January 11, 2012

Glory of Heracles - Knockin' on Heavenly Realm's Door

Ares bestowed the Silver Bow needed to take down the Golden Hind and enable Heracles to attain the Golden Horn.  This eventually was given to Poseidon to possibly grind up into an aphrodisiac of some sort.  This did not grant Heracles access to the Heavenly Realm but rather a worthy seafaring vessel.  The Argo, in fact, according to the manual.  Now the vast and open seas can also be explored which you would think is a good thing but ends up being terrible.  This is all due to the biggest flaw in the entire game — the ridiculously high encounter rate.

After the 100th time, even the
morons stop being sexy.

On land, it doesn't seem so bad since towns and shrines are fairly close to each other and there are mountains and whatnot to "guide" the path of Heracles.  But after hitting the much larger seas it becomes very apparent.  The Argo can't just anchor at any land point either; it can only dock at a harbour.  Sea creatures are also strong against most weapons and only the trident can inflict any real damage (thankfully found quickly enough).  The encounter rate also has a annoying quirk in that there will be batches of single step fights.  As in, Heracles finishes a fight, takes a step and immediately another fight happens.  It comes in batches of three and it has no problems with dealing Heracles another batch when he has just finished one.  This makes exploring... problematic.  It's hard to get into the excitement of exploring a new area when you know a batch is going to tag yo ass any moment.  After the Rage Meter™ passes a certain point, all fucks that could be given are incinerated.  It's now just machine vs. manchine in a test of willpower to get through the damn game.

If that wasn't enough to break the game immersion, this game also forces a password system.  Save states won't save you here.  If you end up discarding a quest item (which will happen due to the limited inventory), the only way to get it back is to start the game with the password which will reset all the quests.  For example, the volcano that some goddess destroys so that Heracles could access the western sea is restored and the quest must be done all over again.  And guess how good I am at entering passwords in the first place?  Yep, just as horrible as when I was a teen.


NO, YOU'RE THE WRONG SPELL!

I was going to go into the details of some of the quests but I'm just not in the mood anymore.  Writing this has got me all riled up again.  I've also got items I don't fucking know what to do with but I'm scared to get rid of them (especially the ones that had a long quest path).  The one item that I knew Heracles needed (a cross to lay at a certain tomb), I couldn't find for-fucking-ever so I revisited every place and eventually discovered a place I thought Heracles had already explored. 

I can see why you missed it, Heracles.
It just blends right the fuck in.

Okay, I shouldn't leave things on such a negative note.  There are other aspects of the game that are not rage inducing, just interesting.  Weapons and armour have durability values that fall as they are used.  The only way to repair the items is to visit the blacksmith in Athens.  In the early game, this limits how far Heracles could explore before having to head back.  Certain creatures can also cast magic that rusts away large chunks of the item's durability.  For journeys of a longer nature, Heracles has the option to hire the blacksmith for a tidy sum and who will then take up an item slot and automatically repair any damage after a battle.

Will you take an out-of-state,
two-party bad cheque?

Quest-wise, Heracles is so close to the Heavenly Realm that he can almost taste those delicious clouds.  Ten of the twelve boss monsters have been defeated and Heracles knows the next one resides in the Heavenly Realm itself.  All that (hopefully) remains is for Herc to find Pegasus and ascend to the heavens.  Unfortunately, he currently has no leads on where Pegasus might be.  He may have to resort to retracing his journey from the beginning and essentially redo all the quests.  To make matters worse, he reached his gold and level cap ages ago so battles have absolutely no value anymore.  And so Heracles wanders on while Zeus looks down from Mount Olympus and slowly shakes his head in shame.