Gates of Delirium Live - Post 4

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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 4:

Two updates in two days, I'm on a roll!

Ghost Town Redux
I have verified the fountain in Ghost Town is poisoned so don't go drinking from it.

I need to find some lock picks or something so I can go back to the castle and see what's being hidden from me. Ghost Town is a bust, its time to move further east and see what I can find.

The only clue I have as for what I need to do is to find the town with the same name.

I wandered south from Ghost Town as down there is indicated a Lunar Gate which the priests keep telling me to use, as well. There is also a dungeon next to me, but I don't have any torches, so I don't think I'll dare go in with just my 'light' spell yet.

Southern Continent
Exploring around I found a castle to the north of wherever my moongate came out, it must have brought me out on the southern continent based on the map and my geography. This castle has a lot of locked doors with chests, guards and a lot of prisoners. Odd, there is a priest in the middle of lava. I dont think I want to risk all my hitpoints to see him, but I am tempted to see how many I will loose if I walk on it one space hmm 50 points or so each go, so there is no way I can make it all the way across and back.

One of the prisoners says 'Help me, I'm poisoned'. Good luck pal, lets see if your still alive later on when I come back.

Nothing of real interest which is a shame, but I'll be sure to come back and quiz the priest when I have the hit points for it.

A did a fair bit of grinding here and running back to the castle to heal up as needed for cash and xp.

Pirates!
Exploring around I head east and with some stroke of luck get attacked by ship that has two fighters on it, whom we duke it with to their deaths! YAY I now own a ship. Lets get sailing and see where else we can reach. Sailing south I blow away a few enemies, and its not clear if I gain any experience from it, but I do find a town walled off by the mountains which turns out to be Triary, with one nasty monster sitting outside it. Good thing ships cannons make light work of monsters.

Triary
Alright!! Triary have an equipment shop that sells all the things I needed, gems, keys, torches and a horn... Not sure what the horn does yet.

There are a lot of trees around the edge of town, scouting around the edge and I walk off a few times, but when you re-enter town it puts you back in right where you exited! That's pretty cool and pretty sucky. If I walk off the edge I can get back to where I was without going all the way from the start point to the maze again, but sucky because I have to go all the way back to the start point to leave the town if I want to enter it again at an accessible point.

Sure enough there is one tree branching off in the far eastern edge, following it down comes to a block of lava with a man in the middle, and I already know it costs 100 points to get across. I think I can make it and be able to cast a heal spell and rest when I'm across, I have enough food so lets go!

I scramble across the lava and chat, he says 'My magic may help you.' so I ask him to join me and he refuses. Hmm that's odd, I wonder if its because my ranger can do magic spells (just badly)? For some reason, he doesn't want to join me but keeps giving me his cryptic chat up line. I had a cleric join me and my ranger can cast clerical spells. Maybe I need to do something before he will join? Maybe he doesn't even join me and I am chasing my tail.

Whatever, I'll definitely be back later, Lets sale back to casa (if we can) and visit the king and use some of these new keys!

Going Home
I manage to find my way back to Casa and then to the castle. The kings graciously level me up, I think... They just say 'Thou art wiser'. Thanks. Lets go use some keys. Getting through to the outside of the castle requires two keys. In the forest to the south I find a wandering priest who says 'The town lies near the arrow'. Hmm another clue, there is also a ship moored here to the north. Now I can finally see what's hidden in the forest on the western outer edge.

What a letdown, a hidden priest in the southern outside edge says 'DRINK from fountains', nice but I already figured that out on my own. I've moored the boat near the castle entrance so I can use it again if I need to without going through the castle.

I think this time I'll head off for the moon gate on near the second castle.

Going Forth to Twin City I
Sailing north I run into the southern landmass's bottom border and travel to where I saw the Lunar gate last time. Waiting for it to appear I dive on it when it does. This has taken me to a small mountain encased area with a town

Walking across the road I see a sign, now I get to use my 'Look' command for the first time. 'Welcome to Twin City I'.

Whoa! I think this is the clue about 'towns that are two as one'. Twin City I is kind of a clue don't you think? Only I don't know what I am supposed to be doing here.

There is not much to this town at all and it is supposed to be some clue to the story. Exploring around I can see some trees that extend across the water in the north, searching around I find a group of mountains with a dungeon and another sign that reads 'Buy Caladuril Flame of Light', some nice in game advertising.

I think its time to do a dungeon crawl, I think I need to backtrack and get some more torches from Triary and come back. Maybe that will be for another night.

Closing notes for the night
I'm kind of frustrated that I still don't know what I am doing. Am I trying to save the world or something there is really little direction in this game. I am not looking to be led around by the nose but clues are very sparse. The only real clue I had was to find the towns that are named the same. It reminds me of Ultima II where there were really only two clues in the whole game (about Father Antos and the ring), but at least you knew what the overall goal was.

I'm still wandering around with no purpose, just trying to explore the world. Finding the ship was a great stroke of luck, and without it I think I would have been very frustrated at a lack of progress.

This game feels vast, I think that's to do with the (non-existent) speed of the CoCo and that there is a lot of open space. Most locations seem to have no purpose, ie: the large continent in the south is empty except for the useless southern castle. Ghost Town serves no purpose at all.

I've managed to reduce the number of times I get poisoned by using the clerical Find Traps spell on every chest I open, which kind of sucks because it costs MP, and may not often yield a lot of gold in return.

Getting poisoned in the game is nearly a death sentence unless you're close to a healer. Cure Light Wounds just prolongs the inevitable because being poisoned really eats your HP each move.

Its kind of funny because this game could have been really great. I don't know if it was rushed into production or not, but if they had filled things out a little more it would be a really good game. Balancing out the poisoning with a potion would have really helped the game a great deal. Maybe they had maxed out disk space and going from 2 to 3 disks may have been just too expensive to justify the extra development.

I'm also starting to wonder if it started out as a copy of Ultima II and kind of morphed into an Ultima 2.5 with some Ultima III features. I can't quite decide if its more like Ultima II or Ultima III.

Comments

Bill Loguidice
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Waiting for installment 5

Wow, sounds very frustrating and hardcore. I'm very anxious for the next installment... If you can, try to take an occasional screenshot of your progress, as I"m curious of what some of this stuff you describe looks like!

If I'm lucky, I can post my first installment of the Wizard's Crown Chronicles tonight to bookend this, since AA seems to be back under control...

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
======================================

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adamantyr
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Turning Points

In Ultima II, finding the ship was the turning point in the game for me. Before that, it was a struggle just to survive a few combats. After that, with the ships cannon, you were wiping the map of every monster, and finally had the money and resources to do more than just survive. Good to hear GoD has a similar model.

I think it did, originally, have an interface more like Ultima II. My brother has a small collection of Rainbow magazines, and in one of them, the screenshot for it as an "upcoming" game has the U2 interface with a four-line text window at the bottom. At some point in development the interface changed. From my experiences with LOS (line-of-sight), it gets more expensive in machine cycles the larger the window is, so going to an 11x11 window over a 16x10 probably was better for performance.

When you think about it, did Ultima II and III have any better information in game? It seems like most of the character of the games came from the rich manuals provided with it. Without those manuals, the games are a real frustrating puzzle. I remember trying to play Ultima II in the school labs in Junior High, and not knowing the keystrokes to even move around was a problem. (Return and / to go up and down, respectively.)

Bill Loguidice
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Interfacing

That's a good point, adamantyr. The early Ultima's especially, and obviously many of the clone games, were not "pick up and play". While in retrospect the text input interface is cool (it's kind of refreshing today), even back then (on my C-64), I found it quite frustrating.

======================================
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
======================================

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yakumo9275
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Too much like U2
adamantyr wrote:

In Ultima II, finding the ship was the turning point in the game for me. Before that, it was a struggle just to survive a few combats. After that, with the ships cannon, you were wiping the map of every monster, and finally had the money and resources to do more than just survive. Good to hear GoD has a similar model.

Yeah only killing enemies with the ship in GoD, they are erased! there are no chests, you dont get XP or treasure for using the ships cannon.

Quote:

When you think about it, did Ultima II and III have any better information in game? It seems like most of the character of the games came from the rich manuals provided with it. Without those manuals, the games are a real frustrating puzzle. I remember trying to play Ultima II in the school labs in Junior High, and not knowing the keystrokes to even move around was a problem. (Return and / to go up and down, respectively.)

Yeah neither U2/U3 really offered up much information. But at least with U3 you learned several things that gave direction about marks, shrines etc.

Ive see the rainbow ad scans that came in the archive, you can definatly see the U2 screen layout.

After thinking about it, i'd say GoD is 80% U2, 20% U3.

I'm trying to play it without looking at the maps and extra things in the archive, so sometimes its frustrating the lack of direction and the temptation to cheat.

Its second nature now to traverse the edge of the map looking for things hidden 'outside' the map edges, its only by this fluke I found the path on the edge of Triary. Thats the kind of thing you could garuntee few people would find as there is no direction at all that something might be hidden on the edge.

As it is, I'm sure I've missed some things, I really need to go back to the start castle and double check some things now I've got a supply of keys :)

Bill, I'll put some screenshots up, as I did take some snaps that I should have uploaded.

-- Stu --

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adamantyr
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Manual Woes

I just looked over the manual and some of the extras again... the manual says that information on the game is "deliberately vague" so as to not ruin the game's puzzles... more like "totally absent", I'd say! Most games at least give you a goal in the opening paragraph... It seems primarily concerned with gameplay rather than background. Too bad.

The game feels like it was written by someone who was replicating the mechanics and gameplay of Ultima, but forgot the story and plot. There WAS more to Ultima than just wandering around... the cryptic clues were frustrating there as well, but at least you had an end-goal you were going for. The lack of character for the various towns and regions is a letdown, but it's hardly different from Ultima's II and III in that respect.

The lack of the player to cure poison is really distressing as well. Did someone not playtest this game? First thing I'd have said was "Need a way to cure poison other than an in-town healer." For the record, poison in my CRPG is DoT (damage over time), but of limited duration, and there will be items as well as spells to cure poison.

Well, regardless, you're doing a great job documenting the game, but post some screenshots for us too! :)

Adamantyr

yakumo9275
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curing poison
adamantyr wrote:

The lack of the player to cure poison is really distressing as well. Did someone not playtest this game? First thing I'd have said was "Need a way to cure poison other than an in-town healer.

I found the player cure poison. :) I'll blog it in my next post in a couple of days... (and from what I can tell, nowhere does the game tell you how to do it exactly... no its not a cheat.)

Did a lot of grinding tonight and I'm kinda pissed at it right now after I FINALLY learnt a FREAKEN GAME CLUE!
In short I know what I need to do to win the game, I just dont know WHY, there is no story. I mean really no story, not even a sentence or something. headbutting the table right now.

-- Stu --

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