Part 9: It's a Pit ThingSlightly short update today, as we're near a natural stopping point.
Climbing on to the 9th floor, the first thing we face is a locked door with a trigger somewhere on the other end of the floor. Our actual exit is through an illusionary wall directly opposite.
Through the wall we come into a familiar-looking setup. This is actually another teleport puzzle, with one and only one correct path to the end. Making things more complicated, there are also treasures that you'll want to get, with their own individual paths.
The other two accessible treasures are 300 gold and some M. Potion, but there's one that we can't get without having access to a warp spell. No clue at all what's in that one.
Our goal is this pathway, which lets us continue on with the level.
These guys are known as Dark Knights, and are incredibly resilient enemies who can deal out a lot of damage. Magic is only slightly more effective than weapons, and you're going to need to use hit and run tactics. The massive number of pits in the floor only make this more complicated.
An illusionary wall in the next room conceals a lever that opens this door and allows us access to that treasure chest full of Gold Bars. This isn't an optional area, and is very much necessary to proceed.
This switch is nothing but a filthy trick, which will actually open nothing. Sometimes, the game just likes to mess with you.
Nearby we stumble onto the replacement for the Magicians we were previously fighting, the Mage. They're actually not any more dangerous, especially with our magical endurance. I still take the opportunity to pick up a couple more levels in magic endurance because you can never have too much. There's some invisibility potion tucked in the corner of this room as well, which gets added to the pile, and 300 gold pieces nearby.
Eventually at the end of the path, we stumble across our next plot event/human contact.
"Next big room? I think I kind of missed that one..."
"I think you've got to do something with all the switches on the floor, but I haven't figured it out yet "
"What stopped you?"
"Should have paid closer attention, then looks like you won't be up for it for a while. Now, where was this room? I've got a psychopathic sorceress on my tail so I kind of need to hurry."
"The key to the room is in the chest to my left. Why don't you take it and give it a try? I didn't have any luck, but I think you might fair pretty well. If you figure out the switch mechanism be sure to come back and tell me, OK?"
"Sure thing. Least I can do for someone else trying to get out of this mess."
The other treasure chest is locked for now. The key here actually goes to the door with the switch in front of it, but I had a bit of trouble realizing this.
Instead, I took a previously ignored side path down this corridor of many switches. Each one triggers an arrow to your face, so this is best traversed in leaps followed by blocks. At the very end of the path is a Falchion, which is welcome but hardly worth the trouble.
Backtracking to the designated door we reach the actual puzzle, which is explained in this rather cryptic plaque.
The puzzle is in these floor switches, which are shaped like a blocky 8. To succeed you have to spell out S and E from the perspective of the far door. I have no idea what this could have been in the original Japanese.
Beyond the doorway we have access to the next floor, as well as a method of unlocking that door at the very beginning of the level. We're not done yet, though as we have to go find Roadblock.. er.. Gadie. He really looks like he should be on G.I. Joe.
"Yeah, it was the kind of overly literal bullshit trick that's meant to make you over think things and tear your hair out."
"Oh, take this armor with you. It's kind of beat up, but it's actually pretty good stuff. It's in the chest to my right. Go ahead and take it. I really owe you one. Good luck to you!"
"Damn sight better than what I've got. I refuse to spend money at those gouging weapon shops."
You might remember Ramela from the shop on the 6th floor. It's the best thing we're going to have as an option for the next couple of floors, so it's more than a worthy reward.
Now we're done with this floor, and can see the totality of it. If you look carefully you can see a door in the upper right hand corner that we couldn't get into but we will in a couple of seconds.
Coming up the stairs onto the next floor, we ditch the number scheme and simply go with this as the top of the tower. A twisty path splits in two, one branch of which has this Emerald Key which unlocks the other branch.
The second branch has a series of illusionary walls and some M. Potion, but eventually leads to..
This teleporter, in order to give us a bit of a separation from what's coming up next. And by that, I mean we've got a familiar face with us again.
"Uh.. about that, 'Lexi, did I miss you on the stairs or something? I'm trying to figure out how you got ahead of me when I'm sure that you were on the floor below me last time."
"We've really got to stop meeting like this are you sure we can't cooperate for a bit? also, have you noticed that indentation right in front of you?"
If you didn't see this coming, I don't know what to say to you.
"Huh well, I guess she didn't notice. This should definitely have given me enough of a head start, especially since I think that drops down near all those pits. She'll probably fall in about six of those trying to get back to the stairs."
In exchange for going along with Alexis' physical comedy we get a nice weapon to use in our upcoming boss fight. This is also the room we couldn't get into on the previous floor.
Returning to the top floor and making our way down the pathway past the confrontation with Alexis there's a few well guarded treasure troves. We get another Falchion as well as a Blue Key to let us move forward.
They really like their spiked floors in this section. Much leaping. Varik must have incredible quads. There's another Saber nearby in case the couple of Falchions we're now packing aren't enough, as well as a Bone Key and some Gold Bars.
"Whoever put that treasure there is a complete bastard who just likes toying with people."
Seriously, I have NO idea how to get that treasure.
The end of the path is yet another warp tile, which is provided as a small mercy since we're actually about to walk into a boss fight.
Since we're at a boss fight, here are our current stats. I forgot to do this for a few seconds, so I actually gained two levels of arm strength in the first few seconds of the fight. Call it 34 arm strength starting out, with an accompanying two levels lower in attack strength.
The boss this time around is a pair of Rakshahsa. In this incarnation they're four armed monstrosities who can take off 3/4 of our HP in a single attack. With two of them, this mandates some fast dodging and remembering that even though they're huge you can still leap right over them. Mythologically a Rakshasa is a Hindu Spirit that is a powerful warrior/magician with powers of shapeshifting and illusion. D&D has depicted them as strange tiger men, but in actuality Rakshasa could have a wide variety of forms and may not have even possessed a true form.
You're pretty much restricted to using physical attacks on them, as well. This isn't one of them using magic on me, it's one of them reflecting a fire spell back at me. Freeze is ineffective, and while thunder can work we don't have that spell and it's a close range spell anyway.
Eventually, with copious use of some H. Potion, we're victorious. This breaks a spell holding the opposite door closed (I didn't even try to open it, since boss fight).
This leads us into a minor treasure room, which includes this Rapier and some H. Potion to replace what we used in the fight.
If you think a Rapier is a pretty poor reward, that would be right if it weren't for the fact that this one is indestructible. It's a slight improvement over our permanent Short Sword, meaning that our baseline attack capacity is increasing. This will be pretty handy in the near future.
Right next to the treasure chests is the exit of this floor. We're done with another fifth of the game, and ready to move on to yet another new tile set.
The map for this floor is actually pretty complicated, but we've hit all the high points.
"A chilly breeze blows gently from the depths of the cave. This place must be pretty far underground."
"Will you be able to reach the outside if you make it through this cave?"
Spoiler: No. We've still got 30 floors left in front of us. In the meantime, Varik's stats on completing the tower. He actually picked up another level and two more points of arm strength fighting the Rakshahsa.
Next time: Optional Treasure, the Dragon's Teeth, and underground waterways.