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April 9, 2012

Anvil of Dawn - A way to weaken the evil warlord

I just left the Dark Lantern for the Sunken Ship. But in order to get there the water elemental I could summon would only allow me passage to the Undersea labyrinth. From there I would be on my own. The only word of advise was to avoid the lady of the sea.

Some reflections of the game so far:

  • The game is very linear. So far there is no choice in which places you can visit first. I have had to plough through each place individually and in order.
  • I haven´t found any place in which to trade or buy items. I suspect I never will since there is no such things as gold or money in the game except for a few gold coins but they are used at specific places. This means that I could drop everything I don´t need.
  • The figthing is slow due to the animations involved. Everything moves very stepwise and while something is in movement it feels your character cannot move. For example. If you see your opponent begins an attack you cannot move until it is completed through several frames. That makes combat not as smooth as it could have been. When I cast a spell the game freezes until the spell animation is completed which takes at least 5 seconds. That type of delay is frustrating and actually stop me from using my spells as often as I wish.
  • The slowness hinders you from using tactics used in Dungeon Master II and Crystal Dragon when you constantsly sidetracked and moved around the target. Here you attack-retreat, attack-retreat in front of him and he will never catch up so you seldom have to move backwards.
  • I use the same tactics for all enemies. Freeze them and then hack them. Nothing else. Casting an offensive spell does no more damage than me hacking at a freezing opponent.
  • The game is so far a bit too easy. The opponents are not dangerous enough and could easily be defeated. The so-called puzzles are are also not very hard. Most of the time you just have to pull every lever and push every preassure plate you see in order to make progress in some way. 
  • You could rest anywhere by just staying around. After 5 minutes realtime you have recovered all health and spell points again.
  • There are no roleplaying options while interacting with NPCs. Every encounter is scripted. 
  • Illusionary walls are possible to detect if you move slowly. They shimmer. Very good. 
  • Here and there you could find scrolls that tell you some information about the place or what had happened. They are appreciated but too rare.

The underwater labyrinth turned out to be a huge 64*64 square map. It took some hours to finish. The goal was to find the way to the sunken ship. In order to succeed I had to find certain shells to feed lock mechanisms with in order to progress in the labyrinth. The inhabitants in the labyrinth was of two types. The humanioid crab-man and some poisonous plants. The latter was the real threat since up until now I had never found any cure poison. But as I found out there was a lot to be found in chests in that level.

The crabman is freezed by my spell


The Lady of the Sea however turned out to be a dissappointment. You could talk to her but have no way to affect the outcome which is that she will attack you and win automatically. She did offer to teach me a spell but I cannot escape her until she kills me. I do not know if there are any way to avoid this but as it is now this part feels unfinished. Since she is stationary I could just avoid talking to her and avoid all problems by that.

The charming lady herself!
Part of the the underwater labyrinth

It took a few hours but then I found the entrance to the Sunken Ship. The ship was of course inhabited by the drowned sailors that had been turned into zombies that attacked me on sight. As always, one freeze and some slashings and they where gone. After looking around for awhile I found a chained demon that more looked like an octopussy. He wanted me to free him and had important information how to contain the warlords source of magic. To tell me this he wanted the hearts of the drowned sailors. My mission therefore was too find eight pure hearts to feed this beast.

Here and there you can find new spells to add to your spellbook
The complex consisted of the usual mass of preassure plates and teleporters. At some points I thought I was stuck but by carefully study the automap you realize that there are either sections unexplored or places behind walls that must be reached eventually. Not to speak of the fact that after pulling a lever a previous locked door might have been removed.

Zombie sailors
After four hours in this complex of two levels I gathered all eight hearts and fed the demon. He told me riddles of how to go about crafting a special chest that would contain the warlords magic. Ingredients was needed that would have to be gathered all around the world. I left the ship and returned to the overland map again.

This beast hungered for hearts...
I thought I could just choose which place to enter first but no, my step outside took me right in front of an underground city with no way of choosing another direction so it was down to the city I went....

I enjoy the game but it is becoming a little repetitive...

4 comments:

  1. This is one game I never played. From your review, I'm glad I didn't. Good luck!

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  2. LingaG, this game is one of best amoung its kind.
    But maybe its my own gaming opinion, i prefer games with strong stories and rich plot. This means more linearity.

    2 Blog author, Firstly lady of the lake can teach new spell, you just need find way to get back from death (HINT).

    I wonder if you figure out how to get taught by imp in dead city with another spell.

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    Replies
    1. Ah, thanks for the input. I did get some sort of leave from a mage in the overland about coming back from the dead. Perhaps it could be used against the lady of the lake.

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  3. You could use the Soul Link Figurine to cast Soul Link before talking to the Lady of the Water. I think I found the Figurine in the Dark Lantern.

    I agree with your opinions of the game so far; it's getting rather repetitive.

    The game is not nearly as challenging as Chaos Strikes Back or even Dungeon Master or Black Crypt, and not as slick as the 2.5 years older Lands of Lore.
    And there is no way to interact with the environment in any clever way: no hacking or fireballing down wooden doors, no way to use traps against monsters and the level design is very basic. Still, the game is quite fun...

    The drowned sailors remind me of the zombies in Thief - they make excactly the same sound. I wonder if Thief copied them from AoD, or if they both took it from some movie?

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