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Gold Box I played the NES port of Pool of Radiance for a bit; this game is terrible

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Roguey, Dec 4, 2019 at 5:23 AM.

  1. Roguey Arcane Sawyerite

    Roguey
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    I tried to play the DOS version years ago but couldn't get past the blob-movement with the tiny window. Fortunately the NES port has a nice big window right in the center of the screen, which made it a bit more palatable.

    [​IMG]

    Sure, it comes with its share of dumbing down/streamlining. I couldn't make my own characters; I had to choose from a lengthy list (you still roll stats though) and only up to five. I find the removal of ammo management and the integration of journal entries into the game itself a plus. I didn't get two attacks per round with bows like the rules say I should, but I can't remember if this was a feature in original Pool of Radiance or not, and I can't be bothered to reinstall, roll new characters, buy bows and arrows, and get into a fight to test it out.

    Unfortunately the port did not improve the experience by including the Fix command. The interface is as clunky as ever when it comes to buying and selling equipment, training characters, memorizing spells, etc. I was also annoyed by how equipment stats aren't viewable in the game itself, but I managed with my metaknowledge of AD&D.

    On the subject of metaknowledge, it would be obnoxious to go through this without looking at maps from a guide, particularly when it comes to quests where you have to clear out a map of all enemies. So much step by step walking, so much mandatory backtracking.

    The incredibly miss-heavy combat at the beginning demands the constant use of sleep to Win just to make it tolerable. This results in a massively degenerate fight/rest cycle. Additionally, while "random encounters will disappear after you kill a fixed amount" sounds good on paper, this also encourages a degenerate playstyle of intentionally triggering them (I found out accidentally that leaving search mode on makes them far more likely because moving to a new square takes ten minutes instead of one) and then backing off to a safe area to rest.

    It's utterly absurd how you can pay just 5 gold to fix yourself up to your heart's content at an inn (when you're not resting outside for free) but a single casting of cure light wounds at a temple costs 100 gold (!!!!!!!!). Phlan needs a Jesus figure to come down to the temple to take on the money-changers, these guys are ripping everyone off.

    It's also lousy how being poisoned makes you incapacitated and the only thing you can do is drag the character to a temple and pay 1000 to cure it. Though of course I didn't do that, I just reloaded. It's also a drag how there's no way to buy any kind of potions or spells; furthermore, potions don't stack, and each character can only have 8 items in their inventory (including the stuff they're wearing) so an inventory can get filled up quickly.

    As for combat content, let me put it this way: out of the 24 mandatory fights you have to go through to clear the slums, only two provided a challenge. That's a terrible ratio. The other areas I cleared had far fewer battles, but they also weren't providing enough of interest. There were just two more battles I liked in the rest of what I played (which was clearing Sokal Keep and the library, and eavesdropping on an auction which didn't involve combat at all but wasn't particularly interesting). The most I can say in its favor is that I like how enemies will surrender when it's clear the battle is lost (when can this feature come back?).

    [​IMG]
    Typical PoR encounter design right here.

    I don't see the point in playing any further, I imagine the combat and backtracking are only going to get more obnoxious. Perhaps there may be an area or areas later on that will lock you in to prevent degenerate resting, but who cares? Scorpia was correct to call this a boring meat grinder. The crpgers of the 80s and early 90s must have been hard up to play anything resembling a role playing game to tolerate all of this and all the other same-engine clones. The potential was there, but it appears as though no one actually did anything with it. "Strategic" indeed.
     
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  2. Gregz Arcane

    Gregz
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    It was fun at the time...when I was 10
     
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  3. Desiderius Found your egg, Robinett, you sneaky bastard Patron

    Desiderius
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    The tiny window doesn't really matter since all combat takes place on the Iso tactical screen. You've got to remember that a lot of us had text MUDs and Zork and the like before Gold Box, so even that was a real step up.

    My first Gold Box was Death Knights of Krynn, which we started out playing five dudes taking turns at our frat house. Later that year I put together my first PC and got my own copy of DKofK and it was great (especially the Easter Egg dungeon in the NW corner). Picked up Pool after that and all I remember was feeling a marked sense of relief/accomplishment reaching level 2 (which is how Gygax intended and something missing nowadays, although I think P:K was going for something similar before having to back down). I feel like things get a lot smoother by midgame? It was competing with Ultima VI, Super Mario 3, and Legend of Zelda and still held my interest, so couldn't have been awful. Enjoyed finishing all of them.
     
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  4. Jacob Hey, it's me, I Patron

    Jacob
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    Video games peaked in the early 2000s.
     
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  5. Life Coach berd Patron

    Life Coach
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    Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy
     
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  6. Unorus Janco Lurker

    Unorus Janco
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    Pool of Radiance is a fine game, but I think it's extremely overrated by both D&D fags and idiots who praise it only because it's an old tacticool game (which is what you do when you crave for those KKKs). Not that it's bad, and more power to you if it's your favorite game ever, but come on, this is not the the pinnacle of the eighties.

    The eighties offered way more than this. Games like Wizardry, Might and Magic and Dark Heart of Uukrul were way better designed, Ultima, Wasteland and Sword of the Samurai were more ambitious and forward-looking, and so on. Right now I'm playing Dragon Wars for the first time and I'm having a blast, this game combines the best of exploration-heavy turn-based blobbers with more modern role-playing concepts from Wasteland (the Purgatory certainly reminds me of the Mortuary from Planescape: Torment, with its many optional ways to escape, from bruteforcing through the main gate to finding ways to disguise yourself if your characters are skilled enough).

    But seriously, go play Dragon Wars, I can't believe how underrated this game is.


    Edit: When talking about RPGs, nothing beats the 1987-1993 period, with 1992 being the most prolific year ever. Your beloved late 90's and early 00's aren't even close. But the goldbox games are just as overrated as the Infinity Engine games.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019 at 7:41 AM
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  7. Desiderius Found your egg, Robinett, you sneaky bastard Patron

    Desiderius
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    That's like going to a colonial village and complaining about churning butter. 80% of Pool is understanding its importance in the progression of game development. Play the PC version, Roguey. That console pic looks like crap. Pics of the PC version are readily available via search and are far superior.
     
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  8. ManaJunkie Learned

    ManaJunkie
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    You´re fucking right! One of my all time favourites. Underrated as hell.
     
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  9. Butter Erudite

    Butter
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    So a little overrated, but still great? Good to know.
     
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  10. Grauken friEndly mUrderpUmpkin Patron

    Grauken
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    Looks neat, I'll put it on my list of things to play
     
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  11. Kyl Von Kull The Night Tripper Patron

    Kyl Von Kull
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    Roguey gotta take issue with one of those tags—Baldur’s Gate was NOT the first good D&D CRPG. Dark Sun: Shattered Lands was very good when it came out and it holds up a lot better than the gold box games.
     
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  12. Norwood Detective Barely Literate

    Norwood Detective
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    The problem with Dark Sun: Shattered Lands is that it is way too easy. Almost all of the fights require no thought whatsoever.
     
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  13. Roguey Arcane Sawyerite

    Roguey
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    I've played it and it does, but even fans agree that other than the final battles (which are a huge spike in difficulty), it's really easy. I am also channeling Lilura here https://rpgcodex.net/forums/index.php?threads/what-isometric-rpg-to-play.115206/page-2#post-5112357 https://rpgcodex.net/forums/index.php?threads/dark-sun-vs-baldurs-gate.124749/page-2#post-5883469 https://rpgcodex.net/forums/index.php?threads/dark-sun-vs-baldurs-gate.124749/page-2#post-5883637

    Knights of the Chalice is the Dark Sun experience done better.
     
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  14. Sigourn Arcane

    Sigourn
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    Poor of Reidiarance!

    Show Spoiler
    Cute spritework!
     
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  15. Dramart Literate

    Dramart
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    Bad game. Every building/house it's the same, and it's akward to play. Your characters miss a lot, making battles boring and long.
     
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  16. Unorus Janco Lurker

    Unorus Janco
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    RPGs released in 1992: Darklands, Ultima Underworld, Wizardry 7, Realms of Arkania, Ultima 7 (decline, but still good), Clouds of Xeen, Quest for Glory 3, and 3 Gold Box games, among some other titles of more dubious quality but not necessarily bad (Amberstar, Spelljammer, Warriors of the Eternal Sun, The Magic Candle 3, Waxworks...).

    No other year can compete with this sheer amount of high quality titles, with 2 of them at the very least qualifying as masterpieces. The so-called golden age was truly golden, and Lilura is never right.
     
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  17. Darth Canoli Liturgist

    Darth Canoli
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    Just don't multi-class any character, don't max stats and we'll talk, the game was made in a different era where players chose races/classes for the fun of it, not because they wanted to play a team of demigods.
     
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  18. Red Panda Best New Codexer of 2019 Patron

    Red Panda
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    I really couldn't care less about Goldbox games.
    There i said it.

    Edit: Dark Sun maybe
     
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  19. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    I first played this in 2016, and enjoyed my playthrough.

    I used Gold Box Companion to make the interface less cumbersome, which improved my playthrough quite a lot (streamlining in the good way).

    The random encounters became a bit tiresome later on, and yes most of the fights you go through are 20 goblin meatgrinders, but overall I enjoyed the game. It still holds up well enough if you like turn based D&D combat. ToEE and KotC are better, sure, but within the context of its time PoR is pretty damn great.
     
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  20. Desiderius Found your egg, Robinett, you sneaky bastard Patron

    Desiderius
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    I remember being very excited by Dark Sun and satisfied by the experience. Not then nor now a min/maxxer so don’t remember it being a faceroll. In contrast Pools of Darkness was a slog.

    IIRC, Dark Sun interface seemed groundbreaking (UI hidden except for icon in the corner).
     
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  21. Desiderius Found your egg, Robinett, you sneaky bastard Patron

    Desiderius
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    Now do level two.
     
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  22. Dramart Literate

    Dramart
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    Why would I do that?
     
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  23. Desiderius Found your egg, Robinett, you sneaky bastard Patron

    Desiderius
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    You said (foolishly) bad game, not bad level. If you want to beclown yourself you're always free to do so.
     
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  24. Dramart Literate

    Dramart
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    Ok, I hurt yer feelings. It's a game from your childhood. Maybe it's not that bad, since a lot of you enjoyed the game. I will change the adjective I used, it's too archaic to my taste, and I don't think the game will get better at level two. Moving through the map is confusing, even drawing a map. Maybe the battles will get better, but I don't think so.
     
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  25. Grauken friEndly mUrderpUmpkin Patron

    Grauken
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    How cute, a newfaq saying something edgy to show he's a philistine, what a novel thing to do
     
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