October 03, 2013

Deep Dungeon III - End Game

Much like that drunk uncle that shows up during the holidays, DDIII is amusing at first but becomes extremely annoying before the visit is even half over.  Since this game was on cartridge this time instead of disks, there's lots of space for more levels and more empty rooms.  It just keeps going and going.  At one point, the corridors-and-room layout is set aside for a vast cavern with broken, asymmetrical walls.  While it was a nice change from the ordinary, it also made mapping a whole lot slower and that's not what this game needs; fifty percent of the gameplay is already just making maps.  Even the encounter rate seemed to slow down on these levels, like even the monsters knew there was little reason to be down there.  The rare weapon drops I mentioned last time also stopped.  It's like the game just kinda gave up, which I can sympathize with since I also felt like doing the same.  But I'm getting ahead of myself here.  Let's pick up from where I left off last time, which was around the halfway point.  The ball of light gained from Barzas had granted me access to the next set of dungeons but the fights were too hard so I had to grind for awhile.

Hey, YOU try taking on giant-riding
vampires and see how well you do.

Grinding is a must since the difficulty of the fights are so strongly tied to the actual numerical value of the character's level.  What I mean by this is that the Attack, Armor, Strength, Agility and Luck stats that one would expect to drive combat results are far less important than the number of the character's level.  A single level gain can make previously impossible fights completely manageable.  I noticed this in the other two DDs as well but it is much more pronounced here in part three.  Maybe I'm just completely out to lunch here but I think that's unlikely since I don't even eat lunches (I'm more of a brunch kinda guy).  Anywho, to grind efficiently I needed to climb back up to the top of tower where I had faced Barzas.  This could have been more of a pain except that, for all its emptiness, the dungeon levels are very well designed.  There is always a shortcut of some type to allow the characters quick and hassle-free access to previous levels.  Since random encounters on particular levels stop after the characters get too powerful, I could only grind on the static encounters (static not only in location but also monster type).  The level I chose had a nice arrangement of densely packed statics arranged in a circular manner so that I could quickly change levels when I needed to repopulate the statics.  All of these fights were with the same two types of monsters, Lizardmen and Death Eyes.  Death Eyes have a habit of paralyzing a character which is no big deal since my one and only priest, Boloz, is more than capable of curing it.

Shen will take a deep breath, roll his eyes, and
consider having a party with three hunters.

While the other characters would rarely make eye contact with the Death Eyes, Boloz had more paralyzers than a bar skank on ladies night.  This meant climbing all the way back down to the town to sleep it off.  More than once Boloz got zapped in the very first fight and never was I more thankful for the shortcut.  Of course, in true Nung fashion, I later discovered that one of the items I could buy would cured paralysis.  After buying a couple of said items, I never encountered another paralyzing creature again.  Of course.  "Why didn't I just pick a different level with a different set of monsters?", you may be asking.  That's a very good question and deserves a proper answer.

But here's a pic of a baboon-riding vampire instead.

The game then hit me with something I wasn't expecting — an item combination quest.  DDIII had evolved past the point of having single use items that were then doomed to slowly tumble down to the lowest point in our travelling sacks.  The quest itself was the classic combining a useless sword with some rare metal ore to create a new mega-weapon.  In DDIII's case, this just meant an extra ten points of Attack over the other weapon I was wielding.  Still, I was happy to just be able to use it since I'd been carrying the crappy sword around for quite awhile.

Dammit, Tigra, I don't care if it's a rusty
ol' sword, I'm keeping EVERYTHING
I find in this void of a dungeon.

Things remained pretty uneventful until the final level.  There was some stuff with a king wanting his daughter rescued and curing some dude's madness with holy water but these were nothing more than quest item checkpoints.  Before moving on to the final boss encounter, let's enjoy another monster montage since these are what constitute 90% of my screenshots.

Bonus game: See if you can find the mid-boss!

The final level was a large, square room with multiple doors on each wall, each of which led to another similar room.  It could had been a long road of trial and error but an old friend shows up and gives a valuable hint.

Ruu has become a force for good since he
was so incredibly terrible at being evil.

With Ruu's help, it didn't take long to find the final boss's chamber.  The random encounter rate was very high but that didn't matter too much as I successfully fled from most of the fights (I'm sure everyone's high Agility was to thank for that).  As such, the entire party was near full strength when we took on the mastermind behind erecting those inconvenient walls between the towns.

Your sinister trade blockade ends here,
Deathmaster! Viva la free market!

DM had all the best magic tricks up his sleeve.  In addition to being able to cast the most powerful heal spell, sleep incantations kept at least one party member always napping while fireballs slowly ate away at the party's HP.  What neither I nor the Deathmaster could have foresaw was the incredible amount of critical hits that the group bestowed upon DM's punk ass.  I hadn't sunk a single point into the Luck stat but yet every other hit seemed to be a crit.  It didn't take too long for the Deathmaster to die and then be sealed away with some other item I had been carrying around forever.  As the end credits rolled, I sat back and realized the true appeal of playing all the way through such a tedious slog of a game.  In contrast to games like Dragon Quest III, which was disheartening when it had to inevitably end, reaching the end of DDIII and knowing that I'll never have to play it again released such a massive dopamine hit that I'm almost excited to play Deep Dungeon IV in... *checks list*... ugh, just two games.  K, maybe I'm not as excited as I thought.