Currently playing: Icewind Dale 2, Demonicum

November 5, 2011

Dungeon Master 2 - Exploring Skullkeep

We put the four clan keys into the keyhole and waited while the unlocking mechanism would do its work. The door unlocked and we opened it. We we´re faced with a T-junction ahead with a skeleton lying in the middle of it. While examining the bones we where ambushed by a fireball. I ought to have been prepared for this. Reload.

After having avoided the trap there where three levels that each opened a gate in a corridor. The problem was they closed almost immediately. I think I tried for 10 times to run through them without success until I discovered that there is a spell that accelerates the partys movement. With that spell cast, everything went smooth.

After having battled my way through some corridors and rooms I came to some sort of machine room with pumps. I hate it when they mix neotech or whatever with fantasy stuff. It really drained the atmosphere and I knew there where some kind of mechanism I had to get to work.

Some sort of machine room
There where pits and ladders leading down and that was my only way to continue. I had some sort of boxed gold key I put into a niche to get something to work. But I needed that key again and so had to pull a lever to get the key to loose, only to be dropped into a pit. I had to look for it since I found another keyhole for it. I went down to the caves.

These skeletons don´t look that frightful but don´t let the appearance fool you
The caves was filled with pits. Many of the blocked some passages but you could move boulders to fill the gaps and then move on. The absolutely most irritating enemy in Skullkeep is the guard minions. I don´t know the name but they are small flying orbs that attacks you from a distance with bolts that affects the whole party. They are fast and dangerous. I don´t know how many times I´ve died because of them. Quick strifing around them is the best solution as for most monsters.

The caves contained a lot of small items like potions etc but also skeletons, bats and other foul minions. Here I met a tough green troll bastard that hurled poisonous clouds on me. I hacked at him for surely 500 points of damage but was never sure how strong he was. I finally made him walk into a trap by being crushed by spears. That was a joyful moment. He left the bloodied key needed to move on.

Torham is now Master Fighter

Though you are in Skullkeep, you are given several opportunities to return to the village. Either by the shield's built-in teleport function or by sneaking out somewhere in the beginning of Skullkeep. I had to get back to get some food. You find several good weapons along the way and since one is not sure which is best there is not much need to buy anything either. Many armours and weapons come with some sort of magical function but I´ve never used them.

Flame blobs explode near you
Deep down I met flame blobs appearing if I come near to lava pits. They do tremendous amount of damage when they self-explode but the trick is to let them come to you and just before the explode you have to withdraw one step. It took me a dozen kills to figure out. There where no items of interest down there except for two blue gems which are very valuable in the shops as currency.

This is a lever puzzle

Skullkeep is filled with places with pits, preassure plates and closing/opening doors. Most of them are quite easy to figure out how to pass but some of them required me to check the walkthrough in order to move on. My movement steppings are executed very slowly and I don´t know if it is because of my group being overloaded or because the low rate of cpu cycles in dosbox. I´ve still to figure out how to solve this. There are many places in which your speed of movement is crucial.

There is a room in Skullkeep which was very difficult. It was filled with green monsters shooting slayer arrows at you. In that place you needed to do some stuff but in order to continue you needed to find a fuse that was hidden in a .... flying chest. Yes, I know it sound stupid and it is. You have to hunt down the chest and swing at it frequently together with fireballs to take it down. It took me endless tries to succeed since I thought it was moving in a specific pattern but it turned out you can block it´s path and it will move in oppositie way. That made it possible to trap it in a small compartment and bring several attacks to it in short order.

Room stuffed with tables to block your way

After having gained the master key. I was able to move forward only to be stopped by a room filled with tables. I have to admit I was stuck in moving them and did not come to think that I could just hack my way through. So I did and the obstacles was no more.

I came to another machine room and still don´t really know what to do or why. I just know I can turn on some things but I have no clue of why or how it affect things. Right now I am in some sort of reflector room. I have to guide a fireball through reflectors which I can manipulate. I don´t know what will happen when I succeed. The room is blocked in the middle by pits which I can´t get through so hopefully those will dissappear or whatever.

Reflectors

My group have increased a lot of levels. I am not sure exactly how it affect things. Sure I feel more powerful but that might be because of my found weapons and armours and not because of my skill levels. I think I have passed half the game but I have no idea of how much still lies ahead of me. I am beginning to tire a little of the whole concept. I almost never use spells except to brew healing potions because of the clumsy interface. The only weapon I am confident with is the one that allows you melee attacks and Torham can make two at once. That´s my main fighting force.

I will continue to the bitter end or until I get stuck. But if I get stuck I will check the solution. 

My spontaneous reaction to DM2 is that it is not as good as I first was led to believe. I am playing the PC-version and still the Amiga game Black Crypt is much better graphic wise but are three years older.  DM2 is more sophisticated than Crystal Dragon and the amount of pits and hidden buttons is much less frequent which is a strongpoint. However, gamewise there is not much difference between the two.


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