Ruts vs. Battlespire CH29: Cahmel’s Last Last Stand

By Rutskarn
on Oct 7, 2016
Filed under:
Lets Play

You may remember that last week I was heading upstairs to fight the level’s main antagonist. I left off without saying how it went, so let me set your anxieties at ease: everything went successfully. It was a white-knuckle struggle where every move counted, and at one point I was sure I wasn’t going to make it, but with grit and determination I successfully managed to climb that stairwell without getting stuck in the geometry.

So now that we’re past the hard part, let’s deal with Sugar Pie Herne Bun over here.

You might think it`s unsportsmanlike to hunt from a walltop. Honestly, he`s more like hunting`s middle management.
You might think it's unsportsmanlike to hunt from a walltop. Honestly, he's more like hunting's middle management.

I really am going to have to deal with this guy. When I climbed up the hatch to the walltop it told me my trapdoor’s stuck itself, and the only way down is currently underneath his cloven ass-kicker feet. Besides, he’s got the last key I need to get off the level.

Unavoidable combat? Check.

Still can’t save my game? Check.

Guess that means it’s time to lotion up.

Fun fact: I still don’t know what most of my potions do. It’s not like a roguelike; they don’t have names like “Frog Smelling Puce Bubbling Syrup Brew.” They’ve all got perfectly recognizable fantasy chowder names, like “Potion of Shield” or “Potion of Etherealness.” The bother is that they don’t come with actual instructions; I don’t know what the specific benefits of Shield are, or how long it lasts, or whether drinking multiple potions stacks, or any other critical intel. This introduces a fascinating metagame where I only deploy resources when…

You know what, short version: I drink no fewer than seven different potions. And then I approach him, skip through his conversation, stab him once and oh huh he’s dead. I guess…okay.

That wasn’t the epic confrontation I absolutely wasn’t hoping for. So now that all my dreams have come true, I suppose I’ll take that key off his hands? And now I’m…done?

No sense getting cocky, mind. I may have all the keys, but there’s still a packed courtyard full of daedra between me and the exit, and I regret to report that I’m still fabulously easy to kill. I’m just full to bursting with thin, sensitive blood over here. That’s assuming I get down the stairs, which are almost certainly full of monsters, on the other side of this hatch that…

…won’t…open?

Nope. Definitely won’t open. It’s not even locked, it’s just straight-up not responding to my keypresses. A daedra’s rolling down the ramparts to harass me, so I don’t have all day, but there’s only so many different ways I can pester a door before it ought to open or let me down gently. So that means, what?

I hate to suggest this, but I’m pretty sure it’s glitching out. Which leaves me here, sixty feet away from the end of this level, on top of a wall that has no way down.

Well–there’s always one way.

Not knowing what else to do, and after considerable deliberation, I take a few steps back and launch myself off the wall to the courtyard below.

I plummet three stories, but just before I’ve hit the ground I zip into the inventory screen and down a Potion of Slow Fall. I know, not mentioning I have that seems like I’m milking artificial tension, but let me be clear: this potion family is not something I get to use very often. I’m not sure how it works, when you should drink it, or whether it will function properly. And indeed, I am surprised to find myself floating downwards very slowly, and not merely imploding, as I drift gently into a clotting mass of daedra.

As always, I hit the ground running. With this dumbass Savior’s Hide shit on, I’m not nearly fast enough–barely fast enough to keep ahead of the bozo patrol if I use the old running-forward-while-strafing trick, which makes it hard to get through the courtyard precisely. Any second I could hear a whoosh and see three quarters of my health fly off, assuming I saw anything at all but a blood graphic and a loading screen. But not to worry, because those up ahead are the cathedral doors. My hands are sweating now. I’m swearing merrily, three new obscenities per second. I am about to become one of the few people to ever bother to beat this terrible, awful…

You need six keys to open this gate.

Right.

Which I have.

Six. Six keys.

I picked them all up. I’ve been picking up these keys so long I’m going to reincarnate as a bellhop, and I know I have them all, so why don’t you tell me just what the fuck bullshit glitch is it this time? What ass-numbing undocumented dogshit did I just step in? What feckless idiot fuckhead programmer couldn’t track the fact that I distinctly, clearly, and really most extremely picked up all six–

OH MY GOD I ONLY PICKED UP FIVE KEYS.

Where’s the other–where didn’t I go–I went through the waterfall, didn’t I? Herne, I took his key off his corpse–didn’t I? I better have, because I can’t get back up there! Hang on, hang on, get a grip–there’s no need to panic–cry, yes, but panic? That probably won’t help–

I run. I just pick a direction and run. And the daedra are coming for me, and I turn to run the other way, and now the whole pack’s caught up, and they’re shaving my health like it’s a gyro cone–I’m down to my last potions–I don’t even recognize this area of the map, I don’t even know how to get out of here–I’m stuck, I can’t move, I’m stuck, oh god I’m stuck.

I pause, pace, sit back down.

I drink about a dozen potions.

I try running in the opposite direction of the big wall I was standing next to. This actually works out pretty well.

Twenty minutes of hunting later, I find the key I’d missed the first time through.

This is the key I`d missed the first time through.
This is the key I'd missed the first time through.

Five minutes after that, I’m cruising back up the highlands like a runaway motorcycle. My shitty Savior’s Hide is mothballed away in a nested bag, my slicked-out Speed gear is all set up. I am breathing properly. I’m at full health, I’m armed, I’ve got every key, and I ain’t braking for daedra. The pack can’t do anything to stop me cruising through the front gate.

When I`ve got my speed gear on, there`s not much a pack of a dozen fire and frost daedra can do except balance out lukewarm.
When I've got my speed gear on, there's not much a pack of a dozen fire and frost daedra can do except balance out lukewarm.

After I’m through the front gate, I’ve got one more pointless collection of geometric hazards to navigate. My teeth are clenched the whole time, along with other regions–but I’ll spare you.

I make it.

 

I can honestly say, Bethesda, that I have never in my life been happier to finish a level of a videogame.

NEXT WEEK: …THE ARISTOCRATS!

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201737 comments. Hurry up and add yours before it becomes passé.

From the Archives:

  1. Ciennas says:

    WHOO!

    You had me on the edge of my seat there. This is like watching the Death Star battle for the first time.

    So you can save again now or what?

  2. Content Consumer says:

    I hate to suggest this, but I’m pretty sure it’s glitching out.

    No! Say it ain’t so!

  3. Mr Compassionate says:

    Rutscarn is a true hero of the internet, that’s all have to say.

  4. Galad says:

    Huzzah! All Hail Rutskarn, the glorious glitchmaster, wielder of the arcane knowledge of the Buggyspire! :D

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Hang on….Last time,you said that its fire daedra that are killing you.But werent you immune to fire?What gives?

  6. natureguy85 says:

    I’ve only started reading the series but thank you for putting yourself through such torture for our entertainment. I’d certainly have quit once I couldn’t save or saves were lost.

    At what point did everything become so dangerous and you unable to fight? It seemed to jump to that from “full immunity and stab everything.”

    • Rutskarn says:

      It’s not that things are dangerous per SE, but the thing is that any given enemy has like a 10% chance to kill me in a given combat, which seems to be what the designers were shooting for. I can shave those values by consuming potions, but since I have to do that preventatively I don’t end up using them very efficiently and I run out before long.

      All well and good–until I enter an area where I absolutely cannot die for any reason.

  7. Eichengard says:

    TOUCHDOWN! WOO!

    That is the right sporting metaphor, isn’t it? Seems like this tension then elation is analogous to sports.

    Can I get a Cahmel replica jersey from all good sporting goods stores now?

  8. Dragmire says:

    New game +!
    New game +!
    New game +!

    • Chris says:

      Jesus christ. Not sure if i want to high five you or send you to the hague for a fucking war crime. How could you subject the poor boy to this TWICE?!

      • Andy_Panthro says:

        Mad with delirium, Rutskarn finally finishes Battlespire. As he begins to comprehend the crazed, godlike malevolence of this twisted creation, a cruel smile plays on his lips, and tears begin to flow down his cheeks.

        He witnesses the “New Game Plus” option in the menu.

        For a moment, there is hesitation. To revisit this oubliette of terror, this construct that man was never meant to complete, this madness could lead to death. Death… or perhaps salvation, glory and enlightenment. Perhaps this is the true Battlespire, unsullied by the expectations of 90s game design, a hidden gem that only the most pure and noble could aspire to see.

        Tentatively, Rutskarn hovers the mouse pointer over the text – and clicks.

        For a moment, darkness. The silence and emptiness are profound in their completeness. Rutskarn gazes into the darkness with bloodshot eyes, half in terror, half in hope. It feels like aeons (but in fact has been mere seconds), and a message flashes upon the screen:
        .
        ..

        Thank you for playing An Elder Scrolls Legend™: Battlespire™!
        We hope you enjoyed the game as much as we enjoyed making it! Please look out for further Bethesda™ game titles in your local electronics store.

        C:\Battle~1\

  9. SADD1 says:

    Lotioning Up definitely sounds like More Fun than Potioning Up!

  10. MichaelGC says:

    I didn’t know what a gyro cone was, and I didn’t know what the things called ‘gyro cones’ were called. So I’ve learnt two things! Yay.

  11. Jarenth says:

    Someone give this man a Nobel Prize.

    Given all the life-saving geometry-dodging, I’m leaning towards one of the Physics ones.

  12. Mersadeon says:

    You know Ruts, I just realised you might just have made it all up. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that’s what happened, but YOU COULD have done that. Aside from the first few levels – who would know? The whole thing about “the Hunt” – you could have just made up some generic fantasy bullshit. None would be the wiser. Like, maybe five people actually finished this game.

  13. Bryan says:

    Thanks for this series Ruts, I’ve deeply enjoyed it.

  14. Ambitious Sloth says:

    So now that we’re past the hard part, let’s deal with Sugar Pie Herne Bun over here.

    True story: I had to stop reading here, go and watch the entire week of Spoiler Warning, and only by then had I stopped laughing at this pun and was able to move on.

    • Garrett Carroll says:

      This was by far, the greatest name pun of all time. The timing of it was impeccable as well, and it basically set up the tone of the fight with the world’s weakest worst enemy in a game.

  15. Philadelphus says:

    Bravo! I was really afraid (as I’m sure you intended) that the punchline of the post was going to be that the game bugged out and that even though you had all 6 Keys of Plot-Fiat the door still wouldn’t let you through.

  16. Austin says:

    I’d just assume your character is Reginald Cuftbert’s cousin. I mean, just think about it. Fashionable clothing. Bugs. Can’t be a coincidence.

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