Saturday, 29 December 2012

Necromantics (MS-DOS)

Necromantics dos title screen
I think it's supposed to be Necromantics, not Necromantics. No vampire love story in this one.

I'm certain I played this game years ago, but I only have the vaguest memory of it. Something about an invisible wizard with white gloves. I couldn't even remember the name, I just saw the box sitting in a shop the other day and thought 'YES, THAT IS THE MISSING PIECE OF MY PAST!'. So I'm eager to find out what it actually is.

The game begins by flicking through the novelization of the intro, showing these two brothers having a desperate fight over the hand of a fair maiden. Surely she can't be that fair if she's willing to let her future fiancé be determined by mortal combat.

In the end it was the evil brother who won, banishing the good brother's body elsewhere. Presumably without him being in it.

To be honest, I think it's a better look for him. He's lost that nasty jumper for one thing. And fortunately it seems that his magic ghost or whatever still has enough physical presence to wear his hat.

Holy shit HE'S WALKING OUT OF THE BOOK! Wait, that makes no sense at all, he'd be tiny.

Anyway it says I need to enter each castle room and regain the good brother's body. Hopefully before the wedding. Damn, it just occurred to me that this is one of the first times I've played a game where the damsel in distress is actually the hero himself. The fair maiden definitely doesn't seem in any need of rescuing, she's not bothered who she marries.

at your own risk...
What, MY own risk? Don't get me involved in this crap, I'm just the player.

an invisible magician wearing a high hat white gloves and shoes
Okay, I've hit gameplay. And it even comes with a handy in-game clock so you can tell how long I've been playing, and catch me out if I try cheating with the screenshot order.

I'm playing as a disembodied top hat and white gloves, stomping around a dungeon in smurf boots. I can walk in any direction as much as my little strip of of floor allows and I'm able to jump on things. Jumping on the barrel solved nothing though, so I moved on.


54 SECONDS OF SCREWING AROUND LATER.


Right, I'm guessing that this is some kind of puzzle, but I'm not sure what I actually need to do here.

I tried jumping off the petrol barrel to hit that switch, but he won't jump far enough. I tried pushing the barrel over, but he can't push barrels. So I tried pushing the candle over to the barrel, but the magician just exploded and lost a life. So much for being intangible.

You'd think the answer would be 'use the magic wand, idiot', but nope, there is no magic wand button. I pressed every button on the keyboard, then even checked the manual to be certain. The magic wand is apparently just there make it clear that he's a wizard, because otherwise you'd never know.

I left the switch puzzle unsolved for now and moved on to the next corridor, which is filled with these instant death bugs. Fortunately I think I've figured out the trick to this one. There was a chair, I jumped on it, and now I'm being carried across to the other side of the room!

The third room has way too many dancing swords around for my liking. You'd think they wouldn't be much threat as our misplaced protagonist isn't actually physically here. But nope, a sword attack is instantly lethal and sends me back to the start of the room.

Well this turned out to be a dead end and there's nothing here but a switch I can't reach and a door I can't open, so I'm totally out of ideas. Well unless that potion on the shelf behind me is actually something I can use and not just part of the scenery.

Drinking the potion triggered a magical vision showing that it has levitated that petrol barrel back in room one! I... don't see how this helps me at all! Full marks for showing me exactly what had activated instead of making me guess though.


ONE SHORT TRIP BACK THROUGH THE SWORD AND BUG ROOMS LATER.


I thought I might be able to reach the switch from up here, but accidentally dropping the petrol barrel onto the candle worked out just as well.

The fallen petrol barrel was replaced with another platform giving me a way to reach the switch! My reward: two gems and a potion. What the gems are for I've no idea (it's not like I have a score), but the potion changed the swords over in room three into moving floating platforms.

Which means I've got to go back through the bug room!


ONE TRIP TO THE THIRD ROOM ON THE WALKING CHAIR TO JUMP ON THE NEW FLOATING PLATFORMS TO FLICK A SWITCH WHICH ACTIVATED A PLATFORM WAY BACK IN THE FIRST ROOM REQUIRING ANOTHER JOURNEY BACK ACROSS THE BUG ROOM VIA CHAIR TO USE THE PLATFORM TO REACH A KEY WHICH THEN OPENED A DOOR ALL THE WAY BACK IN THE THIRD ROOM AGAIN WHICH I OF COURSE JOURNEYED TO ON THE AFOREMENTIONED BUG ROOM TRAVERSING SEAT ONCE MORE LATER.

Right, now I'm done with those three rooms forever, and I'm stuck in another set of nearly identical rooms instead. This seat doesn't walk by the way, it's one of those mundane non-ambulatory chairs you sometime see around, but it might give the height I need to reach that shelf.

Also I found a little bunny rabbit! Perhaps knocking that mysterious carrot off the shelf will have some influence on him.

Giving the carrot to the rabbit turned out to be an excellent investment. My new floppy ear'd ally hopped over here and helped me get another key.

What's more fun that's floating across instakill spikes on a tiny platform? Floating across on a pair of tiny platforms that fade in and out of existence in turn! Gotta jump between platforms at the exact moment that the next one's about to materialise or else I'm taking a trip back to the start of the level via a painful spiky death.

Well it's nice to see the rabbit's back and doing okay, but I don't think he can help me here, not unless he can jump up and reach that middle switch. I'm sure there must be something I've missed in one of these rooms that'll get rid of these spikes.

Oh, turned out there was this tiny lever hidden on this wall down here, back in the room where I picked up the key. Alright, time to go back to the spike barrier to see how my rabbit's doing.

Oh no... the poor bunny! Such a senseless tragic death, and for what? Two gems and the key to the next area. Well okay that key is pretty damn important. Bunny you did not die in vain!


LATER.


The puzzles are getting a bit weirder now, with giant magnets and beachballs. Also either our non-corporeal wizard is tiny or that poor skeleton shackled to the wall is bloody huge. Looking at the archway I'm going to presume the former.

Hmm, three platforms and a large weight hanging over a wasp. You know, I think I might have figured this one out already.

Oh shit, it was a trap! The platform dropped me into an instant fiery death.

You know I don't mind so much about these unfair traps, as the game's about working out puzzles as much as it is about tricky platforming, but I wish they'd scrapped the limited lives. I could get around it by loading after every screw up if I wanted to anyway, so it's just a pointless annoyance.


EIGHT MINUTES OF PUZZLE SOLVING LATER.


Okay, this is new. I've got to remember to look at the shadows as I can't judge the depth by looking at the flames. Got to look at the shadows!

Oh cool it was a dead end. Nice skull though. Right, I guess I'll go walking back through all those fireballs again I suppose.


SOME BACKTRACKING LATER.


Well that explains the gems at least!

Though every time I walk in here I get immediately shot in the... space where his face used to be. Obviously there's something I've missed. Again.

Well there's the switch I need to flick, a single leap away from that shelf.

I managed to line myself up with the pillars despite having no possible way to judge their depth, and was a mere hop, skip and jump away from reaching the shelf... but the pillar I'm standing on here instantly crumbled beneath me. GAME OVER.

So I guess his ghost died then? And thus the wizard's body was never found. Though I suppose it must be in this place somewhere. Maybe the fair maiden came back to the castle from her honeymoon to discover it was lying lifeless on her sofa the whole time, staring back at her with cold dead eyes and an ugly red and yellow checkered sweater. Still it could be worse, she could find her pet rabbit crushed to death in the basement.


This game is a total bastard, but it's a likeable one somehow. The kind you put up with because it amuses you sometimes. It requires a lot of very fast, very precise jumping, some trial and error, and luck. But hey, it kept me moderately entertained for 31 minutes and 57 seconds, so it can't be all that bad. I still don't know what any of this has got to do with necromancy though.

3 comments:

  1. This game looks like it tried to be funny and scary at the same time.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey, I've been searching for the full version of this game, but I found nothing. Could you please tell me where did you get yours from?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a lucky find in a second-hand shop, so I can't be much help to you. Sorry.

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