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.

Blaze & Blade (2): Boss Musings

…huh.
You know, I distinctly remember the Griffon/Gryphon/creature-of-so-many-spellings – the boss of the Valley of White Silver – being tougher. As a Sorceress, the only problem I had was in keeping out of the centre of its wind-buffeting attack – which deals multiple hits. The whole fight took only… two Healing Potions, and both free Healing Pins. I’m around level 70-80~, and fought the whole thing with Blaze, though a decent amount of time was spent running in circles to let my MP recharge.
Still love the music, though.

I know I’m some way away from level 100, still, but I’m thinking about how to take on the Kraken – bossing around the lizard men and wyverns at the Ruins in the Lake – at this point, or at least when I can survive more than two hits and have a full stock of healing items. Blaze doesn’t work all the time as it’s subject to gravity, and the head, unlike tentacles, seems to have a habit of moving randomly out of reach after the spell’s cast.
Plus the range isn’t brilliant, leaving me a sitting duck for splashes of water, and the dreaded Blizzard spell, when casting. Lightning Bolt will probably be the spell of choice for my next attempt – unlike Blaze and Blizzard, it only affects a more-or-less straight line, and the slightly-random nature of the spell that occasionally has it curving around enemies I want to hit (…maybe, could just be poor aim) makes it less than ideal, but the range of the spell is unbeaten as yet, and it’s piercing. If push comes to shove, I could maybe sit behind the spell-tablet-rock and throw lightning at it until it cries.

…also, on the subject of items, Blood Extract is annoyingly described. I always read the description as filling HP back up to maximum.
Not so! It increases the maximum HP of the character using it. Which is brilliant, but if you’re counting on it for healing in a boss fight, you may end up in trouble.

Blaze & Blade

So I got Blaze & Blade working, emulated. I swear it runs better on the computer than it did on my Playstation, back when that was still functional.

I’m currently trying to run through the areas as a Sorceress, as usually I tended to go for and Elf, Priestess or Rogue.
Sorceresses are… versatile. They don’t have much in the way of physical strength, and their weapon generally has a very poor range, but that’s more than made up for with the magic they have access to; the first set of spells alone has fire, lightning, water and earth element spells, functioning at varying ranges and not costing enough to even dent a character’s MP. Oh, and an attack self-buff, in case none of those elements work.
The second level has a more offensive spells – Light, Dark – another self-buff for hitting stuff (Enchant Weapon), and… Magic Missile. Functions just like you’d imagine except it’s always just one projectile; it moves very quickly, it’s homing, it flies, and it doesn’t actually deal elemental damage, in case you run up against something tough against all elements.

Know what I dislike?
Any enemy that can throw off the Magic Missile spell in Blaze & Blade. The first thing that killed me and forced a game over was a blasted goblin mage in the Wood of Ruins. Magic Missile does PAINFUL damage when cast by any enemy, and it’s very difficult to dodge.

…so, yeah, I’m stuck trying to beat the Dark Elf in the Tower. Every other spell he uses is negligible, so long as I keep moving. He just gradually wears me down with Magic Missile each time.

Man, I missed this game.