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July 6, 2020

The Legacy - Review

Game reviewed: The Legacy
Created by: Magnetic Scrolls
Released: 1992
Formats: Pc
Difficulty: 8/10

I have come to a halt with my playing of The Legacy. I am not stuck. I have only lost interest into finishing the game. Now in the end where it needs perseverence I have  been charmed by Operencia - The stolen sun. But the important thing is that I have played it enough to give it a fari review I believe.

Gameworld & Story

The gameworld is all confined to the mansion but it is a huge mansion consisting of at least 8 levels. They all differ graphically from each other and offers their own challenges. The story is unfolded through notes and diaries found all over the place. That is actually the main source of informaiton of what has happend and what you should do. I think that part worked pretty well. 

Rating: 2.5


There is no economy worth talking about. There are no money and no shops. You are totally dependend on the limited resources you can find in the house. Those limiting resources which could destroy your game if used amply are: First aid kits, energy crystals and ammunition.

Rating: 1

NPC & Interaction

There are very few NPC:s in the game and the dialogues are very limited. There are interactions with the environemnt though like buttons and doors. But overall the RPG view of NPC and interactions are very limited.

Rating: 1

Monsters, tactics and combat system

There are quite a range of different monsters, horrors and entities in the game. Each level has its own style. From Zombies to ghosts and gargoyles. The variety is quite large and they all have their strengths and weaknesess. Some are good at range attacks and some at melee. Some only frightens you. It is however almost impossible to know if the weapons in the game have different effects on them since you have no damage statistics for them.

Tactics are almost non-existens for the monsters. If you are near enough they will see you and hunt you down. I have never seen any monsters retreat. They always fight to the death.

The combat system in the game is very simple. You just click with not hit-zones or whatever. Your hit-chance is only determined by you skills and not by any practical manouvers. Still the variety of weapons - both melee and ranged - allows for possible different strengths albeit unknown to this author.

Rating: 3

Magic system

You acquire magical spells by finding scrolls which you scribe into your spellbook. You can then cast them while holding the spellbook in your hand. All spells have their own description and skill level. I never bothered to use magic that much. Or rather, I did not have too and I choosed to conserve the few magical crystals I had found until I really needed them. The magical spells sound terrific when you read about them but I don´t know if their practical use is that much different against different foes.

Rating: 2

Character generation & development

You can choose between several predefined characters in the beginning or customise your own. I choosed one of the predefined ones. Experience is improved by reading notes and explore rooms. Best of all is that you can buy skills immediately with your experience points. The higher the skill the more expensive it costs. Very good and flexible system I must say. There are no levels and thereby no improvments of your character in any other way than you own spending on the skills.

Rating: 3

Map design

I thought the level design was quite ok. Even though the graphics doesn´t allow for much interior furniture and most rooms looks the same it varies from floor to floor. All the maps are equally large. I don´t remember know if they are 20x20 hexes or so. Perhaps it would be more unpredictable if maps actually varied in size since you will now understand you have missed parts if you only discovers half a level.

Rating: 2.5


The manual consists of some 60+ pages and is really well written. Nothing else is expected from the masters of manuals company Microprose.

Rating: 4

Graphics, Sound and Interface

The graphics in the game was acceptable in 1992-1993 but it is hard to make it justice in Dosbox on a 24 inch monitor nowadays. It was one of the first games in its generation to use 3d-environements just like Ultima Underworld. The Sound of the game is a bit disappointing. Apart from the mediocre theme music I did not hear any more music I remember during my playing. Just a few soundeffects and even though they sounded sampled I was not that impressed.

The interface is both good and bad. The good thing is that they dried to develop a windows based experience where you can resize the different windows and place them wherever you like. It works pretty good. You could do most things you are used to today like drag´n drop item from the world window to your hands for example. The bad things are that you don´t know how much a skill will cost until you try to uplevel it with you experience points. There is no confirmation, you will have to reload if you are not satisfied. Also you don´t know when your experience level increase since you don´t necessarily see that bar when you explore the mansion. But overall I am satisfied and think they have made a pretty good job.

Rating: 3

This gives a final CRPG value of 21. I do recommend this game if you have the patience to solve the puzzles. My advice would be that you make your own maps and write down where every item is because you have so limited carrying capability that you will have to run back and forth with items through all the floors. This is something my patience doesn´t allow for today.

The game comes close to the rating of Anvil of Dawn and Faery Tale 2 which seems like an acceptable place.

Rating: 3

Gameworld & Story
NPC & Interactions
Monsters, tactics & combat system
Magic system
Character generation & development
Map design
Graphics, Sound and Interface
Summary CRPG value


June 21, 2020

The Legacy - Deeper than expected

A few more hours have passed with me playing the game since my last post and I must say that I am really not very much nearer any sort of completion. The game just expands with new levels all the time. So har I have discovered at least seven levels.

Every new level only add to the list of strange items, new notes and rituals but never any clear place of where those rituals should be performed and in what order. It is clear I will have to stop the curse in this house from repeating itself every 50th year but when and where I will have to do my really important tasks still eludes me.

I have gathere a lot of notes, so many so that my document wallet now is full. Fortunately I always take a screenshot of every note so I can go back and read them.

In my last play I had just entered the top level which I call the Mausoleum.

I know that I eventually will have to relocate all the items I have found and bring them to a certain place or combine them. That will be a really tedious task since I have no maps with the items noted so I will have to look through every room in every level to find them. From the beginning I thought the puzzles would be more local or the game smaller so that I had a chance to memorize everything but not anymore.

I found a portal in the Maousoleum which led me to an astral plane in which I endlessly run around to find any way out. Eventually I found a crypt with a chest but I had no clue what I should do there.

The portal to the astral plane
The crypt

Special notes:
  • Many places have runes on the walls filled with magical energy but I have no idea what I should do with these.
  • The notes says I can banish the winged demons (on the upper floor ?) with holy water but I never found out how to use them. I tried to throw them but failed. Perhaps my skill is low enough. After I returned back to the floor I opted to kill all the winged creatures instead with my axe from the asylum.
  • I should try to find the Book of Gates which will tell me how to get to the Ehtereal Plane and the Astral Plane. Some of these two planes I am sure I have already discovered. Perhaps I even found the book but couldn´t carry it around.
  • I found a room with different items - among them a demon mask - but I cannot take them. I don´t know if I will be able to later on or if that is by design. In that room are also a jade stone said to allow me to walk where others are barred. 

Somewhere on the upper floors I found a jade stone or gem. I remember the painting from the entrance that had a carving which might fit this stone so I run down again. And to my luck and enjoyment the stone fit perfectly and crushed the painting, revealing a secret corridor behind. It eventually led me down the stairs to a place which resembled old egyptian style.

On that level the most interesting thing I found was some sort of religious cloak which I could put on. I had no idea where to use it though. I also found doors that I could not open at this stage so I had to return from there to explore other parts of the house. This time I opted to go down the basement. The first time I was there it was too tough to meet the gargoyles but since then I have a new bulletproof vest and an axe.

I very throughly searched around the basement and eventually completed the level but being none the wiser. I had no other place to go but to allow myself to fall down a trapdoor which led down to what I call the caverns. There was a few stairs down to the cavern from the basement but they where all blocked by monsters which I could neither defeat nor sneak past.

Since I had found a healingspell by now things was a little easier because I could use both first aid kits and crystals to give me power to heal myself. Even though I gathered a few interesting items in the caverns like pestle and mortar, museum plaque and matchboxes I was still desperate to find the place where I can put any of these things together. I took all items and carried them to the stair entrance of the cavern so I knew I had everything at the same place when I had to return later on in the game. Then I left the place and returned back to the basement. This time I tried to go down the stairs earlier blocked by the monsters but now these stairs led me to a new place I had never seen before or missed. I am not sure which.

I found some strange items down here as well but was also attacked by strange brown-winged creatures. I was strong enough to fight them and eventually found stairs leading down to yet another level with fireball-throwing mages and strange beings. Those "mages" which I call them was practically impossible to harm until I found some sort of magical dagger. Then I could take on a few of them at least. Now I begin to worry that my supplies around the house of first aid kits and crystal stones will not be enough.

I have now been around most levels in this game. What I still have missed is probably secret doors and locked doors that I have been unable to open. Still with all the items and information I have gathered I should be able to solve some mysteries. I am just not sure exactly where to execute them. I think this will be my next big task in this game. To tie the sack so to speak. I hope to be able to endure until then because now things have become a bit tedious.

Only with the magical dagger could I hurt these "mages"

June 14, 2020

The Legacy - Exploring

In my last post I had just started to seriously explore the starting level. Since then I have made some progress and noted a few things:
  • I found a juju fetish lika a skeletal hand which when hold, protects me from being attacked by the zombies. That helped a lot to complete my exploration of the first level. 
  • I found a key to my keyring and while it did not open the safe it was possible to open all locked doors with it.
  • Here and there are more ammunition for my revolver and there are a few first aid kits littered around. Enough for me to feel safe right now.
  • I have found several strange items like a rune, a skull and holy water. My guess is that the holy water is used for another undead but that remains to be seen. The other stuff might be used for ingredients.
After having got hold of the juju fetisch that kept the zombies from attacking, completing the first level was not hard. I decided to pursue my exploration in the basement. But before that I found a torchlight and with it the graphics finally returned to "normal". I cannot afford to carry it arround however since I have to hold the skeletal hand as well as a weapon in my hands so I have put it away in a corridor for now. 

I found two spells on scrolls lying around and put them into my spellbook. But I could never see anything in my spellist so I got a little confused until putting the spellbook in my hands, then the spells appeared. At least I know I can find spells this way.

I still tried to flee from every enemy but I did one experiment and started to killing them before getting myself killed. I don´t get any experience from killing enemies so I will avoid them unless I have to kill them in order to proceed. An important discovery.

In the basement I found batteries, holy water and lot of new documents about background information. The corridors was swarmed by gargoyels which was far more dangerous than the zombies. I found no way to defeat them. I tried to drink the whole water but to no effect. I tried to throw it but I am not sure I hit. The only interesting thing I found was a trapdoor that leads me to a cavern but since this is a one-way path I didn´t want to go down there unless I am sure to be able to return back. So I retraced my step to the ground level instead and looked for the stairs to the upper level. 

I don´t know how to kill these "gargoyles" yet
The upper level had corridors roamed mainly by ghosts but there where some other strange horrors there as well. Some of them even shots blue bolts against me. I had to use the same tactic like in all the other floors. Monsters cannot walk into doors so either you quickly sneak into rooms and let them pass or you lure them into or out of rooms before entering. It is possible to pass through a monster but it gives the monster a chance to hit you. During my exploration up here I quickly drained my health to less than half. But it was worth it because I talked to a ghost who told me they served the god M while they lived but was betrayed by him when dead and now had to walk these halls.

He said that the only way to get him free was to destroy the painting of the ritual that bound the souls.

Now, I had found this painting but had no clue what to do with it. And I had found matches on the floor somewhere and a can of oil somewhere on the same floor. Since I don´t make my own maps I had to search for them again and avoid all monsters while doing so. But finally I got hold of the items and returned to the painting. I threw the can of oil on i and the matches and it went up in flame. Yes! Finally something concrete done in this infested house. 

It gave me the benefit of getting rid of the ghosts but there where still other creatures lurking in the corridors. At least I had found some sort of document holder so I know can begin to store all the notes I find littered about in this house. Since I am not inclined to fight the monsters unless I have no other choice I let the revolver, a shotgun and a blade be left on the floor somewhere and instead only carried a kitchen knife. Hell, I don´t even know if these kind of weapons do any harm on the undead.

Just before I burned down the painting I noticed that my experience bar was full. I had no idea if it still accumulate but would not take the chance so I spended a few points on first aid kit, meditation, blade and firearms just enough to let it go down by 20% which was about what I got when burning the painting (yes I reloaded to try out this). 

My explorations continued. I saw a strange human walking around the corridors with its back to me all the time. I felt uneasy about that and tried to get around it somehow. I then stumbled into a room with a fusebox which I could switch on. And what a relief to finally see the graphics shine up as it should be.

In the southeast part of the house the game throws in some disorienting manouvers. To move forward you have to go backward etc. Also there are some lightnings that strike at certain places to stop you from entering without harm. After many attempts I managed to sneak around the area and found two green gems which I could not bring with me at this time (I had to know where to use them first since I have nowhere to store them if I am not to empty my hands).

Really annoying creatures shooting blue bolts at me
I also found the first secret door. Mostly by accident because the automap and the reality did not match. Behind the panel I found a new spell. Now I have three spells. I also found out by trial and error that I can defeat the winged demons in the corridor with my baseball bat weapon but I am not sure it is worth the injuries taken. I only found one First Aid Kit here, only enough to restore me to 75 % of full health.

I still have no clue how to get out of the house or what I should do other than that the notes talks about evil gods and rituals. I guess I will have to perform some sort of ritual to get rid of the evil that lurks here but I have no clue of what I should do so I just continue to explore the maps. So far four levels have been discovered (starting floor, upper floor, basement and caverns).

When I thought I had done what I could on the upper floor for now, I took the stairs to the floor above and I was somewhat startled to realize this was some sort of Azylum. I had found papers talking about this addon in the 19th century.

This level was filled with security doors that for the most part was impossible to force open despite my efforts to put all experience points into force just to discover each room. Instead, I found a security card on the other side of the level but to my disappointment it only opened one of the doors. That door however eventually led to another stair up.

The corridors where filled with flesh-eating plants of some sort. They could be defeated but as always first aid kits are scarce so I wouldn´t kill anything unless I had to. And I had to, because behind one of them there was a room that led me to a severed hand with a candle. Even though its immediate use was not apparent i found out later on in a note that it was used in a ritual. Who these "formeless asthral spawns" were I don´t know. I had to leave it for now.

But there was also a crazy womand with an axe running around and when I met her she said I must die because I was of one of the family. I run away from her but returned back later on to kill her. That gave me her bloodied apron and an axe. I replaced my baseball bat with the axe and my bulletproof vest with the apron. I had somewhere read something about bloodied clothes in a note and also found a place on the level with an invisible but impassable barrier. With the apron worned I could get past. My joy over this "puzzle solving" was short though. There where two security doors behind which I was unable to open. After spending all my experience into the skill "force" I tried to force the doors. Eventually after many reloads I succeeded. Both room had some sort of green fungus. I had no idea what they where for but I suspect they will be important. I reloaded and continued with my character with my experience points intact.

I felt finished for now with this level and so I entered the next level upstairs. A level which I believe was some sort of museum. The first thing that laid before my feet when entering was a nice rifle. But with no ammunition. The corridors in this place was inhabited by slimes. The good thing about them was that they were "neutral". They did only attack if I attacked and otherwhise just went through their movement pattern. My melee weapon could not hurt them either but my magical firebolt could.

But I also met another kind of crab-like monster which was almost impossible to go past - the dodge skill failed miserably several times. I must find a way to kill them.

I like the game. I think the mix of RPG and adventure is nice so far. Even though I have not understood what I should do more than in general terms I have come across a reference of a golden torc which seems very important. I have yet to find it. Also I have not instructions for any rituals or anything for which I need ingredients or prepare certain procedures. 

What I do fear is that I have to return to all the strange items I have encountered and use them when it is time. I have no notes of where they are so I am not looking forward to search through every level for all the items I have left. Especially not when most monsters still roam these halls. 

But so far I am far from giving up and will continue my exploration in this game. For its meager pricetag it has given me many hours of enjoyment so far.

June 13, 2020

The Legacy - Revisited

The Legacy

This time my interest falls to the Microprose published game of The Legacy. It is a blend between a traditional RPG and an adventure game and one of the first that combines those two elements. The atmosphere and settings of a horrorgame has always attracted me. And my fond memories of Elvira, Elvira II and Waxworks came to mind. 

I know I really don´t have the patience or cunning for adventure games where combination of items and spotting of pixels eventually solve mysteries. But I don´t give up as long as my interest are there.

The game comes with a huge 65+ pages manual in classic Microprose style which means very well written. Note however that Microprose is the publisher and not the developer of this game. Microprose aquired the famous text-adventure company Magnetic Scrolls in 1992 which previously had produced the famous games The Pawn, Guild of Thieves and Myth to name a few. 

I think the Preface of the manual sums up this game pretty well:

You start out the game by selecting one of eight predefined characters. All of whom is a heir to this huge mansion but with different abilities. Every character has three primary skills: Knowledge, Dexterity and Strength and each of them has secondary skills like first aid, brawling and firearms for example. Then there are Stamina and Willpower.

If you want you could customize them but contrary to my normal procedure I just choosed one of them and started the game. My first smile came when I took a closer look on the guys t-shirt which said "Gunship 2000" - another brilliant helicopter simulation from Microprose at the time. Anyway, my character had no magic but was stronger in all other skills instead. Let´s see if that is something I will regret or not later on. 

After the short intro you start out just inside the door to the mansion. There is no going back. What first stroke me was the "modern" gui of the game. A dos-based game with a windows based interface. You could even resize the windows and place the windows wherever you wish. Probably the first dos-based game I have seen with that feature before all games started to be played from within Windows instead. It also reminded me a little about the Amiga game Uninvited. 

The first scene that meets you when you start the game

I started to examine my immediate surroundings. The hall features a lot of doors in all directions plus the stairway leading to the second floor with even more doors to explore. I found a spellbook and some notes and when I started to explore the adjoining rooms I came over more notes from Robert that told me more about the house, or rather, about the horror that inhabit the house. Those notes helped to increased the atmosphere of the game. The mansion was built in 1639 by its first lord who himself was burned at the stake in 1662. His son inherited the mansion but died in a fire a few decades later, assumingly by a lantern having been tossed through a windows. Since then many strange things have been seen and heard from the mansion.

Fortunately the game features a pretty good automap in the lower left corner and that will be needed beceause I discovered after a while that this house is huge. I found a lot of different items like empty vials, a revolver, crystals, a keyring a safebox and so on. Since you have very limited storing capacity, only able to carry four items plus what you carry in your hands I had to drop all notes and items not of immediate use. That also means I will probably have to draw my own map so I can remember where all items are or areas of special interests. At this time (1993) automap was still a rare thing and being able to make notes even rarer.

It did not take long before I stumbled into the first inhabitants of the base floor. Zombies walking the long corridors. Since they move in realtime I discovered that they never enter closed doors so I could try to sneak past them or waiting for them to pass before making my exploration of the corridors. I did not wan´t to get into unneccessary fights. My revolver only had 6 bullets.

I also discovered that my experience bar had increased. Probably by exploring new areas and picking up items. What I do like is that you could increase any skill by paying with experience on the fly. There is no level up but a gradual increase in experience with which you could buy more skills. I like that. But for now, I save everything until I need it. 

The RPG like character sheet

My plan was to explore the first floor without going up or down (I did find a way down to the basement after a while). I avoided all zombies roaming and only once opted to fight because I had just found a brass handle to use as a melee weapon. That worked quite well even though I got a little injured. I also found a room with a strange symbol which I think is a safe place to rest on. At least that was information I learned from Robert who wrote most of the notes I found lying about. Where Robert is now or what happened to him is only left for my imaginatin for now.

In the north I eventually found a room with a grammophone but also a skull. I am sure this strange item will be used at a particular place later on.

The skull was hidden in the left box on the wall
After a while I think the graphics got darker and it was harder to see. I don´t know if the time advances in the game but I fould two different clockworks and they showed different times. I think I hastily found a torchlight but got killed when I tried to pick it up. The problem as said before is that you have very limited space and have to drop something else which means you have to figure out what first. Not easy when zombies are attacking you from behind. 

The only other entity I met was some sort of flying monster which terrified me so much that I couldn´t move. But other than that it seemed harmless so I just had to wait it out before proceeding.

Monster that only terrifies me and stops my movement before moving on
So far I have not yet found any puzzle or problem to solve. I still have areas to explore and when I run out of them I will go down to the basement or upstairs. Sooner or later I expect to solve some puzzle before being able to move on.

My first impressions of the game are quite good so far. I am gathering a few items. The crystals seems to enable me to meditate to increase my mana. The first aid kits increases my health but relies on my skill for success to use. The combat seems a bit odd with both a hit and aim button. I am not really sure how it works yet so I have just pressed the "hit" button and waited for the aim bar to increase before hitting again. The music is almost non-existens and only some ambient sounds could be heard except for some sinister laugther or a door opening. 

The standard dos-box configuration from was pretty slow so I had to increase the cycles for the movement in the game to feel smooth. 

I will continue playing this game and return when I have found more information about what kind of problems I´m standing against. It also feels good to be able to post something on my blog here for almost two years :-)