Friday, January 7, 2011

Secret of Evermore #2 - Noble's Causeway

Our hero wraps up Prehistoria and heads into Antiqua as Evermore rolls onward. This time, the cryptic title is referring to any one of the major highways that beam straight into the heart of a major city, making trade and commerce more possible on our modern scale and making our attempts at nobility somewhat feasible.

That and Nobilia is one of the coolest locations I've ever seen in a game. What a great idea. I think of the things Evermore brought to the RPG table in the mid-90's, a city of trade was perhaps the idea that was most ahead of its time.

The following Evermore post was brought to you by THE NICEST DAY OF THE YEAR. And also by Nathan's Hot Dogs. Now in Kosher!

"Hulkamania is runnin' wild, BROTHER!"

Journeying on to the swamp from hell, our heroes must do battle with vicious frogs...with hippopotamus heads! By God!

I spend a little while in this infernal swamp. Why? Because, with the narrow passageways, it's a primo spot to get the spear from level 2 to 3. 1 to 2 is easier with the stationary attack-flowers outside. Now that the spear is basically a laser beam...

 ...I let the dog fight again. See how he's still at attack level 1? Typically, in this game, he dominates everything and steals most of the kills, getting him to attack level 3 early on and keeping him there so he can dominate more stuff. This time around I kept him in Search mode except during boss fights, so that I could actually level weapons up. It wasn't so time-consuming then, but the dog is still at attack level 1. Whatev, he only has one "weapon" to level for the whole game, he'll be fine. Hey, SoE game designers! Why didn't you have the dog's attack level reset after each world too while you were at it, you hacks!

Alright, that was mean. In any case, now our heroes stumble into a scene right out of the most bizarre porn movie ever.

The giant snake in question is actually Salabog, one of the toughest bosses in all of Evermore. This game is bottom heavy, with the most difficult fights early on. Go figure. This one is nearly impossible unless you level up the spear. Unfortunately, this ordeal in the swamp is necessary to get a mud pepper, which is needed to get into the volcano.


Moments after defeating him, I leaned in and quietly said... "Speeear."

After the battle, I save this dude. He makes reference to a place that I'm pretty sure doesn't exist in the game itself. Several people do this in Evermore, which contributes to the Metroid-like feeling of there being more to the world than we can see or get to.

After all that trouble traversing the swamp from hell and defeating that really tough boss to get a mud pepper to get into the volcano... I find another one 30 seconds into the volcano. THE GAME LAUGHS AT US ALL!

Hidden in here, and easy to miss, is the third of what I say is the holy trinity of alchemy formulas.

There, now I have all three. But whatever you do, don't save the game while the Speed or Defend effects are running unless you want to BREAK THE GAME.

This sewer maze? It's confusing and difficult. There were mosquitos. They bit. HOW THEY BIT! Animal Control had to be called in. ...I don't want to talk about it.

Next up, our heroes find a creepy engine. What happens next is some red hot...some may even say SCORCHING hot yuri action as Fire Eyes confronts her evil twin.

The big boss of Prehistoria, Magmar, is beaten pretty easily. I think he has less HP than Salabog, even. Then again, Salabog's HP was huge for that point in the game and I think the designers probably typed the wrong number in the thousands column.


...and that's it, because Magmar exploded. No leg-drop was even necessary, brothers.

There's a war? I didn't sign up for this! Can we just get along?

Now our heroes get blasted out of Prehistoria's volcano, and right into the waiting arms of...

 "Tee hee!"

Well, not quite. Our heroes conveniently landed in some sort of small boat, floating along in one of the mysterious waterways that runs through the recesses of Evermore. Places where Angels fear to tread.

Hulkster washes up on the shores of the second district. I'll say this: Now he knows how I felt that one time back in '97 when those three cute Pakistani girls next door decided to act out every chapter of the Kama-Sutra with me that one night. By like 5 AM, they were flipping through it, and one of them was all "hey Jer, get up, we're only up to Chapter 37, there are 23 more to go" and then they all glanced over at me and I was literally unable to move. EMTs had to be called... as well as Animal Control and even the fire department. I don't really want to talk about it.  

Against my better judgement, I end up in a seedy, fish-smelling cave. There's that dude again! And somehow, he dragged Salabog's severed head all the way here.

That's because this is Antiqua, the second of the four districts. Prehistoria is officially over, and the bronze age begins.

Meanwhile, Hot Dog lands in a distant fountain... and he has the second of his four forms. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? Gotta say though, this sleek, sporty desert dog is my favorite of his forms.

The dude bids Hulkster farewell, and our hero sets out for the big city.

...which is across this long, obnoxious desert. He runs, and runs, and runs....and runs, and runs. There's no causeway here.

Here's the skeletal boatman, known in mythology as Charon. Typically, he'd transport lost souls across The River Styx while en route to Hades. Here, he just transports you across the desert for a sizable fee. I wonder how many little kids played this and got stuck at this point because they ran in the desert for a while and nothing happened, so they gave up. Wait, probably none, because back then everyone had Nintendo Power. And if they didn't, people they knew did. Internet what? Gamefaqs who?

 Arriving in Nobilia, the Hulkster runs into fellow wrestling superstar Kurt Angle! Oh it's true!

 He's right. In the land of Evermore, I AM GOD.

You're playing a dangerous game with the fourth wall, Angle!

The people here have a strange preoccupation with mummified cats.

Muff is a popular celebrity who enjoys baking and diving.

Then there's the market. You can get all kinds of useful items here, but the only one I'm after at the moment is the Silver Sheath. So I shop around for the best deal on rice, then get enough rice to trade for lots of spice...

...then trade the spices for this golden jackal...

...which is what the Silver Sheath merchant wants for it.

This makes swords more powerful. Though, after this went to press, I learned that it doesn't actually have any effect because the game is bugged and gives swords the Silver Sheath bonus whether you have it or not. DAMMIT, GAME! Ya know, I really do have a love/hate relationship with this game. I like it, and I WANT to really like it, but it just makes it tough with all the bugs and bad design choices.

At this point I spend some time sassin' chickens until the place clears out for the big meeting.

It seems the ruler of Nobilia believes that Hot Dog is the sacred dog of legend, and sends him out into the crowd to choose who gets thrown into the coliseum today.

Of course, he goes right over to our hero. Weirdly enough, our hero recognizes him despite his changed appearance. Then again, there IS a severe lack of dogs in Evermore.

Our hero is thrown into the holding pens. For some reason Hot Dog gets to hang out with him, looking sleek and stylish.

The camera pans over the clay-constructed Arabian metropolis and onto the Arena, as our hero must fight for his rights...FIGHT FOR HIS LIFE.


Moments after this picture was taken, Vigor sprinted out, shaking the ropes and panting for air.


He is a Real American.

He has been known to fight for the rights of every man.

"BOOOOOOOOO" says the crowd after hearing Hulkster's music. "PATOOIE AT USA!" ...Man, they still aren't over the defeat of The Iron Sheik over here. 

What follows is a pitched, potentially difficult fight, since Vigor is protected in front by his chariot.

Our hero HURLS SPEARS defiantly. I'll attack his highly-defended front if I damn well please!

Your winner... and NEWWWWWW CHAMPION



Basically, he has to collect the two Diamond Eyes so that the ruler of Nobilia can use them for great power. Or something like that. Since I know he's a bad guy (spoiler alert!), I guess I should just stop playing now. Hey, I've heard that argument about Shadow of the Colossus. Unfortunately, our feckless hero thinks this may be a way to get back home, so he agrees.

 Here's the bad guy in question... the nefarious Number Two.

"I'll get him!" says Number Two. "And his little dog too!"

Finally, a real sword. And I got the dog back too. Disappointingly, new swords in this game have the same attack power as the previous district's spear...and since they start at level 1 and can't be thrown regardless, you're actually taking a DOWNGRADE if you use anything past the Horn Spear. Bah.

And thus, our hero treks waaaaaaaaaaaay back across the desert. Now with Hot Dog™. Next time, Antiqua continues. What mysteries are hidden in this ancient world? Join us as Hulkster continues to run wild.

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  1. "After the battle, I save this dude. He makes reference to a place that I'm pretty sure doesn't exist in the game itself. Several people do this in Evermore, which contributes to the Metroid-like feeling of there being more to the world than we can see or get to."

    Our hero does the same thing with movies that don't actually exist.

  2. "At this point I spend some time sassin' chickens until the place clears out for the big meeting."

    I hated the time limit this thing had. It took a while to figure out all of the ins and outs here, and this is the first time the player has access to so many "accessory" type items. Then I'm forced into a boss fight that I kept losing!

    ...well, I never lost it on subsequent playthroughs, the market opens back up afterwards, and the fact that I even remember this at all means it was... memorable.

  3. It's too bad you never got a shot of the FF6 cameos in the coliseum.