dual single-key command in the game. First you hit Z for Player Stats, then when it prompts you to input 1-4 to select a player, you press 'I' to get a communal party inventory.

It lets you know this in the manual but not on the screen when it prompts you to select a player to view stats on.

So what is mapped to the 'I' key? Program Information thats what, something you may only ever look at once, if ever.

Pressing 'I' spits out the version number and the programmers who worked on it.

Maybe they could have made that a hidden easter egg by pressing Z-stats then I, but no, they sacrificed a main key command option for something the player doesnt care about.

Whats worse, the game does not even use all 26 keys as commands! There are still blank keys on the keyboard they could have mapped it to!

The manual in its alphabetical listing of key commands skips over I and doesn't mention it at all.

With that out the way, lets Get GrimJak and Grazer going, lets leave Casa (Home?) and head out into the world and see what we can see, maybe do some grinding to earn gold + experience.

We traveled north to the castle. Upon entering I noticed there are a lot of trees and mountains around the edge of the castle, and its a big map. Going all the way left we were blocked and found nothing, so we went to the right and up past the drawbridge, exploring several side mazes we found nothing, but the entrance in the northeastern corner proved fruitful. Hiding down at the bottom of the maze is a cleric who imparts some wisdom 'Go to the towns that are two as one'.

Exploring further along the northern edge yielded another blockage, making the whole western side inaccessible so we went back to the drawbridge and entered.

Hmm visiting the throne room we see two kings.. thats kinda odd.

They appear to have the same purpose as Lord British, as I'm told to 'Seek More Experience'. I guess they upgrade me if I have enough XP.

The castle doesn't really give much up. Lots of locked doors, which right now I have keys. It does have a healer that looks pretty convenient.

Going south I find Ghost Town! ooooooh something unique for a change. Hey there are people in this ghost town... even tho it does look pretty beat up. There are two chests in the weapon store that you cant steal... and a cleric in the south west who says 'Use Gems to see all'. Ahh the peer at gem trick.

Since there are no guards, I attack the cleric for easy XP and cash, and in the process get poisoned. Good thing there is a healing fountain... There is no drink command, I've tried standing on it, nothing... Wait there is an 'Other' command, I try 'Drink' with it and it works only the fountain does not cure! Aaargh and there is no cure poison cleric spell. Time to reload. Unless I can find a cure poison spell this is _REALLY_ going to be a nightmare.

There is a pub (oracle) here but I don't know if I want to spend my hard earned cash right now, so I reload and I'm back at Ghost Town.

I still dont know anything about the story, I keep getting poisoned every time I fight.. Lets rephrase I get poisoned most times I open chests. Now I feel dumb, the cleric has a find traps spell...

oh oh! Killing the priest and leaving town, re-entering he is not there. Dang, no easy way to get minor xp + gold easily... Come to think of it, I dont know if I want to do that {kill the priest.. best load from a backup}.

I wonder if the fountain is a healing fountain if you don't kill the priest...

I think thats all I can take tonight.


adamantyr's picture
Joined: 01/28/2007
Gates of Delirium... more like Dementia!

Ouch, that's brutal. You're a real trooper to be playing this one through.

At this point, what I'd be worried about is hitting a bug that makes it so you're unable to finish the game. Given their quality level up to this point, it wouldn't surprise me if they never bothered to try and play the game all the way through.


yakumo9275's picture
Joined: 12/26/2006

What surprised me was that the town didnt reset, I'd have expected a full reset because of the cost of global data on those machines, but it writes itself back to disk when you leave an area, so the things you do have global affects. Kinda annoying since it revokes looting/killing cheats that other games let you get away with.

I guess technically you could have two copies of the game disk, walk into town on the good copy, switch disks, kill maim and steal, walk out of town saving to the backup, switch disks and walk back in on the good disk copy...

-- Stu --

adamantyr's picture
Joined: 01/28/2007
Global reset
yakumo9275 wrote:

What surprised me was that the town didnt reset, I'd have expected a full reset because of the cost of global data on those machines, but it writes itself back to disk when you leave an area, so the things you do have global affects. Kinda annoying since it revokes looting/killing cheats that other games let you get away with.

Yeah. I don't plan on doing global data writes in my CRPG. Not so much because I can't do it, but because I don't want to alter game disks on the fly while playing. It does mean I need to watch it and not put useful things TOO close to an entrance or exit... should have to jump through a few hoops to reloot that treasure chest over and over. :)

Another feeling I had on it was, if someone wants to loot the same chest 1,000 times over and max out his money supply, fine. Play it how you want. I plan to make certain that you can get sufficient money in the game without resorting to such measures.


Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Joined: 12/31/1969
Money in RPGs

That to me is a tough call, as one of the "failings" of the classic CRPG genre is the fact that eventually the characters become too powerful and too rich. It would be nice to somehow have a balance check where if the characters reach a certain net worth, the software becomes more stingy with rewards and if the characters reach a certain combined experience level, experience becomes harder to come by. Of course the latter is much easier, since you can just make it that much more costly to buy the next level.

Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.


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