The Let's Play Archive

Dragon Wars

by rujasu

Part 5: Literally going from Purgatory to Hell

Update 5 - Literally going from Purgatory to Hell

The votes are in, and we've all decided that Purgatory is so miserable that we'd literally rather be in Hell. With Hell being a dangerous place and all, we should tune up before going.

In the southern part of the city, there is a pool that recharges our Magic Power for free. And as any RPG player knows, an MP recharge is effectively an HP recharge, since we can cast as many heal spells as we need. We'll take full advantage.

Let's do this.

And we're now out of Purgatory and in the Magan Underworld. There you have it folks, update finished!

As you can see, it's a bit dark down here. But hey, that's what Mage Light is for. Let's try it out!

Madrick has a Low Magic skill of 2. He can put 2 points of Magic Power into Mage Light for each level of Low Magic skill, 2x2=4, so he can cast it for up to 4. Our other spellcasters can cast it for 2.

And now we catch our first glimpse of the Magan Underworld. Really, it's more Hades than Hell if you ask me. Then again, the first time I saw this place, it looked more like this:

There's no infernos, no demons, no devil, just a dreary little world with some serpent warriors, goblins, and lots of spiders walking around. In fact, the Magan Underworld itself is kind of boring. Only one important event happens here. There isn't tons of treasure to find, nor are there many interesting secrets. Despite that, the Magan is an important part of the game for a different reason -- transportation. From here, if we know what we're doing, we can skip around to almost any part of the game we like.

Because of this, I'm actually not sure why the game allows access to the Magan so early. The Purgatory escape is generally set up nicely as an introduction to the game, but the Apsu Waters are the easiest way out of the city and could easily lead to a newer player skipping to a different section of the game without really knowing where they are. To put it another way: aside from one key item that we would need to pick up, we could easily skip to the final dungeon just by walking south in the Magan. This isn't a game where you follow a linear path, so it's not a huge problem, but I believe it would have made more sense to make the player find a more conventional way out of Purgatory before offering a route to Magan.

Note the "torch" in the upper part of the screen. It indicates the fact that we have a light spell active. It runs out after an amount of time based on the MP spent to cast it. That's real time, not number of steps. On DOSBox, even if you sink 4 MP into it, it runs out in just a few minutes, so you can't just cast Mage Light and then screw around for a while figuring out where you're going. I think it lasted longer on my old Tandy 1400 LT back in the day, which would mean it's based on processor speed rather than system clock time, but I can't be certain.

As you can see, we're on a bridge over a river. Staying near this river is a good idea for the time being. Enemy encounters aren't a huge problem in the Underworld, but there are a few dicey spots and a lot of wide open space to get lost in. That said, fortunately we came down via Purgatory, which give us this bridge as a nice landmark to get back to. Some of the other stairs are out in the middle of nowhere and don't show up on the automap, so you have to just know where they are or use an FAQ. We'll follow the river to the north.

The river tuns to the east, and we find another MP-restoring pool. This is the most valuable such pool in the game, because it's the most accessible. There's no need to ever return to Purgatory, but we'll be in and out of Magan throughout the game since so many roads lead to it.

Following to the east, we see a building. So wait, there are just random brick-wall houses in the Underworld?

Well, there's an explanation at least. I'm guessing they meant to say "industrious" here, or maybe "industious" is an obscure word you can find in one of those giant 70 lb. dictionaries. Probably the former. Also, we haven't learned about the city of Lansk yet, but we will soon enough.

Actually, we could check out Lansk right now. However, we're not going to do so yet. Keep this place in mind, however. Instead, let's walk back outside of the Lansk outpost and see what's on the other side:

I like how the building just hangs out over the edge of the chasm like that. I guess this is one of those spots where 1989 EGA/VGA graphics leave a bit to be desired. In any case, the river dries up at this point, so we'll follow the chasm to the east to find another doorway.

This one leads to Irkalla's realm. Because we pleased Irkalla in Purgatory, we get this message and are allowed to enter. If we had not prayed to the statue or failed to satify her, we would see this message:

It doesn't matter all that much. There isn't really anything to do in Irkalla's realm right now. All we can find is a small lake with an island in the middle of it:

This lake actually connects back to the river we just came from -- the map wraps around at this point. As it turns out, the Underworld isn't actually an especially large map; it just seems large because it's wide open and you might not notice the wraparound if you don't know about it. Anyway, that island must be important. How can we get to it? It's not like we can find a boat down here.

Piers: I'll swim for it!

Dolph: No good. It's too far, and swimming in Underworld water is probably not advisable.
Piers: Hmm. Good point.
Madrick: I'd just teleport us over but THOSE BASTARDS took my scrolls!

There is one other thing we can do in Irkalla's realm right now, but we'll save that for later.

Exiting Irkalla's, we can move a bit further to the east and get back to the river. There's one more thing worth checking out, and it's just to the south:

Paragraph 127 posted:

The cave is much larger on the inside than without. The interior of the cave is lined with thousands of natural crystals that crazily reflect the light. After your long dark journey through the Underworld, you are dazzled by the sudden light, and become disoriented. A voice rings in your ears. "You are the heroes of Oceana, and to you has fallen the burden of this adventure. Listen closely, for this is what you must do...

"The fair world of Oceana is sinking as the seas swell ever larger - there is little to be done for this. The world has its span of life like any man or beast. The pilgrim Isles of Dilmun have been usurped by Namtar, a renegade demon from therealm of this Underworld. He has disposed of King Drake of Kingshome and rules in the late King's name, using the King's legions to pursue his path of conquest.

"Namtar must be destroyed. He has isolated his enemies, dispersed the magical brotherhood of the world and taken control of the dragons.

"The Sword of Freedom must be found and reborn in its forge. A reconciliation of sorts must be set between Irkalla and Nergal, for without accord in the Underworld, there can be no peace on the surface. When all is ready, seek the Mountain of Salvation - Namtar must be returned to the pit of hell from which he came."

The voice fades...

This is easy to miss and doesn't do anything functional, but it's good information to have. This is most of the essential plot points of Dragon Wars. Namtar has all of the power because he is impersonating King Drake. Nergal hasn't been mentioned before, but he's the King of the Underworld, and one of our tasks will be to resolve the conflict between him and Irkalla (who if you'll remember is the Queen). Mountain of Salvation is where we'll find Namtar. The pit he came from is actually the chasm we just walked by here in the Underworld. The Sword of Freedom is the game's ultimate weapon. This isn't the only place we can learn about this, but it's a nice synopsis.

That's all we're going to do in the Underworld. There are a few paths we could take to the surface, but I'm going to make an executive decision here and go up a staircase right next to the one back to Purgatory...

We can use the "Climb" skill to get back to the Magan from here. Otherwise, to find our way out of this room, we can use Kali's "Tracker" skill.

In the next update, we'll check out the Tars Ruins. Before we go, here's a sample of the enemy encounters from the Underworld:

Those Lizard/Serpent Men are tough, even if they don't show up in large groups. I usually just run from encounters down here. Some of these enemies hit pretty hard, there's not much reward for beating them, and it's all random -- there are no tiles where you just have to fight an enemy to get past.