Labyrinth of the Dead (2) – How to Kill Adventurers Via Negative Status

Sorry that this is horribly belated; I played through Labyrinth of the Dead a few days after my last post, but once again I’ve taken a long time to get this written out. Labyrinth of the Dead doesn’t have all that much for me to talk about, and I’ve gotten used to being verbose from the last few areas. All in all, it’s just very difficult for me to finish writing up.

So, here I am again at the Labyrinth of the Dead, on the tenth underlevel. I can't go outside this room right now, but I'm here already.

So, here I am again at the Labyrinth of the Dead, on the tenth underlevel. I can't go outside this room right now, but I'm here already.

Fooling around aside, it’s an easy matter to get down to the fifth underlevel; I spent a few minutes longer than usual on the holy water purification floor, as I had determined to get through without using the map. I ‘died’ about three times consecutively on one jump, being completely unable to see both the ledge I was jumping from and the ledge I was aiming for, but otherwise the total ‘deaths’ numbered less than I expected.

Did you know one casting of Earth Javelin (with Extend Spell in effect) is all you need to take out Dullahan and his minions?

Did you know one casting of Earth Javelin (with Extend Spell in effect) is all you need to take out Dullahan?

As expected by this point, the first part was no challenge whatsoever. The second part is where things begin to get interesting. The first thing anyone’ll notice is that the Labyrinth becomes distinctly Egyptian-themed in its second part; coffins disgorging the undead are still a fixture, but here they’re replaced by sarcophagi mounted on the walls, which open to release mummies, rather predictably. Some of the maps are even painfully complicated; the rest are rather straightforward, but sometimes it’s relieving to be able to get lost even with the map.

Half of the areas here aren't even conventionally-accessible. You MUST fall through traps to get to them.

Half of the areas here aren't even conventionally-accessible. You MUST fall through traps to get to them.

There are no less than three different varieties of mummy; ordinary white-bandaged mummies, red-bandaged mummies that may be a little stronger, and a single gold-bandaged mummy guarding some rather nice treasure… but more about that later. There are also things that look like zombies but move as quickly as the evil undead monkeys – apparently ghouls – from the first section, large knight-like enemies with red crosses on their shields, and two-dimensional shadows that throw off spells. Oh, and the purple ghosts from the holy water area return with… very little vengeance, as they’re horribly weak compared to everything else the area throws at you.

I remember everything in this area as being somewhat tougher when I came here as an Elf, but…
Well. Okay. I’m playing a Sorceress. Our schtick is supposed to be casting spells. We’re supposed to be good at resisting magic, great at casting magic, and mediocre at best at doing anything else. Even with a legendary weapon, I should not be one-hitting all but one enemy in the area, without the buff. Level 190 is probably overlevelled for this place but aside from going through the Old Palace twice and the Ancient Ruins a couple of times, I haven’t been doing much extra exploration with the Sorceress. The only reason this area remains a challenge to explore at all are the status effects most things can throw at you – I counted poison, drain, silence and paralysis this time around – and the traps.

Oh, yes. The traps.

Oh, yes. The traps.


Labyrinth of the Dead actually has effective traps. You don’t notice them coming of you don’t expect them – and it’s been years since I played so I’d long forgotten them – and they usually dump you in the middle of a pit full of enemies with a not-totally-obvious exit. If the enemies here were actually challenging, I’d have a problem, but as it is the traps are still very inconvenient, necessitating climbing back up. Again, in the cases where you fail a jump or forget to jump or have no other way out. After a while you’ll probably start to get paranoid about everything in the area.
This? Trapped.

This? Trapped.


It’s unfortunate that most of the later traps were designed by whoever put together the traps in the Old Palace and the Palace of the Immortals, but this level is pretty entertaining.
There is, however, one big mystery, here. Among the Souls.

This is somewhere around the... 7th or 8th Underlevel, maybe the 9th. I don't remember exactly.

This is somewhere around the... 7th or 8th Underlevel, maybe the 9th. I don't remember exactly.


Does anyone have any idea where this small passageway is supposed to lead to? The name is reminiscent of the boss area in Old Palace, ‘Among the Summoned’, and slgihtly further in it had ground similar to the sections of floor that lowered when you push a block onto a switch, but I couldn’t find out how to lower this section to get through. It’s not necessary to solve the area, as I completed it after skipping whatever this is, but there’s probably treasure there and I hate missing things out like that.

The boss! The Lord of the Dead, who has dominion over the souls of the dead, or… something. The guy responsible for the infestation of the undead in the crypts here.

'Honour your ancestors or else we'll eat you'? That's probably not the right reason to respect them.

'Honour your ancestors or else we'll eat you'? That's probably not the right reason to respect them.


Remember that underlevel in the first part, where you had to let the undead IN to progress? I’m figuring that’s his work – the zombies trying to get at the altar crucifix were probably his, also, but once he realised they couldn’t actually touch the thing, he probably just had a minion or two lock the way onwards and deeper unless the grave robbers or adventurers, or whoever disturbed the rest of those lucky enough to be interred on that specific underlevel, shifted the thing for him. The deactivation of the holy water purification plant was probably his doing, too; if the souls of the dead become monsters he can control when left impure for a long-enough period of time, then disabling the holy water production would ensure him a lot of minions and/or guardians, given patience.
And he’s a lich. He has a lot of time to fill. Taking out the holy water plant was probably the start of the infestation, as that would likely be responsible for keeping all floors purified, not just the single underlevel. Also probably the only entity in the Labyrinth that can write, so he may be responsible for the signs dotted around the place, too.

So. Bleh. The boss. As interested as I am outside of a fight with him, the battle is just… sheer pain. It took three attempts, and I was never able to hang around for long enough to learn all of the attacks he could do; he’s the deadliest yet. Whilst the other second-part bosses tended to defeat me through slowly-whittling my character down or never giving me a break to recover HP and MP, the Lord of the Dead fight is all about praying you don’t get hit with status effects. He took three attempts to beat, and I was rather close to death at the end of the third, anyway.
He comes accompanied by two purple ghosts, two zombie/ghoul halflings, and two or three Dullahans, responsible for some of the status effects thrown about during the fight, so it’s a pretty good idea to deal with them quickly.

Status ailments you can ‘acquire’ in the course of the fight:
Poison. I think this was a Dullahan’s fault. It was also the first ailment I got struck with, and had me cursing ditching the Cure Potions in order to take a Sol Crown earlier on. Then I died, started over, and got hit by the following bunch in subsequent attempts, which made me feel better about that.
Confusion… maybe from a chest trap, but nasty all the same. Today, I learned that you can’t cast spells whilst confused. I somehow managed to outlast this status with only 50 HP left, and then he threw Chaos Flare on me rendering all my effort for naught.
Silence, the doing of one of the purple ghosts. I knew they could throw this about from earlier in the region, but considering how long any status takes to wear off naturally, in here it was a threat.
Slow. The Lord of the Dead has the Fairy spell, yes. This is probably the best thing you could get afflicted with, as it doesn’t slow you as much as Paralysis does, and doesn’t directly do anything nasty to your stats or health. The spells everything throws about in the fight are the ones normally hard to dodge, anyway.
Drain from the Lord of the Dead, and this is probably the only situation where you can’t just laugh it off and keep hitting things. At least Poison only gradually reduces your health; this will completely destroy your offensive capabilities, no matter what class you are. The purple ghosts can probably do this to you, too.
Berserk, probably the Lord of the Dead again, and his eyelasers. This is probably bad for a spellcaster, but as I was confused at the same time, I didn’t get a chance to see what it’d do to my spells.

I’ve got Curse in my head, now, but that list up there is from the attempt at writing this report post-boss, and I don’t think I’d have left it out of the list if it had happened in that fight. Hmm. Maybe I got hit by Curse elsewhere in the area?
Well, Curse is just nasty to contract for a Sorceress. We’re MP-fuelled and usually turn pathetic without our spells.

The Lord of the Dead acts like an Archmage from the Old Palace; he floats, making himself difficult to hit in melee, and he casts spells fairly frequently. Unlike the other Sorcerer-type boss in the game, the Lord of the Dead is actually pretty resistant to physical attacks; I was only able to do around 50 damage to him unbuffed, rising to around 100 buffed. He may have been resistant to Holy; sensible, but odd considering nothing else in the area has that resistance, and he’s presumably undead himself.
On the other hand, with Extend Magic, Blaze does around 300 damage a cast to him, or more if he dodges back into the path of the flames after invincibility wears off. The best tactic for any character is probably to go entirely on the offensive; the longer you hang around in the fight, the more chance you’ll get hit by one or more negative status effects. The minions are a huge threat in this one; the Dullahans can Poison, the ghosts can Silence, and the zombies that act like ghouls can… I don’t know, but they can probably do something to you. The ghosts can also cast Dark Wave, and multiple Dark Waves in effect make it very difficult to dodge anything else.

Special Bonus Content!
…because I don’t particularly want to make this any longer, and I’ll go over loot in a later post.

So, throughout the various screenshots that actually made it into this post, you may notice my character went through several colour-changes; this wasn’t just idle screwing-around. As you may know, the save-icon for any game in Blaze & Blade is a tiny icon of your character’s face, and it naturally differs depending on your character’s class and gender. It also changes slightly depending on your selected colour.
So, whilst running around with the Sorceress, I hit all the savepoints in the area whilst switching colours, and used MemcardRex to export the save icons.

1

1


2

2


3

3


4

4

After going to all that effort… I think the first and second alternate colourschemes are pretty nasty – the blue-haired one doesn’t have enough variation in the colours of her clothing, and the brown- or yellow-haired Sorceress is just a rather nasty set of shades. The basic colouration and the third alternate are my favourites, despite my usual dislike of pink in favour of blue.

Labyrinth of the Dead (1) – It Went Better Than Expected

In which the Sorceress takes on the Labyrinth of the Dead, condemns a formerly-untouched area to the predations of the living dead, saves a ton of lost souls to make up for the karma loss, and deals with something that has haunted her nightmares for a long time.

So I'm not sure why these screens deliberately avoid the better party members to use in most areas.

So I'm not sure why these screens deliberately avoid the better party members to use in most areas.

So this is a post I’ve been procrastinating about since… last summer or so. Back when I started writing these posts, part-way through the game; I think I’d just started picking up Blaze and the rest of that set of spells. I’d tried taking on the first part of this area just so I could write about it, and ran into a couple of serious problems.
This attempt went better.

– The Labyrinth of the Dead –
The underground crypt where the dead of Foresia are put to rest.
The dead which have been touched by unholy sorcery wander freely in the crypt…

So, undead. Zombies, evil undead (?) monkeys that move really quickly, assorted swordsmen of the undead, demonic and evil human (?) variety, ghosts that act as a cross between the Palace of the Immortals ghosts and any given wisp, and the odd Slime or two. This is the place that Turn Undead was made for… but I’m not playing a Priest.
I’m playing a Sorceress with a Holy-element weapon that hits for around 220~ damage unbuffed. Fun.

Not so much a puzzle as an opportunity to really annoy the other player.

Not so much a puzzle as an opportunity to really annoy the other player.


This isn’t really the multiplayer puzzle/skill-test of the area, unless holding down a button whilst someone else picks up treasure is a skill. There’s no way for the person inside to open the door if it closes, just like one of those really poorly-designed walk-in freezers that Nickelodeon’s live-action shows loved using as a plot device. Oh, and the player holding the lever can’t fight anything whilst they’re doing that… but, honestly, not a problem as having the door close on the person inside doesn’t actually kill them.
Unless the person at the lever dies; that’s essentially a delayed game-over in a situation like this. Good thing this is one of the first rooms in the area, and that most people who turn up here won’t have gotten very far at all.
Incidentally, I’m not sure whether that’s a locked chest or a green chest. This whole area, annoyingly, has very low illumination for anything that isn’t an enemy or a player. Whilst it’s not overly apparent at this point, later on it gets troublesome for me, as the monitors I use won’t display the area brightly enough to compensate, unlike the TV I used to use.

Approximately half the coffins on the first level will throw zombies at you, save that one that throws a skeleton, instead.

Approximately half the coffins on the first level will throw zombies at you, save that one that throws a skeleton, instead.


Atmospherically… I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, or tried to in that long-lost procrastinated-out-of-existence post, but I remember this area as being slightly better than it is here; that music was omitted in a certain area before a certain event happened. Even without that, this area does better than the rest for cultivating a given atmosphere; better than Palace of the Immortals, anyway. It’s by no means great at horror, but it made a spirited attempt.
Though, once again, I’m annoyed by the highlighting of quest objects. It’s visible through a container, which takes the fun out of the first underlevel.

Iunno about paranoia, but she's talking to herself.

Iunno about paranoia, but she's talking to herself.


The second underlevel is another of my favourite areas in the game, though I do swear I remember there being no music until you activated something.

Who put this sign there? Who set up this sadistic puzzle?

Who put this sign there? Who set up this sadistic puzzle?


It is also, on reflection, one of the more… uh… hm. It’s one of the more mean puzzles in the game. I don’t mean to the player; you get an unlimited amount of time wandering around the open areas sans harrassment from the living dead until you solve it, and there are no environmental hazards lurking in the area. You can’t die on this floor if you haven’t started on the puzzle, unless you happen to be poisoned and unable to heal yourself in time. I mean, it’s mean on the part of the players. This is a pristine level of the Labyrinth of the Dead, almost entirely untouched by the horrors and abominations that stalk the rest of the complex, and to move onwards a party of adventurers has to deliberately break what protection the place possesses.
I have my theories about why this puzzle is here, but I’m keeping mum about them until I deal with the second part of this area. For now, it’s worth nothing that the only enemies you encounter on this floor – pre-completion of the puzzle – are four zombies in a fixed spawn, hovering around an object you need to take. Kleptomania FTW?

Nice job breaking it, hero.

Nice job breaking it, hero.


So, with this floor defiled, one of the doors blocking the way onwards will open up. Not the obvious one, though, but one of the side doors. I don’t know whether you can ever open up the first locked door on this floor.

The third underlevel… ugh. Okay, the point of this floor and one attached mini-area is to repair the catastrophic loss of karma from the second underlevel and ensure you don’t get a meteorite dropped on your head as soon as you step outside. On this floor, you get to save a bunch of lost souls by repairing the holy water purification plant. I’m not sure why they can’t pump that water throughout the entire place and purify all of the undead hopping around, but I guess that wasn’t in the original specifications of the place.
Bad design, not accounting for the possibility that an ancient unliving horror might take up residence in your mausoleum.

Probably the darkest room in the region. Not as irritating as the not-quite-as-dark area about to come.

Probably the darkest room in the region. Not as irritating as the not-quite-as-dark area about to come.


Now, I never used to hate this area until I started playing on a computer monitor rather than a TV; it’s the puzzle in this portion of the Labyrinth that requires the most walking about to complete, and hence the most time even if you know what you’re doing, but it’s nowhere near as bad as the Palace of the Immortals. The bulk of the process is finding and fixing the problem in the holy water purification area, which involves boiling out the contamination in the water. Apparently the place was made so that the process of making the water holy and hence forbidding the infestation of the place with the living dead can be… uh… switched off.
Another bad design decision.

Some of the 'ground' here is really a bottomless pit where you will certainly drown. Can you see it? I can't.

Some of the 'ground' here is really a bottomless pit from which you will never escape, as you will drown there. Can you see it? I can't.


The reason I hate this area is… I can never see the safe areas in the water, here, until the area’s puzzle is completed. On the TV I could crank the brightness up far enough to be able to distinguish ‘safe’ from ‘unsafe’, but the brightness is already at maximum here, and I still keep needing to check the map every few steps to avoid surprise drowning. It doesn’t help that the holes all have steep slippery edges, either. It’s only the usual amount of falling/hazardous-ground damage, but getting around is time-consuming whether you attempt to avoid it or not.

Easily-spottable if you use the map frequently, but it'll catch you by surprise a few times before you start doing that.

Easily-spottable if you use the map frequently, but it'll catch you by surprise a few times before you start doing that.


The water in each of the purification rooms brightens considerably once you start boiling the impurities away, but the main area’s water doesn’t actually clear until you’ve visited and activated all of the purification columns. Until then, it’s either exploiting the lamps in the ceiling, which show you the floor or lack-thereof beneath the water when you look through their small aura of light, or constant checking of the map.

I still spent far too long doing this, though.

I still spent far too long doing this, though.


Clearing this floor makes most of the ghosts on the third underlevel disappear, having being freed of their mortal bounds or something like that. Going back to the priest-ghost will open up the way onwards.

There isn’t much of anything on the fourth underlevel for a single player; there’s an unlocked treasure chest, and Dulahan/Durahan/Dullahan, the boss with more alternate spellings over multiple games than Griffin/Gryphon, and that managed to kick my butt ages back when I was armed with Blaze and a blessed robe rather than… well… a blunt stick and a hand-me-down from an ordinary sage.
Neckless Dulahan isn’t much of a challenge… unless you’re wearing anything with Holy element on it. Then he becomes a living nightmare capable of killing you in short order. That’s what happened last time.
This time he was wimpier due to the aforementioned all-powerful holy blunt stick I’ve been using recently.

Seriously, though, Durahan is a dull boss; he’s essentially a larger version of the evil skeletons that throw directional shockwaves at you. He has greater range than them, has more HP, will dodge and attack faster than they do, and has the standard boss AOE debuffs to attack and defence.
That’s all. He doesn’t do absurd damage unless you wear armour with Holy element on it, or get caught out by one of his flurries of quick attacks that he does occasionally. The fight is more of a headache due to him turning up accompanied by four of the aforementioned skeletal mini-hims, which make dodging things slightly more difficult due to their directional-shockwave attacks being thrown into the mix.

Him beaten, the last things on the floor are an entire area accessible only to two people working in concert, and the ways back to the surface and further down if you have the Sagestone and enough jewels. The whole area took much less time than I expected, and it shouldn’t be troublesome at all for me to reach the entrance to the second part if I leave here, so…

Loot

[Weapon] Flame Rod
Flame Rod [Weapon]
[At.34, Fire.12]
[Fai]
1 of the 4 given to the elven king by a dead king.

[Weapon] Poison Rapier
Poison Rapier [Weapon]
[At.26, Poison?]
[Elf]
A rapier which poisons anyone it wounds.

[Object] Holy Orb
Holy Orb [Object]
[All]
Orb of holy power.
(Activates Barrier)

[Accessory] Cross
Cross [Accessory]
[Holy.10]
[All]
A holy cross which protects against all spells.

Flame Rod is, like the Earth Tiara and the seasonal cloaks, an item that tells the player about the existence of a set of items with similar traits; in this case, a bunch of weapons with elemental properties. For a Fairy, I suppose this particular one means they’d no longer need to cast their fire-element buff on themselves if they need this kind of damage, but it’s not something to take to the volcano.
The Poison Rapier… well, I’m guessing it’ll cause poison status on your enemies. That’s a good thing, if you want to use hit-and-run tactics, but I’m not sure whether bosses would be immune or not. Either way, I can’t use it.
It’d be nice if the Holy Orb had a Holy-element attack spell in it, but you can’t have everything, I suppose. Barrier is a Priest spell that I don’t yet have with the Priest I’m using for multiplayer with Llama; it apparently creates a barrier to ‘protect against spirits’, but I don’t know whether that stops them from approaching or attacking you, or reduces damage from them, or… what. I’ll test it out when I go back to the Labyrinth, though, as that’s there it’s most likely to be useful.
Finally, the Cross. I know what the description says, but it doesn’t actually improve your Magic Defence. As it’s available for 12 Fate Coins from the Knight, it probably has some non-obvious reduction to spell damage, like the Tiaras do for their respective set of elements. Note the Holy element – whilst I picked this up in the Labyrinth of the Dead, it’d be a very bad thing to equip there, as most of the enemies have Evil-element attacks, and I’ll take more damage for the holiness on this thing. According to the Item FAQ – awesome thing, pity it’s no longer updated – the Cross just protects from Curse. That’s nasty on a magic-user, as your MP constantly reduces under its effect… but I didn’t cast any spells save Teleport during this trip, so it’s a little pointless.

Item of the Day

[Object] Cure Potion
Cure Potion [Object]
[All]
Restores the body.
(Slowly restores status)

Okay. This is important.
This is a Cure Potion. It drops off most poisonous enemies, and very frequently from the evil undead pink monkey things in the Labyrinth.
This is how you cure poison status, and other bad statuses by extension, but this is really the worst unless you’re a Sorcerer, Priest or Fairy and get hit with Mute in a boss fight. When facing a boss that can cause the Poison status – both the Labyrinth of the Dead and the Palace of the Immortals have bosses like that – this is a life-saver. Granted, carting these around mean one less slot for loot, but you don’t get to take anything back if you die.
Anyway, I didn’t need these today, but it was about time I posted another item like this. I’ll probably be needing them whenever I go back.

Spell of the Day

[Spell] Earth Javelin
Earth Javelin
[Sor, Elf]
MP: 45
Command: X ∆ □ O X O
Power stone pellets rain down on the enemy.

So I was looking through my spell-list when I went to the Labyrinth and was wondering what spells I hadn’t touched since getting them. Most of the second- and fourth-level spells, for example. It’s understandable that I never used this one much before, though, as it’s the upgraded form of Poison Cloud, one of the least-damaging spells available. Okay, so it and the other maintainable spells are probably more efficient on MP than the spells that simply cause all their damage instantly, but the longer an enemy is alive, the longer it can hurt you, and if you stand around waiting for a cloud of poisonous gas to take them out, they’re going to have a lot of chances to hit you. However, this spell is awesome for one- no, two reasons.
First, it’s the only fifth-level elemental attack spell that doesn’t require hitting two keys simultaneously. Even with a gamepad, getting that to register as ‘simultaneous’ is a little hit-and-miss, and half the time the spell never takes effect. The game is picky, and the casters are punished.
Second, this spell has one of the most inaccurate description of all spells in the game. It doesn’t fire anything at the enemy, and nothing gets dropped on anything. Rather, this is that spell that caused all the spikes to pop up from the ground around Behemoth; it’s a caster-centered AOE that persists for long enough to hit things multiple times, and it hits a reasonable area around the Sorcerer, not the tiny little area that Smash hits.
So it’s easier to cast than the other spells of its level, costs about the same as all but Freeze Beast, and aimed properly will hit everything on the screen. Except maybe flying enemies. I don’t know whether it respects that. The key thing is that I won’t have to attempt casting it three times in a row before I finally get the game to recognise the command.