Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Game 247: The Magic Candle II: The Four and Forty (1991)

This looks like it could be a scene from Beauty and the Beast.
    
The achievements of the Magic Candle series are well-summarized in the subtitle of the second major installment. The backstory to the first game described how the demon Dreax was imprisoned in the titular magic candle in the fortress of Berbezza, where 44 mages continually guarded over it. Shortly prior to the events of the game, the 44 guardians vanished. Although the party solves the game's main quest and re-seals Dreax in the candle, neither the reason for the disappearance of the guardians nor their ultimate fate is ever determined.

This unresolved question seems too obvious, and the number of guardians too specific, to be anything but deliberate. It was meant to be left open for the second game. This suggests that the Magic Candle series is plotted in a way that we haven't seen so far in my RPG chronology. Even the ancillary titles--The Keys to Maramon (1990), Siege (1992), and Ambush at Sorinor (1993)--plus the prequel, Bloodstone (1993), fit into this overall narrative as if they were intended from the outset. This is in contrast to, say, the Ultima series, where no title shows any prescience of the next installment, and the side-games contradict and confuse, rather than supplement, the main games.

The continuity of the player character is also handled very well in The Magic Candle II. You can import your victorious character from either The Magic Candle or The Keys to Maramon, or--and this must be a first in CRPG history--both. If you choose to import both, as I did, your Magic Candle character becomes the lead and the Maramon character is joinable at a nearby inn. These characters come with their hard-won items from their titles, such as the swords Brennix and Brightsword and the pearl plate.
   
The backstory to both games assumes your character is named Lukas, but as with the first title, you have the option to reveal Lukas's "real name" and thus rename him. At the beginning of The Four and Forty, you also have the option to reveal that the Lukas (or, in my case, Giauz) of The Magic Candle is actually a woman who had been posing as a man. Not feeling particularly warm towards Giauz, who has commented all of 5 words in the last year, I decided to have him whip off his breast bindings and reveal herself as "Gia."
    
Importing my victorious character.
    
Players creating a new party leader for The Magic Candle II choose from among five pre-made configurations of attributes and equipment, including woodsman, huntress, warrior, swordswoman, and minstrel. Imported characters arrive with some diminished version of what they had in the last game. I found that the attributes of my imported character--bravery, strength, dexterity, endurance, agility, loyalty, charm, intelligence, and resistance--were only 1 or 2 points higher than a newly-created character. Her skills, on the other hand--sword, axe, archery, magic, fist, swimming, trading, stealth, researching, soulreading, lockpicking, tracking, and musical--were between 5 and 25 points higher, and she started with almost double the hit points. She's also much better equipped with "methreal" and a magic sword rather than plain ring mail and a longsword.
     
My victorious Magic Candle character comes over with some good attributes and skills.
     
Set 10 years after The Magic Candle, the sequel takes place across the Sea of Oshmar, in the land of Gurtex from which the demon Dreax originated. After the events of the first game, King Rebnard of Deruvia decided to take the fight to the enemy, first establishing a foothold on Oshcrun Island (recounted in The Keys to Maramon), then moving forward to confront the Forces of Darkness on their home turf.
    
     
The protagonist, though probably destined for something greater, is only ancillary to Rebnard's plans. The manual has her hanging out in Port Avur, chatting with a famous sea captain, Garlin the Blue, about the mysterious fate of the "four and forty." On a whim, she decides to hop aboard Garlin's voyage to Oshcrun and pursue this little side quest in the midst of Rebnard's larger invasion. The opening series of screens shows the melancholy Rebnard invigorated by news of Gia's arrival, but he clearly wasn't planning on it.
    
Rebnard hears of the hero's arrival.
     
Action begins on the docks of the city of Telermain, on Oshcrun island, off the coast of Gurtex. I had a lot of trouble getting into it. Telermain is huge, with dozens of NPCs, and like the first game, different NPCs appear in different locations at different times of day. You can circle the large map several times and still feel like you missed some. Some of them are in houses at certain times of day, and you can only speak to them by knocking on the door and giving the correct NPC name. The same is also true of the first Magic Candle, and the Ultima series, of course, and while I generally enjoy the dynamic of talking to NPCs and taking notes, you have to be in a particular mood for it. In the case of this game, you could easily fill up 10 pages of notes over 8 hours before even leaving the opening area to fight your first combat. It felt a little imbalanced, but it might have just been my mood.
     
Gia steps off the boat into a big city.
     
The interface looks so much like Ultima V that it's jarring when you can't do certain things, like search barrels and chests or interact with objects in the environment. Like its predecessor, the screen shows most of the available commands at any given time, although it leaves out that you have to press "0" to see each character's attributes and inventory--a command that I can't seem to remember for the life of me. (Maybe having just written it there will help.)
     
I can neither play nor pick up any of these instruments.
     
The party-splitting options of The Magic Candle have been slightly dumbed-down here. In the original, you could operate multiple parties as independent entities, each capable of movement, combat, exploration, dialogue, and so forth. Here, you can "assign" your party members to particular tasks, including training and working odd jobs, but they're otherwise inert until they return to the main party. A new feature, on the other hand, is the ability to dismiss party members wherever you want, sending them to particular strongholds to await the party's return. In The Magic Candle, you could only change party configurations in the special castle rooms.

Formation is still an issue. Once you have more than a couple of companions, you're always having to adjust their positioning so you can walk down certain hallways to talk to certain NPCs. 

The game also makes a distinction between regular NPCs and hirelings, the latter of which expect money and generally start with better statistics. I can't imagine using them unless the combats prove unusually difficult.

A final new interface feature is worth commenting on: a notepad that records all of the NPC dialogue and messages in the game window. It can store up to 61,440 characters, but you can save it at any time and start a new one; I filled up 2 files in my time in the opening areas. The notepads save as external files that you can open in Notepad or whatever text editor you have handy.
    
Reviewing some material obtained from the library in the notepad.
    
On one hand, this feature saves you from having to meticulously record all the text of every conversation. On the other, it encourages laziness on the part of the player. I ended up breezing through too many conversations, knowing I could always consult the notepad later. And, of course, you can't really use the notepad as a quest log or list of leads to follow up on. I found myself having more fun when I pretended the notepad didn't exist and forced myself to take my own notes, even though it greatly lengthened my time in the opening areas.
     
Crossing from Telermain to Castle Oshcrun.
      
Telermain is a large city with a couple of taverns, an inn, various shops, a city park, a gambling hall, a library, training halls, and private residences. Quickly after landing, I had Gia grab Eneri from a nearby tavern. Setting into a counter-clockwise pattern of exploration, the pair first visited a gambling hall, where the only game involved a roll of two dice. The player wins with a roll of 2 or with any roll higher than the house (i.e., the house takes ties). I calculated the odds of each roll at 52.86% favoring the house. I played a few rolls with a handful of gold pieces each and, ultimately, walked out 50 gold pieces poorer.
    
Preparing to gamble.
     
From an apothecary, I bought some Loka root to cure poison. From the adventuring shop, I picked up a shovel, some lockpicks, and a couple of blankets. A gemcutter, a carpenter, and a metalsmith were looking for help, but neither Gia nor Eneri had the requisite skills. I put off purchasing any more weapons, armor, clothing, mushrooms, or musical instruments for later.
     
I know music plays a role in the game, but I haven't really had a chance to explore it yet.
     
When I was done with Telermain, I left the city and walked a few steps overland to Castle Oschrun and explored its three levels. The castle had an armory where I was able to "borrow" weapons and armor for free.
   
"Borrow"....right.
    
Most of my time in both Telermain and Oshcrun was spent talking with NPCs. The game follows the Ultima tradition by allowing you to speak some standard keywords ("News" and "Weather," usually; sometimes "advice") to NPCs, or to type your own keywords, usually suggested in the same conversation or by other NPCs.
    
An NPC suggests a keyword for further conversation.
    
NPCs keep schedules, only appearing outdoors during certain hours. Some of them can be found in their houses or chambers in the off periods, but you have to knock on the door and then know the name of the person you're looking for.
     
Fortunately, another NPC told me who lived here.
     
Occasionally, NPC dialogue is too much for the game window, and you have to read paragraphs in an accompanying book.
    
Approaching Rebnard in his throne room...

...and his accompanying entry in the book.
       
Finally, NPCs often suggest keywords to research in the libraries. Both the city of Telermain and the castle had libraries, each with different keywords to research.
     
Gia researches a keyword in the library. Mindstones allow you to talk to NPCs at great distances. Later, Rebnard gave me 3 of them.
     
A lot of familiar names crop up. The halfling Min, a potential companion in the first game, is running a clothing store in Telermain. Rabbonkar, a sage from Soldain who taught the party dwarvish, has a house in Telermain and offers advice on gods. Rimfiztrik, a mage who occupied Rebnard's castle in Deruvia and taught the party about teleportals, has followed Rebnard to Oshcrun and will join the party. Subia the Explorer, the king's cousin, who made the map in the first game's manual, is one of his advisors here and a joinable NPC. The king's cook, Nuri, also accompanied him across the sea, as did his advisors Banas and Bhardagast. The orc Buzbazgut, found in the Port Avur jail in The Magic Candle, was caught stowed away on a ship and is now in the Oshcrun jail.

From the NPCs, I gather that King Rebnard isn't doing so well. He's full of anxieties, and his advisors aren't doing a good job. (Banas is rumored to be untrustworthy and Bhardagast is going insane.) Eventually, I talked to Rebnard in his throne room. He was happy to see me but clearly anxious; he expressed a wish to go adventuring on his own rather than deal with the pressures of ruling.
    
A map of Gurtex. Already, I've started hearing about its various regions.
    
I assembled quite a bit of information about Gurtex and some of its areas. There are reportedly towns of monsters like trolls, orcs, and ogres, where you can trade and talk like any human town. The land's ruler is said to be the demon Zakhad, a lieutenant of Dreax before Dreax left to try to conquer Deruvia. Zakhad rules from Castle Katarra on Mount Mandarg, and nobody knows how to get to the castle. There are 8 temples to forgotten gods on the continent and several sanctuaries established by the eldens. There used to be a race of elvish people called Altesens on Gurtex, who worshipped a goddess named Senvara and strove for balance between dark and light. They were driven into the seas when dark forces invaded the continent.

Some clues were obtained from a zorlim named Nkh imprisoned in the castle's dungeon. At first, he didn't want to talk with me, but his tongue loosened when I gave him some medicine for some food poisoning. Though still insulting, he offered information on jails that Zakhad maintains in Shann, on the island of Mariz, and Dorak, a former dwarven village.
     
The Zorlim warms up to me.
     
Lady Subia had a long paragraph in the book and an interesting perspective. She is concerned that there are outposts of good people on Gurtex, and that they'll be destroyed if Rebnard simply invades the island with "indiscriminate havoc." She begged me to join her in an expedition to the Demonspine Mountains, where an ancient elven village of Llendora is rumored to still be populated.

Bhardagast, on the top floor of the castle, had the most to say about the titular quest. It turns out the term "four and forty" isn't just a fancy way of saying "44," but rather a recognition that Dreax's guardians were composed of 4 eldens and 40 other guardians. It appears that the 4 eldens were taken prisoner and transported to Gurtex along with the remains of the slaughtered 40. Bhardagast has already sent a party led by someone named Ben to the Demonspine mountains to "follow the signs." A ghost in the basement of Oshcrun might be one of the guardians.

Castle Oshcrun had at least 6 joinable NPCs, including Orbonn, a human monk; Rimfiztrik, a mage who comes with three spellbooks; Grolf and Gustron, both human warriors; Lady Subia; and the orc Buzbazgut. I decided to keep Subia for now for her high charm score and her special quest, Rimfiztrik for his spells, and Buzbazgut just because it's cool to have an orc in the party.
     
The party was already full, but I had to take this NPC.
     
As this session came to an end, I wandered into the cellars and had my first taste of combat. Some advances since The Magic Candle include a tune that plays when an ability increases and the ability to attack anywhere in the battlefield within range, instead of just in defined columns. In my first fight, I forgot the importance of mushrooms and the "Shield" spell, and I forgot that you have to have arrows to use bows. I lost a couple of characters. In a reload, I did better, although for some reason Buzbazgut fled.
    
In the thick of battle.
    
In general, I'll have to cover combat, spells, mushrooms, and equipment at a future date. For now, I have to decide whether to finish exploring the basement or finish exploring the outdoor parts of Oshcrun Island (including the village of Ketrop). I also have to return to Telermain with Subia and talk to those NPCs who require a "charm" attribute of 6.
   
The party wins its second combat.
   
I love the lore and world-building of the series. This game just seems to have taken forever to actually start.

Time so far: 6 hours

48 comments:

  1. PetrusOctavianusApril 4, 2017 at 1:25 AM

    I had problems getting into this game as well. The huge city with easy to miss NPCs was a turn-off. MC1 had the right balance IMO, but MC2 overdid it.

    Also, the dumbing down of party and time management was disappointing, and from what I've heard the game is more combat heavy than the first one.

    So I ended up skipping this game, but it should be very interesting to read about your experiences of it, something I've been looking forward to.

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  2. "You can import your victorious character from either The Magic Candle or The Keys to Maramon, or--and this must be a first in CRPG history--both."

    In Curse of the Azure Bonds you could import party members from either Pools or Hillsfar, something you lamented not doing from the latter IIRC.

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    1. Yes, but it was Pools OR Hillsfar, here you can import from BOTH in the same time. I think this was the point.

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    2. Your starting 6 player party in Curse can consist of any combination of freshly created characters, imports from Pool and imports from Hillsfar, so "both" is perfectly applicable.

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    3. Ah, ok, sorry, in that case I understood you wrong.

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    4. Yeah, you're right. CotAB did it first, even the part where you could import from games of vastly different styles. Still, it's rare and deserves to be acknowledged even if not technically a first.

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    5. I think that there's prior art even to CoTAB. I recall, from my childhood, reading and re-reading the manual of my very first CRPG -- Chet's ultimate favorite, Bard's Tale II -- and being amazed that it claimed that one could import from not only Bard's Tale I but also from Wizardry and Ultima.

      The years had left me unsure whether I remembered this crazy fact correctly, but this is definitely what the manual says: 'Follow the instructions on the Command Summary Card to start The Destiny Knight on your computer and to learn the keystroke commands for your machine. The Command Summary Card also contains instructions for using the disk utilities and for transferring characters from Bard's Tale, Ultima III(tm) and Wizardry(tm)* see "Pre-Built Parties" below).' and elsewhere 'If you're an experienced player with a band of strong adventurers (higher than level 14) transferred from Bard's Tale, Wizardry(tm) or Ultima III(tm), you can set out in search of the Destiny Wand immediately'

      Did anyone actually do this? How did they deal with classes, etc? It's not in the manual! I've spent over 25 years of my life wondering about this!

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    6. I recall transferring characters from Ultima III into Bard's Tale 2. I don't remember the results being anything unpredictable.

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  3. As a sidenote there is a 2.0 patch that adds mouse control as a major feature. The interface feels like it's designed with the keyboard in mind, though. So I've always found the huge mouse cursor to be just kind of annoying when it's there in the patched version.

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  4. Oh man, I adored this game. First one I ever took notes for. There are a lot of map locations you'll return to. Lots of scouting for great NPCs to join you (then rush to get them for a second or subsequent playthrough). Great game.

    I always had my Maramon blacksmith memorise just one spell.....

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  5. The only other series you've played that feels similarly planned out is Quest for Glory, but that far more of an adventure game than an RPG.

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  6. I wonder, what was the first game to use dialog trees instead of keywords or other means of interacting with NPCs? We haven't seen any yet, and the first one I know is the first Fallout game, all the way in 1997. Elder Scrolls series and my first RPG, Betryal At Krondor use something like the early version of such trees, or rather a tree/keyword mix, but what was the first RPG that used them? I guess the mechanic first appeared in point & click quests, and migrated to RPGs from there...

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    1. The Quest for Glory VGA remake (1992) had full dialogue trees, though there are probably earlier examples.

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    2. We've seen a primitive but recognizable dialogue tree system in 1989's Space Rogue, and we'll have more coming rapidly through the early '90s. As you say, however, it may be more common outside RPGs than in--1990's The Secret of Monkey Island is one popular early example. Skip ahead to 1994 and you'll get Wing Commander 3.

      (I wouldn't qualify the Quest for Glory games as using dialogue trees--it's a point-and-click tree-based interface, but it's still a keyword menu at heart. Often a brilliantly done keyword menu, mind!)

      This is a subject near and dear to my heart. I keep meaning to sit down and do the research to find more examples of "proper" dialogue trees from the 1980s, as I'm certain Space Rogue wasn't the first....

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    3. I think Ultima Underworld has them.

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    4. Tunnels&Trolls had CYOA sequences that worked like dialog trees.

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    5. I think Ultima Underworld did have dialog trees, but even if it didn't, Ultima 7 absolutely did and the two came out only about a month apart.

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  7. I've been looking forward to you hitting this game for a long time now! I've never played it, but I did have Siege and Ambush at Sorinor when they were released. Siege was an okay game whose engine would be used to greater effect in Walls of Rome. Ambush at Sorinor is a puzzle game masquerading as a strategy game and is not very good.

    The journal feature here is a nice addition, but remember that you wouldn't be opening the text files alongside the game in 1992. The idea has more merit versus writing everything down by hand, but with DOSBox that's not really required.

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    1. "But remember that you wouldn't be opening the text files alongside the game in 1992." No, but I should have mentioned that the game supports printing them out, too.

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    2. That would have been very useful actually, especially if it properly managed page breaks so you could put them in a binder.

      Dungeon Hack, a game you won't hit for awhile, supported printing out the dungeon maps, but the map was easily accessible in the game, so I'm not sure what purpose that was supposed to have served.

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  8. I wonder if this game punishes you for not thoroughly "lawnmowing" an area for NPCs and taking meticulous notes? I don't know... a side of me wants to be able to leisurely walk through the world and interact with people as I bump into them. Not only would it feel less like work, but also be more "in character."

    I like how you have to know who lives in a house to be able to walk inside... something that subsequent CRPGs haven't implemented.

    I prefer having the lore of the world organically tied in to interacting with NPCs, rather as "info dumps" in scrolls and books that are lying around.

    I'm very much looking forward to this series of posts, Addict!

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    1. I suppose knocking at the door and asking for specific person is more natural than barging in and asking what they know, but at the same time you need knowledge that given person knows something and it requires much more work and isn't necessarily more fun. That's probably why it isn't implemented in modern games.

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  9. Hey, a game I actually played back in the day! ...or at least tried to. Totally agree that the introduction is way too drawn out. There is a LOT to do even on the little starter island. As a result, I bounced off the game the first couple of times I tried to play it. Once I actually pushed through the introductory stuff, I remember enjoying the "meat" of the game, though I wasn't a fan of the mushroom economy. It was fun meeting all the recruitable NPCs and trying to work out who was strongest NOW versus who had the most POTENTIAL in skills and attributes. Don't think I ever managed to finish the game, though.

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  10. What, no woodswoman?

    I'm intrigued by this series, but not enough to play it myself. I look forward to your thorough analysis.

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    1. I'm pretty sure that "huntress" is the female side of "woodsman" and "swordswoman" is the female version of "warrior."

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    2. Ah, I read it as all those classes were available to your newly minted female character.

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  11. I like the game's use of color. Definitely vibrant. You don't see too many prisons with iridescent walls.

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    1. I like that the people look like people, and I can tell what everything is at a glance. Much nicer than most previous games.

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  12. Was a big fan of the third game in the series and Keys to Maramon, but was never able to get into MC1 and never played MC2 at all. This should be entertaining.

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  13. I was too young for the Magic Candle series when it came out and thus have never played any of their games, so I apologize in advance if the following is both a stupid question and explanation. Does this game have a time limit in the same way that the first one did? If not, it could account for why the opening stage is so enormous, both in size and content. Without the timer acting as some metaphoric Sword of Damocles, veteran players could - if they wanted - spend an indefinite amount of time gathering information, exploring the land, testing combat and enjoying the luxuries the game offers.[1] A new player would not feel pressured to dive straight into the world before they felt ready. And the developers, with ever-expanding hardware capabilities at their disposal in the early 90's, could show off a bit more.

    This is by no means meant to absolve anyone for the folly of overwhelming a player right at the beginning, however, which is what sounds like happened. In my opinion, information acquisition in an RPG is a fine balance of volume plus absorption, stretched out across the average length of a campaign. Simply throwing everything at once risks early burnout, which other posters above me experienced first-hand. I just wonder if the developers thought this was what the player would want with the timer removed.

    [1] - I exclude Chet from this example, not because he lacks the credentials to be an RPG vet or a want to explore core aspects of a game obviously, but because he is pressured by his own timer, an internal desire to complete all RPGs released during a calendar year within a calendar year.

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    1. There is no timer mechanic with this one. I played this game before MC1 which made the timer in MC1 a little more stressful because I was one of those players who would spend forever maxing out my troops on Oschrun before tackling the meat of the game (training Rimfiztrik from the mostly bumbling wizard he starts as into a magic death machine was very satisfying for me).

      This game holds a special place in my heart because I bought it out of a bargain bin around 1998 while I was in high school and it really opened my eyes to some of the quality rpgs that existed before I was even aware of videogames. I loved the epic setting and storyline, and the mystery of finding out what happened to the guardians. I still have the game manual and every now and then I go back and read through it.

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    2. You have a decent point. With no fixed time limit, there's no reason that the new player HAS to exhaustively explore Telermain before continuing on to the rest of the game. It's really more the nature of my own playing style. If I was being more of a "role-player," I would have headed directly to Rebnard, probably.

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    3. This is one of the things that drives me insane when playing RPGs or adventure games (and why I stopped playing quite a few). If I have no clear idea what to do, I end talking to everyone until I finished their dialogue tree and in a modern game that can be 100s of NPCs with nothing interesting to say. Masses of boring dialogue make a game boring but not talking to everyone runs the 'risk' of missing something. I guess my OCD killed my love for role playing games ;)

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  14. I'll be very interested to see how this game pans out. The original Magic Candle had a whole heap of people championing it before you got to it. This one, however, has had almost nothing, which makes me wonder if it's a drop in quality, or maybe people are just less enthusiastic because of sequelitis.

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    1. Strange, I remember MC 1, but was unaware that there was a sequel. Was there a marketing problem, were the reviews lukewarm, or did I just miss it for personal reasons? Anyway, really looking forward for this, too.

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    2. Marketing problem is probably right. MC1 had reviews, even a walkthrough in one of the mags I was reading back then. The sequels barely got a passing mention.

      For me it was also a porting issue. I played the first Magic Candle (and Keys to Maramon) on the Commodore 64, but the sequels never came out for that system or the Amiga. I pretty much forgot about the series by the time I've gotten my hands on a PC in '95.

      Anyway, it feels like a game I'm going to have more fun reading about than actually playing, so keep the posts and comments coming.

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    3. Have the same impression, highly interesting to read about, but probably too old school to play today when I did not play it back then and can beat it half asleep while travelling.

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    4. That's true. People really built up TMC. A couple weeks ago, when I mentioned the rest of the 1991 games I was looking forward to and didn't mention TMC2, no one seemed to be bothered.

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    5. I was only hyped about MC1 since it's manuals left sick an impression on me as a kid. I'm hyped about this one, but not as hyped.

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  15. The original release of Magic Candle 2 was fairly rushed, no mouse support being one issue, by the time it was patched up I think it might have missed its chance. Its a good game, but I imagine over 80% couldn't finish it without a walkthrough, it really punishes you for not taking notes. I got to the last set piece of the game and could not finish due to that.

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    1. Somehow, I like the idea that so much depends on being scholarly and studious. Such skills aren't required at ALL in modern games. TMC2 might be one of the last.

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    2. I agree, now. As a young kid it was a bit more frustrating. I suppose a better way of saying it would be that it rewards careful play.

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  16. I could see myself loving a game like this to bits back in the day, shame I missed out on it.

    I was never one to take notes in a game (maps, sure but not notes) so it might have broken me on the other hand.

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  17. "The player wins with a roll of 2 or with any roll higher than the house. I calculated the odds of each roll at 52.86% favoring the house."

    I might be wrong, but my quick calculation showed an 55.55% favoring the player (considering a d6).

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    1. Ah, well, you may be right. I interpreted the instructions as saying that BOTH players roll two dice and they compare them. I also assumed that in doing so, the computer adds two rolls of 1-6 rather than a single roll of 2-11.

      But if "two dice" meant that each player rolls 1 die, then you're right about the odds.

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  18. "Not feeling particularly warm towards Giauz, who has commented all of 5 words in the last year, I decided to have him whip off his breast bindings and reveal herself as "Gia.""

    Hey, it's OK. I do check in every once in a while, but I haven't been able to really read about games in years. I occassionally buy some deals on GOG, but that is about it.

    Ironically, I did once come up with a trans character for a RPG story idea, Aldiv of House Houzay, alt. Houzay Aldiv. However, they identified as male.

    I'll drop some more comments if I think I can still add something.

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    1. That comment probably sounded less like a joke than I intended. Thanks for popping in.

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    2. Hey, thanks for all the years of good reading when I was really into crpg history. Good to "hear" from you :-)

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