Game Diary: Arx Fatalis 03 — Answering the Call

(Originally posted at Digital Hippos)

Tragedy. Ascending back up the goblin gulag hits me with one of the stranger bugs I’ve ever seen: the opening of the game repeats itself. I’m struck with the blue light, dragged away by the goblin and wake up in a jail cell. Only, something’s different….

Wuzzles isn’t in the cell next to me. The guard outside whom I killed earlier is still dead. I still have my pants, my dagger and all of my other items. I escape the same way I did before. The sewer grate I jumped through last time? boarded-over and sealed. It’s like the state of the game still progressed the way it was supposed, but just dropped me back in the intro cutscene and transition to the jail cell. Weird, but whatever … I just escape through the door this time and get to some goblin-stabbing

I should also point that I gained a level-up after Wuzzles rescued me. And what a difference a level makes! The first goblin I see gets the old stab-in-the-face maneuver that I’ve perfected, and his head explodes! I stab the next one to death, and there’s nothing left but a bloody torso. You are not prepared for my wrath, goblin gaolers.

But let’s no linger here. I free an imprisoned goblin and kill a whole lot more goblins and finally make my escape.

Bam. Credits. Done.

No. I emerge into more dark tunnels. Geez, they aren’t fooling around with the lighting in this game. I suppose a real-life dark cave would be really dark, so I guess it’s just the atmosphere they’re going for. Still, it’s really dark — how do we live here without tripping and falling all the time?

But the darkness contains secrets. Like this thing:

And this:

Uh-oh. I feel a real Scooby-Doo moment coming on. But first I grab a fancy new short sword and a wooden shield from one of the dead guys (why I can’t take their precious shirts remains a mystery).

Making my way through the ruined human fort, stepping over the bloody bits of its former inhabitants, I eventually find a survivor. The guard captain tells me that they were overrun by “Ylsides.” Since I have no memory, I don’t know what an Ylside is. He doesn’t seem to think it’s very important that I know, but obviously, they’re bad news. The road back to the human kingdom — the titular Arx — is blocked by a cave-in, so it’s up to me to venture through the goblin city t(the long way around) and warn the human king about the Ylsides.

Am Shegaar has an attitude about accepting the job at first. And why not, I say? I just stumbled into this mess. I have no memory, for crying out loud, and I just spent that last who-the-hell-knows-how-long in a goblin gulag. I have my own problems, Captain.

Then Am Shegaar agrees because he doesn’t really have anything better to do. Yeah, I can’t argue with that. The captain gives me a gem dealer’s license so I can deal with the goblins peacefully, but in order to cross all the way through their lands, I’m going to need a pass signed by a goblin. Good thing I know a goblin who owes me a favor … now, where is he?

Some more spelunking brings me to a suspicious sight if I ever saw one. Was it Ylsides who destroyed the fort or something far more insidious?

Nice try, Shoeshine Boy, but I’m on to you; no one would ever suspect the lonely, innocent dog hanging out in a cave. We’ll meet again, nemesis.

Behind the sinister canine is a door with a pig’s head. That’s about as bluinty as I can describe it. Here, look:

Somewhat surprisingly, it turns out to be a tavern. Odd place for a tavern, if you ask me; I guess they’ve really cornered the market on the human guards, Ylside attackers and goblin gaoler demographics. I guess it has something to do with the hot bartender.

And look who else is here! The goblin captive I so graciously freed in the midst of my slaughter: Prosius! At least … I think that’s his name. I’m not good with these non-Warcraft fantasy names. I ask him to return the favor by signing the un-signed pass I stole from the goblins during my escape (oh, did I forget to mention that?). He says it’s no problem, I just need to hand it over to him.

Okay … click, drag, drop … the letter just falls to the floor. Okay, try again … click, drag, drop … falls to the floor. Hm … this is a predicament. Oh! I double-click on the pass and then click on the goblin. You know, I should have paid attention during the tutorial.

With my pass and gem dealer’s license, I return to the goblin caves. The guard at the door is happy to let me through, but warns me about the “human rebels” who escaped recently. Uh … *casual whistle* …

Next time: more spiders, a n encounter with the gentlest troll, fun with fog, and a meeting with the king!

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