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Forums > Submission Feedback > dagoss's Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Pool of Radiance review

This thread is in response to a review for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Pool of Radiance on the NES. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: October 30, 2008 (11:34 AM)
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Kickin' review there. You did a good job of not only expressing the differences between this version and the PC version, but also the differences between this game and the average NES console RPG. If someone's not familiar with the PC version and reads your line about how fights are simplified here.....and then looks at the second screenshot to see a party fighting two ogres, three orc captains, four hobgoblins and seven orcs (and, yes, the game's engraved in my mind enough to recognize all those sprites), that will blow their mind.

Which might explain why, in my attempt to do all four games in the Pools.... series, I am stalled in Azure Bonds at this area leading to the tower where you deal with the Red Wizard where you get to fight a gazillion Drow with their love of Hold Person and other spells that do a great job of leading to one-hit kills.....

Nice work mentioning the Troll room in the slums. That's a particularly sadistic fight just because it's so far above about everything else there. And I agree with how you said part of the game's appeal is because of the appeal of low-level campaigns. One thing that makes this game addictive is just how much you can improve by gaining ONE level or finding ONE well-secreted treasure alcove with a good weapon, piece of armor or item. If I recall right, early in the game, you can get a Necklace of Missile, which gives you a few uses of the Fireball spell......and that was my bread and butter for getting through some of the early tough fights, like the Slum Trolls or the big brawl in Sokal Keep.

And you had to love the "little" things only a masochist would do. Like clearing out the Textile Factory for a tiny amount of experience. Yay! You no longer have random battles in an area you have no reason to enter after doing the quest that brings you there in the first place. And you have to fight 15 battles against things that poison you (scorpions) or drain levels (wights)..... At least doing the same thing in Podol Plaza had a bit of purpose, as you had to cross that place a few times to get to a few certain areas of importance.

Damn.....really can't afford to get back into Azure Bonds now.....but I'm feeling way too tempted.....


I'm not afraid to die because I am invincible
Viva la muerte, that's my goddamn principle


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Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: October 30, 2008 (09:16 PM)
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I'll admit I'm very unfamiliar with this series... or anything modeled off of D&D in general. I think out of all those games you mentioned, the only one I played or even seen was Neverwinter Nights.

Still, you do a good job elucidating my ignorance, and while this review may not have been as catchy as some of your others, it's very informative and does a good job telling me things I should know.

On that note, why does stronger armor reduce armor rating? That makes no sense to me... Isn't it just better then to where weaker armor?

Also, Champions of Krynn? Sounds like a Dragonlance novel. >_>


What espiga does in his free time
[Eating EmP's brain] probably isn't a good idea. I mean... He's British, which means his brain's wired for PAL and your eyes are NTSC. - Will


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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: October 30, 2008 (09:49 PM)
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WQ:

1. In AD&D land, the better the armor, the lower the number. You have Armor Class 10, pretty much anything could kick your ass. You have AC -4, your opponent would have to be pretty badass to wound you.

2. I don't know if Champions of Krynn is a Dragonlance book, but it was the first of a three-game Gold Box series set in the Dragonlance world. Followed by Death Knight(s) of Krynn and then Dark Queen of Krynn.


I'm not afraid to die because I am invincible
Viva la muerte, that's my goddamn principle


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Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: October 30, 2008 (10:30 PM)
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Ah. That makes sense.

Yeah; it's not a Dragonlance book. I was just trying to allude to the fact that it took the name from there... Wasn't sure it was modeled off the world or a book or what. Good to know that it was. I really like those books. >_>


What espiga does in his free time
[Eating EmP's brain] probably isn't a good idea. I mean... He's British, which means his brain's wired for PAL and your eyes are NTSC. - Will


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Author: WilltheGreat
Posted: October 31, 2008 (02:41 AM)
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God, THAC0 was retarded; the only good thing it had going for it was a catchy acronym. I honestly don't know why they didn't come up with 3E's armour mechanics sooner.


"Either, sir, you're an ass or you're masquerading as one."
- Nero Wolfe


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Author: bloomer
Posted: October 31, 2008 (04:36 AM)
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Wasn't the point of THACO just to save you trips to the printed tables? I mean I loved the tables anyway. My youth was spent consulting the result tables of TSR games, D+D and AD+D amongst them. But if you knew your THACO, you could just do a quick bit of math in your head after you heard what the target's AC was and know what you had to roll to hit. Still, the THACO concept came too late in my life to stick.


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Author: dagoss
Posted: November 02, 2008 (06:37 AM)
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Just for clarification:

THAC0 = To Hit Armour Class 0. To hit an enemy with AC or 0, your THAC0 must be equal to or greater than one roll of a twenty-sided die (1d20).

The formula is like this:

If (THAC0 - AC >= 1d20) You hit the enemy!
Otherwise you missed.

This is why negative AC is important for your characters. If they are attached, it will be ADDED to the enemies THAC0, which will decrease the chance that you will be struck.

As should be obvious, this system was designed for pen & paper, not video games.


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: July 13, 2012 (11:04 AM)
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THACO was always a little confusing, but I liked it. Somehow it made me feel like I was doing something archaic and magical when I played. I'm one of the few people I know who still likes the old 2nd edition rules, though. I haven't tried 4th edition, I hear it's alright!

One thing I've long tried to discover about this game is whether the NES version was better than the computer one. "Different," I hear a lot. "Simplified." "Better for the console audience." But if you had your choice between the two versions, which one would you pick, Dagoss?


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: dagoss
Posted: July 13, 2012 (02:25 PM)
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I'd don't know if I'd commit to saying it's "better," but I prefer the NES version. The PC version has some things going against it for me:

+ It takes FOREVER to set up a new game.
+ Unless you have a pirated/cracked version, you need to use this stupid code wheel to enter a code every time you start the game.
+ No music
+ Saying the graphics are better than than the NES version is like saying bird poop tastes better on rye bread instead of wheat bread. It's all 8-bit graphics, regardless of version--take the one with the color pallete you find looks the least like puke.1
+ Battles are HUGE and take forever. At a certain point, it becomes tedious instead of challenging.
+ Why do I need 300 types of money?

The NES version is more streamlined, more accessible, and--in my opinion--more fun for it. I've always wanted to take a party from Pool of Radiance to Pools of Darkness, but I never get far in the PC version of PoR before I lose interest. The NES version, however, I've beaten with more than one party.

---
1 Okay, I actually like the 8-bit graphics. They're simple and charming and in no way resemble puke.


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: July 13, 2012 (02:45 PM)
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I find that most people who like PC versions of games much at all will invariably recommend the PC version over the NES version, if a game hit both platforms, but I will almost invariably prefer the NES version. I love Ultima: Quest of the Avatar on the NES, for instance, thanks largely to its streamlined interface (plus I actually prefer the visuals), but apparently that makes me a total rube. Yet when I tried to play the PC version that EA released for free (you just need DOSbox), I couldn't get into it at all. And I hear vicious things about Deja Vu (NES) being insultingly bad, but I actually had tremendous fun with that game and so did one of my friends who borrowed it from me.


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: July 13, 2012 (08:23 PM)
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Well, some ports don't quite do it. Like, Maniac Mansion is still a great game on the NES but you lose a lot of details from the PC version and controlling the commands with a mouse was far easier then a controller. But it's good to hear that this was better!


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: dagoss
Posted: September 11, 2012 (06:31 AM)
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I just finished replaying this game for the uptenth time, and I mean finished. No quest was left undone; no character did not reach their max levels.

By the end, my fighter had an AC of -6, THAC0 of 6 (holy crap!), and HP of 100. No character's AC was above -2. Tryanthraxus basically bent over and asked me "how would you like it, sir?" I wish the Medusa in the final dungeon was some sort of super monster so there was an end-game challenge. After playing this game several times, I still think the Kobold King gauntlet is the hardest part.

Every time I beat this game and am prompted to record my character sheet, I'm reminded of the 3 games that never were and I get a little sad :(


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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: September 11, 2012 (10:19 AM)
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I agree about the Kobald King gauntlet being the roughest part. Three straight battles against large forces including trolls. If you add optional challenges, I'd include clearing the Textile House just because of how annoying it is to run around that place fighting tons of things that can poison/level-drain you until you've fought enough battles to get the pittance of experience the Phlan people decide that's worth.

And hanging around Zhentil Keep through all the battles OR doing the Buccaneer's Den with no attempts at diplomacy/trickery can also be harsh...or getting lost in the maze in the pyramid, too. But overall, the KK's area might be the worst.

In comparison, Tyranthraxus isn't all that tough. Especially if you recruit his lapdog mage to fight against him, since he'll carry you through the first battle with the fighters...as long as your melee guys don't get in the way of his area-effect spells.


I'm not afraid to die because I am invincible
Viva la muerte, that's my goddamn principle


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Author: Putty
Posted: September 11, 2012 (12:39 PM)
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Thac0 is a neat example of game development. In 1e D+D it wasn't really used in any way except to generate tables. So, most of the things you did involved looking at tables instead of calculating. By 2e, the tables were removed and replaced with a formula. The loss of the reference displayed the totally bizarre calculation all those old wargamers were doing.

3e was awesome because you always added. Subtracting on the fly can be a bit harrowing (I guess?).

I'm sure this is secretly about the devil.


Every piece of putty is your friend


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Author: dagoss
Posted: September 11, 2012 (06:55 PM)
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AD&D rules always made more sense to me for table-top games than 3e. I could never shake the feeling that 3e was designed with video games not actual D&D in mind, but maybe that's just me...


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: September 11, 2012 (10:00 PM)
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No, it's not just you. I thought THACO was perfectly fine, though I'm not sure it's functionally any different from Armor class.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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