Day 39

 It would be a stretch to call it fun but its definitely an improvement now I’ve hacked my character. All the random encounters are down to one or two monsters with a one man party and I’m speeding through the quests (relatively speaking). I started out by treking up to Htron at the north end of the map and have completed another 4 quests.

I could go into detail but I’m not sure the game is good enough to warrant the effort so I’ll write a bit here and just dump my screenshots in one big group. Suffice to say that the formula remains exactly the same although I do have to trek to the far side of the map and back to complete most of these quests. There isn’t necessarily anywhere nearby to save the game either – I’m really glad I’ve cheated at this point. It took about 1 1/2 hours to complete these four quests so at that speed I can look forward to another 6 hours of this rubbish but I am at least getting somewhere.  

The standard of graphics is still really excellent with new character and house graphics for everyone in the game. The production values for this game were sky high, its just a pity the gameplay is utterly dire.

Day 38

I’m sorry to say that I’ve given in on attempting to play this game properly and have resorted to cheating by hacking my save game. As far as I’m concerned Knights Of Legend is gaming hell – its the slowest most tedious game I’ve ever played in my life. I can see why the planned sequels never got made. I don’t plan to make a habit of cheating on any of the other games but I’m supposed to be enjoying myself here and can’t cope with another month of this crap.

An FAQ on the web gives detailed hacking instructions so I max out all my stats and weapon skills yet I’m still not that hard!!!! I also have to hack the weapon itself. As soon as I do this however I can now kill pretty much anything in one hit. This means I can ditch my party and just use the one character to complete all the quests.

I make my way to the next quest location.

The enemy don’t stand a chance now and I mow them all down. I still end up searching around the map for the last few but get them all in the end.

I get another password and letter when I take the quill back. Now I know the words the mayor should talk to me.

I combine the three quests to make the word kam, say it to the mayor and he gives me another quest to find a sword.

I have to trek right down to the south coast this time and climb some cliffs. The map layout is a bit of a variation on the last few with a series of tunnels dug out of the cliff to explore. It still amounts to wandering around until I’ve killed everyone.

I get the sword, take it back to the mayor and he gives it to me.  I’ve run out of quests in this town so I’ll head somewhere else next.

All these quests are utterly formulaic and pretty much identical. Basically its say the keyword to someone, they send you after an item but don’t tell you exactly where, you ask people about whoever stole the item and one of them tells you where to go, you trek there, kill everything, trek back, repeat. Its utterly formulaic and judging by the rest of the game I really don’t expect to see anything new at any point as it would be verging on fun and therefore out of place.  Apparently there are 24 of these quests I have to complete and I’ve so far managed 4. Even using just the one uber player + walkthrough, I bet this game still takes me another 10 hours+ to finish.  I can definitely cope with it now, however, and can knock it off a bit at a time in much shorter play sessions.

Day 37

Finding the location for the first quest wasn’t too tricky. I just followed the river down and eventually got the above message.

Completing the quest is just like a combat screen only the map is much more detailed. The ruffians are holed up in a bit of fortress with drawbridges and the like. I adopt an ambush strategy where I sit all my party at one end of the drawbridge out of sight and then send a fast character to run round the map attracting guards and getting them to follow me back over the bridge.

This strategy works well enough but the time taken to complete the quest is enormous. I don’t think moving my party in would really have been much faster though as I would have to set their moves every time rather than passing for 5 of them and just having the one character run around. This quest took me around 2 hours+ to play through, all of which time I can’t save. If my party had been wiped out on the way back to the town the whole session would have been lost. This is just ridiculous. You are looking at a 2-3 hours session to attempt one of these quests. I really hope I find some great weapons at some point that are going to make my life easier.

Theres no great reward when I get the gavel back – just a password.

Elsewhere in town, asking Stephen about his standard gets me another quest.

Everything here works the same as last time. I have to ask around town to get a clue of where to go. Then I go there, get a message and get a similar but different combat screen. Again it takes 1-2 hours to play through.

A pattern is emerging here as when I get back I just get another password.

Another house in the same town, another quest to pick up another object…

I set out to try and find the spot in the woods for the next quest but am set upon by one lot of monsters after another before I get there. I do find a tree with an elf in it who gives bow training. I train up my archers a bit here but he refuses to train one of them till she’s been to the arena. My party is half dead by now so I head off back to town rather than attempting the quest.

Its as near to the big town in the middle of the map, so I have a bit of a wander around there instead. Unfortunately I have no money as I’ve had to run from battle just to survive this long (thereby dropping half my stuff). There isn’t much I can do for this reason so I have to trek back to Brettle (the original town) instead.

I’ve started to get a bit of experience by now so I go off looking for the arena. Its north of Brettle, I put my two qualifiying characters in there and they each have to fight a single monster 1on1.

Its easy enough and I win both of them. Unfortunately my whole party gets wiped out on the way back so I will have to try this again next time I play.

The speed of this game could drive me nuts before I finish it. The combination of 3 hour play sessions and ludicrously slow combat might mean I take a month+ to finish this. I’m sorely tempted to either cheat or just skip this game altogether but I’ll stick with it for now. If I ever win one of these 2-3 hour battles and get my party wiped out afterwards, I may change my mind.

Day 36 – Knights Of Legend

I’ve finally made a start on Knights Of Legend. This is a game I’ve never played even for a few minutes before and is a full on RPG from Todd Porter. The manual is getting on for as large as the one in Omega at around 160 pages and the game looks very big and complex which is probably why I haven’t got round to starting it for a few days.  For such a huge manual there isn’t that much backstory and its mostly about the gameplay mechanics. The level of complexity is a bit overwhelming, frankly. The manual mentions that the game was designed to be modular with plug in addons. These never got made though as the game didn’t sell that well.

On starting the game there is a nice animated intro with a knight in a thunderstorm gradually getting nearer as it flicks between credit screens.

Theres no storyline given as such in the intro which is a bit surprising. The manual gives you a bit of history about the kingdom and mentions that monsters are beginning to reappear and knights of legend are needed but thats about it. Theres no real clue as to where the game will go so its starting out pretty open ended.

Character creation gives so many options for races and professions, its hard to know what to pick. I’ve attempted to get a good range of characters. You have a party size of 6. You start the game out in a pub with the one character, who can then recruit any others you have created from the same pub. The graphics are really nice for EGA. You get pictures of everyone you talk to, any buildings before you enter. The interface is mouse driven using icons at the bottom of the screen.

I gather my party and head out for a look around. The world graphics don’t scroll smoothly, its back to one tile at a time like Ultima. They look great though for the time. You can wander to all the houses in the village and talk to people. You can just chitchat or use keywords (typed in) to get clues. At this stage, I’m just trying to get a feel for the game so I head out of town to find a fight

When you get out of town, the map switches scale. Your party here is represented by a small dot that moves a pixel at a time. You automatically camp at night, which since it takes days to get anywhere is a good thing.

This is my party as it started out. They aren’t wearing much so I’ll have to do something about that some time.

It takes a while but I eventually run into an orc who promptly slaughters me so I read the combat bit of the manual and start again. You can only save in this game by sleeping in a pub (which costs money). Curiously you have to pay and save each party member individually, which gives me an idea. I figure you can give loads of good equipment to a dummy party member, save him, give his equipment to someone else, sell it, save the guy with the money and repeat. This works fine giving me a great starting point to the game and an infinite supply of cash. When I get some decent artifacts I’ll be able to duplicate them in the same manner.

I get myself about 30000 cash in this way, buy some armor for my frontline fighters and set out to do things properly this time.

I talk to everyone in the town. The mayor won’t talk to me until I know the guilds. Elsewhere Stephanie tells me about a missing gavel stolen by ruffians and gives me a quest to get it back. I don’t have any details of where to go though.

Asking around about ruffians gets me a clue from the blacksmith. The people in the towns all stay indoors all the time as far as I can tell. You have to go into their house to talk to them – no one is on the streets at least yet.

I head back out to have a go at this quest and bump into a party of six orcs. I’m a bit better equiped to deal with them this time. The combat system is very very complicated. For example to attack an orc with my axe I have to choose to attack, then choose direction, then choose what type of blow, then choose part of the orc to aim at, then choose my dodging strategy, then approve it. I may get quicker when I get used to the system but this one battle took 10 minutes.

It uses a turn based system, where you decide actions then they are carried out one by one according to speed. If the orc moves before you strike then you miss it unless you were aiming at the empty square. One of the stats used is foresight which allegedly will give me a clue of where it will move if I get it high enough.

All actions cause fatigue which can make you collapse it seems and reduce your chances of hitting or dodging.

I beat them in the end and theres a nice graphic to show it.

Its back to the town to try and heal now. At the local abbey the monks help me out for a price.

I’ve not really even got started in this game but I’ve spent a few hours on it with the manual and just walking about. It’s pretty difficult to get started when the mechanics of the gameplay are so difficult to get to grips with. I’ve heard people describe this as their favourite RPG of all time – I’m undecided at the moment. If I get into it, I could see me liking this game. If I don’t the size and speed of it could make me hate every minute. From what I’ve seen there are a couple of weeks worth of gaming here.