GAME REVIEWS

Thursday, June 9, 2011

GAME SUPPLEMENT: Might and Magic


Might & Magic for the Duo is perhaps the most advanced port in existence of this classic game. Certainly in another league entirely than the NES and PC versions. However, the game has some key differences from the PC ports that will give non-Japanese speakers a major headache.

The game is difficult enough as is, even for native Japanese speakers, I'm told. If you cannot read any Japanese at all, a walkthrough is an absolute must. Walkthroughs for the PC versions will serve you well in most cases but as I mentioned there are crucial differences that can mean the difference between victory and total defeat. For example, most of the side quests that are optional in the PC versions are mandatory in the Duo version.

Since many great, well-written walkthroughs already exist for the game, I'm going to keep things brief here. If you need help on, say, "completing all of Lord Hacker's quests," feel free to consult one of them. The intention of this supplement is to point you in the right direction for victory, not hold your hand every step of the way. Cousin Zigfried wrote an excellent quick-start guide for the Duo version, which can be found here.

Also, it is possible there are more differences between versions than what is listed here. What I've listed are the key differences that affect the outcome of the game.

So, let's get to it...


GAMEPLAY DIFFERENCES
======================

* You are given a preselected party of characters at the beginning of the game. You do not have the option of customizing your party at all; class, sex, name, order, anything.

* The "Search" command is rendered mostly useless in the Duo version; you auto-search every cell you land on. The only (and I mean ONLY) time you use the "Search" command is if you choose not to pick up a bag of gold or open a chest after a battle (say, if you need to discard some items to make room first). After doing what you need to do, you can then "Search" to once again bring up the treasure and the option to pick it up. There are many spots in the PC ports where "Search"ing is required to trigger certain items and events, but this stuff all happens automatically in the Duo version.

* Each character has their own backpack (inventory) in the original. In the Duo version, you only have one backpack for the entire party.

* You can change the order of items in your pack in the original, on the Duo the order of the items is determined by the order in which you acquire them.

* There are certain requirements for getting into the Inner Sanctum, all of which must be completed before you are granted access. As such, you are not given the option in the Inner Sanctum of returning to the game to complete any incomplete quests as you are in the PC ports.

STORYLINE DIFFERENCES
======================

* Your preselected party of characters comes with a backstory played out in a pre-game cinema.

* The entire space-age secret agent/future setting and storyline is jettisoned in favor of a more traditional fantasy RPG plot. In the original PC versions, you play a secret agent from another planet sent to the land of VARN to seek out and destroy an alien with designs on taking over. The actual land of VARN and everything in it is more or less the same, you just instead play a band of travelers from a faraway place with the goal of uncovering the secrets of the land. In the original, VARN was an acronym for Vehicular Astropod Research Nacelle. In the Duo version, it's just a name.

* The primary objective of the original game was to reveal and dethrone the alien impostor King Alamar. The objective of the Duo port is actually to complete five challenges. Dethroning the false Alamar is not one of them.

CHARACTER DIFFERENCES
=======================

* The "good aliens" in E2 from the PC versions have been replaced with generic "supernatural beings."

* The "evil alien" playing the King Alamar impostor in the PC ports is a demon in the Duo version.

* The Og encounter in D4 is completely different. Og himself is the same, and you still need the chess piece idols to talk to him, but instead of asking a chess question as he does in the PC versions, he instead poses a riddle:

"What is needed to burn the Earth..."

The correct answer in the Duo version is "LIGHT"

* The Clerics of the South challenge on the bottom level of Castle Dragadune is slightly different: in the original, the clerics had you ring a bunch of gongs to produce certain tones. In the Duo version you "play" magical musical pools of water. That's right. Puddles.

* The desert traders in D1 always take the first item in your pack in the PC versions, in the Duo version you get to choose which of your items you want to trade.

GAME COMPLETION PREREQUISITES
===============================

There are five objectives that must be completed in order to gain access to the Inner Sanctum. All of these are OPTIONAL in the PC versions; the PC versions have a completely different set of objectives that must be completed in order to gain access (optional here).

Required:

* Free all 6 prisoners from the 6 castles. NOTE: It is IMPERATIVE that you talk to the Wizard Ranalou in the cave in B3 for the game to acknowledge you've freed the prisoners (he is supposed to be the one to alert you of the prisoners in the first place). If you free the prisoners without talking to Ranalou the game will not register that they've been freed. After talking to Ranalou and freeing the prisoners you need to visit the Statue of Judgement in E1.

* Defeat the 4 beasts relevant to the Wheel of Luck challenge in A3. You can spin the wheel after defeating them for bonus experience points. Their locations:

A1 x12,y5 - Dark Rider
A3 x7,y9 - Sea Monster
D1 x10,y5 - Giant Scorpion
D4 x9,x9 - Winged Beast

* Complete all of Lord Hacker's (Blackridge South) quests.

* Complete all of Lord Inspectron's (Blackridge North) quests.

* Complete all of Lord Ironfist's (Whitewolf) quests.


Optional:

I'm not going to go into all of the optional challenges here as there are plenty of walkthroughs out there that detail the PC versions. I'll just say that basically anything that is required in those versions is optional here, including revealing the King Alamar impostor.

Good luck.

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