Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer - Released the Golden Condor

Roguelike games lend themselves to stories. Sure, the games themselves have some sort of plot (retrieve the amulet of Yendor in Rogue, find the golden condor in this game), but since the levels, items, and enemies are randomly generated, each new game is a new story. Different things happen to your character each time you play and sometimes you have some narrow escapes and sometimes some spectacular failures. Nethack, one of the most famous of the genre, has created a trend of posting "ascension stories" of beating the game and YASD stories (Yet Another Stupid Death).

Last night, I finally made it through the main dungeon of the game and so, for those interested, here is my ascension story (my game save file is Gertrude, so I used that name for the story character):

Gertrude had made it to the Ravine of Illusions (level 26) on her last five journeys, twice getting beyond it only to die before reaching the Plains of the Sun. With two Big Riceballs in her pack, she began her new attempt. Things didn't look auspicious for her.

Right away, the fortune teller gave her a particularly grim fortune telling her that she would not get the help she needed. But who believed in those silly fortunes anyway, Gertrude thought. Ignoring the warning of Riva, the God of fate, she pressed on.

Despite finding all three companions, they all died prior to reaching the town of Cryptic Rock Valley. While feeling sad at their loss, she was sadder that her strategy would now be completely changed. She now wouldn't be able to send them off to take down enemies she didn't want to get near in the swamps. These enemies could confuse her, put her to sleep or rust her weapons. Especially because she had found precious few arrows up to this point, not having any companions would make things difficult.

She did manage to make it through the swamps relatively unscathed. All she lost was one item to a copter bird and a point of strength to a leech bug. She was lucky to always see purple slimes coming so she could unequip her stuff (pathetic as her Hide Shield +1 and Polearm +3 were) before taking them on.

Once in Table Mountain, without the help of any companions she took a lot of damage from the Great Hens and Chain Heads. She had found one Chiropractic Pot (which heals her) with 5 uses and it was quickly down to 2 after three dungeon levels. Due to her Hide Shield and plenty of rice balls found in her journey, she was able to use the tactic of hiding in a corridor and resting to restore hit points. Little did she know this would be her survival tactic from hereon out because she would never find another Chiropractic pot.

It took until floor 25 before she could upgrade her equipment. There she found a Master Sword +2 which she upgraded to +3 with an Air Bless Scroll. She now had that and (when she needed it) an Armor Ward +2 to help her out. Learning the lessons of previous adventures, she used a Power Up scroll immediately upon reaching the Ravine of Illusions and used a staff of postponement and eventually a dragon herb to take down the one Skull Wizard she saw. The Death Angels were slowed or shot at from afar to lessen their effect. The Armor Ward was now her default shield.

She progressed through floor 27, making judicious use of equipping the hide shield and waiting until her hit points were back over 100. Floor 28 was a huge monster house (is it always? it was the last time she made it there) She was relatively close to the exit so she decided running was the best option. A Death Angel would have gotten in her way, but she used a Switching Staff to switch places with it and made it to the next floor with 2/3 of her hit points.

On floor 29, she started in a room with five monsters and so used her last scroll of confusion. This allowed her to take down the monsters one by one. Every time she faced more than one enemy at once, she had to use an item like a Dragon Herb, a Staff of Postpone, or Bufu's Staff to even the adds. After every battle she needed to hide in a corridor and wait while she healed. She had a very close call when she was fighting a dragon and an Armor Knight came along and knocked off her sword and shield. She used two blasts of a Staff of Postponement to deal with the two of them.

Despite her lacking of healing items, she made it up the stairs to the plains of the sun! Where was the gold that was supposed to cover the city? Where was the Golden Condor that would grant wishes? She found markers left by the former inhabitants, explaining how a terrible evil had come and eaten the gold and trapped the condor. Exploring and heading into the final floor, she double-checked that she was ready. She took down the first two tigers she encountered with Dragon Herbs. Suddenly, she heard a clicking sound behind her and turned to find what must have taken down the Plains of the Sun - the tainted insect! When it got near her, she wasn't taking any chances and threw the Running Egg meat at it that she had picked up in Stream Village, turning it into a harmless egg with legs. Without that to worry about, she picked off the rest of the tigers before finishing the egg and ending the curse on the Golden condor.

Checking the back of the hall, she cleared the webs away and encountered the Golden Condor. On its back, she returned to Canyon Hamlet, looking down at the caves, woods, and villages she had passed along the way.

Now I'm really curious to change my Wi-Fi encryption so I can use my DS on it and see where I rank (I'd imagine not too high - I got about 1.5million points on that run)

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