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Demon Island II

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Why, oh Why?


Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice,...




Waaaaaay back when, when the scenario review archive was still at Malkeera, I reviewed Demon Island the first. For those that don’t remember, I stated:


“Quite honestly, I’m shocked that this scenario was created. On one hand, the author displays an excellent command of the scenario editor — the opening is fast and dramatic and there are many well executed special nodes — including one very impressive cinematic sequence, something I thought impossible within the BOE editor prior to witnessing it here. But on the other hand, the scenario suffers from a VERY fatal flaw, [Too many demons.]”


Well, frankly, as shocked as I was at the creation of Demon Island the first, I am ever more shocked that Ross Yancey (yancey AT bmi DOT net) has now created as released Demon Island II. This guy’s got too much skill and too much time to be making these kinds of scenarios. I can’t believe, after the very poor reception Demon Island the first got, he came back to program more. Given Demon Island II’s reception, I’d expect he’s gone for good now. Hopefully, I will be proven wrong, and he’ll come back to design something a bit more player friendly.


Alright, let’s get right to the heart of the matter — DI2 suffers from the same fundamental flaw as DI1 — too many demons, too much combat, too many illogical puzzles, and too little redeeming features.


Soooooo much combat. Better than the first — it’s variety is changed a bit (there are now fire demons, and you’re periodically attacked by various items/objects), but it’s still constant, and it’s still extremely hard, and it still grates on your nerves. If you didn’t find the combat in Doom Moon II or Spy’s Quest tedious, you’ll love this scenario. If you did, stay away as if it were the plague!


Speaking of Doom Moon II, Demon Island II bears a great deal of similarity to that scenario, even beyond their similarly poor choice of names. Apart from the constant overwhelming combat, Demon Island II, like Doom Moon II (boy, is that going to get confusing.), is littered with illogic puzzles. Once again, if you don’t mind them, play ahead. If you do like them, flee fearless friend, flee!


The problem with Demon Island II is that, while the technology is competent, it’s not an earth-shattering leap forward like DM2. In DM2, the combat problem was overcome by the great features of the scenario — you wanted to keep playing to see what great new feature would appear next. But there’s really not all that much that is new in DI2, and it’s just not worth fighting through another three hundred Haakais to see things you’ve seen a dozen places before. (Incidentally, since writing the review for Demon Island the first, I have discovered there is a way to repeatedly cast “Ravage Spirit”, or any other spell, without pulling up the select spell menu. Typing a capitalized “P” [or “M] will cause the PC to cast the exact same priest [or mage] spell she/he previously cast. You probably all know this, but it’s a relatively recent discovery for me, and trust me, I used it a lot!)


Spelling errors/bugs have been cut down dramatically from Demon Island the first, although there is a fatal bug at the end, that requires an additional scenario file to complete. It’s a pain, but if you insist on playing through this giant demon infested scenario, you might as well see the finish line.


Leaving all that I’ve just said aside, however, there is one overwhelming positive of Demon Island II. Early on, you’ll return to a castle you visited (that is if you happened to play Demon Island the first), to find it overrun with — wait for it — Demons. Okay, nothing special there. But the sequence in you climbing the castle to find the big bad and kill him is truly spectacular, highlighted by what I believe is the first use of truly 3D graphics in the Blades engine. Honestly, my recommendation is that you play the scenario to this point — the combat is worth trudging through for this early encounter. At that point, you’ll be able to decide whether to keep going or not. If you like lotsa combat and strange illogic puzzles, you’ll love Demon Island II. If you’re like me, and you play Blades mostly for the plot, it’ll be time to cast “File: Exit”.


My score - Average

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Epic. Very very tough combat. Puzzles that are highly unlikely to be solved without the walkthrough. I found the walkthrough insufficient - and drawing maps was essential. The Ice Castle especially is a nightmare. The optional 25 blue orbs is probably impossible - and the designer won't give more than basic hints in emails. I never will know what's in the blue chests and what happens with the aliens. I loved the Battle Arena. Also good were: Slot Machine, Wheel of Luck, Treasure Fishing, Target Practice. The final battle is exciting - but due to some 100-town flaw you will need to email the designer for the ending. I enjoyed the 3D-type graphics for the Castle etc. Generally I enjoyed the graphics. I have played this scenario twice, the first time without the graphics - which made the scenario even harder, but also made the graphics so welcome second time around. The problem is that the graphics file needs to be renamed in synch with the EXS file. The Chaos Maze is extremely sadistic - especially the 2nd level. You must have a six PC party (for Castle Zerivix Level Three). Average

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After playing the horribly failed Demon Island, many people avoided the sequel. Heck, most parties can’t make it to the Ice Tower before getting slaughtered by the hordes of Nightmare Imps and Fury Demons. In Demon Island II, however, things have changed on our little island. The lava is gone, making outdoor travel less tedious. The Nightmare Imps have been eliminated, thankfully, and the Fury Demons no longer wander unchecked. There are now more monsters, undead and the like, wandering the island, some powerful, others easily defeated. But there is familiar evil about, someone thought destroyed, still wandering, appearing, killing. It’s another wild party at Valgoth’s place!


First and foremost, this is, in my opinion, on the top ten list for best designed scenarios of all time. There is one bug, the 100 town thing (which is much more evil than Zerivix), which makes the game un-winnable at its climax, but another tiny scenario, can be acquired from the author, contains the ending. That’s about it for design flaws. If there were any others, they had no effect on the game. And it excelled in many areas: There were two ‘movies’ within it, more advanced than Doom Moon II’s, dungeon design was better than good, the Blue Chests provided an intriguing side quest, the monsters were much more balanced than before (though still difficult), and the Arena/Casino/etc. is perhaps the best designed dungeon in the history of BoE. Is spent hours in the chess room trying to get a godlike rating.


Puzzles were a big part of the scenario, and there were a lot. The maze, one of the first dungeons, would be nearly impossible to anyone who hadn’t played DI I. Zerivix’s gem puzzles were perhaps the most challenging I had ever had solved, and while not confusing, took a lot of trial and error to correctly complete. There was also the exorcism you can perform on the King is the most unique usages of a spell I’ve ever seen. Luckily, a hint file was included. While not required, it can save a lot of stress.


While there was a bit of repetitiveness in the plot that was played, the plot as shown in the movies was well thought out and well created. I suppose that key, guardian, key, guardian cycle did get a bit annoying, but the dungeons were so varied, I didn’t really notice. Finally, the ending scenes were, like most good endings, emotionally stirring and fun to play.


On to the cons. and there were a few. In the readme, Yancey said he made this scenario to be a challenge to those that wanted one. This scenario is not meant for parties without considerable experience, and almost ever boss showed this. Without the demon weapons from Doom Moon I, would have had considerable trouble against Zerivix. There was a lot of combat, not as much as Spy’s Quest, but still a lot. Most was difficult, but like Dragon’s Revenge, nothing a strong party couldn’t easily handle. Those that put scenarios like Election at the top of their favorites list will hate this scenario. Those that put Doom Moon II at the top will love it. Also, there were a few spelling and grammar errors, but a few billion less than DI I.


Custom graphics were, next to design, this scenario’s greatest asset. The castle, which is visited many times, contains very well made 3-D graphics. It’s a huge surprise to me that no one else has used them. Maybe if they’d take the time to play the scenario they’d find out about them. >:0 The warped reality was cool, and the Giant Squid was similar to the final monster in DM II, in that you attack multiple monsters making up a whole.


I give Demon Island II a 8, and Minidemon, it’s companion piece (the ending) a .5. So all in all, it gets an 8.5. I highly recommend that if you have a nice strong party, you give this one a try.



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