Blog - Entry for Ironclaw

2015/03/30
Tales of Gorluth (my complete YouTube description)

2:38 am
I sometimes have a lot to say in my video descriptions and too often hit the text limit, so I'll post my full description here.

Without doubt the best Backbone game out there. So much work has been put into it. Yet I will nitpick, give my suggestions for improvements and ramble like I usually do in my descriptions :P

Being a Backbone game, it has the common issues like bad collision detection against edges of blocks. Showing it a little bit here: 33:27/42:44/01:46:06. No biggie though for stuff like that... BUT, you can walk outside the maps if they have a corner that is just 1 block thick, like here: http://tinyurl.com/o5n3cul. They should have added a second block (or more) behind places like this to prevent it.

Some other issues with Backbone games is the occasional game crashes that quits to WB and shows "Illegal function call"/"game failed returncode xx"... (good thing I used savestates). Just get to the same point again and hope it doesn't crash the next time (usually doesn't, as it doesn't happen THAT often). Another crash that can happen is "Out of memory", which I got only ONCE half way through the game, playing with 2mb Fast and 4mb Chip memory, which should be enough according to the message on the developer's site: "ECS Amiga  68030  2 MB Chip Ram   1 MB Fast Ram". I did play from a clean WB, no startup sequence used etc, so nothing to hog all the memory. I had to replay the game from the beginning and used 8mb Fast this time instead, which worked. Thanks to the special key Backbone has, I could relatively quickly skip parts of the game to that point again.

One thing that confused me and made me skip half the game by accident was that when certain quests/parts are done, you are returned to the title menu with options like "start quest", "continue quest", "next quest". When I first got to this menu I thought "OK, quest done I guess, time for the next one" and went with "next quest", which skipped half the game. I needed to select "start quest" to not skip anything, as both "continue" and "next" skipped stuff. The right choice is maybe obvious to most people, but I'm weird :P

So, I think the game should have had a simple password system instead of these quest skipping options, as you could be far into a quest and would still have to replay that quest from the beginning if the game crashed. So, with these quest skipping thingies, the places you can return to are far apart. I know you can't make a password system in Backbone, but you could add it with some simple code by changing the source code Backbone saves to RAM when creating the game. With passwords you could have had like 30 (any number, just gave an example) of them, a much bigger range of points to return to = less to replay if the game crashes.

There's WAY too much text/talking in this game for my liking. Some parts could last up to 8 minutes of dialogue after dialogue before I could continue. Sure, could have skipped them, but had to wait on each one so most viewers would have a chance to read them instead of pausing every time (some might have to anyway, donno if I waited long enough, I read relatively fast and added a few extra seconds on top of that).

It says on the box "Over 5 hours of gameplay", this is probably accurate if you don't play on a fast enough Amiga so the game runs slow, and don't know what to do, and you die and have to restart many times. I could have reduced this longplay by maybe 1 hour or so if I just skipped through all the talking (by not waiting on each screen of text, just pressing fire for the next one. Also talked to some people that wasn't even needed, and read signs...), didn't collect a bunch of health/lives, and didn't visit place I didn't need to visit. Wouldn't really be a speedrun as I would include the whole intro/outro and not glitch through the walls for shortcuts.

They should have used black as palette color 0 (background) in the panel, rather than the dark grey, so the screen isn't cut into two colors. The dark grey could still be used inside the frame.

The door at 42:13 was blocked, and to open it I had to do "something" at this place (39:32), but after going back and forth between this place and the door to see WHAT triggers the unblocking, I still don't know exactly what unblocks it. Nothing obvious stands out and no sound is triggered. My first guess was the grey part on the wall, but I tried that and went back to the door only to see it still being blocked. So, just moved around a bit attacking stuff, and something of that unblocked the door. Maybe the sign at 41:53 is hinting on what to do, or maybe this place is not the scholar's hall.

49:52 - I spent so much time in this forest trying to find all 6 hearts. 2 of them were not visible (well, one of those two were a little visible: 52:24), so it took a while before I noticed they were hidden behind trees. I hugged EVERY TREE to look for these hidden places.

45:54 - If I didn't read this sigh now, it would be gone after I come back up here after talking to the people below. Nothing I needed to do of course, just did it to show more of the game.

01:02:44 - I know I just need to go to the left to trigger.... but wanted to show the whole area first.

01:07:32 - Didn't first notice there was a person on the left, so went there to see what he/she had to say (again, not needed, like a lot I've done in this video).

01:30:07 - as you can see, I talked to everyone, I killed everything, I visited all the places (used save states so don't know if I did all that in this run, but I have before with the same result) and yet I can't talk to these people... need to find the trigger for them...   and I found it. I needed to go to this dude 01:30:17, and step inside his skull circle so he animates a little bit. Just moving around him outside the skulls didn't do it, so, why was it done like this? Why the need to step inside so he looks left and right?  A bug? Or maybe what's said at 01:27:09 "Have you hidden the sand on your opponent?" is what I'm doing when I go inside his skull area? Maybe I'm framing him? Meh, don't know, might have missed some info somewhere as I often got tired of reading all the text and just skimmed through. I was so lucky to figure this out, though.

01:37:45 - Accidentally used the speed key I used often to quickly navigate around when not recording.

01:41:31 - Could have gotten the number before I went in here, but then we wouldn't see this dialogue.

02:00:15 - Before I knew about this entrance, I entered the door to the right to talk to the people... after that is done, this entrance is gone as the maps are replaced with new versions. This room has an upgrade to the weapon that is needed for the last boss, so if you talk to the people before you take the weapon, you are screwed. When I first entered this room, it took me like 5 minutes before I figured out how to get back out, as there's no visible exists and I smashed fire while hugging the walls.... I had to stand at the same spot I was when I got in, which would have been more OK if it was at the very bottom.

02:07:04 - This room didn't have the chests before I talked to the people, that's why I entered now and not before when I passed by here.

02:09:12 - I'm probably not hitting them, but went with it for a while to see if I did... but nope. These things couldn't be destroyed without the weapon upgrade, which you couldn't get if you talked to the people first.

02:15:11 - The common issue with Backbone when sometimes projectiles become the player... could have been fixed. Don't think they intended it to be copies of him, or maybe they originally didn't, but just let it be like that.

Some more timestamps: (might have missed a boss or some sort of part)

00:03:17 - Turmoil in Middle Land: Part 1
00:19:21 - Boss
00:20:22 - Turmoil in Middle Land: Part 2
00:45:15 - The Call of the Wild North: Part 1
01:04:20 - The Call of the Wild North: Part 2
01:23:33 - Boss
01:42:57 - In the Lair of Evil
01:47:58 - Boss
02:08:35 - Boss
02:13:02 - Outro
02:16:25 - Added the dying/game over part


PS, there's pictures of the CD stuff in the Gallery. Like with all my pictures, they were taken with an old crappy iPhone 3GS.

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