The Let's Play Archive

Might & Magic: World of Xeen

by Thuryl

Part 31: Marco Plato

Update 17: Marco Plato

"Now that I can teleport, there is one thing that I am wishing to check outwards..."

"It's true, y'know. We are pretty super."

Stand on the southernmost part of the Witch Clouds, face west and teleport 6 or 7 squares, and you end up on a little "island" in the clouds, containing this statue.

We are just getting bonus levels all over the place lately, aren't we? Hey, I'm not complaining. Now that levelups from ordinary experience gain have tapered off a bit, this helps continue to give us some progression.

Incidentally, you can't teleport off into the void at the edge of the world. I could swear I remember the game letting you do that and get a game over, but no, the spell just fails.

(Further investigation reveals that while Teleport won't let you warp into the void, Etherealize works just fine, and will in fact instantly kill the entire party if you're standing on the edge of the world. So don't do that.)

"Right, let's see what all this magic key business is about."

The first thing you'll notice about the Cave of Illusion is that it's completely flooded: you won't get far without either the Swimmer skill or the Walk on Water spell, even if you managed to get to the cave without them in the first place. The second thing you'll notice is all the skulls in alcoves on the walls.

"Fubar parents always tell Fubar two things: you make own luck, and never do what you can pay someone else to do for you. So Fubar pay skull to make luck for Fubar!"

The Cave of Illusion is a great place to go to boost your stats. You can pay a skull gems to increase one of a character's stats, but only once per skull. As you go further in, the skulls start charging more, but also give larger stat boosts.

"Well, I suppose now we know why it's called the Cave of Illusion."

There are quite a few swords around the first level of the cave, and none of them are real. Don't bother trying to take them.

"Look out. Golem with inexplicable ram horns come out of water."

Water Golems are the main enemy type you'll find in the cave: they're 50% resistant to physical attacks and hit twice a round for a moderate amount of cold damage. Golem Stopper works on them, but we don't need it: we just keep Protection from Cold up and beat them to death with weapons.

Really, the most notable thing about them is their attack animation.

"Oh, great. Spear traps. My third least favourite thing about exploring dungeons."
"Maybe they're illusions like that sword from earlier. If not, well, that's what you've got healing magic for."

"There. What'd I tell you? We're completely fine! Wow, what a lame trap."

These whirlpools are scattered around the cave, and if you step on one it'll instantly suck you to a different location on the same floor. They're mostly just a minor inconvenience: they never block paths or anything, so the only way you're going to walk into one is either by accident or out of curiosity. The places they send you to are never too difficult to walk back from anyway.

"It seems that as far as treasure is concerned, we should not be keeping our hopes upwards."

The Cave of Illusion's a pretty big dungeon: it's got four levels in total. No prizes for guessing which level the key we're after is on.

"Now wait just a minute. If the level above is half-flooded, and this level is half-flooded, and they're connected by a tunnel, why doesn't the water all drain down into here?"
"The tunnel led up a bit before it led down. Maybe the water's kind of trapped up there. Or maybe it's an illusion, although if so it's a pretty convincing and uncomfortable one."

The skulls on the second floor charge 20 gems and raise stats by 3 points. Apart from that, it's more of the same stuff we saw in the third floor: more golems, more whirlpools, more fake spear traps, another illusory safe to taunt us.

On the third level, we have to pay 50 gems for +5 to a stat. Hey, it's not like I'm desperately short on gems.

And on the fourth floor, a hefty 200 gems for +10 to a stat. Hope you brought along a couple of thousand gems!

"Hm. Wizard Eye say something on other side of wall, but map say no way to get there."

"Hah! A mere wall of rock is no barrier to the magic of a true sorcerer!"

There are a couple of walled-off areas like this in the cave, reachable only by Teleport spells. This one contains an illusory safe, a skull that boosts Accuracy, and a whirlpool leading back to the main part of the dungeon.

"300 gems seems kinda spendy, but that's what we're here for."

We need this key in order to finish the game, so hopefully you've got the gems you need to buy it.

"Look outwards -- my Clairvoyance warns me not to be pulling this plug."

"Sloof magic tell Sloof no, but Fubar muscles tell Fubar yes!"
"Well, that didn't appear to do anything immediately catastrophic, but I don't see how it's helped us either. Since we already have what we came here for, we may as well head back."

Pulling the plug requires a character with at least 50 Might, by the way. If you don't have one, you can drink from Winterkill's well to meet the requirements.

"Aaaaa, the spears aren't illusory any more! What have we done?"
"Wait. Maybe not all bad. Flench have idea."

Now that the spears are real, the safes are real, too. This is why pulling the plug is worthwhile, despite the traps. (The swords are still illusory, though.)

The safes contain a decent amount of gold and a number of high-level random items: one of the safes on the fourth floor can potentially contain some of the highest-quality items in the game, although the best thing I picked up this time around was a suit of Emerald Ring Mail. Still not too bad.

"Guys, I think we made the skulls angry by draining away the water. They're coming after us now."

Apart from all the water draining away and the safes and spear traps becoming real, there's one more change: the Water Golems have disappeared, and Guardians have appeared instead. Guardians aren't especially strong or tough -- they're one of a tiny number of enemies in Clouds that can do Energy damage, which is a pain to defend against since neither armour nor elemental protection spells work against it, but they don't do very much damage so it's not such a big deal.

"So if we've already established that the reservoirs of water in each level of the cave are disconnected from each other, how did pulling the plug drain the water from every level of the cave at once?"
"I dunno, probably a siphon or something. Look, let's get outta here before we get eaten alive by angry skulls. That'd just be embarrassing."

Let's take a look at how I've distributed the stat boosts from the cave, and how our party's shaping up. I've given Fubar some Accuracy and Luck boosts, and not much else -- mostly because he doesn't need much more than he's already got. Hitting level 16 also means he's now got an extra melee attack per round.

Ms Swallow got a small Personality boost, some Luck, and an armour upgrade from one of the safes.

Flench got a big and much-needed Intellect boost, an armour upgrade and a little Accuracy. In two more levels he'll even have the 75 SP needed to cast Inferno.

Trish got a very significant armour upgrade, a lot of Endurance and a little bit of Accuracy. Her survivability should be greatly improved.

Anleisa did very well out of our little spelunking expedition: she got a good amount of Might, Personality, Endurance, Speed and Accuracy. She's never going to be quite on par with the frontliners in melee combat ability, but with her decent stats and her emerald flail she's a pretty solid fighter now.

Vandesloof did okay too: he got some Might, Accuracy, Endurance and Speed, plus another armour upgrade. He's still the most physically frail party member by a fair margin, but the stat boosts help a bit.

You know what time it is by now. Should we use the key we just found to explore the Tower of High Magic, or save it for later and do some outdoor questing instead? Vote now!