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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: RPG Progress Report

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:22 pm

Nemoide wrote:And it really is bog-standard JRPG. I had already played the Lunar games and Popful Mail on Sega CD when I got Vay and it gave me the bare minimum of what I wanted. It's okay. WD's loose translation adds a bit of charm IMO, but at its heart the game just isn't that special.


I was shocked by how bad Vay was. Why WD chose to localize that among all things is a real head-scratcher. Same goes for Cosmic Fantasy II.
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Re: RPG Progress Report

by MrPopo Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:52 pm

The "monsters are crazy powerful" thing is something endemic to all D&D games of that era. AD&D just has some fundamental balancing issues that make it very hard to provide challenge in a video game without being unfair. It comes down to the resting system, in my opinion. When you play with a DM the DM can evaluate the state of the party and decide when to add in combats. In a video game you don't have that luxury, so instead they let you rest pretty much at will. But since you can do so it means that they have to make combats much harder in order to compensate for how stocked your party is firepower-wise. In a tabletop campaign you have a legitimate need to ration your fireballs, but when you can rest with impunity it stops mattering.
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Re: RPG Progress Report

by pierrot Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:01 am

Well, I don't know if anyone really enjoys watching Xanadu, but I'm actually enjoying playing it a lot more than I did when I quit playing it a few years ago. Maybe I'm just more used to Kiya's approach with the Dragon Slayer games. When I was first playing Xanadu, I think I had only beaten the first Dragon Slayer before that (which I love, but it also has a lot less statcrunch to distract from all the great puzzling, and murdering). Both of the first two Dragon Slayer games (and to a certain extent, III, and IV, as well) basically throw you into hell with little more than a twig, and your noodle to see you through. The only real task is to slay the dragon. Getting to that point is a feat of will, grit, and brain power--the more I'm thinking about this, the more I'm wondering if King's Field is actually just first person, 3D Dragon Slayer. I enjoy that there's no interactions with sentient beings in these first two games (there are in Romancia, and I think it might be worse for it). It alleviates some of the potential issues of misinformation. The first two Dragon Slayer games feel a lot like the discovery parts of R&D that I really enjoy. You learn through experimentation, and observation. In the case of Xanadu, particularly, this could require scrapping the setup, and running a completely new trial, but there's still a lot of knowledge carried through from the previous attempts. That's what I like. I assume the problem I ran into last time I played Xanadu was just getting too dejected by the failure I experienced about a quarter of the way into the game. This is probably going to take quite a bit of time to finish, though. Apparently some outlet was running a campaign in Japan, when the Falcom Classics Collection was released on the Saturn, that asked for the fastest clear times readers could muster. I was looking at a blog post made by someone who won that contest, with a time of almost ten hours--. There were a lot of 12 and 15 hours just below that time, too.

On a bit of a side note, it's interesting coming back to this after having played through Kaze no Densetsu Xanadu on the PC Engine (aka Dragon Slayer VIII), because I initially (wrongly) took it as sort of Ys, with a Dragon Slayer wrapper. Nothing could have been further from the truth, though, as it took replaying Xanadu for me to actually remember that all the weapon, shield, and armor leveling in Dragon Slayer VIII came from Dragon Slayer II. The offcenter bumping to boost certain experience levels, better block, or better attack are also carryovers from Dragon Slayer II. It really wasn't just the final chapter of Dragon Slayer VIII that was paying a sort of self tribute to the first two games. It was really a lot more of the mechanics, in general, than I had actually remembered at the time. In reality, Ys adopted the combat from Xanadu, but simplified it by basically divorcing it from a lot of the turn orders, and categorized experience levels.

This is also a little farther afield from the original topic, but I was looking through Kiya Yoshio's (Dragon Slayer creator, and man who pretty much single-handedly put Falcom on the map with Xanadu) Japanese Wikipedia page, and there was a note about something Katou Masayuki (President of Falcom) said about Kiya, which was that he would count clock cycles of the development PCs while programming. I assume the connotation here is that he knew on what clock cycle everything was going to happen. I wouldn't really expect anything less from him. The guy is goddamn brilliant, and really underrecognized for his massive contributions. This kind of reminds me of a debate I would have with a roommate about why the "pop-scientists" exist. I forget which scientist he used to specifically champion, but in those terms, if Miyamoto is Edison (and he is), Horii is Feynman, Sakaguchi is Einstein, and Yu Suzuki is Tesla, then Kiya is surely Maxwell.
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Re: RPG Progress Report

by SpaceBooger Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:03 pm

MrPopo wrote:The "monsters are crazy powerful" thing is something endemic to all D&D games of that era. AD&D just has some fundamental balancing issues that make it very hard to provide challenge in a video game without being unfair. It comes down to the resting system, in my opinion. When you play with a DM the DM can evaluate the state of the party and decide when to add in combats. In a video game you don't have that luxury, so instead they let you rest pretty much at will. But since you can do so it means that they have to make combats much harder in order to compensate for how stocked your party is firepower-wise. In a tabletop campaign you have a legitimate need to ration your fireballs, but when you can rest with impunity it stops mattering.

I agree. The problem with Vay was that the inn cost $100 which was way too much at the beginning of the game for grinding. The JAP version only cost $4. So the crazy hard monster was rough in the US version with them being 10% stronger and the inn costing 25 times more gold.

-Bone: I am really enjoying Vay. It's nice to play a regular RPG - not bells and whistles, just grinding and fighting. Adventure at it's purest. I know it won't change your mind on the game but I also liked Beyond the Beyond and plan to play Phantasy Star IV after I beat Vay.
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Re: RPG Progress Report

by Ack Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:16 am

Eye of the Beholder III

When I left off, I was mopping up the wandering monsters of Myth Drannor. The few remaining trolls and wyverns didn't pose much of a threat, and while the trolls were tough enough to withstand melee, they don't like fireballs to the face so much...so that's what I did. This is one reason why I keep Noise around, because a competent nuker is important. There are other reasons too. I'll get to that.

Anyway, with the streets of Myth Drannor cleared, it was time to assault the Mage's Guild. This is a tower of labyrinthine levels, full of teleports, traps, false walls, and dick move design. It also has some nasty critters roaming the halls, particularly as you near the top. At the top sits Acwellan, a powerful lich who has made the ruined city his home in his quest for immortality.

What did I do? I barged right on in, curb stomping all the golems and frost wraiths that stood in my way. The first level of the guild is actually several floors combined into one area, with some teleports, illusion walls, and a key puzzle that involves using specific teleports in the correct order based on seasons matching with elementals. It's not a difficult puzzle if you pay attention to the books found in the small library, and along the way you will find a ring that ends up being a key with some goofy AI effects. Once you complete the teleport puzzle, you are taken to level 2, though if you return to level 1, you no longer have to do the puzzle to advance; simply move into one of the puzzle's teleports, and you'll find yourself continuing forward.

Level 2 presents you with a sort of maze and a few more traps, along with ghost armor and giant scorpions. The scorpions are tough opponents, but they have a quirk: the ring I mentioned. If you do not have a particular magic ring, the scorpions do not move but will attack if you get near. If you have the ring, the scorpions move but do not attack. Since most of the scorpions are found at the start of the level, I brought the ring and kicked all their asses without a scratch before sacrificing the ring as a key to open a door that requires it.

From there, it's mainly ghost armors until one particular trap-filled hallway where you can end up stuck between spikes and scorpions eager to ruin your day. A few switches in the area disable to traps while enabling them elsewhere, so you have to manage swapping the two sets on and off to advance. The scorpions also prevent you from resting, even if they don't move. At the end of this level is a nasty trap where your armor comes to life as ghost armor, meaning you have to fight a full squad while unnarmed. Thankfully, they don't take your spell book, so a couple of fireballs later, I was stuck having to remember who was wearing what ring before the fight.

Level 3 is where the real pain begins. It starts with a puzzle where you can be trapped indefinitely. You have to have a wizard hold two gems in his or her hands as you walk down the hallway, or else you'll be teleported backwards. If you lack a wizard in your party, there is no way to pass this puzzle. The game ends here. This is the second reason why I keep Noise around. Once past the hallway, I used a rotating room to open up a few passageways to other areas and marched forward.

The enemies on level 3 are mainly giants that can hit your whole party in a single swing. This means placement does not matter, as everyone, including your soft and squishy back row, will be taking damage in nearly every fight. Also, this is a physical attack, so the Ranger NPC I had brought along kept turning into a freaking were-tiger and dropping his weapon every chance he got. God damn, this was annoying. To add to the problem, there are more spike traps, including one massive room where you have to walk over them and take damage while it shunts you around, so you're not going up against these nasty critters at your best. Forced traps are just frustrating. Meanwhile, I had to gather up keys and a grappling hook so that I could unlock a grate in the floor to advance to the worst place in the game (so far), level 4.

Level 4 sucks ass. It's not that the enemies are hard; they're actually weaker than the giants on level 3 and can't hit past the first row, where the tanks with high HP and AC ratings are. What makes level 4 suck? It's underwater. This means you have to use Underwater Breathing spells and gear, so once again, I need Noise. It's a Wizard spell, you see. You can't rest without an Underwater Breathing spell either, so you have to regularly seek out safe spots. To add to it, there are large drain spouts that will sometimes activate when you pass, pushing you around the level, often backwards. You have to find the switches that deactivate or shift their power around. But none of this is the worst of it.

The worst thing about Level 4 is that it also contains a section with a Null Magic zone. What does this mean? It means your Water Breathing spell just got shut off and anyone without a Helm of Water Breathing is taking damage with every step you take. Scrolls don't work here either, so unless you have potions to heal, you will probably be limping by the end. Oh, and you need a key hidden in this area. Look, by now I've encountered a lot of different ideas in dungeon design in these games, and combining Null Magic with an Underwater level is probably the biggest dick move I've seen, both in this trilogy and in Dungeon Hack.

But it's not impossible, and eventually I managed to crawl my way out a grate at the end and hit up Level 5. This is the home of Acwellan, and it requires all of the keys I had found throughout the dungeon along with fighting a freaking horde of giants and solving a couple of puzzles to advance further. The giants still suck, but there is a puzzle at the start involving a room that closes behind you that I abused to separate myself from them and rest up. With each rest, I'd step out, nuke a few more giants until out of spells, and then rest some more until they were cleared out. Once I pushed out of here, I made it past more giants until I reached a puzzle involving balancing out rings of protection. With all the rings in place, I found myself face to face with the lich, Acwellan.

Acwellan is the most pathetically easy boss battle in the entire Eye of the Beholder series. Up to this point, the bosses were a Beholder I had to shove into a spike trap and a freaking Red Dragon. By comparison, Acwellan makes some illusory images that barely sneezed on my high AC, and I swatted them until I found the one that didn't immediately go down to a single sword swing. I then chewed him up like a meat grinder, and he dropped pretty quick.

It's a shame it was all a trick, and Acwellan admits that he's mainly been hanging around to stave off an even worse evil from coming through. He teleports me away as he finally officially dies, and I discover I'm now standing in front of a temple in Myth Drannor, one where an evil god is trying to come through.

Here my party stands, at the entrance to the final dungeon in the entire Eye of the Beholder trilogy. At the top is a Xuul wannabe who thinks he can come in here and trash the place. And I'm gonna show this bitch how we do things downtown.

Ooh, the potential for violence is giving me goosebumps.
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Michi
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Re: RPG Progress Report

by Michi Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:44 am

Ack doesn't post progress reports. Ack posts mini-sagas about magic, monster and the deaths of many, many things.
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Re: RPG Progress Report

by marurun Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:03 pm

Fireballs don't kill monsters, Ack does.
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Re: RPG Progress Report

by BoneSnapDeez Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:32 pm

SpaceBooger wrote:-Bone: I am really enjoying Vay. It's nice to play a regular RPG - not bells and whistles, just grinding and fighting. Adventure at it's purest. I know it won't change your mind on the game but I also liked Beyond the Beyond and plan to play Phantasy Star IV after I beat Vay.


I actually did like Beyond the Beyond!

Have you played Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes by any chance? I'd consider that the best "no frills" JRPG of the 16-bit era.

Phantasy Star IV is a masterpiece, of course, and in an entirely separate category.
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Re: RPG Progress Report

by Ack Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:49 pm

marurun wrote:Fireballs don't monsters, Ack does.


I am nothing if not a walking genocide.
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Re: RPG Progress Report

by pierrot Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:33 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:Have you played Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes by any chance? I'd consider that the best "no frills" JRPG of the 16-bit era.

Ah, hell yeah! I'd put it pretty close with Dragon Quest V, and Illusion City, but it's definitely up there. The second one is also good, although I didn't like it quite as much. Half of the game being underground just didn't have the same feel, plus getting around in the underworld was a right bitch. If you're a big fan of dragons, the end of the game will definitely make you cry, though.
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