Part 2: Wherein Transportation Proves Troublesome
Here we are again in the magical land of Kyrandia. Trouble is afoot: The land is disappearing before people's eyes, and no one knows why. No one except this mysterious Hand, who seems to be working as a valet for two-bit magician Marko, that is. Zanthia, a supporting character from the first game, has been selected to save the world from imminent disappearance, but before she can brew up a portal potion to get the job done, she comes home to find her laboratory trashed and all her equipment stolen. Looks like we'll have to walk after all.
First, let's have a look at the new user interface. The fundamentals are still there. We can click on things to interact with them or examine them - everything is context-dependent, and there are no separate examine or interact actions. Everything is done with a left mouse click. The interface is much sleeker this time, having removed the heavy border around everything. As a result, we can see more of the room. Additionally, Zanthia has a lot more to say about the environment than Brandon ever did.
Music: Zanthia (Tindeck)
Senseless! Who could be mad at me?
Almost everything in the background that looks interesting can be clicked for a short description. The developers really cut down on the useless filler rooms in this game, too, leading to an experience that is a lot more densely packed with things to look at. Since there's so much to look at, I'm going to gloss over much of it and just point out especially interesting stuff, with some extra descriptions here and there in the form of dialogue.
To the left is the same options menu as before (remember to increase your walk speed!), and to the right of that is our inventory. Note the little wheel on the side of it; Zanthia can actually carry 20 items, twice of Brandon's capacity from the first game. However, only ten items fit on screen at once, so the wheel lets you scroll through your inventory. There's a good reason for expanding the inventory in this game, as we shall find out in due time. The right side is currently empty. In the first game, this is where our magic amulet sat once we recovered it, and that space is going to serve a similar purpose this time around.
Zanthia does share something with Brandon: She complains a lot if you click on her. In fact, she'll complain on her own if you just leave her idle for long enough.
Why would some thief steal my equipment? I can't even make potions without a cauldron and spellbook!
She has a lot more of these lines than Brandon ever did, too.
Why does this always happen to me? Can't those other Mystics ever do anything by themselves?
Brandon had two or three per area; Zanthia has one or two for each screen in the game. I won't be showing all of them, but I'll try to get the interesting ones. All right, let's get something done. First things first. You'll recognize our half-animal companion from the first game, when he stole our royal chalice and made us go into his house full of comically oversized everyday objects. I don't trust him.
Don't mess with my stuff while I'm gone!
I'm watching you, pipsqueak.
Is there anything left among the wreckage we can use?
When you pick this up or examine certain things in the room, Zanthia does a little frustrated animation.
Faun appears to be mocking us.
Underneath the carpet is another flask. This one has some water in it. Like in the previous game, using this on Zanthia will make her drink the water. Unlike the previous game, it's easy to find replacements for any important items you unwittingly consume, so you don't have to be nearly as paranoid about using potentially vital stuff on yourself.
Let's not forget the delicious blueberries. Zanthia was going to use these for a portal potion, but we don't have the equipment necessary to make one anymore, nor any leads on whatever other ingredients might be required.
Let's get out and explore that lush, verdant forest we know Zanthia lives in, since we played the previous game. I mean, her front porch is a swamp for some reason, but most of the area was a forest. I wonder how the magic fountain is doing?
I'd better change before I leave.
Yuck! This won't do!
A recurring thing in this game is Zanthia changing her wardrobe, usually whenever we get to a new area. Sometimes she just changes the colors of her clothes, sometimes she puts on a whole new getup. Since we're about to trek through a swamp/forest, Zanthia has selected an adventurous moss green and white ensemble.
Music: Darkmoor Swamp (Tindeck)
The area outside Zanthia's house should be familiar from the first game, except it's subtly different somehow. Previously, there was a path to the left that would take us to the magic fountain; it must have flooded in the time since then or something. Instead, we can go north to an area we never saw in the previous game. On the ground is some more blueberries, which we'll pick up for good measure. And on the left there...
Oh look, it's our friend from the first game. The one that ate us when we clicked on him. Are we going to find our first game over so soon?
Watch it, slimeball! I don't have time to mess with you today!
Nope. Zanthia is not a dweeby loser like Brandon, and shows that frog what-for.
Sometimes I have to be strict.
Onwards and upwards to the only exit that doesn't lead back into Zanthia's house.
Yeah, the land isn't doing so good. Stuff's going missing left and right. Better get a move on. Hey, is that a mushroom?
We could get some swampy water from the docks (or anywhere else, really), and Zanthia will even drink it (eww) if you use it on her, but there's no real reason to. I'm beginning to wonder where that forest went to, though. Did all the trees disappear already?
I hope Faun doesn't wreck my house.
Not that I wouldn't put it past the little nuisance, but I think someone beat him to that, Zanthia.
Further ahead is this abomination. The area is looking a little more like a forest now. It's a little early to tell, but all those identical forest locations from the first game are gone. Every screen in this game is unique, without any of the glorious mid-90s graphics quality taking a hit. Fortunately, the giant piranha plant monstrosity doesn't seem very interested in attacking us.
Hmm, guess it doesn't like my perfume today.
Nothing else seems to stick out on this screen. However, there is something very important here. See that stump in the bottom right?
Hey! Who ripped out all the pages!
Right out of the gate, we've recovered one of the two items that will sit to the right of our inventory for the rest of the game, somewhat analogous to the magic amulet from Brandon's adventure. It's an old spellbook of ours! That sounds way more useful than a crummy magic amulet that barely works in the first place, and only has weird spells like Will-o-Wisp and Dispel Magic in it. Unfortunately, whatever vandal stole this from us also ripped out a whole bunch of pages. Let's see what's left in there.
Oh, great. These kiddie potions are going to be a big help!
So much for that. It looks like our selection of potions is going to be pretty limited until we can recover some more pages from our book. What few potions we have are of questionable use (what does a Skeptic Spell even do?) and some of these ingredients sound pretty obscure in the first place. What's worse, even if we could find the ingredients, we don't have a cauldron to mix it all in.
Why couldn't Darm do this instead of me?
To the north is this place. The swampy ambience has returned. Zanthia goes on about some ferry, which presumably is our next goal. If we can't portal our way to the center of the world, maybe the ferry will get us there?
You can snap off part of this root. The game informs us this item is called "gnarlybark". Shortly after taking it, the root grows back out; as mentioned, it's much harder to permanently lose out on important items in this game, which is good because destroying items will become easier than ever this time around once we recover a certain item. Anything that can be carelessly discarded will usually respawn near where you picked it up the first time. Anyway, we'll stash the root and move on. While in our inventory, the root squirms and wiggles occasionally.
At last! I thought I'd never get here!
Guys, I think this might be the ferry. And it's manned by the ugliest fairy I've ever seen. Apparently, his name is Brueth. The dialogue system is pretty much unchanged from the previous game: You click on a person, there's a brief bit of a dialogue, and that's it. The only novelty is that you can click on the same person multiple times and get more responses until it starts looping, and sometimes people will have new things to say after events in other parts of the game have transpired.
Video: Brueth (Youtube)
Music: Brueth (Tindeck)
I have to get to Morningmist.
We leave as soon as you pay your fare.
Hey! I've been robbed, and I don't have any money right now.
You're the alchemist. Make some gold.
Curses! Capitalism strikes again! I don't think introducing a bunch of magically created gold to the market will have a positive effect on its value. Then again, if the previous game is any indication, Kyrandians have a pretty screwed-up appreciation for the value of precious metals in the first place, what with all the gemstones just lying around everywhere with no one showing any interest in appropriating it for themselves.
Can't I just ride for free?
Sorry, no exceptions.
Come on, we're on a mission to save the world from disappearing into the void, here.
Can't I just pay you when I get back?
Pay in advance. That's the rule.
All right, FINE. I guess we'll have to find some gold to pay off this jerk so he can take us to Morningmist, wherever that is. What's in Morningmist, you ask? We don't really know yet, but Zanthia is convinced that's where we should be headed. Next time, we'll explore more of the swamp in search of precious metals and random junk. Spoiler alert: It's mostly random junk.