DescriptionIn Dismal Passages you are cast in the role of a youth who lives in a land called 'Drelg Artavia', which is being harrowed by evil Wraiths from the NetherRealm.
In the grisly text introduction, your home is invaded during the night by three wraiths who attack and kill both your parents and your sister, but before they can kill you too, a grey wolf-like character interrupts the assailants and manages to drive them off, while itself is mortally wounded.
Using it's last breath, the wolf asks you to get revenge on the head wraith called 'Vaargerold' / 'Vaalgerald' for the death of himself and your family, and you set out next morning to achieve this.
The game is a shareware divided in two parts, the first available as a download, and the second part received by mail when registering the first part.
The player starts outside his own house, in the local village, though the house has been cleansed of last nights grisly events.
The game is played on a series of screens stretching left and right of the player, with buildings that can be entered through their doors, showing its occupants and furnishings on a single screen. You can talk to the people, using a menu for one-line generic questions with equally short, but varying answers, sometimes providing useful clues to the story or vital items to progress.
The game screen is divided into four areas, the top half showing you walking left/right in the linear landscape, bottom right shows your health and collected gold, bottom left showing enemy encounters, while the mid bottom is a small cutout of the area closest to your character, though it has no function according to the descriptions. Interaction is all through keyboard, with speaker beeps accompanying your movement steps.
The starting village is small, and the inhabitants are few, but leaving it one passes through woods and fields, and eventually reaches other villages and cities. The in between wilderness areas are infested with robbers, monsters, plague carriers and other unwanted company, which can be fought or avoided if need be, or possibly talked to if they are deemed harmless. (The enemies attack you on sight).
Defeating an enemy gives some loot gold, but can also give you a disease if you are unlucky, and you need a medic to heal you.
Weapons can be bought from the blacksmith, though you have a simple dagger to start with in your own house, if you search for it.
There are priest in temples/churches, herbalist shops and also conjurers you meet and greet early on, though the use of magic is frowned upon by some of the more officious inhabitants.
Properly beefed up with weapons armor and magic, plus collecting the three objects required to get into the NetherRealm, the player can then proceed to get his revenge on the Wraiths.
The second part of the game, as described in the included documents, are taking place twenty years after this first part, and the land is again menaced, this time from sea monsters from a city risen out of the 'Uthrecian Sea', and you are again required to save the land and oust the attackers.
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