The Legacy – Part 3

At the end of part 2, I’d managed to explore all the upper levels of the house and was starting to have a proper look around the basement levels. This was slightly hindered by a dark god called Alberoth who used his satanic powers to block all three entryways to basement #2 simultaneously.

I decided that my main goal to start out today would be more searching around the basements for anything useful. This soon landed me a Japanese sword which proved a whole lot more effective than a baseball bat.

I also returned to the crypt level. There was a puzzle where I had to kill every skeleton (bearing in mind that they spring back to life if I walk on a dead one) before I could open a particular door and get to the second half of the map. From here on out I opted for the cowards option of dodging my way round further skeletons. My efforts were rewarded with a golden torc which appeared to protect me from the attacks of the master of the void later in the game.


After this, progress ground to a halt again as I didn’t appear to have anywhere I could go. Eventually I figured out that a load of the locked doors around the map can be opened with a particular unlocking spell. I had tried this earlier but what I hadn’t realised was that even when casting the spell successfully the door still wouldn’t open 9 times out of ten which seems a little unfair. This means loads of saving and loading for a magically challenged character like the guy I’m playing here but huge swathes of the map were now open to me.

First stop is the games best weapon, an even bigger Japanese sword up on level 4. This can be powered up by returning the ashes of the samurai along with the shorter sword and placing them all together.


While I’m here I decide to go for the full samurai look and get hold of the best armour in the game. With this and the sword, I don’t have to run and hide from the monsters from here on out.


I head to the Egyptian level next and am able to explore much of the level by unlocking more doors with my key of the shadow lord spell. There are lots of illusory items down here that vanish when I try to pick them up and not so many real ones. I do find a flute that only plays F# which might not be the best instrument to get a tune out of but will come in useful later.


Once I’ve stepped on four pressure plates spread around the tomb, the middle of the level opens up and I can insert coins into slots to access a central area. There is a snag here in that I’m supposed to have 5 coins and I only have four and I never did manage to find that last one. Luckily for me this part of the game appears to be unnecessary.


In the corner of the tomb is a small observatory. Using the astrolabe I found somewhere in the basement, I’m able to calculate that the stars have moved out of alignment so Alberoth won’t be able to skulk around the stairways any more. This doesn’t work without the astrolabe so in this case knowledge really is power it would seem.


This opens up the lowest levels of the house where the inhabitants get ever stranger. All those inmates of the asylum have been turned into tentacle faced servitors who prowl these levels chucking fireballs at any intruders. In the middle is one of the dark triumvirate themselves who much to my surprise I managed to see off with my samurai blade. It won’t stop them popping up again later elsewhere though.


The southern exit of this room leads to a slimy cave section populated with the sea daemons I read about earlier. I think they are actually aliens although it’s never made entirely clear. Either way they prod tridents at me and generally get in the way while I’m trying to have a look around. Discretion is the better part of valour at this stage as even wearing all my Sunday best adventuring outfit they hurt.


I discover an exit from the caves seemingly leading to death on the rocks below but stepping through actually takes me to what will turn out to be the final level in the game. This area is full of moving teleportation cubes which I have to avoid if I don’t want to get bounced all the way out of the level. There are also a load of firespawn floating about that block my path when trying to avoid said cubes. I don’t have the fire extinguisher at this point so it’s just as well that the samurai blade can make short work of them. While exploring this level I run into a forcefield which I’m told outright I can’t walk through without the eye of Agla. I know from the clue earlier that I need a meteorite fragment for that which I’m still looking for.


There is nowhere else to look except the caves level and right in the furthest and most difficult to reach corner is a room with a strange container made of crystal. Playing the flute smashes this and provided I time it right so that I don’t get shocked by the pillars on either side I can then pick up the meteorite within.


A clue from back in part 2 comes in handy here. I head for the room of the skulls in a higher basement level where I eventually work out that I need to use a hand mirror to bounce the beam of light onto a mark on the wall. This raises a pillar out of the ground. I pop the meteorite in, get the eye of Agla out and it’s time to head for the final boss battle.

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The final battle is a strange affair. Belthagor is hanging out behind a fake wall in a green void of some description. The moment I step in there he starts hurling spells at me and my swipes with a sword prove entirely ineffective. He is immune to anything except magical damage. Not ideal when I’ve been playing a warrior character. Luckily I have a load of experience left and the final encounter then becomes a trial and error affair of deciding exactly where to spend it.

What I learn at this latest possible stage of the game is that if I’d upped my willpower ever so slightly, all the spells would cost vastly less mana to cost, not to mention being more effective and the game would have been considerably easier. With my experience spent on this and my flames of desolation spell, Belthagor is something of a pushover and succumbs within seconds.



The final cutscene kicks in, my character dives out of a window and the house is sucked into a vortex in the sky and wiped off the face of the Earth. I then sell the land for redevelopment, presumably not mentioning the sea daemons in the caves below as I make enough money out of it to take off on a world cruise.


The Legacy is a game that I’d always remembered fondly but I was half expecting to be disappointed returning to it again all these years later. If anything it turned out to be better than I remembered, if a little different. For one thing, it isn’t a conventional RPG in the sense that I understand one. Stats are definitely important but combat is largely avoidable, and the player usually at a disadvantage whatever they do. The Legacy is far more about the puzzles. I wouldn’t say any of these are particularly outstanding but they are all solid enough and most importantly fair. Every part of each level needs searching thoroughly to beat this game but there are enough clues for the careful player to win without outside help.

Where The Legacy really succeeds is the atmosphere which is extremely dark, dreary and generally creepy. There is a distinct lack of plot which if anything serves to leave the player further off balance. I never was entirely sure just what exactly was going on in the twisted world of Winthrop House. Imagination is ultimately always more scary than anything visualised and this was especially true with the graphics available in 1993.

The downside of that meagre plot is that I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished all that much now I’ve beaten the game. It’s a happy ending as such but somehow anticlimactic and downbeat. When you exit back to DOS, you are asked to hold onto the winner.inf file which must have been hinting at a sequel. Sadly that never happened and Magnetic Scrolls were no more after this. It wasn’t a bad way to bow out of the business but they should have been around for years more.

The Legacy deserves to be remembered for more than killing off Magnetic Scrolls. I can’t think of any other game I’ve played that was quite like it which might have been the problem as it doesn’t fit any particular niche. It’s a cocktail of adventure game, dungeon crawler and survival horror with a splash of Lovecraft. This may not be to everyone’s taste but personally I’d regard it as something of a hidden gem. I wish more first person RPG’s in this era would have been willing to try something different outside of the usual fantasy clichés.

The Legacy gets a wholehearted vote of approval from me then. For the next post, I’ll attempt to dig out any articles I can find from the time and see what the UK press thought about it.

The Legacy – Part 2

I didn’t get all that far into The Legacy in part 1. The wealth of options on how to approach the game kept sending me off in directions my character wasn’t able to cope with. I’d eventually decided to work my way up the house and was making steady progress exploring the second floor.

Today starts off with a simple door puzzle where I have to go through several numbered doors in ascending order to unlock another door in the middle of the level that has a knocking sound coming from it. Behind the locked door is another NPC is the shape of PI Dee Kirby who isn’t all that helpful in truth not telling me anything I haven’t already figured out. She leaves me when we are done talking with the intention to somehow leave the mansion.


That just about finishes off the second floor so I head up to floor 3. Just when you think the house can’t get any stranger, this whole level is an asylum complete with my last remaining relative who tries to butcher me with an axe. This encounter is my abiding memory of playing the game from years back as it truly creeped me out at the time. It’s mainly the laughing my aunt is doing while trying to run that axe through me. The effect is considerably lessened with the passing of time but it’s still not what you would call pleasant. She leaves behind her axe and blood stained straight jacket which I’ll be needing later in the level to pretend to be her so I can get through an invisible barrier.

I’ll later learn that the asylum was used to provide victims for the dark gods in the lower levels of the house which at least partially explains its presence.

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The exit to level 4 is guarded by one of the uglier monsters ever to grace an RPG and these guys are all over the asylum. They don’t chase after me at least and don’t have a range attack but I’m really not up to fighting them at close range yet.


While exploring the asylum, I happen across a green gem which is just what I need for a puzzle right back in the entrance hallway where a painting had a conspicuous hole where the jewel in a pendant should have been. Sure enough placing the gem destroys the painting (begging the question how anyone ever used this in the past) revealing a door behind it. That takes me through to a room that could be straight out of Hellraiser with swinging chains and body parts everywhere. I can walk through the portal in the middle to get teleported elsewhere but have to time this to avoid the chains.

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This takes me to an Egyptian temple level. I fail to get very far here running into lots of locked doors. I do learn that a dark cult were doing something nefarious here and run into one of them in his natty suit. Since I’m not getting anywhere here I decide to come back later.

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I still don’t fancy fighting my way past the two headed thing on level 3 so instead I try one more set of steps from the ground floor of the house which lead to a tomb level. The first thing I run into here is a gun toting zombie who I defeat with hit and run attacks dodging out of the way of his formidable shotgun blasts each time. The main foe down here after him are skeletons which spring back to life every time you walk over them. They are reasonably easy to defeat but do start to grind my health down after a bit.

I don’t find much else of interest other than a temple complete with organ. Using some sheet music I found near the start of the game, the window smashes revealing a swirling portal. Foolishly I head into this.


This leads to the ethereal plane which looks a whole lot different to Ultima Underworld but isn’t any easier to navigate. This one is a swirling blue vortex with invisible boundaries and precious little in the way of landmarks. It is absolutely swarming with monsters including the jellyfish on the right who I’ll learn later is one of the dark triumvirate of gods round these parts. It throws endless spells at me and I run away as quick as possible. The cubes are teleporters to various parts of the house and this level could be used at a shortcut if you can manage to learn where everything is I suppose. Most of the portals need opening up on the other side before they will work though.

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Once again, I’m unsure where to go next so I head for level 3 and find a load of rooms that I missed first time around. The place is populated with fire spawn who are invulnerable to any conventional weapons I’m carrying around right now but can be dispatched with one or two blasts from a fire extinguisher.


I manage to get some more of the locked doors open and explore the rest of the level. The most notable encounter is with a face bulging out of the wall in a padded cell. Whoever it is wants me to rescue them from the ethereal plane. I didn’t enjoy my first trip there much so I’ll hold off on that particular request for now.

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Instead, I head for the top floor which is the museum, kind of like the top floor of my house now I think about it although on slightly different scales. Nearly all the best items in the game will be found up here although not necessarily on this first visit. I also get to meet the bad guys as there are paintings of the dark gods starting with Belthegor on the bottom left. I’ll need to defeat this particular god at the end of the game. Right now, I’m having enough trouble with the crawling green slimes and pink crawling frog like things on this level.


The museum has lots of plinths with all sorts of goodies on that will help when fighting the denizens of the Winthrop estate. Unfortunately for me most of them aren’t immediately grabbable and I have to replace the missing plaque on each plinth before I can pick them up. The only plaque I’ve found so far is a for a shuriken so I grab that while I’m here and then fail to use it throughout the rest of the game so I’m not so sure how effective it would have been.


I find paintings of the rest of the triumvirate with Alberoth on the left and the nameless master of the void on the right. Alberoth hangs around in 3 locations simultaneously on one of the basement levels blocking access until I complete a puzzle much, much later on in the game.

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I run into another relative which is becoming a common experience considering I’m the last surviving member of the family. This time its Carl Winthrop who wants me to summon the Karcist in the temple. This probably isn’t a good idea as near enough every word this guy tells me is a lie. I’ll learn much later that the Karcist is the relative that started this whole mess 300 years ago but giving their soul to the dark gods. Carl Winthrop vanishes as soon as we are done talking.


I find a room with plinths for 3 statues and I know from various scraps of paper that I can banish all the pink frog-things from the level by placing the appropriate statues on each plinth and casting a fireball spell at them. Casting the fireball spell proves to be the trickiest part of this and I have to devote a load of experience to the spell before casting starts to work.


At the northeast corner of the level is another entrance to the void. I decide to take the plunge and this time find Charles Wenlock (or at least his astral projection) walking around. He is a magician of sorts who was trying to banish the evil from the house and is by far the most helpful person in this whole game. He gives me some crystal glasses to help me find a path through the void (another item I never used now I think about it), teaches me a new spell and also give me the advice that I’ll need to fashion a talisman from a meteorite fragment in the room of skulls in order to defeat Belthegor.


My only choice at this point appears to be to head down into the basement of the house again. When I attempt to go to the second basement level, sure enough Alberoth is waiting for me looking even less welcoming than in his picture. I’m completely unable to dodge round him but I have found clues about him disappearing at a certain star alignment.


It’s fair to say I made a whole lot more progress in part 2 although playing this game does feel like stumbling around in the dark at times. I kept going back and forth trying to figure out which direction to strike out in. The story in the game is extremely sparse with only a minimum of guidance. Near enough every little clue you do find is needed to figure out the puzzles. Keeping all the screenshots for blogging has certainly proved extremely useful.

Part 3 will see me to the end of the game and should be coming around a whole lot more quickly than part 2. It’s not the way I usually do things but I was enjoying playing this enough that I ended up finishing the game instead of writing up this post.