: An 'old school' style - 3D dungeon crawling RPG from Success. This game also feature a retro mode option.
04.30.09 - 5 Hours
: I'm not going to attempt to describe everything at once about this game...because there's a lot to absorb in the few first hours of gameplay alone. If you haven't read anything about this game, then know it's similar to an old Wizardry or Might & Magic RPG in more ways than one.
Character creation is basic stuff. Choose race, class, name and roll stats. Even with the help of the instruction book, some things simply aren't explained. If they are, I missed it. If you don't like the stats your character rolls, you can reroll as many times as you like. This is really important, because as I found out later, your stats are very important <span class="spoiler">to your ability to level up in other classes and qualify for the specialty classes.</span>
One thing I enjoyed about some of my old school games is most of them made it clear, right from the get go, exactly what your skills and stats could do, and gave you information on class progression. It was satisfying to strategize what kind of party you were going to make, and how you were going to level up / promote them before you started, and then see that strategy unfold throughout the course of the game. Dark Spire seems to want you to figure a lot of that out via trial and error. Some things you can change later on. For example, if you find out later on you need a higher STR to qualify for a promotion, you can buy more STR points with exp points. They're just REALLY expensive. So, really, it would equate to lots of hours of grinding xp.
Thankfully, someone posted a 'guide to creating characters' on the board, so that helped me create a strategy for promotion and what stats/alignment/etc that I needed to roll to eventually be eligible. I'm very happy now. I can already tell, this is one of the few games I'd want to buy a strategy guide for. Now that I think about it, I used strategy guides for about 1/2 of my old RPGs back in the day. Aside from character creation, I usually only use them when I get stuck on something.
Oh, and another thing... casters can re-choose their spells at any time. This is important. Don't fret about what spells you choose, since you can change them at the guild.
05.04.09 - 10 Hours:
Wow. I'm 10 hours in, and I'm STILL on the first two floors. Amazing. These floors are huge and twisted. Furthermore, in order to access some parts, you have to go up and down, back and forth, between floors. I'm beginning to think that the auto map, as detailed as it is, is simply not good enough. If you're going to play this game without the help of a strategy guide or really well written FAQ, you're going to need graph paper and really good note taking skills. Seriously. Oh, and if you're playing the game now, a word of advice. Check EVERY single wall for secret doors. Seriously.
Combat: Initially, encounters could get pretty deadly pretty quickly. At level 1, my fighter had about 8 HPs and my mage had 3. Thankfully, you can put your party in a formation so your casters are in the back, totally protected from melee attacks. In the first two floors, I've ran into very few foes that could hit team members in the back ranks. Interestingly enough, those in the back ranks seem to have no problem hitting with their weapons.
Spell casting is very similar to the first NES version of Final Fantasy. You can cast so man spells from each spell level before needing to rest in town. A level 5 mage, for example, can cast 7 level 1 spells, 5 level 2 spells and 3 level 3 spells. Once she has cast 7 level 1 spells, she can no longer cast spells from that spell level, even if she has remaining spells in the higher levels.
Therefore, proper management and conservation of spells becomes a must, especially given how 'deep' you get into the tower at times. Even though I am only on level two, a trek back to town can take a solid 15-20 minutes with over a dozen random encounters along the way. Thankfully, the retreat option works fairly often.
On thing I like is how classes have different options for attacking, casting and defending. For example, your caster can either "cast quickly" which will result in getting the spell off faster at a lower success rate or "Cast carefully," which will result in getting the spell off later in the round, but at an increased level of success. There are a few times when these options can be lifesavers.
Once I got a few levels under my belt, the battles became pretty easy. <span class="spoiler">I put my very heavily armored fighter in the front, and everyone else in the back</span>. My fighter rarely gets hit, allowing me to go pretty deep in the dungeon before having to return. I'm beginning to duel class my characters to have a greater pool of spells which will allow me to stay in the dungeon longer between town runs.
Currently most of my characters are lv 5-6 with some secondary class levels. I'm in the pirate den found in 2F. Oh, and I have 10K Gold
I feel rich! Now, I have to run and dress like a pirate. Seriously!
05.12.08 - 16 Hours
- I'm well into the fourth floor. To be honest, the 3rd floor was a cake walk, especially compared to these guys. I've run into a number of groups that wipe me out before I even get a spell off. It would be quite discouraging if it were not for the ability to save anywhere outside of combat. To be honest, I'm not sure if this game would be manageable without that functionality. The dungeon itself is also really difficult. There are some very difficult puzzles to figure out. Most players will need to keep a grid map on paper, or use one from GameFAQs, to have a clue where to go next. If you like a challenge this game is your cup o' tea.
- I put in quite a bit of time in over the last week, and I'm just about done with it. Old school tough is definitely one way to describe it! Review will be coming soon.