The fifth sequel in
where Hegor talks about a leisurely stroll through
I'm Hegor. For three years now, ever since the death of my
father, I've hunted around, searching for adventures and enemies
to gain the experience I'll sorely need when the day comes to
revenge my people. I must keep my vow and kill both the brutish
dragon Vulcuran -the murderous beast that killed my father Thoron
- as well as my dad's dark twin brother Necron who gave the
order. And that day is near.
The King has decreed that whoever stops the expanding Necron
and his evil beings may claim the Crown for himself. I know that
there's only one man who has a chance of entering the underground
world of Durgan and survive. Me. Me, Hegor. I'm going back to my
village to find the entrance to the dark world and avenge my
I came to the village at dawn a few days later and found it
ransacked and pillaged. It was mostly deserted but for a few old
ones who didn't have the strength or the desire to flee and build
a new life elsewhere. Or maybe they were the only peope who
realised that evil would catch up with them sooner or later.
One of the old men told me the complete story of the old
struggle between my uncle Necron, dark and the embodiment of
evil; and my father Thoron, who held the power of good and was
the only one with the ability to physically ward off and send
back the blasts of fire that Necron could send forth from his
After telling his story, the old man assured me that this
was the day when I would be King - the day I must destroy Necron.
He led me in the direction of Durgan; just before we got there he
was shot by an arrow. I think my father's spirit lived in that
man, for he knew everything about Thoron and Necron, he had led
me straight to Durgan's entrance - and when he died, I heard his
final words echoing in the forest "Good will triumph over evil."
Everybody once more a warm welcome to Crimson's Column, where
I will provide the audacious multitude of eager adventurers with
a far-from-complete survival guide to the dangerous world of
Barbarian by PSYGNOSIS,
a world of wondrous graphic beauty worthy of investigation.
And investigate I did, killing a whole army of poor Hegors in
the process of determining just how each adversary - be it a trap
or a runaway bulldog (more bull than dog) - could be persuaded to
grant passage (corpses don't protest, that's a hint if I ever
heard one). But, then, one of the very greatest things about
having an ST is that you don't need to put a nickle in it every
time somebody tells you your quest has failed or other such
nonsense. Which leads me to the conclusion that the framework of
my computer casu quo monitor has become the burial ground (I'm
just trying to be morbid here) of literally oodles of brave &
daring adventurers, warriors, magicians and other suicidal
Much travelling has nonetheless been rewarded with success,
and you can once more find the hints & tips hidden in my rambling
This, as indicated earlier on, is the fifth ST NEWS Crimson
Column issue. Earlier articles were written on (in chronological
order): Sundog (FTL), Phantasie (SSI), Brataccas (Psygnosis),
Roadwar 2000 (SSI). In order to gain a (free) copy of the
diskmags including these articles, please refer to the section of
ST NEWS where the making of back orders is explained. The earlier
articles also include some blurp on my personal style (or lack of
it) and the reasons behind my approach (i.e. the absence of
personal appreciation, grades etc.). Only born masochists are
urged to read these totally irrelevant comments more than once.
Now where did that fumble brained Hegor stick his sword in
Seeing a vast marshland before me, and knowing that finding my
way back might well be impossible, I took my sword in hand and
advanced; knee-deep in reeds.
After a few hundred metres, I heard a sound that acutely
reminded me of the rumbling of an empty stomach - but a hundred
times louder. I searched and noticed, half-hidden behind a low
bush, a giant frog-like monster. As I cautiously advanced, the
creature jumped at me. Somewhere in mid-jump I saw where he was
going to land, and attacked. The foul beast landed on my sword;
its body shriveled and withered, disappearing in a greenish
cloud, empty sockets staring into death. This was proof of
Necron's work: his evil servants were not of this world, and died
not in flesh. Regardless of their physical form, in death all his
magically created or sustained creatures look alike.
Coming out of the swamp, I climbed a stone staircase which led
up to a domed and pillared hallway. Catching a slight movement
out of the corner of my eye, I jumped instinctively - just in
time to escape a falling block of stone. Grimly, I walked on,
aware now that the very walls might try to trap me in the cursed
world of Durgan.
Before the end of the hallway, I was attacked by what looked
like a werebear - and made short work of him with a wide swing. I
walked on, down the stairs, and came at a ladder, going down.
Behind it I spotted an arrow of the kind that would fit a long
bow, but a stone-throwing coward up above tried to block my way,
as did a creep the likes of which I'd rather not describe. I
waited for mr. Ugly upstairs to throw a rock, then took a short
run toward the arrow, killing the croaking creep as I went along.
I took the arrow, went back and started climbing down.
Met another long-armed werebear-thing which was difficult to
get to on account of the fact that he waited for me right at the
bottom of the stairs - but careful timing always brings the right
solution. Walked right through his dying cloud and came at a
great ravine spanned by a sturdy wooden bridge.
Now I have this thing with bridges. If they look unhealthy,
unbalanced, badly damaged, uncared for, unsafe - I cross without
second thought. But come across a perfectly maintained quake-
resistant bridge in the midst of an evil sorceror's empire and
the odds are eight to three you're in trouble. So I walked back a
little, broke into a run, and cleared most of it with a roll-
jump. Came across safe and walked up the next set of stairs.
This brought me to what I later realised must have been a
hobgoblin quarters. I never saw more than two at the same time
but some of them worked together very well. Despite some minor
trouble with a couple of traps (even rocks can't be trusted these
days) which left me with some nasty gashes in my left upper arm,
I came out of the hobgoblin department three arrows richer. And
that's when I went down the long stairs leading to the lower
parts of the world of Durgan.
Without a word the world turned blue upon me as I walked along
an empty hall. Empty, that is, if you don't count the "guard".
This guy was so slow I had his head before he even moved.
Next in line was Big Problem #1. The cute guardian beast could
be evaded, ignored or killed - no problem. But the dark knight
was another matter altogether. Not only was it impossible to jump
over him (a futile attempt to do so nearly cost me my left leg),
the magical protection cast over his armor was so complete that
it was virtually impenetrable. I made a couple of quick moves,
got the arrows, identified the bow as bait, and left without
After a minor holdup at the resurrectured guardian I went down
the stairs, picked up another lost arrow and continued on
I entered a section of the dungeons that might best be
described as "low monster division", the two-legged jumping
meanies assisted by uncle rhino and mr superdog. With a number of
arrows richer and the pleasant thought that nothing is more
frustrating for an evil monster than simply jumping over it, I
almost failed to notice a change in my surroundings. I came at a
sort of boardwalk; ladders going down and, ahead, a wide area
where a well-armed humanoid blocked the way to a wooden platform
against the far rock wall.
I came closer, and waited for the humanoid to make the mistake
all semi-intelligent monsters make - attack just a little too
soon, then close in without their guard up. I cleaved him.
The platform contained the most beautiful bow I'd ever seen,
leaning gently against the wall. Once more trusting my deep-
rooted suspicions where anything innocent-looking is concerned, I
took a small step on the platform, and jumped right back. My just
doubts were confirmed by a loud and unhealthy creaking noise as a
small part of the platform collapsed into the chasm.
I estimated the distance, considered the moves, and
subsequently took the right combination of jumps to get on the
platform, take the bow and return to safe ground as quickly as
possible. Half the platform gave way before me, but I had my bow.
Seeing how my longing to use this magnificent long bow was
stronger than the inclination to save a maximum number of arrows,
I walked back to the bamboo ladder, fitted an arrow to the string
and shot the guy with the broad sword. The penetration factor of
the bow was such that one arrow sufficed. Satisfied, I swung the
bow onto my back and, once more with sword in hand, climbed down
the ladder into the heart of gloomy Durgan.
There were many ladders leading down from one platform to
another; all spanning the sheer sides of a huge underground
valley. There were some guardians but none of any interest; I
eliminated them without ever stopping.
Warming up to my task, I came at the bottom of the many stairs
(when the world turned grey) and picked up another two arrows.
With a sizeble bunch of them in my quiver, I started to run down
the underground passage, always careful of unsafe stone. And then
there was Vulcuran.
By the time I spotted the ancient red dragon, it was too late
to take out my bow - and I fully realised that swordplay with
Vulcuran wasn't much different from a fly attacking a toad. I was
much too late to do anything offensive; when the first ball of
fire left the dragons jaws I jumped. Never looking back, I heard
the hot breath of fire as the animal chased me down the hall.
I escaped just barely and, running on, was taking completely
by surprise as a battle-axe flashed above me. Just in time, I
managed to avoid the deadly blade. Turning round, I was
surprised to notice that there was no enemy. Just an old statue
of a dark gnome with a large axe raised over his head. Danger
sure comes in many different ways.
I did find a shield there, and, never giving the statue
another chance to take an animated swing at me, I left the area
and took the first ladder up.
After some basically uneventful climbing of ladders and stairs
I found myself in the midst of what looked like a small
Neanderthal village. Now I know some people have the bad taste to
refer to well-trained adventurers like myself as "Barbarians";
I'd just hate to think what they'd call the poor devils I was up
Shouting threats (sounding like "Uagghh"; if there was any
such thing as phonetic differentiation or "accents" I failed to
notice) and making menacing gestures with blunt stone axes on
much-too-long wooden shafts, they tried to drive me from their
territory. Without much success, because I'm Hegor and I'll go
where I bloody well please, thank you.
Still, it seemed pointless and cruel to just kill off a couple
of pathetic cave-dwellers and therefore I simply evaded them,
took a ladder up, evaded some more and came to the end of the
bamboo structures where I once more witnessed the transformation
of environmental colors - coming to another part of the dungeon
where rocks were greenish.
Arrows. One glance downstairs told me three arrows were
selling for the price of one corpse. One look up at an
irregularity in the ceiling told me that if I didn't watch it,
that might be two corpses. And I had no intention of dying.
Killing the guard, I had little trouble retrieving the arrows.
I climbed up and continued on, only to be stopped dead in my
tracks by a completely unexpected enemy.
The rock hammer was turning slowly; its handle so long it
would take exceptional timing to get past. The passage was too
narrow to walk past, the ceiling to high for a jump, and the
hammer came far too low to crawl under. It seemed there was only
one way: run for it. I looked, timed, and moved - and was caught
on the side of my head by the advancing rock.
Knocked me silly; I crawled back to safety. When I got up, I
decided not to move an inch: I'd figure this out right from where
I was standing.
Now it was up. Up right. Right. Down right - MOVE!
Anyway, no dumb hammer can stop me.
Things were back to normal in the next dungeon part - meaning
arrow-firing creeps, chain-mailed warriors, and poorly trained
guards. The only real surprise was that snake - but, like they
say: it's all in the reflexes.
After a couple of stairs, I came to a structure of stone that
resembled an underground palace - columns, capstones, tiles; the
works. Something told me I was headed in the right direction. I
ignored the guard downstairs, went left, and was confronted by a
red-robed vile-looking clerical type with a cane. If ever I
needed my hard-earned weapon, this was it.
One shot was enough for him, and I continued on, needing two
shots for the next scene. Then I came abruptly at the end, and
just managed to keep myself from falling down.
Dead end - how ingenious. I turned around, and was not
surprised to see that the magical creatures I'd just killed had
been replaced by identical forms. I walked to the stairs, killed
the guard there with my sword, and shot my way through the
clerics and magic-users downstairs. Something told me I was
rapidly using up my once-abundant supply of arrows.
Beyond the passage, at the end of an enormous cavern, stood
the black-robed figure of Necron; his back turned to me. I shot
at him once; he just turned around, the arrow harmlessly
rebounding from the magical cloak. Hollow laughter filled the
cavern; once he made as if to release a fireball in my direction.
I could see the glow on his hands, and thought fervishly. What
was it the old man had said? "Reflect his fire". Suddenly, I knew
what to do.
I took my shield, slowly moved closer, and waited for him to
turn around - knowing that, this time, I'd only get one chance.
When I was a few steps away, Necron, laughter still spilling
from his black lips, send forth the fire from his hands. At the
right time, I made the right movement, and smashed the magical
shield against the fireball with such force that the fiery
substance rebounded, immediately setting its own master ablaze.
Necron died instantly, his only remains a burned skeleton and
the large jewel of his head. I took the crystal, and unceremo-
niously dumped it in the vulcane beyond.
The crystal was lost in the eager vulcanic mass; suddenly the
ground began to tremble, the building started to shake. If I was
ever going to be king, I knew I had to get out FAST.
Starting my way up, I hoped they hadn't changed the direction
of that swinging hammer.
Finding my way back to the surface was, in many instances, a
piece of cake - although timing becomes an acute problem if a
bandit is no longer with his back to you. But I still had some
arrows to shed (Vulcuran CAN be killed!) and besides I ignored
most of the action around me and just kept running & climbing
until I got back to the swamp. Exhausted, I rested there.
After a few minutes the quaking and noise behind me came at
its climax - little could be seen of the destruction of Durgan.
It was only then that I realised my mission had been a success.
And also, that I would be - was - King of the country.
Many a time afterward, I have stood with the crown on my head
and my eyes turned to the distant vulcano, remembering the
horrors and victories in the evil empire of Necron.
So far so good; making Hegor survive his quest will seem a
piece of cake for those who are unfortunate enough to merit the
Wrath of Pterry (I think I'll write a book about her: Pterry -
Memoires of a Well-Fed Pterodactyl. Special thanks to all those
dim-witted enough to send negative correspondence and leave their
name & address on it).
Question: although I do my best to refrain from personal
comments on specific software items, I feel no inhibition to
making remarks on adventure games in general. Now I've come to
the realisation that our Barbarian in the game discussed here is
the summit of a long tendency towards male dominance in all
worlds hostile to man (and woman). I mean, have you ever - ever -
played an action adventure with only women? All I've seen is an
occasional option now and then to choose whether you're female or
male (a noteworthy exception is the text adventure Leather
Goddesses of Phobos by Infocom, where your gender is determined
by the toilet-type you enter early in the game and maintained
throughout the game) for one of many players.
Perhaps male dominance is simply a reflection of the actual
situation: most programmers are male, many women work with
computers but only at the office which means that, unfortunately,
most of the versatile computer users are male, certainly most
adventure "freaks" are male. Now I'm male, too, and in my case
(I'm old-fashioned) that means that I'm primarily interested in
females. Anything that can be done out there in Programmers'
Let's give 'em a fighting chance.
Coming to the conclusion of yet another epic adventure review,
it is time to warn the unsuspecting newcomers of what may and may
not happen if you decide to send reactions of any kind to
Lucas van den Berg
6511 RL Nijmegen
Loc. Tel. 080-238586
-- The Netherlands --
where they will be accepted, inspected, and subsequently left
to the attention of (positive reactions) me or (negative react-
ions + an occasional positive one just to keep you people on your
toes) Pterry, my illustrous, voracious, carvinorous pet Pterodac-
tyl. Take your chance, and remember the great poet's words:
Hope is a lover's staff; walk hence with that
And manage it against despairing thougths.
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.