Game Diary: Arx Fatalis 02 — The Envy of Kings

(Originally posted at Digital Hippos)

Emerging in the sub-(sub-sub-sub-sub-)-terranean tunnels beneath the goblin gulag, I find something I’ve been waiting for for far too long: pants! They’re being worn by a skeleton — not an undead monster skeleton, just a regular pile of bones — but they’re perfectly good pants and there’s no reason to let them go to waste, especially when this corpse doesn’t even have any legs.

Theodore Huxtable (as I’ve decided to name my new skeleton pants pal) has another special surprise for me: two runes and my first spell!

Arx Fatalis is known for its unique approach to spellcasting mechanics. Your character acquires certain rune symbols, which you can draw on the screen using the mouse. Combining different symbols creates different spells. So by combining the two runes that I found on poor Theo (we’re on a nick-name basis now) — a horizontal line going from left-to-right and a half-square going down from the top-left, across, and up halfway — I’m able to cast the “IGNITE!” magicks to light torches. Having a torch handy is going to come in very … erm … handy … in these tunnels, as I can hardly see three feet in front of me.

And just in case you were wondering, no, I can’t use “IGNITE!” magicks to ignite enemies.

Donning my pants, with a bone in hand and an “IGNITE!” magick at the holster, I embark through the deep-dark caves. Large rats fall before my might! I loot them for their “uncooked ribs” and take their peculiarly specific name as a sign that Arx Fatalis also includes cooking. Only time will tell….

And that time is now! Turning a corner, I find an abandoned campsite with an old firepit. One “IGNITE!” magick later and I have a roaring fire. Setting my uncooked ribs on the flames transforms them into delicious cooked ribs! I have everything a man could want: pants, “IGNITE!”, bone, cooked ribs. Truly, I am the envy of kings–

GIANT SPIDER KILL IT KILL IT KILL IT KILL IT!

Okay … phew … we’re safe (for now) but that was terrifying. I’m no fan of spiders, and giant ones are definitely the worst possible kind.

Following the example taught to me by every RPG ever made, I immediately about to exploring the caves and picking up everything I can find: mushrooms, lillypads, more bones (weapons can break, so these will come in handy), bottles of water and wine, fish (for cooking), bread (already cooked!), and a rope … yes … the rope looks useful.

My explorations bring me to a room with a broken elevator and come empty spools that look like the perfect place for my new rope. Shazam! Elevator fixed! But danger lurks ahead….

I ride the elevator the top and, with a crack the splits the night, find myself stuck in the geometry. It’s like I stop moving before the elevator does, so when it reaches the top, my torso is lodged in the floor.

Woe! Drama! Trauma! It’s game over, man! Game over! We can’t go on if I can’t ride the elevator to the top! This going to take some master tricks, perfected over years of avoiding game glitches.

I reload and try again. Just as the elevator approaches its appex, I make a jump for it! I leap up to the next level, bypassing the glitch completely. And now we continue onward, to victory, and hopefully a shirt, eventually.

But mostly just to more caves. Exploring this new area, I find some new goodies: a dagger (goodbye, bones!) and my first “Amikar’s Rock.” What is an “Amikar’s Rock”? Oh you silly fool; what a foolish question. Stop reading this now, and feel shame for what a fool you are.

“Amikar’s Rock” firmly in hand, I continue my march toward glory.

DANGER!

I turn a corner and I’m confronted with a goblin. But not just any goblin — a BIG GOBLIN! And he’s not at all happy that I’ve escaped from captivity. An intense battle commences. It’s like Thunderdome up in this hizzy, and I’m not sure if I’m going to be the man to leave.

Wuzzles to the rescue!

Little did I know that all that time I thought Wuzzles was just being a baby, he was really just conserving his Hulk-like strength. He bashes the big goblin with his fists, until the goblin is dead on the floor. Standing trimphant and wiping the blood from his arms, Wuzzles tells me to get to safety. Thank you, Wuzzles. I’ll never forget you and your goblin-punching glory.

Onward to … the goblin gulag?

Next time: we retread some familiar territory, kills some goblins, meet a dog, and wander into some bad news. And have a another bug-related freak-out.

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