Last time I left you all hanging at the marina that separates the Southlands and Gladstone with a whole bunch of questions. Who is Timothy? Where is the Ruby of Truth? How many figurative questions can one ask before it seems like a Batman cliffhanger? Then I remembered I'm not trying to do an LP here, just show off this game a little. Like some sort of... expeditious... glance? Let's go with that.
Part 2: Southland Tales: The Darko Army & The Box (With The Ruby In It) You get this nice little animated screen when sailing to and from the Southlands. I probably should've made some sweet animated gifs. Lazy me. By which I mean: "You should purchase this game if you want to see the beautiful animations, I won't spoil them with some ratty gifs. I have some integrity after all." The Old Grey Eagle Inn. She hain't what she used to be, hain't what she used to be, hain't what she used to be... If you surprise this fellow on the commode, he gives you a free compass. Or rather, "magnet stone". Stops you getting turned around but then so does the map, really. This is actually Timothy. Surprise! He's an elf. Why I bothered to build up so much suspense I guess I'll never know. So now we have our two additions: The compass which sits nicely in the top right and TImothy himself. Tim's a fairly accomplished adventurer already, with a few ranks as a fighter (hitting shit) and a rogue (throwing shit). He sucks at magic, but he won't need to do much of that. It'll mostly be hitting things for the foreseeable future. His name's Buck and he's here to fork over useful items for a bit of gold. If you want to spend 100 crowns and really love manually picking up spent arrows and putting them back into your quiver, the bow might be for you. Otherwise, you'll want the extra protection of that buckler in the top right and the pair of boots (which I already bought). The forests of the southlands have two kinds of monster: This big lizard thing will eat your weapon, so it's best to leave some magic to zap it with. The other enemies are orcs. Lots of orcs. They tend to go down in one hit from this longsword or a level 2 Spark spell (which Ak'shel, even at his low level, can dole out liberally), so you'll do fine as long as you don't let them swarm you. Try and do most of the work yourself for those sweet experience points, since Tim will not be with you for much longer. Here's the layout of the southland. The orcs mostly congregate to the west, where the manor is, so as long as you're careful to pick up Tim and grab the gear from Buck before heading too far that way, you'll be fine and dandy. D: (This game might not be suitable for Rories of a nervous disposition) Yeah, Roland's Manor is crawling with orcs. Who'd have thought? It's a rather short dungeon with a half dozen orcs in it. There's a few items scattered about too. Such as this scroll, which you can find in the fireplace. It might've been helpful information at one point pre-burning. Here's the boss, sort of. You can actually convince him that you're the new Dark Army commander and he will leave peacefully. I mean, if you're a wuss. Roland lives just long enough to dispense some additional plot and then dies. We honor the dearly departed by raiding his chest for 400 gold and a sabre. Unfortunately, we no longer have our writ for the journey home and Grimace here refuses to take us without a ridiculous fare. Easy come, easy go, I suppose. We race back to the castle to come across this ominous scene. No, King Patrick Stewart! Who would've ever thought that the monarch with your voice in a critically acclaimed fantasy RPG would be undone before the first chapter was even over? The King's loyal servants decide to bust out the Snow White magic to put the dying King in stasis. Which apparently involves a lot of lightning. It's a good thing the main magician, herbalist, chancellor and army general all know the same Shield spell. And here's our next quest. So much of this game is standing around watching a scene play out until they acknowledge our presence and tell us to go do something. I can't help but feel a bit awkward. "Should I be helping with this Shield spell? I.. you guys know I'm standing here right? Hellooo?" Finally, we receive the spell book that will turn Ak'shel into the versatile wunderkind he was always meant to be rather the squishy wizard that has barely kept himself alive thus far. And here it is. So far we have Spark, our starting spell and main offensive weapon, and the super-handy Heal spell. We'll be getting a few more later on. The other new inclusion is that of Baccata, the other Grimace thing standing behind Dawn just previously. Baccata is a Thomgog - a four-armed magically-inclined sapient tree thing. With his strong magic and doubled slots for weapons he's a little overpowered, frankly, but that's really more of a problem for your enemies to deal with. Tim left by the way. He was "needed here in Gladstone". I guess to watch the coffin? Sounds like a larf. And this is the Draracle's Cave, situated very close to the castle. It's been sealed until now, but Baccata knows the way in. So begins the next and quite long dungeon, a maze with several floors that requires a bit of guile and smarts to explore fully. But this is where this Brief Jaunt ends.
I hope this shows off enough of this game's charms to convince you to check it out, should it come up in the sale. It's boxed with its slightly more modern sequel, though I tend to favour the original seen here. It's a good deal at $6 on GOG.com which might possibly come down to $2.50 or $4.50 if it shows up in the sales. If you loved
Grimrock and wanted to go back in time to when this sort of game ruled the PC gaming world, this was perhaps the zenith.
As for me, I've just received a different sort of retro PC game in the guise of
Resonance - the new Wadjet Eye Games' graphic adventure. Look for a big, non-spoilery comic exposé for that game in the days to come (and possibly also a review). Until then, thanks again for reading and I'll see about finding one more classic PC experience to Brief Jaunt you through before the GOG sales are done. Suggestions are welcome. (Though I'm probably going to do New World Computing's Might & Magic VII. I still owe ArbitraryWater a favor or two for buying me ToEE.)