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Completed Let's play Azrael's Tear - Redux

Discussion in 'Codex Playground' started by Guido Fawkes, Jun 4, 2012.

  1. SerratedBiz Arcane

    SerratedBiz
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    But this do I counsel you, my friends: distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful! They are people of bad race and lineage; out of their countenances peer the hangman and the sleuth-hound. Distrust all those who talk much of their justice! Verily, in their souls not only honey is lacking.
     
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  2. kargard Novice

    kargard
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  3. Guido Fawkes Defensor Fidei

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    Alright, I should post the next update in a few hours.
     
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  4. Guido Fawkes Defensor Fidei

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    This is a curious little part of the game. Most people who play it without a walkthrough get locked here. Funny, because considering the game lore, this is the easiest and most obvious part of the game. The player has to fall to death... as long as he avoids the spikes down there all will be well.

    It does require a bit of trial and error though. On one of the planks there is a dagger(last part of the statue puzzle). I pick it up before jumping.

    [​IMG]

    Okay now, here comes the leap of faith:




    [​IMG]


    To die and to rise again, like a glorious phoenix!(no homo) Only problem is that the ms7 rifle broke in the fall... the raptor is now defenseless against whatever faces him.

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    Ok, now that must be the grail.

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    It is! Finally!

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    Knowing this place though, the raptor takes a deep breath before picking it up. It does activate a trap and you must scram pronto.

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    At last! The grail is at hand. But as expected, part of the floor gives in turning this into a mess of a maze.

    [​IMG]

    And then the roof starts coming down, ready to smash the raptor. The solution is to run as fast as possible and to make handy use of the map provided by Geffrye.

    [​IMG]

    There is an opening on the roof that is descending. The raptor has to navigate the maze quickly, without falling, and stand right beneath the opening.

    [​IMG]

    Success!

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    Follwing the door to the north lands the raptor on a stone platform that slowly starts to rise...

    [​IMG]

    And lands right inside the ziggurat.

    [​IMG]

    The raptor opens the door to the northwest, the one that leads to the cathedra. Well, it is almost time to leave this God forsaken place! But before that, I will head down to the crypt and solve the statue puzzle(which is completely optional). Since we already have all the parts, why not? This is supposed to be a complete LP after all.

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    A hidden compartment with messages appear:

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    Time to move on. This ellaborate door with the 4 shields carved is now opened(it required the placement of the all 4 shields in the alcove at the orrery)

    [​IMG]

    It leads to another maze/labyrinth room. Oh shit, Tallum is there. Guarding the passage against thieves no doubt.

    [​IMG]

    Where is the elephant gun when it is needed? The poor raptor doesn't even have the standard MS7 handrifle anymore! Luckily, as the raptor proceeds down, an old acquaintance of Tallum shows up...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]No, not you Claude... as God is my witness, I am contrite. No! Keep back! Do not force me to fight you!


    And they struggle, until both of them fall in the depths of Aeternis.


    [​IMG]

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    Now the path is clear. Too bad for the two tortured knights I guess.

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    Moving on to the north eventually Geffrye appears.

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    [​IMG]Ah, you have succeeded! I too! I have successfully stolen Tobias hidden piece of Grailstone. Come, follow me, I long to see the stars once more!

    [​IMG]

    The raptor follows him.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]Come with me!

    MS2 is detecting two people in the room, sure enough, Tobias appears and ends the party.

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    He just gives the raptor a mean stare and leaves. Has he conceded defeat? Anyway, the raptor aproaches the dying architect to hear his last words.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]Oh God! I feel the centuries pouring into my soul! It hurts! Oh God... it hurts! The stars... the pain of not seeling them after all this time... they were so bright! You must go now, holy thief... Tobias may have fallen prey to insanity, but the prophecy was truth...your aspect is right... go on... take the Grail to mankind... take it...

    And the poor guy turns into dust. A thousand years in a few moments is a tough break.

    [​IMG]

    Good night sweet prince.

    [​IMG]

    The door unlocks with the grail.

    [​IMG]

    Holy shit, 3 years have passed outside? Fucking Grailstone. Crazy stuff.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Mission accomplished! Free at last! Enjoy the ending:



    What can I say. Anti-climatic, isn't it?
     
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  5. Guido Fawkes Defensor Fidei

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    Ok! Back at the stone head room now. Since this LP will show the branching path of following Tobias and also the two possible bad endings.

    [​IMG]

    Same thing as before, only this time the raptor shows Geffrye the middle finger and goes to the door to the right, just as Tobias urged.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] It seems to me that Tobias wouldn't spend all those years preparing the test only to destroy it at the end. I don't believe you.

    [​IMG]I too am astonished by this revelation, but you must believe me! I overheard Tobias telling Lurka the semantics of a new vision that sees him as head of a templesein order that wil last 1000 years and not only conquer this world, but go out amongst the stars and dominate others also!


    ...

    [​IMG] No. I think I will take my chances with Tobias.

    [​IMG] Very well! I must hope then that another one will reach this place and have common sense! I wish you good fortune. You will need it.
    [​IMG]

    And he leaves... with the door locked. Time to follow the bidding of Tobias.

    [​IMG]

    The raptor is now facing a long maze. It is filled with lethal escorpions. You can run quickly to the other side here or simply shoot them down if you have enough ammo. I do the first to save time.

    [​IMG]

    Done!

    [​IMG]

    The raptor is now back at the grain silo, which is now flooded. MS2 detects both a human and the enormous water monster in here. Time to proceed with caution!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Jack! The brave scotsman is using the dead dinosaur as a raft of sorts and is here to lend a hand!

    [​IMG]Hello again my friend! We seem to be in a fine pickle now! Maybe working together will get us out here. Hold on just a second.

    He starts rowing towards the raptor, but unfortunatelly "Cthulu junior" shows up and takes him for lunch.

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    Brutal... At least now the "dinoboat" or whatever is staying right in front of the broken path and the raptor can use it to get across.

    This area is huge and the monster is around. One wrong turn and the raptor joins Jack as the next piecemeal of Sasha. The trick here is to reach the northwestern corner of the maze and wait a bit... a lump of the creature will start showing up just as it did at the docks.

    [​IMG]

    And just like in the docks, there are a number of ways to make it go away. Since the raptor already used Oisin's amulet, the options left are to throw ink or acqua fortis(a strong acid) at the thing. I choose the later.

    [​IMG]

    Now the raptor is free to move on without being eaten!

    [​IMG]

    These double doors take the raptor back to Geffrye's studio. Crossing it the raptor can get back to the ziggurat... and that is it. The rest of the game plays out much like it would if you had followed Geffrye. Except for two differences:

    - Instead of going straight to the exit door through the chapel, the raptor must cross the aqueduct area and get past a boobytrap involving a saurian.

    - The ending is slightly different: Geffrye is not waiting for you with stolen grailstone and you don't get that cutscene with him and Tobias.

    Now, for the bad endings:

    You get the first one by following that last corridor up north. Obviously it is hard to get it if you followed Geffrye(being that he shows you the way and all).



    You finally meet "Warren". Tobias has decided that he is actually to be the holy thief and for that... he must kill the raptor and steal his outfit.

    The second one you can only get by choosing Tobias path. If you follow the hint of that Cobweb note that told you to head straight to the right, you fall into the trap:



    Philip has decided to take the grail for himself and betray you with the assistance of Lurka. Guess that is it!
     
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  6. Guido Fawkes Defensor Fidei

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    PLANNED SEQUEL

    If the damned cliffhanger of an ending isn't enough of a hint, a sequel was planned for this game. As you must know, this game flopped quite badly. The engine required state of the art hardware to run and was far from perfect. Not only that, but it suffered from poor marketing and was released in the same month as Quake was!

    The sequel would have obviously featured a big showdown between the now established "New Order of the Knights of Solomon" and Malik. Whatever he has been doing since he escaped Aeternis in the 18th century with a bag full of mined Grailstone, it is hinted that he intended to build an army of engineered monstrosities and perhaps also wished to seek a new source of the material.

    According to Richard Guy(lead designer), the sequel would have explored the origins of Grailstone and its effects further, and would have featured "all kinds of implications explored regarding two-edged swords and tough choices and political changes wrought by the grail".

    Unfortunatelly it will never happen and that makes the ending even more unsatisfying. All the folks behind this are no longer working in the gaming industry and have no plans to come back. Even if they had interest in a sequel, the game is too underrated and quite unfairly somewhat forgotten.

    "ANCIENT BYZANTINES"

    A lot of people make a mess of this... really, the Templars called the mysterious ancient civilization that inhabited Aeternis that way simply because of their medieval mindset. Archeology was not a big thing in the 11th century you know.

    As for what exactly was this civilization, again it was the intention of the writer(Ken Haywood) to leave it off as ambiguous. The way they are presented in the game I always figured them for some lost civilization that had a big influence in the mesopotamiam region. "Maal" sounds to me like an obvious twist on "Baal", and there is off course the ziggurat found in the game and a lot of similarities. Geffrye calls them "Babylonians" and mentions the tower of Babel in his thoughts about the underground ziggurats for it.

    Another possible guess would be Atlantis. These people did a lot of globethroting and had ruins in the middle-east and Scotland, after all. Richard Guy suggested this: "Ken and I might differ on this, but I saw the “Byzantines” as perhaps related to the Sea Peoples who toppled the Old Kingdom in Egypt, or the Minoans – a group older than Constantine’s move to Eastern Rome. This was all going to be explored in the sequel."

    GRAILSTONE

    The developers presented it in the game in an ambiguous manner on purpose. It is up to the player to interpret it. Pretty much every person who plays the game has a different take on it. Its nature and origin would have been explored in the sequel.
     
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  7. SerratedBiz Arcane

    SerratedBiz
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    :salute:

    A most glorious endeavor in a most worthy (and apparently underappreciated) game. It's a pity the engine seemed to have limited the game so much; it's not precisely horrible (some visuals, like the cathedral's, were particularly good) but it might've made for a much cleaner and faster adventure game had it followed a prerendered 3D path like Myst.
     
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  8. kargard Novice

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    Bravo. Nice gime, pitty about the sequel not happening.
     
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  9. Guido Fawkes Defensor Fidei

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    It was originally set to be that way, you know. Then the developers decided to try the state of the art technology and innovate... but I don't know. Real-time 3d and its limitations back then might have been the cause for some of the game's best features. The ms2 hud, for instance, was probably implemented when the devs realized that the graphics by themselves wouldn't set the mood and provide enough information. The game relies on text heavily and it is ultimately one of its strongest points.

    The engine they had was not competitive, and as Richard Guy put it, Quake came out about the same time and created a new industry standard for real time 3d overnight. Maybe in another dimension this was released with Myst style graphics and was a success, I don't know.

    The only mainstream adventure outlet to give this game the time of day is justadventure. They have a glowing review of it and it is also the top liner on a "most underrated adventures ever" list they have. The faggots on adventuregamers don't even have a review of it! So yeah, it is extremely underappreciated. It was the first brainy horror adventure and was probably the precursor to games like Penumbra and Amnesia(being the first FPS real-time 3d adventure and all).
     
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  10. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Great LP, thanks for it!
     
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  11. lightbane Arcane

    lightbane
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    Awesome game (and LP), truly an unique gem that will sadly lie forgotten. I think it is best if it stays dead, a sequel nowadays would imply generic 3rd person shooter number 319051 with corridor levels, regenerating health/cover, copy-pasted monsters/mutants as threatening as a dartboard and no subtlety at all. Then we would have the DLCs, shoe-horned multiplayer, etc. You know the drill :cry:

    In any case, congrats for your finished lp :salute:
     
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  12. CappenVarra chaotic multi-class phantasmist/drunk Patron

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    :thumbsup:
     
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  13. CappenVarra chaotic multi-class phantasmist/drunk Patron

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    Well, this is one game where regenerating health would make sense... and could be a scary thing. But yeah, I know that's not what you meant...
     
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  14. Guido Fawkes Defensor Fidei

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    Yup, this game had regenerating health. It was part of the setting though, due to the influence of Grailstone things hardly stay dead in Aeternis(only decapitation, burning, drowning, mutilation and similar can actually kill in the place). Understanding that was actually part of getting past a few puzzles/traps(like that last one where the player must jump to his death.)

    But yeah, I got what you mean, lightbane. If this was remade by industry standards nowadays it would probably be more of a shooter. I wouldn't really mind it that much because something is better than nothing and I thought the writing on this game was really brilliant(possibly the best written adventure I ever played). The game left me wanting more of this story, specially a sequel. But who knows? Penumbra and Amnesia did reasonably well, maybe there would actually be a place for a game like this in the market nowadays. The devs must have cut quite a few corners to make this back in 1995, I wonder how much better would the game be with 2012 tech and tools behind it.

    Best thing about this game and something you can't show in the Lp is puzzle design anyway. You can always screw up puzzles and traps, but there are always alternative ways to move ahead and there are no sierra style "dead ends" whatsoever. It would be a pain to show all the fails you can make and alternative paths you can follow, so I did the LP linearly, but Aeternis is like a clock in the game. Very well designed.
     
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  15. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    Excellent LP! :bravo: I thoroughly enjoyed it.
     
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  16. dextermorgan Arcane

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  17. eklektyk Erudite

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    so many unexplored GEMs waitin' to be LPyed....
     
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  18. ghostdog Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

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    Great LP, congrats on finishing it !

    I actually prefer that it's real time 3D and not prerendered like myst. It adds to the atmosphere, it provides much more tension and a lot of the things you can do in the game wouldn't be possible in myst style environment. The world of Azrael's Tear feels alive and not stale like in the myst titles. Too bad that the sequel was scrapped, but it's always great to find and experience hidden gems such as this one.

    Also it's good to live things a bit ambiguous, especially when it concerns obscure meanings like these. Some things are better left to the imagination.
     
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  19. DraQ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    DraQ
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    I just navigated the planking like an FPS pro. Had some problems with the spikes, though.

    The moment when you die and.. wait, it's not over? interface screw was glorious.

    IIRC you can actually bypass the trap if you don't flood the area and release the caged T. rex to trigger the trap for you.

    This, it's much easier to clutter 3D environment with red herrings, plus 3D really did add to tension and immersion here - 2D doesn't offer you much opportunities for "oh shit run!!1".

    Also, I can't wrap my head around people considering graphics in this game bad. Seriously, you had pretty detailed and convincing (and distinct) 3D NPCs covered with fairly crisp textures you could talk with, in cluttered 3D environments, while contemporary Quake, running on a much more powerful engine had you blowing up brick people in almost bare corridors.

    Finally, think about it - AzT effectively pioneered 3D FPP with a lot of scripting and seamlessly integrated cutscenes/NPC interaction.
    Sort of like Call of Derp, except AzT was cerebral, reliance on scripting is a fact of life in adventures so far and you had a lot of branching and alternative solutions rather than shooting shit from behind boxes.

    Now imagine a universe where this design paradigm was dominated by AzT-likes with current CoDpieces being pushed into (much broader in this alternate reality) genre of traditional shooters. You'd have thin, but steady trickle of monocled scripted AzT-like FPP adventures with a lot of scripting, but, thanks to early start, much more refined attempts at engine based puzzles than in Penumbra/Amnesia, and you'd have strong, prolific traditional FPS genre.

    Instead you have adventuires that are all but extinct, Frictional struggling to rediscover a lot of stuff AzT already did, and a deluge of intelectually insulting, rigidly scripted CoD-likes that driven the traditional FPS genre pretty much extinct.

    You can rage now.


    Also, :rage: about not getting to explore the origin of grailstone all the shit that was intended for the sequel.

    If Frictional came to an arrangement regarding reviving AzT and making a sequel according to the original design docs (since AzT already sits squarely within modern design specs) I'd cum so hard my body would dessicate due to intense fluids expulsion.
    :bounce:
    HUD was brilliant. It effectively worked like an extra sense, allowing you to see through stuff that would have fooled a man relying on just his senses.

    Augmented reality, man.
    :neveraskedforthis:


    >write an angry e-mail.
     
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  20. Guido Fawkes Defensor Fidei

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    I would brofist if I could, dragon dude. Humm... I wonder if the guys at frictional games are actually aware of this game. I will send them an e-mail, they are known to respond to fans.

    I think for the time what they did with the graphics was pretty good. Some of the character models/textures were good enough for games released in the late 90's. The problem the game had upon release was frame rate and hardware compatibility. Richard Guy himself said it, Quake created new standards overnight and at the time AzT engine ended up not being competitive.

    I also think it is just that real-time 3d rarely ages well, and many people are indeed graphics whores. I said it in one of the first pages of this LP when someone whined about the graphics, they still work in conveying what they are meant to convey. I had no problem getting drawn into the game even though the first time I played was two years ago. Presentation is solid.

    I feel you bro. There must be an alternate dimension where AzT was a hit and games got more... intelligent. This was very well written and the design was very complex, something that very few games achieve.

    It is a shame that so few people play it. It is pretty much forgotten save for a few mentions in forums from select connoisseurs every once in a while. Like I said, this is actually the first complete LP of it anywhere in the net. That is why I felt so compelled to finish it.

    That would be incredible. I am a big fan of this game as well. Dreams... :(

    I think I will. Adventuregamers is hopeless though. All the attention they give to titles such as Portal and L.A Noire... they are forgetting the genre they are supposed to represent little by little. They even ignored some of the kickstarter revivals happening lately.

    You are probably right.

    The ending is cause for much butthurt though. It worked great in the sense that it makes you wait eagerly for a sequel(and that was the intent of the developers), but since that sequel never came and never will... oh boy. The libertarian overtones cause a lot of RAGE in some people too.
     
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  21. SCO Arcane In My Safe Space

    SCO
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    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    To whom it may concern: if you are playing this today in dosbox, click on the appropriate link on my signature to speed up the game.

    Don't read the rest of the thread since it has spoilers. Then again, you're reading this one...
     
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  22. Guido Fawkes Defensor Fidei

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    Apparently there is also a way to emulate Roland for the midi soundtrack. Sounds a lot better that way, but I don't know the ins and outs of that.

    Too bad this game isn't on GOG, lot's of people pass up on trying it because they are bothered to run it. It is not difficult at all, specially with SCO's instructions.
     
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  23. iqzulk Savant

    iqzulk
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    The ins and outs are extremely simple. You just need to use the experimental DosBoX build from this page. It's quite old core-wise, but I managed to complete the game with it just fine.
    You need to, first, turn on mt32 from the .conf file - and then to turn on mt32 from AzT's sound setup. Voila!

    The emulation is in no way ideal (a loooong shot from that) though. Some problems with tempo (slowdowns on perfomance-heavy bits of the game) and respective volumes of instruments. But it still beats sb16.

    Oh, by the way, I've just remembered. There was one annoying quirk I had with this game on the aforementioned build. Sometimes (especially in the second half of the game) the music was just broken (as in "playing 10 times slower than it should"). To fix that you just need to reload the game (not just reload the save file, but to actually quit the game and run it again). It hapened quite rarely though, so it wasn't much of an issue for me.
     
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  24. DraQ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    DraQ
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    I never had much problems running AzT. It runs normally in DOSBox - you mount the image, install and run.

    Granted, it's quite demanding, but with ability to switch or even dynamically adjust resolution on the fly it's not really an issue, especially on modern rigs.
    You don't really need dos32a unless you want it extra smooth.

    Also, the music glorious.
    "I can't believe it's MIDI" glorious.
    :salute:
     
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  25. Guido Fawkes Defensor Fidei

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    Updated the OP with a link to SCO's thread and also Iqzulks tips, just in case anyone reading this in the future decides to play the game instead of reading the whole thing and spoiling it.

    True that. I spread links to youtube videos of some of the midi tracks playing on a Roland board. Really good stuff. Those "Gentle Giant" dudes(the keyboard player and the violinist)knew what they were doing.
     
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