Thursday, 6 November 2014

Moraff's World - DOS








Thanks to the set up, this was the best title screen I could get. Shut up.

Thought I'd go WAY back to the dawn of time and pluck forth from the depths of DOS, a game that first got me into the whole Dungeons and/or Dragons principle of wandering around a dungeon with various health points, other sorts of stats and generally kicking the shit out of multiple monsters that couldn't reach the upper level where it was safe and I was the only person in the town that could do anything at all, ever. I am of course referring to Moraff's World.

Choose your race, or whichever set of numbers looks nicer to you.

The idea is simple enough, create a character using a quick sheet and wandering your way through approximately 200 levels of dungeons in your quest to punch out the Red Dragon King. (I didn't vote for him...) On the way you'll encounter a veritable army of monsters ranging from badly drawn orcs, to badly drawn puffballs, to badly drawn dragons and many other badly drawn creatures. Combat is an easy enough affair of simply pressing F for fight when they're up close to you and the winner is the one still with a positive number of hit points.

Well, what teenager isn't this these days?

 Interestingly, the screen splits the view into 4 view screens, each one showing your perspective while facing in the four key compass directions. Upper view showing North, Lower view showing South and so on, which allows you to see in all directions and lowers the chance of something sneaking up on you and taking you by surprise. (I said 'lowers' not 'stops'...) What it doesn't stop, is that some walls are fake and enemies can pop out from them at a moment's notice.

How would you like to play? Pick carefully or you're going to be in trouble.

Depending upon your character will depend upon whether they're capable of using weapons, or spells, if they have access to any or all spells and if they gain Experience by wandering around or by fighting and killing things. There's a host of different ways to play the game but regardless of that, it's all a very similar experience.

Slightly confusing at first but the display lets you see all round at all times.

There is only one dungeon and even if you leave to head into the wilderness, you won't find a different dungeon, just the same one again and again. That said, the dungeon is huge at 200 levels and a town where you'll be running back to in order to level up or exchange your hard won cash into game-legal tender (carrying too much will slow you down and give faster monsters more attacks before you can retaliate). You'll also be able to head into the Temple and cure poisons, diseases and resurrect yourself should you bite the big one.

Killing monsters and taking stones, repeat, repeat, repeat.... Ad Nauseam.

The biggest issue in the game is that of combating boredom. After a while it becomes an endless slog through dungeon floor after dungeon floor before you get to the point you MIGHT want to find and kill a boss monster and gain from it a key that will let you descend to that floor instantly. IF you can find the ladder that will take you there. The other big issue here is that without spells or items that can tell you, there's little indication as to which floor of the dungeon you're on. Some ladders in the dungeon drop you one floor, some will drop you multiple floors and the almost undetectable trapdoors can drop any number of levels downwards. Of course this doesn't sound too bad but remember that the further down you go, the higher the level of the monsters and the more powerful monsters come out to play. You know the ones I mean. Those that can strip you of your armour in one move, those that can poison and inflict diseases upon you, those that can drain your levels for you. You know now, the fun ones.

Ah yes, the lovely "Blocker" types of low attack/high hp that just waste your time.

Finding treasures is a random event that happens on the defeat of every monster, you could, for instance, find the most powerful armour on the first creature you battle, or the most powerful weapon but at the same time you might first 1 copper piece, which isn't worth anything in real terms within the game. Typically, Cups of Health will be found initially at the start of the game but later on, you'll be running back and forth from town to the lower levels in search of the stronger monsters so that you might level up sooner rather than later.

The bat, it could infect you, but at 3HP you're more likely to catch a cold than a disease.

Outside of the scope of the instructions, there's little here to keep people playing once they grow tired of the monotonous exploration and discovery, new threats of monsters become annoying when you realise that it will take considerable time and preparation to even begin fighting them and then to realise that some monsters can ignore powerful attacks and spells on the basis of "I'm just not going to accept that" and then it's out of health time and you're dead, or resurrected if you paid enough for it.