Posted in Best of Bio Break 2013

Best of Bio Break 2013: Most anticipated MMO updates in 2014


The Best of Bio Break 2013 is a series of “end of the year” lists that talk about various forms of entertainment that I enjoyed this year.  They’re not awards, but they are ranked.  Each entry doesn’t have to be something that came out this year, but merely something I encountered this year.

img-big4For my final list and post of the year, I’m going to wrap things up by looking at my most anticipated updates for MMOs come the new year:

1. The Secret World: Tokyo

I.  Am.  Ready.  Heck, the entire playerbase is ready by now.  2013 was a great year of updates for TSW, with awesome and memorable story arcs, but we’re still in the same three areas that we were at launch.  It’s time to move on, and that will come when Funcom opens up Tokyo.  I really can’t wait for this — for more story, more conspiracies, and more answers.

2. LOTRO Housing Update

Turbine punted on this in 2013 after promising that they’d do it, so I’m going to hold them to that.  Also hoping we’ll be getting a new expansion as well.  Gondor time!

3. RIFT 3.0

I keep flirting with the idea of going back to RIFT, starting fresh and really getting invested in the game (and then I remember, oh yeah, WildStar).  But I’m somewhat interested to see what Trion has in store for the game’s second expansion, currently titled RIFT 3.0.  “Dreams, nightmares, and water” are the themes.

4. A post-Scarlet Guild Wars 2

Yeah, I’m pretty much disconnected from the living story right now, but the news that it’ll be ending after four more updates is reason to hope that the second “season” will vastly learn from the errors of the past and usher back in the fun and excitement of Guild Wars 2 that I enjoyed in its first year.

5. More Neverwinter classes

I know that the team is working on additional classes for the game, and I really hope we get them sooner rather than later.  I’d like to see a different type of magic user as well as another healer.  Bard?  Bard would rock.  I’d so be there if they did Bard.

Posted in Nostalgia Lane

Fallout: A newborn Vault baby

(This is part of my journey playing through Fallout.  You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

fall1You voted — and now my next journey is back into the post-apocalyptic landscape.  Instead of the basics of Wasteland, we’re going to jump forward ten years or so to that game’s spiritual successor.  Fallout was and still is an incredible classic in the RPG arena and a great example of a series that kind of kept getting better as it went along.

By the time I was aware that Fallout was a thing, Fallout 2 was already out and became my game of choice.  So I basically leapfrogged right over the first installment and have only been back on occasion to sample the fruits of the Vault Dweller.  I think my enthusiasm for doing so has been dampened by the time limit that exists in the early game (I hate being under the gun like that, although I hear it’s not that big of a problem).  So I’m glad y’all encouraged me to dig this out and give it a genuine go.

Say it with me, folks:



fall2So one of my gaming resolutions for this coming year is to get out of my comfort zone — particularly in RPGs — and start trying new and different things.  Therefore, with Fallout I’m not going to be rolling my standard safe character.  I’m going to go a little nuts here.

fall3So here’s our hero of the hour: Betty, a 35-year-old guy who (at least in my mind) has a dented skull but plenty of muscles to make up for it.  I did a major trade-off by jacking down his luck and intelligence to disastrous proportions while boosting his agility, endurance, and strength to compensate.  Think of a dim-witted strongman and there you go.  The bruiser and gifted traits helped to boost his stats further (lookit that strength at 13!) and I picked melee weapons, first aid, and lockpick for his tag skills.  Betty really isn’t going to be winning any science fairs, but he should be big and tough enough to brute-force his way through the wasteland.

Actually, the screenshot up there isn’t accurate — apparently you can’t start with a stat over 10.  So I took a few points off of strength and gave it to luck.  Guess it’s Betty’s lucky day after all.

fall4Gotta say, the opening cinematic and then the post-character creation cutscene both gave me the chills.  Even though the CGI is not quite up to 2013 standards, it’s actually not that bad.  A big talking head — Vault 13’s overseer, I’m guessing — tells me that the vault’s water purification chip is on the fritz and they have about 150 days left before… well, I guess before they’re all forced to the surface.  Maybe they should start doing that now?  Just in case?  The guy tells me that I’m the vault’s best chance of survival, which is laughable considering my 40 IQ.

Quick as a bunny, I’m outside of the vault and wondering if this is an elaborate prank on behalf of my friends.  “Guys?  Not funny!  Lemme back in!  Please!”

fall5Man, I am so in love with Fallout’s aesthetic.  The retro-futuristic look just works for this game in a great way, suggesting that this is some sort of parallel Earth’s future and not our own.  Pip-Boy and Fallout Boy are great icons of the series, and how about that isometric look?  Beeeautiful!  OK, a little grainy, but still beeeeautiful.

At least the game doesn’t fall into that trope of the villagers saying that I’m their last, best hope and then kicking me out to save the world with just the clothes on my back.  I actually have a good starting inventory, with a pistol, lockpick, medical stims, and ammo.  But it’s the knife that interests me the most.  Betty likes knives.  Betty can do art with knives.

The last guy to fall for this water purification chip scam is lyying nearby with a severe case of anorexia.  I take his ammo and knife and then desecrate his corpse.  Just to be sure.

fall6With a knife in the hand and a song in my heart, what else is there to do than to (drum roll please) kill ten rats?  Yup, that hoary old RPG trope is alive and kicking from the start in Fallout, as the introductary cave is full of easy-to-kill mutant rats.  Hey, I don’t feel bad doing them in; I got a half-level from this fun.

After playing Wasteland a few weeks ago, the huge leap to Fallout’s looks and gameplay is a wonderful relief.  The turn-based combat’s pretty simple to master and I’m greatly enjoying the simple act of walking around and stabbing rodents.  As I should be.  As I should be.

Enough of this — it’s time to head out into the world, Vault Baby!

Posted in Best of Bio Break 2013

Best of Bio Break 2013: Most anticipated new games in 2014

bestThe Best of Bio Break 2013 is a series of “end of the year” lists that talk about various forms of entertainment that I enjoyed this year.  They’re not awards, but they are ranked.  Each entry doesn’t have to be something that came out this year, but merely something I encountered this year.

wildstarToday I want to talk about what games I’m most anticipating with the new year, the games that I wish I could be playing right now:

1. WildStar

No big surprise here, right?  There’s just so much here that feels custom-tailored to what I love in MMOs: choice, colorful graphics, sci-fi western, housing, pets, and bizarre humor.  I got to play the beta and talk about it, and I can say it’s definitely the real deal in terms of what the studio’s been promising.  A lot of people have “the” upcoming MMO they’re holding out hope on, and this is mine.  Can’t wait to play it in a live environment.

2. The Walking Dead Season 2

Yup, another no-brainer.  The first season was one of the best adventure game experiences I’ve ever had, and I am excited and a little nervous to see what Clementine gets into with the next chapter.

3. EverQuest Next Landmark

With EverQuest Next pretty much not a possibility for 2014, I bet a lot of folks are going to be stampeding to Landmark for a fix.  I also bet that this is what SOE expected (Landmark probably would be largely ignored if it launched at the same time as EQN).  Still, I’m in.  The building looks kinda cool, and at least there are worlds to explore and some element of MMO progression to it all.  This will be the wild card of 2014, make no mistake, and could have a huge impact or practically none at all in the industry.

4. Wasteland 2

Early backers are in the beta and the reports are good, very good for this sequel.  I love post-apocalyptic settings and hope that this game will hit all of the marks to make it as engaging as Fallout once was for me.

5. The Sims 4

Hey, I always end up buying the new Sims games in the numbered franchise (I’ve never bought an expansion, however), for the house building if nothing else.

6. Shroud of the Avatar

Could this be the UO/Ultima sequel fans have wanted for years?  Since I’ve never really played either, I have no dog in that fight, but I do think that there’s a lot of interesting ideas going on here with the overall project feeling a lot like the early days of making MMOs instead of these bloated budget products they’ve become.  Plus, Richard Garriott’s enthusiasm is quite infectious.

Posted in Best of Bio Break 2013

Best of Bio Break 2013: Events

bestThe Best of Bio Break 2013 is a series of “end of the year” lists that talk about various forms of entertainment that I enjoyed this year.  They’re not awards, but they are ranked.  Each entry doesn’t have to be something that came out this year, but merely something I encountered this year.

In real-life, it was a pretty tame year for me.  Lots of busyness, of course, but no major changes or new babies or anything like that.  In fact, where my real life and my geeky/blogging/MMO life overlapped, I can only think of three major events:

1. Starting up Battle Bards

I had been wanting to do an MMO music podcast since late 2012, although I kept telling myself that I didn’t have the time for it.  What I knew is that for the podcast to be what I envisioned, I’d have to learn how to put together a podcast myself instead of relying on others to do that for me.  So I did just that and reached out to fellow MMO-music fans Steff and Syl to see if they’d like to co-host a review roundtable show with me.  Tesh agreed to create our graphics, of which I’m still grateful.  With everyone on board, it took a couple of months of preparations until we launched our first show.

I love doing Battle Bards, I really do.  If you’ve listened to the show then you know it’s a labor of love for the three of us.  We acknowledge that our potential listening audience is small, but those who love video game soundtracks and MMO soundtracks in particular can be quite passionate about it.  Through trial and error we’ve figured an efficient way to coordinate schedules and show planning, and our once-a-month recording sessions are something we all look forward to doing.  So it’s been a great ride so far and we can’t wait to share with you what’s planned for 2014’s episodes!

2. Wrapping up Too Long; Didn’t Listen

As I had one podcast on the rise, another one vanished.  Dodge and I had been doing TLDL for a little over a year, but real life intervened and he needed to take a break from podcasting.  Fair enough, we had a good run, and TLDL then got passed on to a new team over at MMO Reporter.

3. Going to PAX

I don’t think I did any conventions in 2012 and I was starting to miss them, so I made the effort to do PAX Prime this year.  Doing a convention as media is a lot of work — tons of running around, doing interviews, sticking to a schedule, and writing as quick as kittens — so it’s not the laid-back fan experience that attendees have.  However, it’s also pretty fun in its own way, since you get to cut the line in spots, get direct access to developers and parties, and meet other people in the industry.  I couldn’t stay for the entire thing, but the trip was a positive one and I had Rubi’s family to thank for housing me for the duration of it.

Posted in Best of Bio Break 2013

Best of Bio Break 2013: Other games

bestThe Best of Bio Break 2013 is a series of “end of the year” lists that talk about various forms of entertainment that I enjoyed this year.  They’re not awards, but they are ranked.  Each entry doesn’t have to be something that came out this year, but merely something I encountered this year.

clementineDue to the nature of MMOs and everything else I have going on, I didn’t spend that much time playing games in the larger video game market.  However, there are a few titles I did want to mention, so mention them I now will.

1. The Walking Dead season 1

For me, The Walking Dead won’t be the comics or the TV show, but this game.  Even with stripped-down puzzle-solving mechanics and a cleverly hidden linear path, season one was one of the most affecting, gut-wrenching, and involving video game experiences I’ve ever had.  I agonized over my choices, I got to know the cast of characters very well, I mourned the loss of key people, and I jumped once or twice due to jack-in-the-box zombies.  Can’t wait for season 2!

2. The Wolf Among Us

Speaking of Telltale Games, The Wolf Among Us — at least the first episode — was a terrific portrayal of the Fables universe and a pretty cool ride.  Instead of a zombie survival setting, it’s more about being a detective in a fairy-tales-meets-the-modern-world.  A little peeved that Telltale is taking so long with episode 2, especially considering that I paid for the whole game up front, but I have no power here.

3. The Simpsons Tapped Out

Yes, it’s one of those freemium Farmville-style games that’s so easy to hate and criticize, but even so I was just tickled yellow playing it over the year.  Slowly growing my Springfield while laughing at the hilarious quest text and enjoying the holiday events made this worthwhile to me.

4. Hearthstone

I was really excited about Blizzard’s WoW-themed card game, and while I haven’t played in a while, it is one of those perfect games to pick up every now and then.  Very slick and easy to learn, too.

5. Kingdom Rush: Frontiers

Probably the best tower defense game I’ve played in a long time and a source of countless evenings of fun on my iPad.

6. Starbound

Need to spend more time with this space-themed Terraria, but it’s pretty promising.  I love the look and the exploration aspects, although I don’t know how much I’m suited for the constantly-crafting sandbox focus.

7. Card Hunter

Another terrific card-themed game that was more of a tactical strategy title than a proper CCG.  I liked it — still like it — but I guess I go through waves of interest in card games.

8. Pocket Trains

After the stumble of Pocket Planes, Nimblebit did a great job getting rid of what didn’t work and putting in some more stuff that did to make a pretty engaging train management simulator.  It takes just shy of forever to expand one’s network and get more trains, but that’s par for the course with games like this.

Posted in Best of Bio Break 2013

Best of Bio Break 2013: Television

bestThe Best of Bio Break 2013 is a series of “end of the year” lists that talk about various forms of entertainment that I enjoyed this year.  They’re not awards, but they are ranked.  Each entry doesn’t have to be something that came out this year, but merely something I encountered this year.

doctorwhoTV and me have a strange relationship these days.  There’s a lot of hour-long series I’d love to watch, but I really don’t have the spare time to do so unless it’s something my wife wants to view with me.  Plus, we don’t have cable, so what we see is either on DVD or Netflix, leaving us behind the curve with the rest of the viewing community.

That said, here’s what tickled my fancy this year:

1. Doctor Who series 7

Out of the three newer Doctors, I’m very partial to Matt Smith.  Tennant was fine but eventually got too much of a God complex for me to enjoy, and I relished Smith’s somewhat more alien quirkiness.  He’s a total geek and he’s cool with that.  His final season had us saying goodbye to Rory and Amy (best companions ever) and provided many fine hours of viewing — but the best was the 50th anniversary special that we saw in the theaters.  Just great stuff all around, making me happy with the past and looking forward to the future.  It’s so odd that Doctor Who has gone from a very much fringe cult series to this mainstream phenomenon, almost taking the place that Star Trek used to have.

2. The Office season 9

Again, I don’t see shows until they come out on DVD, so I only recently wrapped up my experiences with the crew of Dunder Mifflin.  Even without Michael Scott, I liked the show a lot this year, much better than season 8, and I was definitely feeling that mixture of morose and exalted when it all came to a close.  It’s one of my favorite series to watch from start to end, and I’m sure I’ll be doing so again in the near future.

3. Arrested Development season 4

Whew, was this a mixed bag in so many ways.  I was extremely excited about my all-time favorite sitcom coming back, but how it did so was definitely different than the first three seasons.  Maybe it was a little too long in spots, too convoluted overall, and too disjointed as the main cast couldn’t be together much, but it was also pretty funny and just awesome to see them back.  I really hope they get a fifth season sometime soon.  I’m also pleased that the Arrested Development soundtrack finally released this year as well.

4. Community season 4

I don’t care that much that this was the season without Dan Harmon and got cut down to 13 episodes — it was more Community and it was still pretty funny, so I took it with a smile.  I dearly love this show and am so incredibly glad it’s coming back for a fifth season.  #sixseasonsandamovie

5. New Girl seasons 1-2

Yeah, so, I am unashamed of this — it’s a really funny show, and “adorkable” or not, the cast and writing made me and my wife laugh constantly.  I like how messed up and weird everyone is, not to mention how it’s not just about one girl but all four roommates.

6. Parks and Recreation season 5

Simply hilarious.  Love this show.  Ron Swanson is a hero to me.

7. Game of Thrones season 2

Yeah, season 2.  Again, a year behind.  But despite the gore and very excessive nudity, there’s a great show here and one that my wife’s been captivated with despite showing no interest in the books.  I thought the season went pretty well, especially the climactic battle, although some of the aspects (Daenarys) came off weaker than they should’ve.

8. The Simpsons seasons 3-15

It’s been many, many, many years since I watched the Simpsons, so long that I can’t remember what year I stopped viewing them.  So I embarked on a marathon to catch up on episodes old and new, and have made it through season 15 (which is where I think I stopped viewing regularly).  I’m pleasantly surprised to see that the newer stuff is still pretty entertaining.

9. The Mindy Project season 1

Mindy Kaling had great writing and acting chops in The Office, so I gave her sitcom a try.  I kind of like it, even if it is pretty uneven at times.

10. Happy Endings seasons 1-2

Another under-my-radar show that I’m glad I found due to its memorable characters, barrage of jokes, lack of a laugh track, and general weirdness.  It’s like a better version of Friends.

11. Raising Hope season 2

Another oddball sitcom that I hope lasts for a good decade.  Liked the second season a little less than the first, but it’s still willing to have fun with the pluck of the lower class and its dim-witted lead.

12. Warehouse 13 seasons 1-3

We’ve been working our way through this Syfy show.  It’s good in small quantities, kind of a less-intense Fringe.  While the plots and acting can get a little hammy, I genuinely like the humor and the fact that the leads have this brother-sister relationship instead of an unrequited love thing.

Posted in Nostalgia Lane

King’s Quest II: A white wedding

(This is part of my journey playing through King’s Quest II: Romancing the Throne.  You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

door1It’s a long hike back through and from Dracula’s castle to the floating nesting doors, but I finally get there and — whilst regretting ever leaving my comfy throne to begin with — I unlock the final door.  What will this amazing world be like?  My mind literally cannot fathom the scope and vistas to come!

door2Oh, it’s… blue.  And purply.  Honestly?  My mind could have totally fathomed this if I had known in advance.  I’m feeling more than a little let down with a normal setting with “wacky” colors considering all of the effort I just went through to solve someone’s weird scavenger hunt.

door3There really isn’t much to do in this fantastic land of blue and purple.  There isn’t much to do other than go fishing, I mean.

So I cast a net I found again… and again… and again.  King’s Quest: Fishing Simulator, coming Spring 1985!

Eventually I land a large gasping fish and am perplexed as to what to do with it.  The game doesn’t let me kill it, scale it, eat it, make it into a hand puppet, or mount it on my wall.  So I have to throw it back into the sea, upon which the fish expresses its gratitude for saving its life by giving me a lift across the ocean.  Not to complain about a free ride, but wasn’t I also the one who endangered your life?

door4And thus, many hours after going through this game, I’m right back where I started: on a beach.  Bully.

door5I found this kind of amusing.  The second I walk onto this screen, the game all but points to the amulet on the sand and says “PICK IT UP, DUMMY.”  I guess the game is sensing that we’re almost to the end and it doesn’t want me to waste time doing a pixel hunt.

door6I find a tower in the middle of the island with another one of those very annoying King’s Quest II circular staircases.  I can imagine the desginers thought that this looked all 3D and cool, but it’s a pain to try to navigate because you can fall off if you don’t walk on a very specific path.  And then you die, of course.

door7Speaking of death, at the top of the stairs is a lion who is eager to kill me because no one is feeding the poor thing.  I got a laugh out of the death animation, which is less “the lion leaps up to ravage me” and much more “I do a flying headdive down the lion’s gullet.”

I have a choice to feed it with the ham I found or kill it with my snake-sword, and since I haven’t gotten to kill anything in this game so far, I take the more brutal route.  Now the internet’s going to hate me as a lion killer.

door8Somewhere in time, my 11-year-old self got a tingly feeling in his nether regions from reading the above paragraph.

door9It… was?  It was!  Thank you for telling me what to think!

door10Now that Valanice and I have spent an entire minute together, our relationship has progressed to the point where we can get married.  I ask her for her hand and she gives it to me, probably because she has no other way of getting off the island.  Then we magically appear back in the chapel, where the monk marries us in front of a crowd of everyone from the game — including a shark and the supposed-to-be-dead Dracula.  I like how Grandma and the wolf have decided to go to the wedding as a couple.  Good for them.

The game concludes with us returning to my castle and a popup with a cheap plug for King’s Quest III.  Stay classy, Sierra!

Final Thoughts

King’s Quest II is really an exercise in “more of the same.”  While it is larger and boasts more characters and animations, it really doesn’t offer much over the first installment.  The lack of any sort of narrative other than “find the girl, marry the girl” is disappointing, and some of the puzzles and game design is downright obtuse (the breakable rope bridge in particular).  And the mish-mash of fantasy tropes and settings made this new land just as bewilderingly ambiguous as the one from the first game.

I heard that players who agreed with the game’s shortcomings made a fan remake of the game with more story and puzzle improvements.

Still, I will say that it’s not a bad game overall.  The humor, when it comes in animation or text form, still has the ability to elicit a laugh or two.  Several obstacles have a couple of different solutions, which is great.

I think I’m going to put a bookmark in my King’s Quest journey right there and start a new poll for the next game of this playthrough series.  Thanks for reading!

Posted in Best of Bio Break 2013

Best of Bio Break 2013: MMOs

bestThe Best of Bio Break 2013 is a series of “end of the year” lists that talk about various forms of entertainment that I enjoyed this year.  They’re not awards, but they are ranked.  Each entry doesn’t have to be something that came out this year, but merely something I encountered this year.

TSW_Issue_6_insertSo let’s jaw about MMOs today whynot.  As I’ve mentioned a while back, it wasn’t the most thrilling year if you were just looking for majorly anticipated AAA releases.  We’re kind of in an “in-between” period marking the span from Guild Wars 2/Star Wars: The Old Republic and the upcoming crop of EverQuest Next/WildStar/The Elder Scrolls Online (among others).  This meant that 2013 saw generally smaller releases, but still a respectable number of updates and expansions.  Here’s what I enjoyed playing most over the year.

1. The Secret World

No big surprise here, right?  I’ve been playing TSW non-stop since launch and its unique approach to MMOs and compelling setting have made it irresistable for me.  I love the adventures of our Monday evening crew as well as my own journey through the game.  I feel like I’m coming out of the year with a much better grasp of the game’s intricacies, and I really can’t wait for Tokyo to release.

I don’t think there’s ever been another MMO that’s both frustrated and delighted me on the scale that TSW has, and I’ll take that conflicting experience over safe, predictable titles any day.

2. Guild Wars 2

While right now I’m on a sabbatical from Tyria, I’m not going to ignore the fact that I spent a gob of time in GW2 over the year.  It’s still one of the best jump-in-and-jump-out games on the market, not to mention one of the most beautiful.  I’m still of a somewhat negative opinion of its living story approach, but the rest of the game provided me with hours and hours of fun.  Big thumbs up to some of the feature additions, such as LFG, the achievement panel, and the currency wallet.

3. Lord of the Rings Online

LOTRO didn’t begin the year well with me at all.  I very nearly burned out on this game about five or six times, especially toward the final months of Wildermore.  However, the expansion has been a great ride so far and rejuvenated my interest in the game, so I’m heading into 2014 with my horse head held high.


RIFT, I think, will be one of those games I’ll keep coming back to over and over again.  There’s so much to like here, yet it’s still lacking that “sticky” element to keep me around for more than a couple months in a row.  Great F2P transition, I must say — one of the best out there.  I’m glad that it won’t cost anything to visit again.  I did enjoy going through Storm Legion on my Cleric, although I felt it was a little too long and missing some of the distinctiveness of the earlier zones.

5. Neverwinter

This has been a very strange title for me.  I was looking forward to it a lot — so much so that I had a bi-weekly column for it at Massively for a while — but my interest crashed about a month after launch.  However, news of module 2 got me back, and I’ve been playing it very regularly for a month now.  For what it is, this game is a pretty fun ride — an MMO without a lot of the baggage that I see elsewhere.

Other mentions:

  • Star Trek Online got me back for a little while around its expansion launch, but I wasn’t feeling it this time around.  Not that the changes were bad or anything; quite the opposite.
  • Fallen Earth was pleasant to revisit and part of me really wishes I had the proper time to devote to this game.  But I’m just not going to play it halfway, so to my recycle bin it went.
  • Marvel Heroes is a pretty good Diablo clone that’s still floating around on my desktop.  I even logged in the other week to play Rocket Raccoon, because what other game lets me dual wield pistols with a garbage-eating pest?
  • World of Warcraft got a time-limited trial revisit or two, but… yeah, it just reaffirmed that I’m done with this game.  And that’s OK, we’ll always have the Deadmines.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic tempted me back with the expansion, but man this game wore out its welcome with me.  As good as the stories are, when you hate the classes and the combat mechanics, it’s not worth the pain.
Posted in Nostalgia Lane

King’s Quest II: Enter… the DRACULA

(This is part of my journey playing through King’s Quest II: Romancing the Throne.  You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

asd1Two doors down, one to go!  Geez, why is everything in video games always about the threes?

So it’s time to face my destiny, and by that I mean “cross the poisoned lake by any means necessary.”  Fortunately, I have my magic carpet which… no, that’s gone.  Hm.  Well, at least I have the favor of a winged steed who owes me a big… what?  He left?  But couldn’t King Neptune… no?  Fine.  I’ll pay this stupid boatman.  Hey Death, how’s it hanging?

Actually, in a happy twist, the cloak-and-ring combo I’m sporting has “fooled” the boatman into thinking I’m “someone else.”  Uh… who exactly?  A renaissance fair groupie?  Whatever, he gives me a free ride across the lake to the castle in the yonder distance there.

asd2Poison!  My one weakness!  Oh King’s Quest II, you are a clever one.

But will your cleverness be able to withstand… MY MAGICAL SUGAR CUBE?

No, I think not.  I’ll be passing these brambles now, thank you.

asd3“This situation looks bad” is my middle name.  My last name is Jones.  So, to recap, Graham This Situation Looks Bad Jones.  That’s me!

Please, gentle readers, do not be frightened by the terrifying images above.  Hold my hand and we’ll get through it… together.  I guess my disguise fools them too, because they go away. Drat.  Thought there was going to be an awesome Ghostbusters easter egg here.

asd4So here I am, just kickin’ it up in Dracula’s castle.  Because, really, why wouldn’t Dracula be neighbors with a Christian monk, Red Riding Hood, and King Neptune?  WHY ISN’T SOMEBODY MAKING A SITCOM OUT OF THIS GAME?

asd5I’m going to fast-forward through some of the more boring adventure game bits in Dracula’s castle, such as navigating a circular staircase, finding a candle, lighting the candle, going down more stairs, stealing ham, etc.  Long story short, here’s Dracula.  He’s sleeping.  I’m going to kill him ten ways from Sunday.

asd6Woo!  I am the champion… of the wooooorld!  Buffy has nothing on me.

Here’s where the game gets tricky.  I grab that key, but I have to look back into the coffin, take out the pillow, and find yet another key.  Two keys here.  I can’t imagine just grabbing one and then wandering around the game like a fool with no idea where the other one is.

I’m really not a fan of Dracula’s castle.  For one thing, there are just way too many stairs going on here, and you can fall off of just about all of them.  Before I leave, I climb up to another tower, unlock a chest, and find… a tiara.

A tiara?

A tiara!

Sorry, that had to be done.