Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

[Archive] Wizardry 8, Episode 12: Desperately Seeking Marten

Posted by Rampant Coyote on July 21, 2015

Back in 2008, I did a playthrough of Wizardry 8, a game I’d missed the first time around. At the time, it was hard to acquire (yay for getting it brought back as a digital title!), and I felt (correctly!) that I’d missed out on a classic title. I blogged my efforts, but with the Great Blog Reboot we lost those articles. Since they’ve been requested, I’m re-posting them now. I hope that with the game now made available again via digital distribution, this may help other people discover this overlooked “final” game in the Sir-Tech series.

I originally thought that this Wizardry 8 play-through series would only take ten to twelve posts. This is number twelve, and I’m not there yet. Wizardry 8 is proving a bigger game than I’d anticipated. Not to mention time-consuming. Combats are often taking ten minutes or longer to resolve, as I often face twenty or more opponents at a time. Since I’ve been doing a lot of running back and forth to different areas, I regularly find myself taking a twenty minutes or more crossing a zone due to fights. The camouflage spell (Shadow Tincture) doesn’t seem to help very much – if you are in tighter confines (such as many areas of the road, or the Mount Gigas water caves), there’s just no dodging half the combat.

Flush with more experience points from some travelling around and my discovery of the location of the Dark Savant’s ship, I figured I’d take a crack at the Bayjin Shallows around Nessie and another rescue operation in Bayjin. I didn’t get too far. This time, the water caves below Mount Gigas were filled with “Death Rays” – Manta-Ray looking creatures that, true to their namesake, had insta-death attacks that would sometimes land even through my magical defenses. And, since they are virtually immune to water spells and mental attacks, and fire spells don’t work underwater, my biggest area-effect attacks were largely useless against them.

Those fights sucked.

Eventually, after being clobbered in the same fight four times in a row, I gave up and teleported back to Arnika. There was, I remembered, another possible entrance to Bayjin, guarded by Rayjin, in the swamp. I have a teleport location back at Arnika, so I keep returning to the city. Most of the times I leave, I get met by a large group of Rattkin who issue me advice or dire warnings. This time, after teleporting back from the water caves, the Rattkin leader tipped his hand, and said there was a price on my head, and he would be coming to collect the next time we met.

Who put a price on my head? The only leader Rattkin I’ve found was the Don, who was still holding the Astral Dominae hostage for 100k gold. At least that was my excuse. We went to the tree, and got in a fight with the Don. It wasn’t easy. But we won, killed the Don, and retrieved the Astral Dominae. It felt a little anti-climactic after spending all of Wizardry 7 seeking after the darn thing (which I still haven’t actually finished), but I was glad to have two out of the three artifacts needed for the inevitable end-game.

We continued off to the swamp, defeated the Rayjin, and found the land-based entrance to Bayjin. Much combat ensued. Much combat. We killed some aquatic faeries and found a bunch of loot in the hills in the center of the island, and battled what appeared to be endless streams of crabs. Usually four to ten at a time. We’d kill two groups, rest, and immediately fight one or two more. We made our way into the Rayjin village, and slept inside their huts while the patrols and crabs marched in swarms outside the door. Good thing they don’t actually go INTO these huts when they are occupied.


We found some prisoners, including Glumph, the Umpani prisoner we were supposed to rescue. We also found a Helazoid woman who died while telling us she came from Wizardry 7. Glumph complained most of the time we had him – which was far too long. Many more battles ensued as we tried to retreat from the island, taking the water way back. Yes, I was going to risk more Death Rays. And Nessie. I wanted to see what else was hidden behind Nessie.

We didn’t actually kill her. We moved quickly around her, sucking up her attacks and floating on bubble-streams up to caves we hadn’t visited yet. In one, we found a really kick-butt, but cursed, battle-axe. After my warrior had spent nineteen levels with her newbie axe, she was ready for an upgrade, curse or no curse.

One cave took us to a new zone – the Sea Caves. Exploring the island area, we came across a rope and a hook, and then a sledgehammer. We threw them into our inventory and forgot about ’em, continuing to explore. Well, explore and fight. On the plus side, we could use fireballs and fire storms again, and most of the creatures were subject to mental attacks.

In one cave, we found a loose man-made stone wall. Application of the sledgehammer opened it up into a room with a door that had been sealed from the other side. There was no way in that we could find. A little bit more exploration (and fighting – did I mention fighting? There was a lot of fighting) took us to an area with a pit. Getting bold, we jumped down into the pit – and found ourselves surrounded by hostile, man-eating insects the size of small ponies. Fortunately, they were big and the cave was small. They could only attack us two at a time, and they were nicely subject to being driven insane. For the most part, we let them kill each other.

But that fight was nothing compared to the next one. We found some light coming down through a hole in the ceiling. We used the rope and hook to pull ourselves up to a room – with the back-side of the sealed door we’d seen earlier. We were in!


And we were facing an army of undead. Something like about twenty, plus some giant undead dude called the Keeper of the Crypt. Our first attempt didn’t go so well – we took out the keeper and most of the undead, but soon found half our party dead – especially when the undead siges summoned big ol’ elementals to aid the fight. We were more careful on the second attempt, pulling the undead to a corner where we were protected on two sides. We managed to silence the undead siges early on, preventing them from summoning any elementals or casting other nasty spells against us. What spells the other ghosts hit us with were often reflected back with our too cool Eye For an Eye reflection spells we now possessed. See, I’d learned something from those awful little Leaf Faeries!

The Keeper of the Crypt was almost easy to defeat at the end of that battle.

Following that, we found some slippery slopes that would drop us down pits, forcing us to retrace our steps (and fight lots of battles) to come back to the tomb area. We found some spiked boots back in the tomb, which our robot companion NPC was able to wear. They magically helped the entire party keep from slipping down into the pits, but then we found another obstacle – an uncrossable chasm that needed some other object to cross. The boots could get us safely to the edge, but not across.

This time, we voluntarily dropped down a pit, and searched around the island until we came across the remains of a wrecked ship. Spinning to make itself obvious, there was a large wooden plank there which was remarkably both sturdy enough to carry us, and could shrink down to fit in our inventory. Perfect!

Unfortunately, on our way back, we were unable to avoid a fight with some multi-armed nasties on the beach. By the time we defeated them, five other groups of nasties had converged on our position, and we found ourselves fighting 9 more of the multi-armed nasties, 8 sand crabs, 4 curare crabs, and four death beetles. That’s right, 25 monsters at once. This was a new record. The battle took over twenty minutes. And that’s WITH firing off Asphyxiation spells to insta-kill about three at a pop for the first three out of four rounds.

When it was over, we made our way back to the tomb, which had become newly repopulated with undead. Twelve re-dead monsters later, we crawled back to the chasm, dropped the plank over it, walked across, used a key we’d found to unlock a door, and entered a tomb where a ghost lay resting on a vault. The ghost stood up, and we chatted. This was the ghost of Marten, the dude who stole the Destinae Dominus years ago. He told us that the thing had driven him insane, and he was just oh so happy to pass it on to us so we could go crazy. Which he did. Plus a 400,000 XP bonus. My entire party went insane, cackling violently as they leveled up.

I gave the artifact to the bard, who was wearing the Helm of Serenity we’d gotten from Trynton. Immediately everyone regained their composure, got their clothes back on, and tried desperately to pretend nothing had happened.

All three artifacts are mine. I should go to Disneyland. But instead, I’m probably going to the Rapax Castle and then Ascension Peak. But first, I have to finally take Glumph back to General Ymir and get credit for this mission. He grumbled the whole time, but he gained about four levels in the process, so he shouldn’t complain too loudly.

Design Notes:

Finally meeting Marten, after chasing him all these weeks, felt like something of a climax. I was afraid that once I met him, I’d get a lame, “Thank you, Mario, but the Destinae Dominus is in another tomb” response, but everything came together well. I was also pleased that, once the mission was accomplished, he stuck around to talk and answer some questions. Since I’d heard “Marten this” and “Marten that” since level seven or so, and about the theft of the artifact since level one, it was great to hear the story from his perspective. There wasn’t much to add, in all honesty, but it felt better to me somehow.

The path to reach him once I got to the Sea Caves was nicely tricky, but not too difficult, involving much more than combat (though the fighting definitely took the greatest amount of time). The puzzles remain standard adventure-game fare, and I’m not complaining. They have taken the rule to heart that – most of the time – the object needed to accomplish a task in area X can be found in area X, unless it is part of a larger quest.

While they are very rare, I do like that the characters in my party occasionally make specific commentary on major events. They had to create a unique commentary for every voice “type” in the game, which is impressive.

The battles are, as I mentioned before (Editorial Note from 2015: Yes, several times before…), getting tedious. I don’t mind a decent battle taking three to five minutes, or a boss battle taking even a little longer, but these remain pretty annoying speed-bumps.

Filed Under: Archive, Wizardry 8 - Comments: Comments are off for this article

Comments are closed.