In this part we finish exploring the first base on Butre and discover the directions to the next base, I Can't Believe It's Not Butre. This episode will hopefully include a decent sample of some of the unique Captive craziness that awaits further into the game.
Part 2: More Explosions, More Problems That's right, just stick your fingers directly inside that wall socket. With this, you can quickly regenerate your robots' power (effectively a combination of endurance and mana and every bit as important as health) and you can also fire sparks at enemies. Try it at home, kids! (Do not.) Because this is 1990, the enemy AI isn't really too sophisticated beyond "come right at you, bro". However, they are preternaturally observant and will know where you are from a distance as well as behind walls. Robots make a lot of noise walking around I suppose. Anyway, this bunch were just waiting for me once I pushed this wall out of the way. And now I'm rich! Rich beyond my wildest dreams! Here's one of the traps in this place, what I call a Giygas door. It'll open then quickly close, destroying anything standing underneath it, so you need to speed through. It'll also reflect bullets, so.. don't shoot at random doors? That seems like a fine rule to live by. Here we are, one of the many stereotypical Asian shopkeepers in this game. Apparently it's a law that every piece of cyberpunk fiction has a coolie-hat-sporting cybernetic Chinese merchant. Blade Runner, Deus Ex, Fifth Element... Shops are essential for repairs and buying ammunition, as well as purchasing a whole range of useful dungeoneering tools. You can sell these useless tutorial messages for a bit of coin, which helps because just getting all patched up took a massive chunk out of that supposed small fortune I once had. Money tip #1: You can actually leave your heavy bag of cash with any of these merchants and they'll hang onto it for you. The bag will be there no matter which merchant you visit on that base, but it's rather important that you grab it before blowing the place to hell. Here's where the game gets interesting: Optics and Dev-Scapes. Optics, as seen here, provide various benefits to one's perception of their surroundings. Different merchants have different Optics to sell you: This guy has IV (a life-detecting radar that points out nearby enemies), V ("Magna Scan", basically a compass), VI (Body Scan, which tells you how much your robot parts are damaged) and "Super" (the Visor, which allows you to see in the dark). The most useful I've found is III - the Mapper - which shows you the local map. I'm too spoiled by modern games to cope for long without a map. Dev-Scapes work the same way as Optics, in that your robots can only equip one of either and once activated will drain your electricity faster. You'll know when one's activated because the monitors across the top of the screen will light up. Dev-Scapes are more practical in nature, which is why they also cost a lot more. III protects you from fire, IV makes you move faster, VI repairs broken parts to a barely functional10% effectiveness, VII recharges your robot's energy instead of draining them and Super can deflect most kinds of damage. Here's the coolest one though: Anti-Grav. The official manual actually beat me to a Lionel Richie "Dancing on the Ceiling" joke (I guess in 1990 it'd be a little more topical). Anti-Grav is necessary to get past a lot of obstacles, as well as fight flying enemies in melee and pass through holes in the ceiling. It also costs a lot of energy to keep activated so off it goes until its needed. Hey little guys, welcome to squish town. I love the "crush enemies in doors" trick a lot of these games have. So much. One of them dropped a "basic map", which gives you this utterly incomprehensible squiggle. But I can sell it for 500 spacebucks! Score! After gathering some serious XP killing all these dwarves and plants running around, you can then "spend" them in separate skill classes. You buy skill levels with the points and after so many you unlock the next level of that type. So "Brawling", which is just fighting with fists and low-tech weapons like knuckle-dusters, will unlock "Swords" when it reaches rank 9. The ranks don't confer any sort of bonus to damage or accuracy; they simply allow you to use stronger versions of the weapons. Robotics, similarly, dictates what level of robot parts you're allowed to equip. In each base there's one of these guys, who protect the computer that contains the super-necessary planet probe. Look at this little poindexter! Nerdy likes his booky-wook! OH DUDE So after that unpleasantness, we find the code to the computer and.. the computer that needs a code. It's the first base, so they make things easy for us. Just input the nonsense word that you're given and... You get this incredibly heavy little doodad. It's a good idea to wait until you're done exploring before picking this up and making a beeline for the generators. Which we shall do since I've cleared this place out of its riches and gnomes. Make sure you're all healed up, powered up, grabbed the cash and have the probe in your inventory before doing this, because the base isn't coming back... Oh god dammit what was the door code WHAT WAS THE DOO- No, okay, I got it. BOOM! Take that all you helpful innocent merchants! Dropping the probe on the starmap makes it putter off towards the next base you need to visit. Godspeed little doodle! And we are at "Troddo" and base number 2. Things just get crazier from here as we start meeting enemies taller than two feet and start finding swords and then guns and then lasers and then who knows what. To be honest, I've probably effed myself in the long run because of how low everyone's wisdom is, but the game gives you enough breaks to get through each of these bases as long as you're careful and observe the rules. It's very rewarding in that sense.
For now, though, I hope I've shown off enough to get people interested. It's another one of these old games that doesn't really go out of its way to explain itself with any sort of in-game information system (it's generally why we had manuals back then) but it's still playable and certainly unlike anything else of its type. That's enough esoteric CRPG business from me for this week though, so.. thanks for reading and take care. And really don't stick your fingers in the electrical socket. Unless you have to?