The real reason you got that machine (or emulator), right? Classic and new Amiga games talked about here. Have you seen the Games Library?
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Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:25 am

After a bit of a gaming break (so many hardware projects moved to the front of the line) I've decided to go all-in on a very challenging CRPG classic: Black Crypt.

It was made by Ravensoft (Wisconsin, US) and published by Electronic Arts back in 1992. Black Crypt is an Eye of the Beholder / Dungeon Master CRPG clone which sports exceptional graphics. It uses 64 color extra-half brite graphics so some of the effects and textures can be really eye popping. The digitized sound is great, too (I've fallen in love with the intro song). And what’s even more cool is that it was made on, and exclusively for, Amiga computers. One of the programmers, Rick Johnson, later ported the first two levels of the game to PC in 1998 so more folks could at least check it out. Most don't get past the two-headed ogre on the 2nd level anyway. :)

For those that think Ravensoft sounds familiar, it’s because they are the same folks that later created the highly atmospheric Doom-like Heretic and Hexen.

I’m going to be documenting my experience playing through the game it as best as I can (it’s not always easy to take a picture when you’re in the middle of getting attacked!). I started playing this game over a year ago and it completely kicked my ass. I didn’t get very far but did recognize the high quality bar Ravensoft had set.

I started on Friday night and you can quickly see that this game was quality built from end to end. The box art (note EA's really old logo in the demon's golden leg brace), the disk stickers, manual, game icons, flawless HD install - the whole thing is just so well made.
The Black Crypt's attention to detail and quality is exceptional.

This past weekend, I managed to finally defeat the 2-headed ogre on Level 2 and made my way down to Level 3. Only 25 more levels to go! Good times.
The dreaded 2-headed ogre. Can you unlock the secret to defeating him?
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Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:54 am

I've continued to make progress on Black Crypt, a simply mind numbingly difficult game at times. I've spent hours wandering around dungeon levels looking for a switch to flip or button to press, which will unlock other things off in the distance (things you can't see). So then you go off looking for whatever just changed somewhere in the miles of corridors that all look the same. Hah!

But I have made progress this week, which is cool. I've made my way down to Level 5. Doesn't sound very far, I know, but trust me. It's far. Even though I know this game has 25 levels in all, I think Levels 2 and 4 were simply incredibly soul crushing by design. Interestingly, I had to finish level 4 before I could complete level 3, which was far far easier than any other. Lots of saving and rebooting, but merely a hack-n-slash level, which was a really nice break from the brain teasers.

Hope to make a bit more progress this weekend. Baby steps with games like this one.
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Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:39 am

I've made a bit more progress.

As I'm completely immersed in Black Crypt lately, I recognize I've not posted here as much as I usually do or as much as I'd like.

But I think, based on the manual, that I'm about 1/2 of the way done. If all goes well (lordy please) I should be done some time in the next 2 weeks. Some of these levels I can finish in a day; others take me several days each as they can be completely and utterly baffling (on purpose).

Imagine running around a level, flipping a hidden button on a wall and hearing it open or change something "somewhere". So you then run around a gigantic maze trying to figure out what might have changed, while also being mindful not to starve, die of thirst or be killed by some jerk monster (the hunger/thirst seemed more dire of an issue before I had a Create Food spell. Can't create water just yet, I don't think). And all of the corridors look identical. Oh, and that wall that disappeared might be on a different level, too. I'm having fun, but I'm pretty sure I've grown a lot more white hair.

By the time I finish Black Crypt I may look like Doc Brown!
My likely reward for finishing Black Crypt.
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Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:17 pm

I've started the beginning stages of Gateway to the Savage Frontier - a Gold Box game from SSI from 1991/92. It's exactly the same format as the previous Gold Box games (and I think the second-to-last one made, although I haven't researched it yet). So, everything is very familiar to me at this stage having played and finished Curse of the Azure Bonds earlier this year.

I can tell right off the bat that the small panel that shows your view to the outside world involves much more detailed imagery than previous titles. The story starts off virtually word for word as Azure Bonds, but then you're thrust into a much different landscape that features a vast network of rivers. They actually run right through the first two towns (and are part of the town maps) I've explored to this point, which is pretty cool.

The game was designed by pioneering gaming heavyweight Don Daglow, so my expectations are pretty high. The dude's work is worth reading on Wikipedia when you've got a moment. Not only was he responsible for some of the most important 'firsts' in computer gaming in the 70s and 80s, he also is responsible for some of my all-time personal favorites on arcade, 8-bit and 16-bit machines:
  • Mail Order Monsters
  • Tron Deadly Discs
  • Intellivision World Series Baseball (1983) — the first video game to use multiple camera angles to display the action rather than a static playfield; developed with Eddie Dombrower (these two guys later went on to design Earl Weaver Baseball)
  • Realm of Impossibility
  • Super Boulder Dash
  • Lords of Conquest
And many more. Very, very cool.

I think in the DOS version the art areas were mildly animated. They don't appear to be in the Amiga version (not so far) but damn, the artwork is really great.
intro screen
After you win, the treasure rarely matches this artwork - but damn the artwork is gorgeous!
Pretty sure this is a bad guy ;) The blue eyeshadow is a tell-tale sign
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by Lorfarius posted Tue Nov 28, 2017 12:12 pm

Totally worth it!
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New Jersey, USA

by LambdaCalculus posted Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:12 pm

The Gold Box games were so incredibly fun! I unfortunately only had two back in the day: Curse of the Azure Bonds and Pools of Darkness, both on DOS. I seriously wanted to get the Savage Frontier games so bad back then!
Own: Amiga 500 (NTSC), Amiga 4000, Amiga 600 (PAL), Mac Mini G4 & iBook G4 (MorphOS), ThinkPad T40 (AROS), R.Pi3 (Amibian)
After: Amiga 1200
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Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:20 pm

Well you had two of the best, then! PoR came first, then Curse.

I actually 'read' the audible books to really get in the mood. It was a trilogy written back in the 80s which came out with corresponding modules and computer games. Pretty brilliant, really.

The books almost border on sci-fi akin to what's being pumped out of Canada these days (i.e. Orphan Black and Dark Matter), which is this interesting blend of Phillip K. Dick-sian concepts around replicants, clones, and what it means to be alive and/or unique.

You'd never know if from the games, but Alias from Curse of the Azure Bonds is actually cloned and you see her various 'versions' pop up all over the place throughout the trilogy. It's high-school level reading, but it's entertaining.

Dude - speaking of Pool of Radiance... you have NO idea how rare it is to find PoR for Amiga here in the U.S., which is bizarre as it sold really really well. I've only seen a copy for sale in Australia over the past year and they are asking stupid money for it (probably because it's so rare to be found on the market).

For the hundreds of thousands sold, it's strange how it can't be found boxed anywhere. I guess once people finally find it, they never let it go!
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Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Sun Dec 09, 2018 11:49 am

Indecision, flip-flopping and wandering. That's been me during the end of 2018. I did get through Zany Golf, which was a lot of fun. But I've started a few games and mis-fired, losing interest (like Times of Lore or Star Control). I'll come back to it...

I really want to dive into a classic. Granted, every time I do that I'm under water for weeks if not months. But that's OK. I've had a boxed version of Ultima IV staring me in the face for a long time.

I have a complete boxed version - it has every single thing except for the metal Ankh. Those always seem to go missing (sigh!).

In any case, this old game comes on a single floppy and has to be played off the floppy if you play the original Amiga version. Interestingly the PC version was the only one BITD that allowed for a hard drive install. But I'm totally fine with running off floppies. Since my A2000 is running with dual drives, I can boot with the game disk and have my player disk in DF1, so there's no disk swapping. So fancy! :)

Interestingly, the manual tells you to copy your Game Play disk before starting, and even gives you instructions on how to do it in Workbench. But WB told me the disk was unreadable (not true). I had to use Marauder II to get the job done, which it did with ease.

Funny: I started the game last night and there's a little storybook intro animation that tells you to go read "The History of Britannia by Kyle the Younger" before getting started. It tells to you do this twice. "No, really, go read it now!"

Ha! OK. It's only 36-paged gorgeously illustrated intro to the whole world, the geography, weapons, characters and whatnot. It's not that critical to really read (pretty boilerplate, really) but it is a fine book indeed. Really nice, thick paper, too.

There was also an interesting scene with a gypsy fortune teller where you have to select from Tarot cards, which I presume have some sort of impact on a karma system of sorts. Pretty cool.

Welp, here goes the next 50 hours of my gaming life!
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by McTrinsic posted Mon Dec 10, 2018 2:20 pm

It's gonna be way more than 50 hours. 50 hours would be a speed run.

Make notes. Make lots of notes. Write down every talk with everyone. Unless you're already spoiled by something you know about the Ultimas you will need to learn a lot and go back to the notes.

And the book of history is more important than you might think.

This game changed my life. Ok I was young and easy to influence but I can say it's almost the only game I took something from for my own.

The questions in the beginning determine your class, by the way. You'll understand if you carefully read the dialogues (and make notes ;) ) .

Enjoy this!!!

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Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:00 am

@McTrinsic - you are so right about the time investment. Here I am about 1.5 weeks in and it has been crazy.

I was blown away by the start of the game and the character creation, but quickly died of poison and had to start over. That was a fighter class. The whole game is poisonous!

My 2nd character was a "Tinker" which is a weird name for a blacksmith of sorts. With this character I've made some significant progress for two main reasons.

1) I learned how to create a Cure Poison spell. (In one instance - not knowing how to cure myself - I dragged my useless body losing hit points on every step to an Inn to replenish with only 7 points left, recharged, only to discover I was still poisoned when I woke up!).

2) I discovered where to buy new reagents to make more Cure spells. This was a MASSIVE achievement, as the store was hidden behind a false wall, and I'd completely run out of reagents. I had been rebooting for days after every poisoning until this discovery. Talk about a huge sigh of relief! I bought so many of one reagent (99) that when it was time to buy the 2nd, it said I was carrying too much. OOPS! (God damn it!) I was so jaded (and excited) over being poisoned all of the time that I was about to carry enough for 99 spells, but had to backtrack and eat some of the lost money spent.

So, the game is a bit weird. I've had to read the manuals and study them like a college class. I pity the 10 year-olds who played this game back in the day! It was at this time I realized the Runes in the manual allowed me to decipher my map (partly) like a secret decoder ring! Kind of amazing and cool, but also slightly annoying. But I have to keep reminding myself that I am not from this world - I was transported there at the beginning of the game. So it makes sense that I couldn't simply read the map. But come on! :)

Anyway, the next couple of things I've "learned" is when I'm in a city or town I have to literally search every single movement square. And I mean EVERYWHERE. I've found four of the eight runes this way. Then I have to talk to almost every single person in every town. I've only found two mantras. I've only solved one single shrine. (Just finding them is tough!)

And like you said, I've had to write almost everything down. I have been actually been taking pictures of my screen and transcribing the notes later. Actually more work this way but laziness will do that to you at 9 o'clock at night.

Anyway, I feel like I'm making progress, just very very slowly. Last night Lord British made me 3rd level, which gave me a whopping 100 extra hit points. I have to figure out how to get to some of the islands at some point.

I did buy two books from back in the day that were "clue books" on how to play the game. But get this - they don't really help! Bizarrely, they are written as novels. One of them is over 80 pages long, and is written as if in pure story form. In some ways that alone is pretty amazing as it's so strange. My guess is that was the only way Richard Garriott would allow anyone to make a book perceived to help explain how this game should be played.

In any case, I've only skimmed them. It was a bit entertaining to read the beginning pages - and it did offer me some relief in learning no matter what character you play the game is totally fine. Other than that, you're really on your own with this game.

I wish the cloth map had more detail, but I do find myself using it a lot regardless (it's pretty accurate in terms of rivers, land formations, etc.). Glad it's cloth, too, otherwise most of them probably wouldn't have survived to this day.

Grueling. Fun when I find something of note (like the runes) but grueling!

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