Wrath of Denethenor Live - Part 1

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Wrath of Denethenor is an early Ultima clone written for the Apple II and C64 by Christopher Crim and published by Sierra On-Line in 1986 (c64) and 84-85 (Apple II).

Chris has some info on his site http://crimdom.net/wrath.html but no disk image downloads (which are easy enough to find).

Wrath of Denethenor : TitleWrath of Denethenor : Title

Story
The story goes like this;

"The four lords of Deledain once ruled their kingdoms independently and peacefully, but a small border skirmish mushroomed into the destruction of their four lands. Like a phoenix from the ashes, the evil Denethenor rose to dominate the weakened world.

You begin the game by taking on the role of the most unlikely of heroes, a scoundrel explorer out to pillage the war torn countryside. However, with every successful raid on castle, town and village, you take another step closer to the ultimate battle with Denethenor, the price of evil"

The game boasts

  • Over 300k of game maps - every one of which must be explored to win the game
  • A unique role-playing system that doesn't limit you to a set character class. Be a sorcerer, thief and fighter all in the same game.
  • Special visual traps throughout the game. Stumble into flooding chambers, collapsing walls and incineration devices.
  • Learn 10 magic spells with unique visual effects
  • Find a price on your head in villages and towns
  • Plan complex strategies to attack fortresses and rob banks.
  • Travel through the light of day and dark of night.

Wrath of Denethenor : Rear of BoxWrath of Denethenor : Rear of Box

Character Creation
Character Creation is a simple process, you type in your name. The game defaults to a preset character basically. You have 1000 hit points, 600 Stamina, 300 Gold and two basic stats of Strength and Intelligence, both at 5 points.

Wrath of Denethenor : MenuWrath of Denethenor : Menu

So far, so good, but for the c64, this is where it goes downhill for a little bit. The game will attempt to write your character to disk, all four disks in a very lengthy process. First it will write to disk 1, swap to disk 2, then back to disk 1, then to disk 3, back to disk 1 then to disk 4 then back to disk 1...

Wrath of Denethenor : Character CreationWrath of Denethenor : Character Creation

The game can work with two drives, but it seems to get confused easily so its best to just use a single drive.

The command list is a bit different to the standard Ultima.

C - Converse
D - Disarm Trap
E - wear/wield
H - Hoist Anchor
L - Lower anchor
O - Open Door
P - Player information
Q - quit/save
R - Rest
S - Speak (lets you input a word)
V - View surroundings (tells you what tiles are next to you)

Wrath of Denethenor : StartWrath of Denethenor : Start

I head south west (the only way I can really go) and find a small town.

Backwoods
So this small town of Backwoods is giving me some clues. Its very Ultima-esque with single responses to talking to someone.

"Firetrench can take you a long way"
"Silver Reflects"
"Exit Misondel on a western isle"
"See the hermit south of town"

Wrath of Denethenor : BackwoodsWrath of Denethenor : Backwoods

I bought a dagger at the blacksmiths (you only have two options, a whip or dagger) then wandered the town talking with everyone else. There are some enticing chests behind locked doors that I cant get to (yet?).

Eventually I found the door to the hermit, as hinted at in the clue from one of the townspeople.

Opening this door reveals a path through the mountains to a wizard who teaches you your first spell "TULICANRE".

Wrath of Denethenor : HermitWrath of Denethenor : Hermit

It turns out Stamina is your food supply which continues to go down all the time, and your hits continue to go up all the time... Its very weird.

Equipping my dagger raised my strength by 6 points.

With nothing left to do in this town I journeyed forth.

Leaving backwoods I journey around north, back around where I started only to realise that its a dead end (mountains, water) and I have to travel back south past Backwoods.

I've been fighting various things with odd names, it appears there was some disagreement between Lord British/Origin and Sierra, so lots of things have been renamed (including the odd, as in Skeletons are now known as Klinken).

Eventually I find Castle Solrain.

Castle Solrain
I talked to the king who raised my intelligence.

Wrath of Denethenor : KingWrath of Denethenor : King

Not many clues here;
"Look in the stone"
"He who goes unsee and speaks unheard is the strongest"
"I've got a Specere's atlas"

Nothing else much here, its all locked doors.

I head out and travel around some more, eventually I found an outpost called "Solrain Argoth"

Solrain Argoth
"You wanna be a guard? You could work in the Deledain Penitentiary"
"The wizards of Castle Drawn will help you"
"Pass through with Netrelon"
"Don't get lost: Go to the Gargoyle!"
"Speak to the Backwoods hermit of torches"
"Doors are so charming"
"Ask Lord Mirrih, he might be able to help"

After leaving the outpost I wandered around and noticed one of the grass tiles was.. moving.. I stepped on it and found a dimensional door that transported me outside a town on an island, it turned out to be Dry Gulch.

Dry Gulch
Not much here, the place is flooded and doors are locked.
I said the word "NETRELON" and used a charm to phase through the door.

"Hold the charm to a locked door"
"Solrain, Mirrih & Estrine are the real conspirators"
"A mage's intelligence echoes in the staying power of his spells"
"Use Wethrir wisely - master it before learning higher powers"
"Our local priest is quite talented"

I bought some food, now I know how to phase through doors I need to fight more monsters to find charms. I'm headed back towards backwoods if I can to see if I can liberate some gold!

I eventually made it back to BackWoods and used the NETERLON spell to enter the room in the south-east, and scored some super loot, lots of gold, a longbow and a charm!

Backwoods
Sweeeet!

Now I have extra gold I'll get some more food and go back to the castle. Nightime is approaching and the screen is starting to get smaller

Once in the castle I searched around, I had to reload my game as in the pub I started a fight! Apparently the thing to do is buy a round for the house THEN talk to people... my bad.

"Look even beyond Castonia"
"With a whisper or a shout the effect is the same"
"Lost, find a scroll"

One of these must be a big clue, since a few clues pointed to going to the gargoyle.

I've explored as much as I can of Nisondel right now, so all is left to do is enter my first dungeon!

Thoughts for part 1
In a lot of ways it reminds me of a cross between Questron (1984) and Ultima III (1983). I dont know how much before or after Questron it came out. Remember that Questron licensed the look and feel of Ultima and we know WoD was somewhat in the same situation.

"Example: Wrath of Denethenor vs. Ultima
WoD was an Ultima clone that, to avoid copyright issues with Origin, changed from a fantasy setting to an Asian setting. It was a good game, but none of the terminology was familiar." #1

Its an odd comment, because its not remotely asian, but it does explain why skeletons are called "Klinken" and all the other monsters are some oddball ridiculous names that you can't associate to anything.

The town layouts are interesting. I don't quite like the similarity to Ultima II whereby you have to kill things to receive random items (Blue Tassles, etc) rather than buy them. Its rather interesting to see these early CRPG's and how much Ultima permeated through things (talk to the king etc).

Its interesting that this game has done away with levels and you gain hit points automatically by just being alive, as long as you can buy food your pretty much good to go.

I guess I associate it closely to Questron as they are both designed as beginner games.

#1 - http://www.massively.com/2007/11/30/live-at-the-independent-game-confere...

Comments

yakumo9275
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What? starting this when

What? starting this when I've only done part one of 7th Link? I know I know I just needed a break, so I picked an 'introductory' crpg I had not played before... I'll get back to 7th Link after I've done with this. (Just needed to do/see something different).

-- Stu --

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Bill Loguidice
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Very cool, thanks! I have

Very cool, thanks! I have this boxed, but never booted it up, so it's actually great to see/read this in action!

Vintage Games book!
Xbox 360: billlog | Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Calibrator
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Great!

Thanks for slogging through that one - I'm certain that it makes a lot more fun than your CoCo-efforts!
It also saves me a lot of time and probably answers my questions about that title!

WoD always was on my backlist to play and I'd certainly play the Apple II version with it's faster disk speed if I had the time. AFAIK you'll have to swap as much as with the C64 conversion, though. According to your screenshots the conversion isn't particularly well done, either. Look at the Ultima 4 or 5 conversions to the C64 for comparison: Better use of colors and better sounds (no wonder!).

I'm not really that convinced, though, that WoD compares to U3 - it seems more of an advanced U2 ("U2+") to me.

Regarding your style of playing: Isn't your character supposed to be less polite to the game population?

Asian RPGs:
I remember two Ultima clones with a distinctly Asian setting: The most prominent is Electronic Arts' "Deathlord" and the other a C64-only title that was published in Germany. I don't recall the name but it had four disks and some people claim it as boring...

"Moebius" and its sequel "Windwalker" are also Asian RPGs - even more so than Deathlord, IMHO - but are certainly not meant, as they came from Origin.

As for Questron: It came earlier than WoD but it wasn't simply licensed - Garriott fought heftily against SSI using his IP without paying for it. This delayed the publishing of the game until they settled the case. I think Matt wrote about that in "Dungeons & Desktops" and I also remember reading interviews (or online conferences) with Garriott mentioning the case.

take care,
Calibrator

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yakumo9275
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WoD
Calibrator wrote:

I'm not really that convinced, though, that WoD compares to U3 - it seems more of an advanced U2 ("U2+") to me.

Well I only brought up U3 because it came out in '83 and WoD was primarily targetted at Apple II first, c64 second. But definatly its more U2 than U3 influenced.

Quote:

Regarding your style of playing: Isn't your character supposed to be less polite to the game population?

Yeah, if you steal and murder in town the next time you enter they post a wanted list for you, which is pretty cool.

Quote:

As for Questron: It came earlier than WoD but it wasn't simply licensed - Garriott fought heftily against SSI using his IP without paying for it. This delayed the publishing of the game until they settled the case.

Well Origin didn't want it to be released by they came to an agreement and licensed the look and feel. I'm guessing that legal wrangling is why Sierra changed all the terminology in WoD to make it "unfamiliar" (per Garriott's quote).

Maybe we could put some questions together and email Chris, since he is still around and contactable.

-- Stu --

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Mark Vergeer
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So the c64 version of this game is better?

Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

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Calibrator
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"Klinken"

Interesting name for skeletons!
I don't know how the author came up with that one but the English word "door latch" (or "door handle") translates to "Klinke" (or "Türklinke") in the German language. If you look at pictures of them, you could - with a bit of imagination - associate them with the rib bones of a skeleton...

take care,
Calibrator

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Mark Vergeer
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Languages
Calibrator wrote:

Interesting name for skeletons!
I don't know how the author came up with that one but the English word "door latch" (or "door handle") translates to "Klinke" (or "Türklinke") in the German language. If you look at pictures of them, you could - with a bit of imagination - associate them with the rib bones of a skeleton...
take care,
Calibrator

Approximately the same goes for Dutch, 'Türklinke" would be "Deurklink" and really sounds very similar.

Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

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yakumo9275
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skeletons
Mark Vergeer wrote:
Calibrator wrote:

Interesting name for skeletons!
I don't know how the author came up with that one but the English word "door latch" (or "door handle") translates to "Klinke" (or "Türklinke") in the German language. If you look at pictures of them, you could - with a bit of imagination - associate them with the rib bones of a skeleton...
take care,
Calibrator

Approximately the same goes for Dutch, 'Türklinke" would be "Deurklink" and really sounds very similar.

well old locks had skeleton keys....... another skeleton/lock relationship

-- Stu --

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Calibrator
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Skeleton Keys
yakumo9275 wrote:

well old locks had skeleton keys....... another skeleton/lock relationship

And in RPGs you often have skeleton keys that open all doors...

take care,
Calibrator

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Rowdy Rob
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Klinken

Perhaps we're carrying the "klink" too far? "Klink" is a popular sound effect description of... well, something c(k)linking in English. It's certainly not an "Asian" name, if the game is "Asian" based. It sounds Germanic, actually.

Very cool slog, by the way, Yakumo. The "Ultima" style of RPG's is probably my favorite (with Baldur's Gate being vaguely Ultima-style). And WoD looks like a fun Ultima-derivative.

qoj hpmoj o+ 6uo73q 3Jv 3svq jnoh 77V

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