The Abandoned Mine (1) – Underlevels 1 to 5

I never posted about this place the first time I visited. That’s probably because I visited before I got into the habit of writing about each region, but it’s also because this place is so utterly hellish for casters, with many sleep-loving magic goblins, other monsters with powerful physical attacks, poisonous snakes and scorpions, and not much room to dodge or run from stuff, that I eventually gave up and went to Old Palace to level there, instead.
…well, I ended up returning here after failing to beat Dark Elf a couple of times. Lightning Bolt is a nasty spell to face. So I eventually beat this place before Old Palace, but only by a little.
THIS time I’m going here first, as I might as well write about the first part of this area sometime.

The Abandoned Mine is the remains of an old mine.
Way to state the obvious, whoo.
From the old man’s comments in the inn, I think it was abandoned relatively recently; that is, not centuries ago, like some of the ruins in Foresia, but within a generation or two. I’m not sure what they were mining FOR; maybe magic crystals, maybe iron, maybe coal.
Being a mine with what are probably gas… braziers, rather than an ancient ruin with magitech lighting, it’s pretty dark in there. Up until solving a certain puzzle that provides a little more illumination, which doesn’t last long, it’s next to impossible to tell when you’re walking up to a ledge and are about to drop off out of sight. With a TV you can just fiddle with the settings; with an old computer monitor, like the one I have here, it’s habitually set bright as possible by default, so I have no salvation there. I don’t even have this problem with the Ancient Ruins, so you can see part of why I dislike this place.

This area, like most others, has favoured classes; I haven’t mentioned it before, but certain areas are just built around the abilities of a certain class or two. They help access extra areas, or solve puzzles. This area likes Fairies, for extra loot at no damage, and Dwarves, for a quicker solution to a puzzle. The Abandoned Mines just brings it to mind as, early on, there’s a chest you can only access by either taking damage, or having the Levitation effect… automatic on a Fairy, bestowed by a Fairy spell, or bestowed by an item that, annoyingly, can be picked up from this chest.
I don’t know how Fairies do on conveyor belts, but there’s definitely more damaging floor later on in.
Other areas… off the top of my head, Valley of White Silver doesn’t really have a class in mind, structure-wise, that I noticed. The Wood of Ruins loves Hunters, and it’s the only place they get any love. I’ll be returning to everywhere else at some point, so I’ll address good classes for the other areas there.

This being a mine, there are the obligatory falling-rock hazards; when you first come here, getting hit by one of these can be a one-hit kill. It was for me, and they still deal more than creatures in the Valley of White Silver or the Wood of Ruins ‘Holy Land’ do. The rocks fall regularly and always in the same spots, marked by shadows, but with the trouble I have seeing in the area, it’s easy to miss those if you haven’t played in a decade or so.
You wouldn’t really expect there to be general falling hazards, but there are more chasms to avoid than boulders. Chasms make more sense than eternal rockfalls, but… why are there either? Tight passages would be even more annoying, and the game has a problem with certain walls and blocking view of the ground.
This being a abandoned mine, you also have to contend with random junk left lying about, such as wheelbarrows, barrels, crates and carts. You can push them about and jump on them, but there isn’t a point where you need to do that, I think. Other than the interactive junk, you can also spot discarded shovels and pickaxes on the ground. Nice touch.

Oh, yeah. I hate bats. When I first arrived at the Abandoned Mines, I didn’t yet have Magic Missile. The one weakness of the Water Bullet spell is that it can’t hit flying enemies. Bats are a more annoying version of the Beetle from Wood of Ruins, as they tend to spawn more in groups, rather than singularly with other enemies. Bats are the reason I gave up and went to Old Palace, instead. Beetles can spawn in groups of four or six, too, but that’s relatively rare. Bats always seem to turn up in large numbers, whenever they appear.
Of course, this time I can tap out the code for Magic Missile and fry the blasted things. Hee, this is fun.

There’s a two-players-or-more puzzle on the third underlevel, in the area with the waterfall and pier. See the sparkle on the pier? That’s a key, but if anyone tries to take it, the pier will collapse, leaving whoever went to get it on a piece of wood floating towards the waterfall. Falling into the water makes you drop the key, even though you reappear miraculously mostly-unharmed by the ordeal a few seconds later.
Whilst you’re (un)happily floating towards watery oblivion, the other player has to get to a switch that lowers a bridge for you to jump onto. There are stone platforms in the water; it might be that the other player has to go across those to stand a chance of getting to the switch in time, or to stay on screen and not pull you off the raft. I don’t usually play multiplayer, but I think that’s how it goes.
Most other main areas also have mulitplayer puzzles. The Wood of Ruins has a barrel-and-knives game. Remember Pop-Up Pirate?
Yeah, that. ‘cept you’re the pirate. Or your unlucky friend. All these puzzles give a decent amount of loot, though I think the Palace of the Immortals puzzle also opens a shortcut.

Another minor touch:

Grand Miner Recruitment!
The Opportunity – wouldn’t you like to become a miner?
A bright workplace, a fulfilling occupation and amazingly high wages – enough reason for you to change your vocation.
Details in personal interview.
We’re waiting for you!

A recruitment poster for miners. In a mine. I don’t know whether that’s supposed to be an old and
redundant poster, or a modern ‘hey, adventurers, you’re down here! You
like mines, don’t you?’ kind of thing. Either way, it’s amusing.
Rebecca says: Nobody’s buying it…

Announcement of lost and found.
The following objects have been found.
Would the owner please report.
Suntan lotion, fishing pole, flower pot for sunflowers, sundial, paintings from the south…

Someone wasn’t cut out to be a miner, hm?
Rebecca says:

Then there’s the area with the huge chasm, floating platforms and quicksand pit on the fourth underlevel. That’s the one area that really doesn’t make sense in a mine. It’s also the one main obstacle to my theory that the actual mine is recent, rather than ancient.
There’s a healing circle over the quicksand pit, if you can negotiate the platforms.

In that area, though, there’s an raised platform over a hole. There are several pieces of pushable mines-junk sitting on the raised area. Pushing each item off, one-by-one, nets you a message, and a guaranteed enemy spawn. One enemy for each item… until the last one, that really pisses off the person below, netting you five enemies to avoid.
Semi-secret… unless you’re like me and love messing around like that. This is a decent source of experience, as snakes, scorpions and spiders give a lot for this point in the game, and otherwise they tend to spawn in an awkward area, normally. They ARE powerful enough to kill in a few hits as a Sorceress, however, so it’s always worth being careful.
Plus, I always like annoying the thing below. Or the mostly-absent narrator. Whatever it is.

The area’s first boss is a Baby Dragon, one of the smaller mid-bosses; larger than Dark Elf and Dullahan, but smaller than the Owlbear and Behemoth. About the same size as the Weretiger and Werewolf bosses from Palace of the Immortals. A mid-size mid-boss?
Anyway, like any self-respecting dragon, it loves using its fire breath on you. It has the standard mid-boss attack and defence debuffs at short range – perhaps one length of its own body. Other than that, it charges at you, and attacks normally.
Unlike Behemoth, this boss is pretty challenging; the Baby Dragon is aggressive about staying in range to attack you, and moves pretty quickly; you tend to get charged and clawed a lot, in this fight, and don’t get much of a chance to rest up, so you’re dependent on whatever healing items you still have hanging around. All of its attacks are fire element, but it’s not likely you have anything that adds resistance against that, right now.
Fighting the thing was always a matter of trying in vain to avoid it, and praying my Healing Pins held out once my potions ran dry. NOW it’s easy, but…
Well, there’s something interesting about this boss, but I’ll go into that later.

Beating the Baby opens the way to an elevator out of the mines, but it doesn’t stay on subsequent visits. I have a lot of new loot, so I’ll take that back to the surface, and take a break for the moment.

Loot

Luck Talisman
Amulet that brings the wearer good luck.
[Lck.32]
[All]
“Now that’s quite a little treasure you’ve found there.”

Fine Axe
A very fine axe forged by great smiths.
[At.29]
[Dwf]
“Now that’s quite a little treasure you’ve found there.”

Silver Gauntlets [Accessory?]
Beautiful gauntlets crafted from silver.
[At.10, Df.10]
[War, Dwf]
“Now that’s quite a little treasure you’ve found there.”

Dragon Scales
Supposedly wards off bad luck and misfortune.
[Df.12, Lck.16]
[All]
“Now that’s quite a little treasure you’ve found there.”

Resist Ring
Protects the wearer with mysterious powers.
[Mdf.16]
[All]
“Now that’s quite a little treasure you’ve found there.”

And that’s not counting the discarded or ignored stuff, like the silver medal, boots, shield, and what I think may be a guaranteed piece of armour. The chest containing a medal – Bronze, Silver or Gold – is the one inside the fence that you have to jump to reach, on the way to the water for the flask. The possibly-guaranteed piece of armour can be found by going straight from the first chest on the fifth underlevel, rather than heading left and up to the boss.
All in all, the mines are pretty generous for chests.

Is it just me, or does the Luck Talisman look like a Dragonball Radar?
The medals. I’ve always gotten them in the same order – Bronze first, then Gold if I ever went to the chest again. And now Silver. I somehow didn’t pick it up the first time, but I’ll take it with me when I visit for the deeper trip.
Oh, and… yeah, Earth Jewels, from yesterday, aren’t useful. Using one eats up MP like the spell itself, needs you to hold a button for the effect to continue, and doesn’t do much damage anyway. Even if you weren’t a spell-using class, you wouldn’t want to use it for long, for risk of running out of MP and being stunned.

Item of the Day

Protect Ring
Protects with strange, mysterious powers.
[Df.16]
[All]

Counterpart to the Resist Ring listed above, I picked this up the first time I ran through the mines. 16 points in defence is nothing to laugh at, especially combined with a shiny new robe found nearby. I’ve been using this since the mines the first time, but it’s now being traded for the Dragon Scale, as I have all of 1 point in Luck at the moment, and it’s only a drop of 4 points defence.

Spell of the Day

Water Bullet (Sorcerer/Elf)
MP: 3
Command: X ∆ X
Waves form on the ground and attack the opponent.

A medium-range water-element spell, with both piercing and knock-back effects. I should probably explain what I mean by those; piercing means that the projectile doesn’t die out as soon as it hits a single enemy. That it will go through all enemies until it reaches the limits of its range, or hits a wall. Knock-back means that it will knock an enemy it hits backwards.
Having both of these on a single spell makes that spell very powerful,
as the wave of water first hits something and causes damage, then knocks the enemy
back… then hitting the enemy again, as it’s still in range of the damaging wave. I’ve seen this spell hit a single enemy five or six time in a single casting, causing damage far above what any first- or second-level spell can do. Get lucky and it’ll match Blaze.
The first spell learned by a Sorcerer, costing a whole 1 MP more than
Fire Bullet, Water Bullet will happily serve as primary offensive spell
until you start picking up the third-level spells. Design-wise, this probably wasn’t intended, but as a physically-weak Sorceress, at level 92 it can still make an excellent replacement for the pitiful range of a wand.

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1 Comment

  1. BB said,

    September 24, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    awesome write ups of the levels
    i was wondering about that dead end in the valley of white silver myself… not sure though


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