Currently playing: Nox Archaist

October 27, 2012

Legend of Faerghail - Won!

At last we where ready to try to confront the evils den, lurking somewhere deep in the mines. We stayed for a few days to prepare, resupply and sell off stuff at the Emporium while most of the members gained a level. A few of them was very near to gain a level and so we spent time in the wilderness to grind some more experience. My party now spans from level 5 to 7. I know, it doesn´t sound very high but then I have taken a more direct approach to complete my goals rather than fighting out each encounter.

Anyway, we set out to return to the dwarven mines. Each clue gathered so far has told us that herein lies the answer and we must return back down. There are two entrances to the mines in the west. The north one gets you stuck with no way of climbing down and the south one give access to the normal dwarven mines. The starter mines did however reveal the portal that would take me down to level 3. It is now open. Probably as a result of me discovering it the first time I visited these parts. If so, that is the only place in the game where it does remember what I have done.

We got down through the portal to level 3 but had no way of returning back to level 1 because I am missing my amulet we got in the beginning. I don´t know where it is. Perhaps my thief has it in the inn. That would at least give credit to his trade and that is probably the only thing in which he had succeeded.

While here, I used the opportunity to gather another round of gunpowder. Level four would not get me further on and so I returned back to the top again. This time I discovered there are two stairs from the hex where I enter the mines. The second one has been missed but leads to the deeper mines. In order to return here though I had to sacrifice my gunpowder. I know it sounds confusing and so it was for me because I am still not sure when this second stairway appears in the game while at the same time my exit is blocked  forcing me to use my second gunpowder. There must be another way but I don´t mean to powerplay this game, only to complete it and so I did not ponder on it more.

You have to unequipp all items in order to proceed
The deeper levels of the mines holds much tougher opponents. Black deaths drains your experience, slimes, arag-dai, bastards and other creatures tries its best to pester you but I only choose to fight opponents that give good experience and so my advancement went quickly enough. To be fair, it was most due to my old hand-drawn maps from 20 years ago that helped stalk out my direction. I never had to step on every square as if it had been the first time.

We came upon an underground spring that stopped our progress due to our heavy armour. You must unequip all armours, weapons and items in order to enter. In the end you will find a strengthring that holds unexplained powers. It doest not increase your attribute strength but it could perhaps inflict more damage in combat nonetheless ?

Some things that happened to me during these new dwarven levels:
  • At level 2 (or level 6 if you choose to add them to the ordinary levels) there is a place that in order to proceed to the stairs leading down to level 3, the entrance behind you are sealed with no way of returning back again. I was afraid we would get trapped but in the end it turned out I had to pass this opening to get a stonekey that would allow me to get back through a portal.
  • I found some adamite lump that I had to give to a dwarf to give me a mirrorshield.
  • With the mirrorshield I could block heat radiating from a certain place which allowed me to explore forward and in the end find some Corona (remember the clue "Only gem, corona and staff makes the key to the mountain" ?)
With this I descended down to level 3 and here came the most ugly, darkest, hardest, hard-core part of any CRPG I have played until then. A huge hall unfolded in front of me and there is only one invisible safe way to navigate around it. Each failed step in any direction either kills a member instantly or wipes out the entiry party. If you have come here and lack more than one gunpowder you have to try out a way by trial and error which will take hours after hours becuase I think it is around 100 steps you have to carry out. I had half of the way mapped back in 1992 and yet I know I did find another way without taking this path. But I don´t remember how I did!!!

Ah, did I mention that you are not allowed to save on this level ?

I admit here that I did cheat and looked up the correct way to navigate through this invisible labyrinth of death tiles. I feel I had the right too or I would never have the patience to map the path by trial and error and reload the game 100 times.

This labyrinth leads to three different arches. Each one containing powerful items like a staff of darkness (I have no clue what it does), loads of gold and potions. There are a few secret doors here and if you search all corridors throughly you will come across the Crystal sword. I never found it during my first playthrough though. 

This sword sounds powerful

To get out of here you will eventually find stairs leading upwards to the wilderness. Here you can save the game again. This part of the wilderness is a totally new section but very small. There is a spring here in which you could heal your party members. There is also a halfling statue holding a stone sword but I didn´t know how to get it so I just continued. I hope this sword isn´t crucial in the end.

This will be your last grasp of fresh air before the ending battle

Springs helps to replenish your health
You will eventually reach a closed gate in the mountain in which you have to use all your quest items to proceed. First of all - and I stood dumbfounded for awhile with this - you have to have all three items on the same character. First use the corona and together with the emerald (don´t remember where I found it) it will form another item.

Use that item together with the keystaff and you could use the keystaff to open the gate that leads down into the Volcano. Remember though, that you could only tro to open the gate in the early morning or it will fail. I am not sure if that is told anywhere in a clue but it seems to be the case.

By entering we descended into a volcano. A totally new complex opened up before us. It is strange, but I have no memories whatsoever from this complex, yet I know I must have been here the last time I played Legend of Faerghail on my Amiga. I had to draw up a map with pencil and paper. This complex was filled with high level monsters that gives a lot of XP but the way back to the nearest town to train is not a  tempting option. Especially not now when I know I am near the end.

I like the colour palette of the the Volcano

I fled from most of the encounters. This complex was filled with different types of elementals and other types. There is really nothing important on the first level despite there being some impassable ways to reach certain chests due to forcefields. I found out that there are always a secret door that you could take to get around those obstacles. One of them holds a gain level potion which is probably the most valuable object in the game. I know that because I sometimes first save and then test the potion. That will mostly reveal the type of potion. I have however never used any of them and you should save them until the end anyway when the XP requirments are in the 6-digit.

The exit from the first level lies in the southeast part of the volcano where you will find a hole to descend. That leads down to the second level and now things takes a different way. Here you will have to use all important quest items gathered during your adventure so far. 

The first part leads you through a labyrinth with impassable forcefields. In the end you will meet an elemental that will give you a riddle...

This game is very fond of riddles
I had no clue and so had to find the solution online. The answer is iceflower. Very far reached answer in my opinion. 

You will be teleported to another section. By following long corridors with a few secret doors you will come across a water elemental that will give you some water. In the end you will be teleported once again to another place. This section was really hard and frustrating. A huge square room with invisible walls. I had to manually draw a map from the invisible walls while taking damage all the time for my front fighter when clashing into the walls. There where a lot of creepers offering me advice and secrets for 300 gc each, but all of them just walked away with my money except for one who said:

After one hour I found what I was looking for. An air elemental in the middle that waited for something. I think I used the water here and was transported to another section. This section I think was what the creepers tried to tell me about. The exit lied in the northwestern part through a hole but other than that it held nothing of interest. Down the hole we came upon the last level.

Here the intense heat could be felt gradually. We got information about wether it got warmer or cooler depending on where we got. A new monster type that I had never seen before made its appearance, magma beings. I had to intention of fighting them at this stage and so I just continued to withdraw from combat.

The complex ends in front of a sea of lava that is impossible to pass. But by using your sarcophagus (the important item from the Monastery catacombs) you could sail on top of the lava with your party and navigate around. That leads you both to some powerful items (like a golden sword) but also to a fire elemental that seems to wait for something. I had a wet clay key and needed to use it on the fire elemental so that he could breathe at it giving me the proper key for the gate in this section.

In my inventory below it transformed into a dry clay key

The gate opened up into the last part of the cave and here I finally found what I had been waiting for to complete almost 20 years ago. The red dragon itself.

Well, while I didn´t hit him even once the first time around he managed to breathe at my party, effectively killing each and everyone with 96 points of damage. Hmm. Before the next fight I re-equipped my warriors to use the dragon plates, god´s hammer for the priest, crystal sword for the paladin and the golden sword for my smith. I let Evaine, my illusionist cast my favourite spell Haste, that effectively doubles the amount of attacks you could do in a round.

My next attempt at the dragon showed a better outcome but that was only due to the fact that the dragon failed at breathing at me, giving me a second round in which I could try to kill him. Trion did it as could be seen below. I was quite astonished that the dragon did not have more hitpoint.  Perhaps 200 or so.

This is the moment I have been waited for since 1994
I felt a great relief when killing the dragon and wondered what would happen now. Nothing happened! The dragons pool of blood lie in front of me, seemingly active in some strange way. It turned out I had to use the demons mask I got from the elven Pyramid. By throwing it into the blood pool it evaporated together with the living blood. This finally seemed to have destroyed the evil.

The story continued with us fleeing from the volcano that begun to erupt and finally exploded. We returned back to the king....

I was quite content with the ending that was accompanied with a new piece of music from the game. When the ceremony and rewards was over we found ourselves back at the inn. It was now possible to actually begin playing the game again. I could raise levels and sell off stuff. I imagine you could probably repeat the adventure again because I could left the inn and was receiving the amulet exactly as what happens the first time. I suppose I could just return to the volcano but that is pure speculation.

I feel very satisfied of having completed the game 20 years later,even though I had to resort to check out one riddle and the solution to get past the death labyrinth.

I am looking forward to review this game in my next post and see how it holds up to the other games...


  1. Good stuff... can't wait to see your review.

  2. I just wanted to add a quick "thank you" for reviewing Legend of Faerghail in such detail and such a good spirit. I was quite disappointed, when the Addict didn't like it... LoF was my first CRPG and I still play it from time to time with joy!
    P.S.: regarding the instant-death-maze: the safe path is printed on the back cover of the manual ;-)

    1. Thanks!
      Ahh...who would have guessed the solution to the games most difficult obstacle was to be found so near

  3. Only for completeness:
    Iceflower is a bad one to one translation from the German word "Eisblume", which means "frost pattern" or "frosting".

  4. The final dwarven mine level which gave you so much trouble, and in which it is not possible to save the game to disk, is part of the game's copy protection.

    Have a look at the game manual: on the reverse side of the manual you will find an illustration of how the amulet looks like which you receive when you start your journey. That amulet contains a small map, and that map describes the only safe way through the area. This is hinted at in the game text, but in hindsight, that hint should have been more to the point.

    Our game has no on-disk copy protection. At the time it was customary to use custom disk reording formats, with special encrypted code to check for its presence, etc. to prevent the disk from getting copied using standard tools. When we were making the game, we were fully aware of the fact that such copy protection measures were quickly overcome, and we expected that adding this type of protection would further delay the game from shipping.

    Our solution to this problem was to add this map to the game manual, and have the map printed in such a way as to make photocopying hard.

    1. Wow. I still remember how that level and all the reloading made me go crazy. I still have the LoF box stowed away somewhere, together with the Amberstar and Ambermoon boxes. LoF was my first buy ever. Tomorrow I will check out the manual :-)