April 21, 2013

Dragon Crystal - End Game

It's been quite the roller coaster ride with this little ditty.  The mass suckitude I perceived ebbed away somewhat during levels 20-25 only to return full force for the last 5 levels.  The key was having a fully developed character with an array of weapons and items at his disposal.  There are many swords which are powerful against certain types of enemies and they are crucial for standing any sort of chance for victory.  Dodging the strength draining creatures when they first appeared allowed the character to keep increasing his power so that encounters with later drainers where resolved much more quickly (and the character was also able to dodge far more frequently).

Oh, sorry, I mean able to
dodger far more frequently.

So, instead of being drained multiple times in a single fight, the character could now feasibly stand up to these leechers of might and perhaps only lose a single point.  Instead of being coerced to run, the character could weigh the pros and cons before deciding to engage in battle.  Some situations forced the character to enter a deadly room, such as when the exit is in it.

Or when the character is
extremely low on foods.

The room pictured above proved to be quite a conundrum.  The character couldn't just run in and take on two golden nautiluses while dodging the fireballs from the shimmering everburn trees.  Couldn't draw them out into the hallway or even get them in the character's line-of-sight for a ranged attack.  But damn, the character just could not stop looking at those two sizzling ham bones, laying there so succulently in the sand, MEAT... DRIPPING... OFF... THE BONE... *gurgle*.  The most character could do was get them in front of the entrance to the room so that he could fight them one at a time.  He figured that, at most, he'd take two hits to his strength which would be worth it for all that foods.  That was his first mistake.

His second was thinking
they were strength drainers.

The dreaded level drainers which are the bane of any RPG are (unsurprisingly, in retrospect) here and in good numbers.  The ones here, though, are mild compared to other games since only the character's maximum HP drops when drained (initially, I thought power was also drained but that was incorrect).  Thankfully, the level drainers usually were unable to hit the character often and, even if they did, they normally just did damage with no drain effect.  During the levels with encounters like these, the roguelike experience started to shine more than it had been.  Finally, there were considerations to be made instead of just having to run away.  Unfortunately, after level 25, the monster difficulty increased again and the character fell back into his old routine.  Not helping matters was the addition of a floating eyeball that can rust the character's weapon down to a piddly dagger.

Oh yeah, and throw in some more
food gobblers for good measure.

Since there is no inherent save function, I took it upon myself to allow for a save every five levels (if I deemed the current character was worth it).  This breaks the spirit of roguelikes, which usually keep it real with permadeath for characters.  On the other hand, god-tier roguelikes (such as Tales of Maj'Eyal or Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup) have scads of variation in the initial character selection, monsters, items, and environments to keep the early game interesting; Dragon Crystal is the polar opposite.  Just the mere mention of T.o.M.E. has caused me to reinstall it which will take even more time away from this project (curse you, Dragon Crystal!).  So, the character going into the last few levels had a good assortment of weapons and items, including a Dragonslayer sword which proved essential as the last two levels were jam-packed with the archetypal fantasy creature.

For those wondering, the character's
dragon buddy there never did do
anything the entire quest.

The final level just required the character to find the orb which was just randomly laying around amidst a clan of dragons.

The final boss!

The enthralling story culminated with the character being congratulated, returned to his own world, and thanked for playing.  The end.  The purpose of the dragon companion is never explained and I'm quit baffled as to why it was even included in the first place.  I suspect my original assessment of it just being there because of the title isn't far off the mark.