(This is part of my journey going checking out Pool of Radiance. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)
Before heading out to the slums, our party decides to kick back at one of the many, many taverns that this mid-range town provides. More taverns here than Seattle has Starbucks, but this is D&D and to be expected.
The second I walk through the door, a pickpocket tries to grab my gold. I grab him instead and a fight breaks out. My first of the game!
WHAT IS THIS MADNESS.
Geez, there’s like 30 people springing up for a fight, all heavily armed. This is the battle screen for Pool of Radiance, which is nice for positional attacks and moving around, but not really my favorite approach for a turn-based CRPG. At least there’s an option to set each of my characters to “quick,” which I guess is auto-attack. My whole party goes down but since this is just a brawl, I guess we didn’t die. We don’t get any XP, but we do (for some reason) get gold.
Two observations. The first is that Pool of Radiance is for the most part a completely silent game apart from occasional moving sounds and attack noises. It’s ugly and sparse in the audio department, is what I’m saying. Second, this interface is the same that was modified to use in Neverwinter Nights, one of the first graphical MMOs.
My party, unconscious to a man, somehow runs away from the city watch and bangs on the door of the Temple of Tempus (the Redunancy of Redundants). The priests say they can heal us, but at a cost. Seriously, it’s a bill of over a thousand gold, well more than I looted, so at this point I just load a saved game and pretend that fight never happened. La la la.
The “slums” look more or less the same as the town I just left, but I guess I should be afraid. Basically, the area is a massive outdoor dungeon segmented into rooms. Let’s clear this baby out!
“Nobody expects the… Kobold Inquisition?”
Hey, at least the portraits are animated!
This is the cheeriest “game over” screen I’ve ever seen. So obviously, the fight did not go well. Again. We got thrashed by a half-dozen kobolds, only taking one down in the process. I love how right after this screen appears, the game dumps you out completely as if you aren’t even welcome to try again.
Obviously, I need to learn how to play this better; I feel like I’m functioning with one arm tied behind my back. Maybe my party needs gear? Or I need to micromanage more? Navigating the menu screens is such a huge pain, though.