Saturday, April 15, 2017

Game 5 - The Glory of Heracles III Part 2

This is a much better game that any of the ones I've played so far. It is an NES hangover Dragon Quest clone, but there's not necessarily anything wrong with that. I've made a fair amount of progress this week and I hope I can finish the game by next Saturday.

The next destination is Athens, where you are not allowed into the city. Instead you have go to a side area where the slaves live. You might think you can climb a tower and jump off to enter the main section, but if you do that you just get arrested -- this does reunite us with Reion, though. We also discover that the King of Athens is hiding in the slum area, observing slavery, and doesn't like what he sees.
I'm pretty sure this isn't historically accurate
You have to lead the king back into the palace through a secret passage, which is a strange dungeon that you have to dig out while you explore. Like all the NPCs, the King has his own stats and attacks, although he's not very effective.
In this game you don't get the chance to become King
Once he's back on the throne, he abolishes slavery(!) and then becomes your ally in the war against all these monsters that are threatening the world. But for now it's off exploring more. This is like many older RPGs where it's not always clear where you're supposed to go next, but you can usually figure it out just by trying to go everywhere you can. You also find Hercules in town, who joins you, but he's not any more powerful than any of your other guys.

We find a lot of cursed items in dungeons as well as in the holes you can jump down to explore the underworld. These are usually good items, but they lower your stats or give you bad status effects in battle. If you use a Sacred Drop, it removes the curse and you get to keep the equipment. So it's good to equip several pieces of cursed stuff on one character and then use the drops.

Speaking of equipment, anyone can equip anything. For weapons, however, if you don't have proficiency you won't be able to use the weapon well. Each character can have three proficiencies, and you learn them from talking to certain people around the world. That's an interesting customization method.

An annoying heat shimmer
This will be a long post if I detail everything, so I'm going to skip over the next few dungeons: in short, you find a hidden temple to get new spells, and a fierce heat starts up everywhere you go, although the cause is yet unknown. You also meet a stonecrafter and his servant. The stonecrafter thinks he might be one of the immortals, the same as your characters, but isn't sure.

Unfortunately on the pass, rocks come down and fall on everyone -- it turns out that the servant, Steira, is the immortal, not the stonecrafter. He only saw the dreams because he was close to Steira. So now you get a 3rd party member, and it's time to go back and revisit all the old temples to teach her spells. (From what I've read they made this less annoying in Heracles IV)
"Don't talk!"
In Troy, you get a wooden horse to go out and defeat the huge fish that swallowed you earlier. One unusual aspect of the battle system is that you can choose between AI-controlled party members or giving them orders. But if the main character is sleeping, paralyzed, or knocked out, he can't give orders, and the AI kicks in. When I fought the fish, the main character was knocked out by a critical hit on the first turn, and the rest of the fight was just the AI -- they won, so I guess the AI isn't that bad.

Now that the fish is dead we can head to Persia, where the Persians are eating centaurs to try to gain immortality. We were escorting a child centaur, but he got captured by the Persians! You can head to the centaur village where in a fit of anger, the leader of the tribe turns you into centaurs.
Can we stay like this?
We get thrown into the Persian jail, and then have to escape by evading soldiers, walking around when they're not looking. If they catch you it's back to the jail. This is a rare thing in the NES era; I wonder what the first game to have this idea was? 

I'm going to skip over some things again -- you save the child centaur, get turned back into humans, kill a monster for the Persian king, and then go to "New Athens" were the King of Athens has located, near Olympus. Our next goal is to actually reach Olympus, which we accomplish with Daedelus' help. He makes a sort of kite or gliding machine. Now is one of those times when I had to use a walkthrough; you can jump down cliffs on the overworld to get to new areas. Then I also had to use a walkthrough to find out that you need to jump off a tower in Troy to reach Olympus -- Troy is nowhere near Olympus on the map.

A strange scene that wouldn't be in most games.
In the skies you first have to help Phateon find the horses to drive the sun. Then we fall back to earth with the Temple Key and can enter the locked temple to Olympus. Here, the main character has to face a challenge alone. Once you make it through and beat the boss, it's finally time to meet the gods in Olympus.
This is not how I pictured Olympus
All of the familiar gods are there, and they greet us with either anger or resignation -- Zeus has decided that humanity will be wiped out. Meeting Zeus doesn't even change things; he just tells us to go back to Earth and die with everyone else. Fortunately, Hephaestos is some help. He gives us a key that we can use to enter a tower in Olympus and find Prometheus, who is the one that gave us immortality.

The tower has a number of puzzles, but when we finally meet Prometheus he refuses to tell us why he made us immortal. It has to do with saving the world and there are only 3 of us, but he wants us to find the answer out for ourselves. So after all that, it's back to Earth to continue our journey.
Thanks for nothing
Next up, we'll finally reach the place that we saw in our dreams, and perhaps unlock the secret of our immortality.

1 comment:

  1. Dragon Quest 4 had a couple of places where you had to sneak past guards or follow someone without being seen. It was also the first console RPG I know of where NPCs had movement patterns more elaborate than "wander around randomly" or "stand still" (Ultima 5 did it first on computers)