+thegoldenband Posted November 23, 2009 Share Posted November 23, 2009 (edited) As the subject says, I just defeated the first Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game for Intellivision, aka Cloudy Mountain, on the hardest difficulty setting ("Hero") for the first time. Quite a rush! For those who aren't familiar with it, it's a 2D cave/dungeon exploration game (with overworld navigation) that visually resembles the Apshai games et al., in that each room is only revealed once you first enter it. But the RPG elements are minimal -- there's no leveling up, point system, or treasure per se, and your character only employs a single weapon. It's not quite an arcade title either, though combat requires fast reflexes. Instead, the focus is on managing your supply of arrows, planning the best way to Cloudy Mountain, and especially, on paying attention to the visual and audio cues that tell you what monsters are nearby. If anything, you're more of a hunter-tracker than a warrior. The result is almost like a cross between Gateway to Apshai, Hunt the Wumpus, and Dungeons of Daggorath for the Tandy CoCo (in that the audio cues are crucial). Here are some tactics I found useful. These are all relative to the "Hero" level, and might differ on easier difficulties. Learn to recognize which droppings/tracks are associated with which creatures. Skulls usually mean a reptile (snake or dragon) is in an adjacent room, while Y-shaped tracks connote a demon, and little dots (scat pellets?) mean a rat. With a little deduction, you can sometimes figure out where the enemy is, and shoot them without ever seeing them. Similarly, learn the characteristic sounds of the different monsters (some are silent). Before you enter an untried room, stop and listen for a few moments, since snake and dragon sounds are intermittent. Not sure where a sound is coming from? Try scrolling that area off the map, and see if the noise disappears. If so, that's your source. If you're heading into an unknown area, be sure to ditch or kill any nearby bats, since not only do they get in the way, but the flapping of their wings will cover up enemy noises. The pattern seems to be that each cave system will have three strong enemies, plus a smattering of spiders, bats, and blobs. Gray caves, for instance, seem to have two rats and a snake; blue caves have two demons and a dragon; and red caves have two snakes and a demon. If a tool item is present, one monster will guard it, while another guards the exit. Always go to a gray cave first, and visit any others you uncover, so that you can build up your supply of arrows with a minimum of risk. Don't bother with the purple caves -- they're too dangerous, and you can usually find some way around the gates. The manual claims that red (axe) cave complexes are harder than blue (boat) ones, but given that the dragon is by far the most dangerous enemy in the game, I'd rather face the snakes. Because of the way the Intellivision controller works, you can't shoot and move at the same time unless you hold a controller in each hand, using one to shoot and the other to move. However, that two-fisted approach leaves you unable to run, since you can't really work the disc and hold the side buttons at the same time. One fun approach is to play with a friend who handles the shooting for you, but otherwise, it's best to play with one controller. From time to time, you may need to lure an enemy away from whatever they're guarding -- typically a stash of arrows (when you're out of them), or the exit (if you're hurt and need to bail). If you hold down the "run" button, you can outrun rats, and your running speed is the same as a snake or demon's, so you can sometimes trick them into following you and then getting caught up on a corner. Don't bother running from the dragons, they'll catch you easily if you try. When approaching a room, do so via the straightest possible passage, especially if you think there's a strong foe in there. If the hallway is curving, back up and find a different angle of attack. The dungeon wraps around in all directions, so there's always a way! On a related note, if you suspect there's an enemy in the next room, it's almost always worth it to fire a trial shot in that direction as long as the hallway is straight. That way, if it connects, you have time for a second shot before the monster crowds you. These "blind shots" are pretty much the only way to defeat the winged dragons at the end, which take three hits. You can try to use the ricochet to your advantage as well, but I found it too unpredictable and dangerous. When you first enter a dungeon, in the split-second as the dungeon walls are being drawn in, sometimes you can catch a glimpse of a monster in a nearby room. Use that information to take it out pre-emptively! If a blob takes up residence in the room where you first enter the dungeon, be sure to lure it to a different room. Otherwise, if you lose a life, you're apt to rematerialize right on top of it, and be killed instantly. If you're in dire straits and have no arrows left, you can always try making a beeline for the exit. It doesn't matter what damage you take en route, as long as you make it out alive, since you're healed completely as soon as you return to the overworld. Make sure to have at least 10-12 arrows before entering Cloudy Mountain. You'll need at least six of those for the winged dragons, plus some more to take out any annoying bats or spiders. If you use your ears, it's easy to figure out where the dragons are, but you'll have to shoot quickly to kill them before they reach you; once they do, you're done for! Anyway, I had a great time beating AD&D, and I hope this thread inspires someone else to give it a spin. Despite its limitations and flaws (especially the blob-death thing), I think it's a terrific game that plays to the Intellivision's strengths. Sure, the demon looks more like an evil bunny (or an insect-man with clown feet), but generally the graphics and sound are quite effective, and the game feels fair. Plus I appreciate the fact that the game has an ending/can be "beaten" and doesn't go on forever, yet it's got plenty of replayability thanks to the (literally) random terrain. It's tough on the hardest level, but with careful play and a bit of luck, it can be done. So that makes the second Intellivision game, after Space Battle, that I've beaten on the hardest difficulty level. Now playing Tower of Doom on Waif level, that's a whole 'nother kettle of fish...that game's hardest setting is beyond brutal! Edited November 23, 2009 by thegoldenband 12 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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