The Let's Play Archive

Might & Magic: World of Xeen

by Thuryl

Part 51: See You On The Flip Side

Update 27: See You On The Flip Side

"Huzzah! It is time to be celebrating, for the perfidious Lord Xeen has been whisked!"
"You mean... uh... whass the word..."
"Right, that one. I think."
"I think you've had enough. What is that, your tenth drink? You're half my size and I'm only on my seventh. Save some for us!"
"Yeah! Fubar still only on second drink!"
"I'm not sure it counts as one drink if you're drinking straight from the barrel."
"Even Flench a little drunk."
"No, Trish is a little drunk. You're a big drunk."
"I may be drunk, but tomorrow I'll be ugly! Wait, I think I did that wrong. Lemme try again... after this drink..."

"... whuh?"
"What was that? Where am I?"

"... take it to Ellinger in his tower in this town. He will surely know what to do with it."
"Wait, my good lady! Who might you be? Why have you honoured us with this mission? Have you any attractive granddaughters? Where..."

"... where did she go?"
"Did anyone else have a strange dream? Something about a prophecy... and someone named Alamar?"
"Fubar think so. But hard to remember. Head hurt."

"Everything hard to remember now. Like where money and gear are. Or how to climb mountains. Or how to swing sword and not hit self."
"This is crazy! I mean, we've all had a big night out once or twice and woken up lying in the street, or with a new tattoo, or in a city we don't recognise, or sometimes all three at once. But Fubar forgetting how to fight? I don't buy it."
"You won't be buying much of anything if we don't get our money back. This is your fault, you know! You're the one who thought taking a drink for every type of monster we'd killed was a great idea!"
"Hey, it would have been fine if you'd kept track of which ones we'd already named like you said you would! What kind of a lightweight are you?"
"Enough! We've been entrusted with a quest, and while we may currently be the least qualified people in the world to complete it, we're still going to do our level best to deliver this orb."

Okay, so here's a quick rundown on what I'll be doing for the second half of this LP. While it's certainly possible to go straight from the end of Clouds to the start of Darkside, that would make the first few areas of Darkside way too easy. So I kept a backup savefile from the very start of the game, with the party at level 1 before doing any quests. I'll be proceeding from that savefile from here on in, to make the early parts of Darkside a little more challenging. New characters created at an inn in Darkside are generated at level 5 instead of level 1, so I'm starting out slightly underlevelled compared to what the game expects, but this shouldn't be a major problem beyond the first update.

A few events in Darkside are dependent on events in Clouds; in order to show those off, I'll go back and redo quests when they become relevant. Because Darkside gives out so very, very much more experience and loot than Clouds, those quests won't give me a major gameplay advantage by the time I do them.

"This place is nothing like anywhere we've been before. Even the sky..."
"And trees not have free money in them any more."
"Must be other side of world. Darkside. Is said here people and monsters live in peace."

"Ooh, free cashews! Even better than free money!"
"I don't think you're meant to eat those straight off the tree... oh, never mind. This is why we've got a healer."
"And this is why your healer hates you."

While many of the trees in Castleview are useless, some do have small amounts of food, gems or gold, so they're still worth searching.

And we can still loot people's beds for shitty low-level random items! Darkside can be pretty brutal for a level-1 party: it'll ease up eventually, but right now we need every advantage we can get, even if it's only a sling.

"What was that about humans and monsters living in peace, Flench?"
"Some monster have different definition of peace. Sometimes need vigorous negotiation to find acceptable compromise. Swords often helpful bargaining tools."

Darkside's goblins are no joke: they only have 10 HP, but attack twice a round for 2-12 physical damage per hit. A single strong hit could potentially kill Vandesloof outright from full health.

Since they tend to show up in groups of three or more, and easily outspeed the entire party right now, even a fight with goblins can get ugly very fast if they get some good hits in at the start.

"I wonder who lives in that tent over to the left?"

"On one hand, you sound crazy. On the other, you look rich. So next time we all feel like wallowing in a sewer, maybe we'll help you out."

"Not right now, though. These clothes are still surprisingly clean. Perhaps in an hour or two."

"Ooh, looks like someone's home! Maybe we can learn something useful about Darkside."

"... the East of Lakeside, cross out all S's and D's. If not, cross out all W's, U's and I's. If Crossroads is to the west of Sprite Forest, cross out all C's, T's and E's. If not, cross out all Y's and L's. This spells a map location. Are you ready?"
"Wait, who said we thought we were cartographers? Oh well, we can at least give it a shot."
"Flench have map from orc side of family. Maybe can help."

"Hmm. Well, Acid Pond is obviously south of Castle Alamar. As for the Great Northern Tower, it's... hmm. Can anyone find Lakeside?"
"Please, fair maiden, do not be straining your delicate mind! Everyone knows that the reading of maps is a task for men! Lakeside is in the far northeast, and so we are crossing out all S's and D's. Crossroads is to the east of Sprite Forest, and so we are crossing out all Y's and L's. And we are left with... WLANCIAUSWTEIRW? What an unusual name for a place! Truly, Darkside is a world unlike our own!"
"If only you could follow instructions as well as you read maps."

"Once we cross out the letters we're supposed to cross out, the answer is SANDCASTER."

We just got like five levels' worth of experience in the starting town for being able to read the map that came with the game. This kind of thing is why starting with a level-1 party won't be a major handicap in the long run.

I think Miles might require a Cartographer in the party before he lets you take his challenge, but on the off chance that you started without a Sorcerer, you can just buy the skill from the building next to him.

"The homes here certainly do have a more rustic look than those on our side of the world."
"Rustic is one word for them. Dated would be another."
"Dated? More like married and preparing for their diamond anniversary."

"Castleview? So that's the town we're in now? Good to know."
"Wait, 'Joe'? You don't suppose..."
"Nah, couldn't be... buuut if it is the same Joe we met back in Vertigo, that'd mean Joe's lying and Jasper is innocent, right?"
"Almost certainly."
"And that'd mean it'd be okay to break Jasper out of jail and collect a reward from Jethro, right?"
"Er, well..."
"Then it's definitely the same Joe!"

"Hey! You take that back! Fubar can count all the way up to ten -- twenty, if take shoes off!"

"You're one to talk."
"What, you can tell she's a bad speller just from the way she speaks?"
"No, I can tell because she gave me her business card and it read 'editer'."

"Do we look like the sort of people who work for 5 gold a day?"
"Right now? Kinda."

Doing temp work in Darkside is a poor idea for the same reason it was in Clouds: aging one-tenth of a year for a measly 50 gold isn't a good tradeoff when you could be making money by going out adventuring instead. Also, the taskmaster looks way creepy. Still, the option is there if you're desperate.

"Ah, now this seems more our speed."

"You can rely on us, Mayor. If a problem can be solved with violence, we'll solve it."

"This is a good thing to know. Should we be bringing a gift of boots in order to be granted an audition with him?"
"We're already bringing him some kind of rare magic orb, you know. If anything, he should be rewarding us."

Pathfinder skill is a bit cheaper to buy in Darkside than Clouds, although we still can't afford it. We don't have much business bumbling around in forests for a little while yet, anyway.

While Pathfinder may be cheaper, Swimmer is more expensive, although we do get the convenience of being able to buy it in the starting town.

"Go now, and visit brother Pip for more enlightenment."
"Um... thanks. We'll totally do that at some point."

Believe it or not, this guy is part of a sidequest. Remember him.

"That name again -- Alamar! Whoever he is, it's clear he intends evil for Xeen."
"Aw, crap, that means you're going to make us all go on a grand quest to save the world again, doesn't it?"
"I'm afraid so."

"At last, a chance to be regaining some of the arcane knowledge we have lost!"
"You know it's been less than a day since we woke up, right? Maybe we should wait and see if our memories come back before spending what little money we have."
"That's if we're not killed by goblins first, for want of sufficient magic to drive them off."
"Point taken."

"Oh wow, what a cute bird!"
"Baby roc. Not get too close if value fingers."

Compared to Vertigo's guild, the Castleview guild has a significantly wider spell selection for both clerics and sorcerers: most of the spells that were available in either Vertigo or Nightshadow are available here, plus a few more. Unfortunately, they're still expensive and we're still broke.

"Hey, look! This is where we want to be!"
"Speak for yourself."

"No guards? Not very secure."
"And thanks to my skills, this lock shouldn't be a problem... there we go!"

"I hope we don't regret this. Shall we bring Jethro the good news before his brother is recaptured?"

"Maps? Hmmmmm."

Note how we just got another big chunk of experience for walking around town a little and opening one locked gate. Darkside can be as generous as it is cruel.

"You know maps and give us money. Joe sell maps for money. Fubar have idea!"
"Oh no."

"Yes! Give now!"

"Fubar, do you realise you just spent most of your share of the reward on a placemat from a popular fast food restaurant?"
"But look! Map show way to treasure!"
"That's a maze puzzle, Fubar. And somebody's already solved it."
"Fubar show map to Jethro! Then you see!"

"See? Fake map give directions to real map!"

"Hooray! Fubar so smart!"
"I... I suppose all's well that ends well. Let's move on."

"Go now, and visit brother Otto for more enlightenment."
"How many of you weirdos are there?"

"Aha! A perfect opportunity to be regaining my lost virility!"
"Like you ever had any to lose."

"Awfully sedate-looking for a training arena, don't you think? There's hardly any bloodstains around."

"Wizards. Typical."
"What's a dog catcher doing on the training grounds, anyway?"
"You not seen size of Darkside dogs."

I decide our meagre funds are best spent on buying a few of the levelups we've earned. Better weapons and magic don't mean much if nobody has enough HP to take a hit.

But we might as well check out the blacksmith's selection too, while we're in town.

The selection of random equipment in Castleview is comparable to the selection in Newcastle back on Clouds -- which is to say, better than Vertigo but still not very good. Later towns will ramp up the quality of gear a bit, but there are much better ways to get good equipment than a blacksmith's shop.

"Go now, and visit brother Bob for more enlightenment."
"I'm still not feeling any more enlightened."

"Go now, and visit brother Tinit for more enlightenment."
"We have already manufactured his acquaintance. But thank you for your kindness, good sir!"
"Hey, that means this is probably the last one, right? Finally."

"That mean no new pope in tavern yet, right?"

"Are we sure this is a place we want to visit, after our last experience with a tavern?"

"This is a place for people to drink away their troubles. And right now, we've got a whole lot of troubles to drink away."

Some random ne'er-do-well in the tavern actually gives us some useful advice. Unlike Clouds, where each tower and the cloud area above it was a self-contained location, Darkside's towers are connected by skyroads, and getting in from above can sometimes be easier than from below. But what are the skyroads, you ask? You'll see.

"Thanks for the advice, but usually if we see things running, they're running toward us. Then comes the killing and the treasure."

"We'll be sure to keep that in mind when we face him. For a floozy you've got a pretty good head on your shoulders, unlike some people I know."
"I have no idea who you're talking about."
"The guilty flee where none pursue."

This isn't just a bad joke: it's a hint to a puzzle that you might not even realise exists.

"Backwards... backwards... Please, everyone, humour me for a minute. I have a hunch."

"Ooh, we even get special ribbons to signify our membership!"
"There's no way I'm wearing this ridiculous thing. Can't I refuse to become a member?"
"No, tie it on."

Each of the Drawkcab Monks refers us to another monk: Tinit to Pip, Pip to Otto, Otto to Bob, Bob to Tinit. If we visit the Drawkcab Monks in the reverse of that order (so Tinit to Bob to Otto to Pip), Tinit awards us with some experience and the Drawkcab Brotherhood Member title.

Most of the tips and rumours in Castleview's tavern cover basic game-mechanics stuff we already know about, but this one is new.

"I am not knowing what one of those is, but it is not sounding good. I will keep an eye outwards for these 'troll holes'."

"I can't tell if this is monster food or just really bad regular food."
"Split difference and have right answer. Is really bad monster food. Only good thing is, sticks to inside of stomach like glue. Makes it easy to keep down, even if not want to."

"Savings? Hmm, you don't suppose..."

"... yeah, I guess it would have been too much to hope that we put our money in the bank at some point during our outrageous drinking binge."
"Wait -- on the off chance that we did put our money in a bank on the other side of the world, would the bank here on Darkside even have a record of our account?"
"Sure. What, you not hear of economic globalisation?"

"Tent in middle of empty square? Probably important."

"... people of Xeen."
"I knew it. Wasn't saving the world once enough? Can't somebody else take over for a change?"
"Oh, you know you'd miss the adventuring life if there were nothing for you to do."

"In any case, perhaps some of the parishioners at the town temple will have guidance for us in our quest."

"That sure sound like Fubar idea of guidance. Wait, 'execute' mean 'smash', right?"

"We'd better set aside some money for that, then -- as if we weren't poor enough already. Still, it beats not being able to get back in at all."

Temples work the same way as they do in Clouds, although like all the other town facilities they've received a graphical makeover.

"I'm betting that's Ellinger's tower, but we don't have a clear path in just yet. Are all of you brutes ready to do what you do best?"

Gremlins are quite a bit stronger than Goblins, with twice the HP and higher damage output, but now that we have a few levels under our belts they're manageable.

"Onward, to Ellinger! Let us be seeing what he makes of this orb!"

"Oh. I guess when people talked about Ellinger locking himself up in his tower, they meant it literally. Why do people gotta make it so hard for us to save the world?"
"Never mind. Perhaps if we help Castleview with its gremlin problem, the mayor can put in a good word for us."

"Somebody say something about chests? As in treasure chests? Why would anyone want to close one of those?"

"Well, hello there. What have we -- aw, this treasure is all fake. And every time we close one chest, another one opens."

"Chests numbered from 1 to 9. If we close all in order..."

"That was easy."

"I'm guessing these chests in the next room are the ones we're supposed to open. What's the trick here? I can't see any pattern to the letters..."

"Another problem solved by our good friends Trial and Error."

The letters on the chests spell out the word PITCHFORK, and if you open them in that order it'll solve the puzzle. It's not too hard to just guess your way to victory, though, and earn a huge amount of experience for your troubles.

"Another puzzle? There's only one chest in this room..."

"Come backwards, chest! Where you are you going? We are in need of your treasure!"
"Wait -- we were warned about this. Treasure that runs away from you, remember? There's no point running after it all day if we've got no idea how to catch it."

Indeed, we can fool around in this room for as long as we like, but there's no way to catch the chest right now, not even if we had teleportation magic. We'll be back here soon enough.

"Call me crazy, but something tells me we're getting close to the Gremlin King's lair."

"Well, we already hacked and slashed our way through his guards, so I doubt he'll be much of a threat."

"Ugh. Why all kings talk so much? Get to point."

Darkside of Xeen largely runs on the same engine as Clouds, but it does have one new mechanic: dialogue choices with more options than yes or no. We'll see a few of these throughout the game, and our choices will usually have some consequence, if not always a major one.

"Mayor say knock it off with hijinks. You stop, we get paid, you not get killed. Good deal all around."

Unfortunately, in this case, talking isn't productive. Picking option 3 starts a fight immediately: either of the other two options just gets us kicked out.

Gettlewaithe's dialogue on a second visit is a little different.

Whatever option you pick at the screen, there's no way to avoid a fight.

"Is this how you treat all your guests? Very well, then. If you act like a wild animal, you'll be put down like one."

"Wait, guards? Didn't we already kill his guards?"

"Aaa! Where did they all come from?"

Gremlin Guards are no pushover, especially in such large numbers: they have 50 HP compared to regular Gremlins' 20, and attack twice a round for 6-30 physical damage per hit.

The first couple of times I attempt this fight, it doesn't go so well...

... although it does give me an excuse to show off Darkside's neat new game over screen. As you've probably gathered by now, the masked dude pictured above is Alamar, Darkside of Xeen's main villain.

So before triggering the battle, let's quickly duck back into the Temple of Mok and donate money for a blessing. This should help even the odds.

It's still a close fight, but the buffs make enough difference to tip the balance in our favour.

"Woooo! Fubar wins again!"

"Well, let me think about that."

"Your subjects have been attacking innocent townsfolk and destroying vital infrastructure. I can't just let that slide. So unless you're willing to submit to the jurisdiction of Castleview's courts and face trial for your crimes..."

(Pay no attention to the changed party statline: I missed this screenshot the first time around and had to go back and get it on another savefile.)

"That's what I thought."

The mayor is just as satisfied whether we accept Gettlewaithe's surrender or kill him, but why would I pass up some easy experience points? Gettlewaithe is a bit tougher than a Gremlin Guard, but there's only one of him. Even with half a party, he falls easily enough.

And he drops some treasure that we'd miss out on if we chose to resolve things (relatively) peacefully.

That Emerald Halberd is an incredible find for this stage of the game: Gettlewaithe can randomly drop anything up to a tier-5 item (out of 7 tiers), and Emerald items sit at the very top of tier 5. This weapon will keep Fubar happy for a good long while.

"Huh. What these?"

"No good to eat, but shiny, so maybe can sell. But first, Fubar catch Zs until stop bleeding."

Energy Disks are quest items for a quest we don't yet have. For now, think of them as this game's answer to Megacredits: we'll be collecting them in various places and spending them to advance the plot.

"Uh oh."

I screwed up pretty badly here: I didn't think to look around for monsters before resting, and it turns out some more guards had spawned off to one side of us. This is obviously not a winnable fight in the party's present condition, and I haven't saved since before fighting Gettlewaithe. If I reload to my last save, next time I'll probably get a worse item than that amazing halberd. That leaves only one option...

... have Fubar run for his life and let the rest of the party die.

"This worst adventure ever. Friends all dead. No money for bring friends back. What Fubar do now? Wait -- money! Get money for doing quest! Quest done, so..."


The whole party gets the experience award for this quest, despite being dead.

I have to spend nearly half the money we just earned on reviving the party, but it can't be helped. The halberd was probably worth it. Maybe.

"Fubar! You saved us! I always knew you had a good heart under that rough exterior."
"Yep! That not all Fubar do, either. Fubar make bucket list! Is hip new thing to do after brush with death."
"Really? What's on it?"
"So far have plastic, wood and metal. If Fubar think of other types, add those to list too."

"Hey, while we're here, I just realised there's something suspicious about this wall..."

This secret passage behind a bench is easy to miss, until you look at your filled-out automap and notice the conspicuous gap at the north end of town.

The reward for our observational skills is some much-needed gold and a few decent low-level random items.

Now that we've got some money and don't have to bring anyone back from the dead with it, I immediately go ahead and spend most of it on spells, since Anleisa and Vandesloof aren't really going to pull their weight with nothing but Magic Arrow and First Aid.

"Fubar still strong enough to save everyone! Save friends, save Xeen!"

You may be starting to see why missing out on the experience and treasure from Clouds isn't such a big deal beyond the very start of Darkside: just clearing out the first town got the whole party to level 9 or 10. Fubar's already got a rock-solid HP total, which will only improve further once we start picking up permanent stat boosts. Between that and his halberd, he's set for a while.

"Oh. I just realised we didn't ask the mayor for an audience with Ellinger, on account of everyone except Fubar being dead at the time."

"Probably not help anyway. Ellinger answer only to Dragon Pharaoh."

"If this orb is as important as everyone seems to think, we'd better do something with it soon, if only so nobody hunts us down to get it back."

"We could always try to find another way into Ellinger's tower from above, like that man in the tavern was talking about."

"What is the rush? We are presented with a whole new world for exploring, and the first thing you are wanting to do is work, work, work! Kick backwards and enjoy the scenery!"

And with that, this LP is officially back in action for Darkside of Xeen, the second game in the World of Xeen gestalt. We don't have too many options on where to go or what to do just yet, but we could either clear out the sewers underneath Castleview or poke our heads outside and do some exploration. Vote now!