Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Elder Scrolls: Arena #5 - Between Doors

I wouldn't say you're too fake if the first thing you do is be brutally honest while introducing yourself. Isn't that the opposite of fake? Unless she's faking being fake, thereby causing her fakeness to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Now I'm just confused. It's like John Connor sending his dad back in time to father himself.

In any case, the game is winding to a close surprisingly quickly. In game-time, that is. It has barely taken me 20 hours to get close to the end, which is short for a game in this series.

Saw this poster in the post office and immediately thought of Elder Scrolls stats. What would Reliability do if it were a stat like Speed and Agility? Maybe raise your minimum damage output, so instead of doing 2-18 damage you do 10-18 with high Reliability. That would be cool. Less randomness.

Substantial portions of this game are spent looking for Mage Guilds, and it sucks. These comically oversized towns are super-unnecessary.

 I finally find the guild to get my next mission. The Demi-Lich Zorophus sounds awesome, too bad he won't be in this game. It's in dire need of more bosses...well, any bosses, really.

At this point I go potion shopping. I've been neglecting potions way too much for the first 60% of the game as I relied heavily on resting to regain HP. Heal True restores a huge amount of HP, while Levitate totally negates terrain effects on movement and Invisibility causes most enemies to not even notice your presence. There are also resist potions for different elements which helps against enemy casters when you have to fight.

Purification is the most expensive potion, and one I haven't messed with. It dispels all status effects, which isn't really that necessary considering I've never been afflicted by more than one effect at a time. It also makes you temporarily shielded from damage, so that might be a huge boon. Not sure, haven't tried it. Heal True and resists are enough for me to survive, with Levitation and Invisibility for times when I want to speed through an area.

The next dungeon is the Temple of the Mad God, and it's full of mad monks.

They aren't all hot redheads, some of them are dudes.

The goal here is to get a diamond that was stolen from the mages. Long story short, it's another fetch quest.

Next stop: Crystal Tower. That sounds awesome.

Summurset Isles has a ton of potential as its own game. I predict that the next few games in the series will be this place, an Elsweyr/Valenwood combination, and a Black Marsh/South Morrowind combination (the actual Morrowind game only had the north half of the province). Then they could make three more games out of the three provinces on the Akavir continent, if they want to.

Summurset Isles might not actually have enough land mass to be a game by itself, though.

The Crystal Tower is the first dungeon thusfar to actually go up rather than down as you progress. As a result, the map keys for stairwells are flipped in terms of what color stairwell you're looking for.

The actual dungeon looks pretty good for 1994, and it's full of flying imps that spit lightning.

One of the floors is actually a zoo, weirdly enough. It's full of rooms that contain enemies, and you can decide whether or not to free them. Apparently some of the enemies have a chance of dropping the key for the final door in the zoo, but I just use the Skeleton Key to bypass all of that.

Medusas make their first appearance here. These things stun you like crazy, but thanks to my Knight resistance it has no effect on me. They also have boobies. Heaving green boobies.

In the final zoo cell, we find the first enemy in this game that really counts as a boss fight. The Fire Daemon is a total badass, and it's basically a Lord of the Rings Balrog. Complete with a sword made of fire and everything.

Fifth staff fragment. The Crystal Tower was pretty cool, but I'm eager to get this game wrapped up.

The sixth of the eight fragments is found in High Rock, the primary setting of Elder Scrolls II.

Some nice enchanted weapons here with stat bonuses, nothing too out of the... HOLY SHIT, a weapon with Passwall on it for a measily 1k? I've been looking for another Passwall item because my five charge, 5,000 G Mark of Passwall ran out.

....are you kidding me? 67 charges of the best spell in the game? For 1,000 G?

ULTIMATE ARENA PROTIP: Go to Camlorn fairly early in the game and buy this; you'll be set on Passwall for the rest of the game and be able to cut your way through a number of otherwise-difficult dungeons. Mazes will no longer present any issue. Since each charge lets you knock down three walls, this is really 201 charges. Hopefully this always shows up in Camlorn and wasn't just a random roll for me.

More fun with townspeople. She isn't a fake, but she makes sure to let our hero know that she's an idiot.

"Doobie?" says Marley in response.

The Brotherhood of Seth gives me my next quest. Finally, someone besides a queen or a mage's guild gives me something to do. I take a moment to donate some money and get Blessings. No idea what this actually does, but hopefully there's some sort of stat benefit.

The Mines of Khuras are, up to now, the only fire-themed dungeon so far in the game. They're hellish and dangerous, but I use Levitation to avoid most of the pitfalls.

At the end is a disemboweled monk. Jesus Christ!

Next to him is a map that leads me to the location of the sixth staff fragment. Nothing new here, onward to the next dungeon. Looking forward to the next game where there's some actual variety in objectives and themes.

The next dungeon? Crypt of Hearts. Sounds a lot more interesting than it actually is. Expect lots of undead.

Yep, this is an undead stronghold if I've ever seen one. It's also the hardest dungeon yet by a considerable margin, with the enemy difficulty ratcheted up by orders of magnitude.

But first! More of those Aryan bandits that demolish you so often in the early game!

The smell of sulfur is strong in here, which might mean that Dick Cheney is nearby.

Interesting mural here. Not sure what it represents, but I get the feeling it has to do with the creation of the world. The planet these games transpire on has two moons, I believe.

This place is like something out of a Doom, and it only gets moreso as things progress.

Yep, this is totally Doom. I keep expecting a Baron of Hell to walk around a corner and start throwing green fireballs at me.

Sixth staff fragment acquired. Thanks to the Skeleton Key and liberal use of Passwall, that dungeon was much easier than it could have been. Which should be the case from here on out, especially factoring in my new-found ability to invis and levitate.

Black Marsh is the seventh province to visit. That leaves Morrowind as the last one.

Jagar Tharn is still appearing via Skype to be grouchy. His days are numbered and he knows it.

The next fragment is located in Murkwood. Wait a minute, Murkwood? Like Mirkwood of Lord of the Rings fame? I wasn't sure about Mithril and the Balrog/Barrow Wight enemies, but now they're just overtly copying.

But first! Another lame interim dungeon. Nothing to say about this one, I sped through and found a tablet for a dude back in town.

This would be a good time to mention that Trolls in this game emit the most blood-curdling sound I think I've ever heard in a video game. They sound like The Thing at its most angry. Ended up having to mute the sound when I'd run into one.

In the depths of Black Marsh is the seventh staff fragment dungeon. This place isn't a dungeon, though... it's more of a forest.

You have free reign to run around, for the most part. Enemies attack constantly here, and it's a great place to level-grind if you're underpowered at this point.

The area itself can be cleared in under ten minutes by simply running to the center of the forest. There's a stone maze there that you can break your way through with Passwall, then answer a riddle and you're off to the fragment.

Amazing how fast and simple that dungeon is. They should have switched this one with Labyrinthian... seriously.

Next time on Elder Scrolls, I take on the eighth fragment dungeon and the Imperial Palace. Hopefully I'll beat the game. We'll see. It may yet have a surprise in store for me.


  1. Some games do have stuff for the reliability like you're suggesting, so I agree that it would make for a good element in the game.

    The Daemon is all like RAWWWWWWR

    Huh, that wolf looks noticeably different from the other enemies.

  2. I noticed the wolf too. Looks hand-drawn.

    The potions seem like they'd help you a ton with the random rooms with a ton of bad guys that killed you 10 times, as the Passwall is helping you with your boredom. Too bad these towns are too big because otherwise you could've gotten the help you needed much faster!

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