Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Isle of Aladdin (Sane)

The fifth island (or rather, archipelago) of Fantasy General is finally complete - on to the last one! The fifth was actually quite a bit shorter than the others, as it had me hopping through a bunch of small islands on my way to the final showdown. So, the end is tantalisingly near now...but I don't think it'll be finished this week. It's the final week to get December books into production so I'm swamped with editing. Hopefully things will calm down a bit next week (but there always seem to be a last few urgent chapters that sneak through). Still, it's close, and I can't wait to move on to another game. I've completed the tech tree now, so I've unlocked every unit available to me. I think different starting characters have different units available to them (there's definitely a 'Beast' tree that I can't access), but I don't think I'm going to be playing through the game again as another character...although it actually is strangely tempting. Damn this game! At the top of my tech tree I unlocked Phoenix Hawks and Phoenix Knights. You can probably guess from the similar name that they have a similar power, and that is the ability to cast a raise dead spell. I don't know if I've discussed it yet, but there are two types of unit damage in Fantasy General - wounds and deaths. Wounded members of a unit can be recovered by resting for a turn, but dead members stay dead until the end of that battle. That has been a constant throughout the game so far, and it's always a careful balance between how far you can push a unit before you have to retreat and rest, or in the case of a unit with a lot of dead members, whether you need to withdraw them from the battle entirely and keep them safe. Units gain cumulative experience that they keep across battles, so it makes sense to try and keep as many of them alive as possible. Anyway, the Phoenix units are immensely powerful because they break this paradigm. Their raise dead spell recovers all dead and wounded members, and they're both fast enough units that they can retreat when necessary, cast raise dead, then zip back into the fray. They're expensive initially for sure, but they generally stay alive a lot longer than other units, and now I've finished my research I've got nothing else to spend money on other than replacing and upgrading old units. The evil cackles are building at the back of my throat, and my unstoppable Phoenix army is rising up to wipe out everything that stands in its path. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAH.

In other news, I was up before Max this morning and I managed to complete Aladdin while making his Ready Brek. It's weird, I remember playing the game on both the Megadrive (which I just completed) and the SNES - and it was one of those releases where each version was a completely different game. I remember bits and bobs of both, the post-jumping on the SNES version, and the sword swiping on the Megadrive, but weirdly enough, I don't remember the final boss battle of the Megadrive version at all, only the big snake of the SNES. Maybe we just never finished the Megadrive version at school? Anyway, the final boss was actually a bit of a let-down. The SNES version was a massive beast that you had to take down, while the Megadrive just has a little firey snake that's about the same size as your own character sprite. He doesn't move at all, just sits there and spits fire at you, and the only way I could work out to beat him was to jump over his fireballs and throw apples at him. So far, so boss battle, but the odd thing was that the only place to stand and do this (that I could find) was far enough away that the snake was actually off the screen. So I had no idea how well I was doing or even whether half of my apples were hitting him, I just carried on jumping and throwing until the 'Level Complete' screen flashed up and the credits started to play. Oh well, it's another one done. Next up on the phone is Alex Kidd and the Enchanted Castle. It's another one we used to play at school, and I'll write more about that another time. Just quickly, though, I remember being hugely disappointed by it.


  1. Hi Ben.

    I know it's been a while, but I recently found out that you featured me in your Surreal books (someone mentioned it in a conversation), however I was under the impression that I fell out of the pick by not being in volume 1. It was nice to see it in german also :)

    I won't be bothering you with that check, but I was wondering if there are any author copies still laying around?


  2. Hi Domen - I haven't worked for Ilex for many years, so I'm afraid I don't have access to any of the details on the book or to any copies of it. Your best bet is to get in contact with them directly.