Gates of Delirium Live - Post 5

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 5:

Dungeons
Entering the dungeon, they are pre-made layouts and luckily not very many encounters. Strike that not very many and replace with about 1 encounter pre level if that. I'm guessing because of the poor AI, monsters are spawning but the mazes are blocking them and getting them into a state where they cant get to the player. The AI just runs a direct line to the player, but gets hung up on edges and corners trapping the enemies.

Gates of Delirium - DungeonGates of Delirium - Dungeon
Using 2d tiles allows them to have variation in them that Ultima II + III didn't have.

Nothing much to report about the dungeons they just keep on going down. I went down 8 levels, ignoring most of the chests because I wanted to keep my MP for fighting + healing.

At the bottom of the 8th level is another dungeon entrance. Hmmm. Without going back up, I enter it.

And lo, we did weep, for I had to grind 16 levels of another dungeon. This time it was a bit varied, a water level, lava level etc. Not many encounters until I go to the ships and had to cross water, where several enemies have spawned in an open zone. A nice easy level was a forest with just the entrance/exit really.

At the 16th level I walked past some rations and healing fountains to find another dungeon icon. At this point I'm not interested in testing fountains because I don't want to get poisoned, Ive got this far without getting poisoned to end up on the 24th level!

Yes, there was another 8 level grind. The levels felt the same but the stairs were off on one particular level, the others I don't remember.

No clues, nothing of interest did I find. 32 freaking levels.

Twin City II
Out I popped back where I started. Talk about angry. 32 levels and I'm back where I start. Going south I run into a priest who says 'Enter dungeon at own risk', he was here when I left!

I walked past the Caladuril sign and did a look. 'Watch for Gauntlet II'. Hey its different!. I walked over to the sign by the entrance and it read 'Welcome to Twin City II'.

Alright!! I'm... somewhere else. No clues, but the priests are all saying 'Now is the time of the Great Purge'. Maybe a foreboding.

I bump into a fighter on the western edge of town who says 'I will join if you ask me nicely'. Greyhawk joins the team! Yay for another fighter, and a ranger to boot!

A New World
Leaving town I use a Gem and get a view of the landscape, its defiantly not the same land I left. I feel like I have gone through the whirlpool the hard way!

This landmass is huge and open and nothing here... Careful grinding and exploring I've found a couple of shrines, a priest at a shrine will increase a stat by X per X*100 gold pieces... I spent some cash to bring up my Clerics attributes that affect his MP.

I've also commandeered a ship which again was a stroke of good fortune. Sailing around I've found a piece of land to the south with a gates of Delirium sign and lots of keyholes.
Gates of Delirium - The elusive goal?Gates of Delirium - The elusive goal?

I guess my quest is to find all the keys? Is that what replaces the silver serpent, a set of keyholes?
Gates of Delirium - KeyholesGates of Delirium - Keyholes

Twilight
Sailing around more I find a town, Twilight, that is only accessible by boat.

Following a path behind the armory I find a priest who says 'The arrow lies near the crescent mountains'.

The armory also sells +2 Plate.

Another tidbit 'A town lies in the mountain'. In the weapon shop I get propositioned 'I might journey with you'. Fighter Valder joins the team!
I'm now up to 4 team members.

Did I tell you the weapon shop sells +4 Bows and +4 Swords??

Splashing cash in the pub

20 - Gate keys open locks
30 - M-U spell 'G' is view
40 - Shrines increase your power
50 - Use horns to stop time
60 - Go 6 north West 13 from the arrow
70 - Search for keys
80 - Travel beyond the gates is possible
99 - M-U spell 'I' is 'Death'

After leaving the pub in a non-intoxicated state, I've learnt some really useful stuff, I know two extra magic spells and another vital clue.

I've had a couple of clues sofar about 'the arrow' for those paying attention... More clues about this than anything else in the game. It must be important.

Now I have my boat and a means of getting back to Twin City II I'm good on the poison healing, I'm going to explore more.

Finding the other shrine I've raised all my stats, and in the process of leaving the last shrine to go back to Twin City II, I find some mountains out in the ocean and... the arrow!

Gates of Delirium - ArrowGates of Delirium - Arrow

Freaky, I count 6 north and 13 west from the point and end up at the mountains. Exiting the boat I step on the mountains and do an 'Enter'.

Merchantville
Useless except for the king to raise levels and the fountains of healing!
The pool in town has the initials DD/RK for Dave Dies and Roland Knight.

I had all these clues about this hidden place and its of no use what so ever that I can figure out right now, really, nothing at all.

I make my way back to Twin City II. There is nothing at all down here about gate keys. I have to crawl/grind back through 24 levels of dungeon to Twin City I and need to finish exploring the start world.

Game Thoughts
I'm guessing at the bottom of the dungeons I will find gate keys. I feel kinda dumb for not going down one to start with.

I have worked out something too, like the pub suggests hidden magic users spells...

The manual dictates clerical spells A-F;

G - Healing (60)
H - Cure Poison (70)
I - Resurrection (80)
J - Obliteration (85)

Magic User
Manual talks about A-F;
G - we learn from the pub, VIEW
H - Powerfull Kill (160)
I - we learn from the pub, DEATH
J - ?

They don't seem to have a J spell like clerics...

Priests actually have a cure poison!!! Holy Minax, all this time and some useless grinding and healing runs and rebooting CoCo's, theres a cure poison spell, and it costs a lot of MP to the point its not worth it when more than one player gets poisoned :( For clerics the MP you have is equal to your Wisdom attribute. Consider, if you create a cleric at the start of the game the max you can set it to is 25.

The only other way is to raise it via the shrines which you cant do early on in the game. You'd have to spend at least 4500 to get a maxed Cleric to the minimum to cast it once!!

Still kind of useless when you have a bunch of people in the party and they all get poisoned at once.

Its at this point I realize I have not used the 'Y'ell command. The manual hints you need it to get past some obstacles, must be something in one of the dungeons.

Doing some more reading of the manual, particularly the classes;

Clerics - Good, full strength cleric spells
Magic-User - Good, full strength m/u spells
Fighter - Good, all weapons + amour

Paladin - Medium, More weapon/amour options and cleric spells
Ranger - Medium, You get M/U + C spells at a higher cost

Illusionist - Bad, A cleric, only less effective
Thief - Bad, no point in having one in the game
Druid - Bad, A lesser version of a Ranger

Unless there are hidden things in the game, like some bonus for stealing chests when a thief, I don't see the point in them at all. Maybe illusionists have a greater chance of not being hit?

It smacks of choices for the sake of having choices, like choosing a sex. Its nice that you can, but has no game play impact that I can see.

Bows are invaluable weapons, it gives the part a huge jump to be shooting from afar, and very few monsters cast spells at the party.

Another random thought, You can have up to eight players and I get the distinct feeling I need to talk to _everyone_ in towns because I'm sure I've missed hiring some people, there must be atleast another 4 NPC's to hire, one of which is Mr Wizard I'm sure of it, just have to track down the other three.

I think my next be will be to hit the dungeons and finish exploring the overland continent and trying to use the Lunar Gates, since I pretty well know where I need to be for the finale! It may take a while for the next installment, I get the feeling its going to be a lot of monotonous grinding.

(I replayed some of it so I could get some screenshots, thats why I have 4 players in areas before i describe them!)

Comments

adamantyr
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The Title is the Goal?

Nice, thanks for the screenshots.

And I guess the goal is to get keys to open the gates of "Delirium"... assuming you're not already in that state! :) Hmm, come to think of it, it's like your not the avatar, but the poor fool who's been sucked into a terrible fantasy world of mono-syllabic people and hundreds of square miles of toxic wasteland! Your goal is to escape this terrible place... So you're hoping that opening the gates will lead you back home! Or wait, maybe that was the D&D cartoon... :)

So, cure poison was an undocumented spell? I notice they used letters much like Ultimas III and IV did for spells. Too bad it's nearly useless... I guess, with a single cure, you could cure your main character and resurrect the others at a town after he drags all their bodies there.

Makes me wonder what else you can learn at the pubs... of course, with restores, you could just pay up at a pub over and over, get all the clues, then reload the game so you get your money back. I could see you avoiding this tactic since it smacks of "cheating", but with a game designed after Ultima's II and III, I think that would be considered a legitimate move by gamers of old...

The Seventh Link will probably be a more enjoyable experience, if you have the will to continue onwards on the CoCo CRPG path.

Mark Vergeer
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Nice postings

yakumo9275, I must compliment you on your writings on your progression through this game. It sort of gives me an glimpse of what it is like to grind through that game. I would not have the will, inclination, desire, time nor the energy to go through that but this Ultima clone deserves this and you do it justice!

Onwards I say! Thanks for the contributions. I say to other readers, why not contribute your own things too?



Editor / Pixelator - Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Calibrator
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A mixed bag
Mark Vergeer wrote:

yakumo9275, I must compliment you on your writings on your progression through this game. It sort of gives me an glimpse of what it is like to grind through that game. I would not have the will, inclination, desire, time nor the energy to go through that but this Ultima clone deserves this and you do it justice!

I agree and disagree with you at the same time ;-)

First of all I'm glad Stu is doing this - I wouldn't have had known the game at all if it weren't for his posts (phew - I hope I got that worded right!)

But I'm not so sure if the game really deserves this much attention.

You see, I'm not a diehard Ultima game in the sense of "knowing all details even after 20 years of playing it" or even "playing all the Ultimas over and over again".
But for me the Ultimas always were the "gold standard" - the ones to judge all other CRPGs with.
U7 (Black Gate) is still my most liked CRPG of all time - except perhaps of Oblivion's ability to immerse the player into the game world.

IMHO CRPGs are the king class of computer games: They (mostly) offer the best designed games worlds with the most gaming features thrown into (exploration, fights, puzzles, minigames etc.) and Origin's Ultimas were usually at the top of this class (at least until U8) is most aspects.

Therefore I was always interested in games that are similar to Ultima - even if they are more or less blatant clones like "GoD".
However, Stu is describing very vividly the "thinking man's" experiences with a game that more or less seems either being unfinished (rushed to a dwindling market) or being the product of a guy's opinion "I can program a nice & fast tile rendering engine like the ones from the Ultima!".

Some postings ago there was a discussion about copyright.
I guess Richard Garriott would never have sued Diecom if he had played the game - I think he would've politely laughed a bit.

In my opinion a clone has to offer something new, something fresh - if it wants to exist and get recognized.
But this game simply seems to be the result of "not enough creative juices" (or Stu is withholding something from us ;-).

Quote:

Thanks for the contributions. I say to other readers, why not contribute your own things too?

As you've said so well yourself: "I would not have the will, inclination, desire, time nor the energy to go through"
However, I'm enough of a retro gamer to enjoy reading these posts and so they aren't in vain.

adamantyr wrote:

terrible fantasy world of mono-syllabic people and hundreds of square miles of toxic wasteland

Looking at the colors of the screen shots one could really think this is some kind of post-nuclear wastelandish future.
The absence of the color green is really bothering for a more or less standard fantasy game, I guess, but the game can't be blamed entirely for the hardware limitations.

What bother's me the most, however, is that the game has so few interesting places & activities to get into.
Stu's describing very well how frustrated he is as a gamer - the game seems to completely miss the target.

In closing I would like to point everyone interested in the inner workings of a map based CRPG to this website (not mine, of course):
http://wasteland.wikispaces.com/

The classic game "Wasteland" gets analyzed into depths and the map management of this game alone is worth to study!
Though they have a look at the EGA-equipped DOS conversion the game flow relevant parts were surely developed on the original 8 bit platform.
It seems a pity that there weren't that much games with such a flexible games engine (even comparable Ultimas seem to be primitive in comparison).

(I hope this was enough contribution, after all ;-)

take care,
Calibrator

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Matt Barton
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Close Analysis

LOL, well, I suppose there is always historical interest in this type of close analysis/review of an otherwise forgettable game. There must be something memorable about this title to warrant Stu's attention, even if it's a sort of "good" frustration. Heck, it's sometimes fun to play a really bad game (or watch a really bad film) just to appreciate what makes good games so good. I'm also impressed with this because I was under the false impression that most of the early CRPGs were pretty distinct from one another; I didn't know so much blatant cloning (let's call it "rip offs") were going on.

I'm definitely running into these problems in my "Diablolike" coverage. There are some REALLY wretched games in that category, though maybe not as many as the Dungeon Master-likes. I agree that the game has to offer some sort of innovation to warrant attention; I'm not even going to talk about Ancient Evil and Blade of Darkness in my book. Though I do find something of interest in a game like Dink Smallwood, which is basically a parody of the genre, or Nox which was far more story-focused and had a much more interactive gameworld. Throne of Darkness is novel in introducing party-based combat, and it's set in medieval Japan.

I guess what we need is some word to describe a "clone" that doesn't sound so negative. I've been trying to say things like "Diablo-inspired" rather than "clone" if the game departs enough from the original.

I think the REAL problem is when a game is not just a clone, but tries to pass itself off as the real deal, or as a cheap replacement for the real deal. This (to my mind, at least) isn't just a lack of originality, but a vile act. If the purpose of GoD is to make people think it's Ultima, or a good replacement for it on that platform, it's even more problematic.

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Bill Loguidice
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My take

I obviously appreciate this close analysis of a game I'll probably never get around to playing. I also appreciate the fact that it's so obscure and to my knowledge this game has never been covered in any great detail elsewhere. While my decision to take on "Wizard's Crown" was purpose-driven, even that has had considerably more coverage prior to what I'm doing. I look at these as much as exercises in "mega-reviewing" (forensic?) as anything and it makes one appreciate just what the WWW's greatest purpose may be - as an enabler for unlimited artistic expression.

We also tend to like to review things we like or are good - sometimes it's better to review things that are bad. A game like GoD, that gets so many things wrong is like a lesson in CRPG dos and don'ts, and yes, is also an indictment of the platform in a small way.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
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adamantyr
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Cloning

Yeah, I'm picking up a lot of what NOT to do reading about GoD in action.

The expensive spells in terms of MP is actually right out of Ultima III, so I think you could at worst accuse them of not aspiring to create a better game engine while they were cloning. I ran into that problem when trying to do a port of Eastern Front 1941 to the TI-99/4a. I realized about 2/3 through that I couldn't adequately playtest to ensure it matched the original (especially the A.I.) and that I would be tempted to make changes to improve it. Would I then not actually be creating a port? I also got tired of having to follow someone else's ideas.

I'd say it's also an illustration of why the Color Computer never commanded a dominant share of the market. A lot of CoCo users had been TRS-80 Model III users who just moved up to the next system, and walk-in customers at Radio Shack. The four-color artifacting that GoD uses is about the best you can get on the platform in terms of resolution. It's easier to play on a monochromatic screen; I played a lot of my brother's CoCo games in black and white, and the lack of color is less of a problem there.

The Color Computer 3 was a far better machine in terms of graphics and developer potential, but it came out a number of years too late to make any difference. It's also just a very refined 8-bit system, which by that time was in competition with full 16-bit systems.

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