Sunday, July 31, 2011

Pool of Radiance - Textile House and Mendor's Library

As promised, here's the update on my progress through Pool of Radiance.

I planned to head down to Mendor's Library and poke around in there, trying to satisfy the council's quest to find books, tomes and maps about Phlan.  What better place to look than in a library.  I headed down, but found when I got there that no matter what I did, I could not get through either the front, or back entrance to the library itself.  It must be magically sealed, and none of my casters know the knock spell.  I'll have to get some more experience and be sure to choose that spell when I level up one of my casters.  So, I'll go off and do what Cadorna has asked me to do.  I'll check out the textile house and get his treasure back.
The door that just won't open.
After exploring around the northern part of the textile house and encountering scorpions, trolls, and wights, I found another well at the northwestern corner.  I had one of my thieves climb down.  At the bottom was another thief named Restal.  He seemed nice enough, and didn't immediately attack.  He offered to sneak us into the textile house and to help us with the treasure.  We took him up on the offer to get us inside the textile house. 
Restal offering to help us out.
We were blindfolded and led around to another well, this one inside the textile house itself.  With a warning to not try and contact them at this well, they were gone and we were standing in an open area.  We headed to the west to a building there.  Not sure if it was a good start or a bad start since we burst in on what looked like a makeshift temple, no doubt to some deity we should have no part of.  A hobgoblin priest had problems with our presence and tried to force us to leave.
Infernal wrath... has to be a woman.
We dispatch the group fairly quickly.  Hidden among the belongings were a couple of magical items and a brass key.  We took the key and headed deeper into the building.  Behind another door were a set of hobgoblin guards, guarding another door to the south.  These fell just as quickly. 

Inside the south door the hobgoblins were guarding was a chained prisoner.  The brass key we just liberated from Grishnak unlocked his chains.  His name was Skullcrusher and was the servant Cadorna has sent to recover the treasure before me.  He would have joined my group to continue searching for the treasure, but I didn't have any room in my group.  He left to go back to report to his master I assume.  Wonder if I'll get paid for finding and releasing his servant too... 
At least I got a thanks.
Laying in the room still was a page that pointed to another journal entry.  This time entry number 47 which read:
A small wrinkled parchment with roughly scratched notes.
'Hobgoblins transferred out of Valjevo Castle.  Now replaced by giants and trolls.  Sounds very tough.
Stojanow Gate guarded by bugbears and ettins.  Heard ettins didn't like light.  Must be charmed or controlled.  Sounds tough!
Some smugglers sneak supplies through Stojanow Gate to The Boss.  Must check it out.
Overheard hobgoblins say a dragon scared them into leaving nice lair in the mountains out east.  Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of creeps.'
These must have been notes Skullcrusher was taking while searching for Cadorna's treasure.  I would guess that most of this info was overheard from the hobgoblins in the area, so I wouldn't put much stock into what is said, though I'll have to look into some of this.  Hearing of a dragon in the area doesn't help put me at ease about this situation at all. 

Also while searching the area, I ran across another note, maybe a page missing from some traveler's journal.   This page explained some of the happenings at Valhigen Graveyard.  Since so many of the proclamations have to do with checking that place out, I was interested to hear some news.  The author went on to explain that 'The Boss' is not pleased about the presence of the undead there.  The author assumes that the boss is reluctant to send in powerful priests to take care of the problem fearing that they would take control of the undead and then pose an even greater threat to his power.  Most likely a safe assumption.  It sounds like the undead are being controlled by something powerful.  The note suggests a vampire or demon.  I'll be sure to keep that in mind.

I headed back out into the courtyard and explored some of the southern buildings.  I ran across a couple of hobgoblin patrols, and entered into a building that was apparently used as a nursery.  As I opened the door, some baby hobgoblins scattered.  No doubt left alone since I had most likely killed those that were taking care of them. 

In one of the southern buildings, I found a secret entrance.  This lead me into the lair of the hobgoblin leader.  An ogre of all things.  He took no time in telling me I was going to die and attacked.  This battle finished fairly quickly with a few well placed sleep spells.  Among the treasure was a locked box, sealed with Cadorna's seal I would assume.  I put it in my pack and finished clearing the area.
The hobgoblin leader.
After a couple more battles with hobgoblins, I left the area.  I had meant to go ask the thief about the treasure I had found, but in my haste to return to the civilized section of town, I completely forgot.  As I passed into town, I was immediately stopped at the entrance and made to turn over Cadorna's locked box.  I was told that my reward waited for me with the council clerk.
They waste no time.
I stopped by the clerk and received the reward that Cadorna had left for me.  I bet he was happy that the seal wasn't damaged, and the box wasn't obviously opened.  I wonder what was inside...
Cheerful as always.
I stayed around town, and trained those who could level up, being especially careful to make sure that one of my mages learned knock.  My next stop was to try again at getting into that library.

I stood again in front of the door to Mendor's Library.  This time I came prepared with a knock spell.  I cast it and entered the library.  I carefully searched every nook and cranny in this place and ran across a few useful tomes, all of which I took. 

In the philosphy section I ran across a couple books that gave some breif details of magical pools.  It described these pools as not being a conduit between planes, and can shift locations through the constantly changing realities in which it travels.  It also says that very powerful beings may be able to control the location by affecting its path through these planes.  It would take creatures of almost godlike power to affect this path however.  This tome also said that there are many ways to take in the power of these magical pools, the best of which would be immersion, as this way, you surrender your entire self to the magics in the pool. 

Another book in this section gave a very brief list of names that seemed to be important to the situation.  Tyranthraxus is a name which I have heard before, and this short passage implied that he was of great enough power to be put down by the greater god Bane. 

In this history section of the library is where I found my more usful books.  One of which was a very well drawn map of Old Phlan and its surrounding areas.  I'll have to make sure that this stays close at hand.  Also was an account of Tyranthraxus as a living being.  He was a conqueror and was referred to as 'The Flamed One'.  The flames that surrounded him eventually consumed his body and and his spirit was free to fly and travel among his men.  A man named Baron Schodt imprisioned Tyranthraxus in a vial which glowed brightly and sank the vial in Lake Longreach and defeated his army.
Map of the city
As I wandered the library, I ran across a basilisk which made life difficult.  I defeated it thoughbefore anyone in my party could be turned to stone.  I imagine having a mirror equiped would have made this fight a bit easier, but everything turned out ok as the characters who were gazed upon made thaie saving throws.
I got the drop on this one!
Also deeper inside the building I found a man huddled in a corner, apparently gone mad by his stay here.  He ranted about something that wasn't human and cloaked in flame.  He must've seen our mighty Tyranthraxus about and found a way to hide here.  I left him be as he presented no real threat, and was apparently beyond and help I could give. 
Driven mad.
In a storage room, I ran across some kobalds.  They were quick to surrender and offered to help me out by describing some of the surrounding area in detail.  This led to me piecing together a map of what they were describing.  It turned out to be a description of the nearby textile house which I had already explored and cleared.  It would have been nice to have this info beforehand but it was worth the kobalds lives.
Finally something fears me!
I finished exploring the library and decided to head back to the council and turn in these books.  When I tried to exit the library, a spectre materialized in front of me.  This one was upset about me taking the books and was willing to kill us all to protect them.  This must be the spectre of Mendor himself.  Spectres are particularly nasty in battle, able to drain 2 levels out of an adventurer.  Thankfully, he was defeated in short order. 
Talk about steep late fees!
I finally made my way out and back to the civilized section of town to turn in these books.  The council clerk was thankful for the books and rewarded me appropriately.  They also gave me a reward for clearing the block.  I was given another task by the clerk, this time to clear out some bandits that have taken up residence in Kovel Mansion.  Also a new task is to find the nomads in the wilderness and prevent them from joining 'The Boss'.   

So that clears out most of the sections of town according to my map.  All that is left on this side of the river is Podal Plaza, which will be my next step to see whats going on with the auction.  Then it looks like a trip across the river is in order to visit the wealthy areas where the mansion and temple are. 

It has been a long week of work, and this is the product of two weeks worth of play.  I hope that in the next few weeks, work will settle down again and allow me more time to play.  Until next time.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

July launch activity at Cape Canaveral

I haven't had that much time this month for playing games.  There was the last shuttle launch on the 8th, a night launch of a Delta IV carrying a GPS II satellite last Friday night.  My girlfriend coming down to visit for 5 days, a trip to Sea World, many trips out to the Cocoa Beach Pier for fishing.  It has been busy and fun.  I'll post more progress through games shortly. 

I don't have a video posted yet on YouTube of the Shuttle launch, though one will be forthcoming.  I do have a couple of pictures I took that turned out fairly well.

Looking at the launch pad from the VAB.
Main engines start.
Just about to clear the tower!
Still beneath the cloud layer.
Out of sight.
Here are a few pictures from the night launch of the Delta IV.  A couple turned out surprisingly well with my cheap point-and-shoot camera.  Also considering the fact that the launch was at 2:50 AM. 

Rocket just igniting.
Brightest star in the sky for a few moments.
Away into space.
The night launch was worth getting up to see, even though it lasted only a few moments.  It was a clear night, and even though I couldn't get pictures of it, you could see the solid boosters separate and fall away.  They looked like flickering lightning bugs around the still burning first stage.  We all stood and watched as the bright light just suddenly blinked out.  And that was it.

The next two launches schedule here at the Cape are very dear to me.  JUNO will launch on an Atlas V near August 5th, and my own project that I have been working on the last two and a half years, GRAIL, will launch on the last Delta II Heavy around September 8th.  I look forward to seeing both of these spacecraft launch and travel through space to do their science. 

With the end of the program being so soon, I find myself hoping that this will not be the one and only time I get to do something like this.  I've been very fortunate to be down here for the last two shuttle flights.  I hope to be here again when the United States returns to space with whichever vehicle we chose to do so with.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pool of Radiance - Sokal Keep and Kuto's Well

After working through some games this week, I've begun to believe that I will have to either write portions of this blog as I go through the week and wait for the posting to get long enough to post, or post a new update much more often than once a week.  Either will probably work, and will produce the same result.  I'll work on it after this new post.

I'll start with Pool of Radiance.  I've progressed this week a bit faster than in the past.  Due mostly in part to the party finally getting stronger and having a little more options in battle.  I left off last week with having cleared the slums and headed off to Sokal Keep to try my hand at the big battle there again.  This time, with a little more experience under my belt, I boldly charged into the battle in front of the chapel at Sokal Keep.

Mid battle - already a casualty.

I started the fight, making sure to be fully healed when I got there.  This time, the battle was much easier than the other times I've tried prior.  I only suffered the one casualty, and that was a swordsman hireling I brought along for some extra padding.  After a still lengthy battle, about 20 minutes, I emerged victorious!

Weak on experience...
Upon cleaning up all the loot, I saw that there was a note on one of the hobgoblins.  This is the first time I've gotten to read an actual journal entry so far.  These goldbox games and one other are the only ones I can remember that used this separate journal system.  I'm positive there were more, but these are the only ones I've had any experience with.  For those that aren't familiar, the Adventurer's Journal was a booklet separate from the manual that came with the game.  Since computers and storage back then didn't have the capacity to write out long stories, they would reference a journal entry in which they describe everything to their heart's content.  It really added a lot to the games, and still has its own charm.  Its exciting  to look forward to the next time you get a piece of the story.  Also, a kind of collection quest that the games now days seem to adore putting in.  See if you can find them all!

My first journal reference.
This particular entry read as such:

A ratty piece of parchment with large writing on one side.

'Our spies in the city inform us that a party of invaders will travel to Sokal Keep to free it.  To combat these invaders, assemble a force of  no less than three squads.   Travel by boat from the small docks at the west of town to Thorn Island.  Move undetected to Sokal Keep.  Find the adventurers in or around Sokal Keep.  Kill them before they can return to the city council with information about the true situation at the keep.  Return with the invader's heads as proof of completion of your mission.  Upon completion you will be rewarded with food, treasure, and many slaves.

The Boss
Well, The Boss is the first sign that something out here doesn't want me out clearing any more sections of city and is willing to pay to make me stop.  Who is this Boss and how does he know about me already?  All I've done is kill some kobalds, orcs, and a couple trolls...  However he knows, he seems upset.  I like it when people take notice of my work right off the bat!

So off to the chapel I go, finally able to enter.  Just inside the door there are some orcs laying at my feet.  They've been blasted to all hell by something awfully powerful it looks like.  I believe the description said that their faces were still distorted in terror.  Something in here doesn't like orcs, lets just hope that they like us a little better. 

As I approached the alter at the back of the room, a ghost appeared before me.  It doesn't attack or anything, just waits for me to do something.  I figure that LUX word that worked on the other ghosts in this place might work here.  The ghost started to speak to me.  It says -  

"I am the form of Ferran Martinez.  Bound with the undead spirits of all who die within these walls to guard the keep.  Tell me, has the city been freed?"
I'm given the option to tell the truth, lie, and run away.  Since I worked so hard to get here I ain't running away.  I tell him truth and he seems satisfied.  Ferran tells me that the city fell long ago to creatures imbued with might from a magical pool.  He also gave me some names to remember as these must have been the leaders back then.  Tyranthraxus, Edranka, and Torath.  He also pointed out an illusionary wall in the armory where there are some magical items stored and gave me the password to use on the undead patrols, SAMOSUD.  He then faded away.

Ferran Martinez. 

I stopped by the armory, got the weapons, and left the keep.  I had to utter the password to a few undead patrols as I left.  I guess whoever moves out here will have to be ok with skeletons and zombies wandering around the courtyard forever since it appears that they could not, or would not follow Ferran off to whatever place they go when they die. 

I returned to the civilized section of Phlan, got some of my characters trained and rested to memorize the new spells I learned.  After a few days rest, I stopped by the clerks office to see if talking down FerranCadorna would like to speak with me about a job.  Guess I'm getting a little bit of a reputation now.

Another job done!
I walked into the Junior Councilman's chambers.  He talked about the Textile Complex, and that there was a family treasure hidden there since the fall of Old Phlan.  He told me that he sent a servant out to get it and that he never returned, so now he wants me to go out and get the treasure.  Sounds good enough to me, though he doesn't seem too distraught over the loss of his servant since he didn't ask me to find him too.

Junior Councilman Cadorna
Not knowing where any of the places were that I was expected to go to next, I just decided that I'll go exploring past the slums.  Something interesting has to be out there.  So I traveled through the slums.  They probably looked the same as before, but no monsters came out to bug me.  I emerged in the area just west of the slums.  Here I encountered much of the same as I saw in the slums, though this place looked even more run down.  Crumbling walls everywhere.  Nasty monsters everywhere too.  In this place I ran across kobalds, lizardmen, and gnolls. 

As I explored the ruined corridors of this section of the city, I stumbled into a building and was immediately set upon by a group of kobalds.  Though they were easy to defeat, as soon as I had taken care of this group, another scrambled over the wall and attacked me.  These too were pretty easily dispatched.  I had walked into an ambush it looked like.  Thankfully, it was pretty easy to get out of.  Since they were lying in wait, they were either sent by The Boss to take care of me, or they were guarding something. 

This area of the city I found out as I explored is known as Kuto's Well.  The well itself is in the middle of the area.  I noticed rungs in the well that lead down, but decided to explore that later on after I had fully explored this place. 

Kuto's Well
In one of the southern buildings I ran into a couple lizardmen with giant lizards like guard dogs.  Obviously they were protecting something or watching for something as the door behind them was nailed shut.  Whether from the inside or outside I don't recall.  I bashed down the door and to my surprise, there was an old woman behind it sitting on a rug. 

This old woman told me that she was waiting for me.  She tells me that an evil spirit from an unholy pool guides my enemies.  This must be the magical pool that Ferran Martinez from Sokal Keep was talking about.  She goes on to say that this evil spirit hides behind a fair countenance.  A fair face, isn't that always the root of most problems?  Other than that though, no real clues as to who or what it might be.  Guess I'll just have to be suspicious of every fair face I run across...

Thankfully I didn't make her wait too long.
With that, I had fully explored this section of town.  So I decided to head down into the well and see if there was anything down there worth the trip.  At the bottom of the well, there was a secret door left open leading off into some caves.  As I stepped through the door, a band of kobalds jumped out and fired some arrows in my direction and then promptly ran off and disappeared into the shadows.  Cowardly creatures...

Someone left the SECRET door open again!
I explored the caverns a little.  I never ran across any of the cowardly kobalds again.  I headed east from the well, and then turned north.  I walked through a doorway and was confronted by what must be one of the ugliest dudes I seen in a long time.  I've just stumbled across the infamous bandits led by Norris the Gray.  He offers me a chance to surrender, but what fun would that be.  Norris himself was pretty tough, but his band was really no match for us.  I did lose a couple of my party members in the battle, but nothing serious. 

I wish I could make demands like this.
After looting the bodies, I again found a note on Norris the Gray's body.  This pointed to an other journal entry.  This one read:
An official looking notice. 
'Assemble a group of at least 30 of your followers.  Meet up with a hobgoblin assault force at the small docks to the west of town.  You and your group will be under the command of the hobgoblin leader.  Follow his orders.  Upon completion of the mission you will be rewarded with food, treasure, and many slaves.'
The Boss
 Scribbled on the back of these orders is Norris the Gray's unsent reply to The Boss.
'I will never follow the orders of a hobgoblin.  I don't go on missions until I know exactly what we're supposed to do.  And I don't go on missions for an unknown amount of 'food, treasure, and slaves'.  I do go on missions where I am in command; where I know exactly what the target is; and where I know exactly how much I'll get paid.  Don't send me another order until you can meet my terms.'
Norris the Gray
Well it looks like evil people just can't ever work together.  If evil could unite, they could take over the world.  Here it seems this guy was supposed to join in the attack on me at Sokal Keep.  If he had been there with another army 30 large, I would never have survived.  But instead, he had to have it his own way.  I have a feeling that if I hadn't come along and killed this guy, The Boss certainly would have after reading that reply.

I continued to map out the rest of the caverns.  Nothing more happened to me down here.  After killing Norris, everyone else must have jumped ship.  I found the bandit's treasure in the northwest corner of the caverns.  I think that this place can be mine if I want it to be.  It was Norris the Gray's secret hideout.  Now its Thanalis' secret hideout. 

I headed back to New Phlan after resting and counting my money.  There were a couple new proclamations outside the council building.  Still talking about finding maps and books.  And one to see the clerk about a pressing mission.  I walked in to see the clerk and was rewarded for killing Norris the Gray and clearing out Kuto's Well.  She then told me that I was to see Bishop Braccio about a mission he wants completed.  I headed off the the temple to meet the Bishop.
More money!
When I arrived at the temple, Bishop Braccio was waiting for me.  He introduced me to a man named Dirten and said that he was bound to recover the temple which has been desecrated to Bane.  He told me to accompany him to the temple across the river and that I could keep any of the treasures I find as my reward.

I bid good day to the swordsman I hired, and took Dirten into my group.  Having a priest along might be handy.  I agreed to go to the temple, but didn't say I'd go right over.  There are some things I'd like to do first, and hopefully Dirten will help.
Bishop Braccio
That's where I'll continue from.  Its been an eventful week in Pool of Radiance.  I had started playing The Ballad of Gay Tony as well, but right now its getting late, and I have to be up at 2 AM this morning.  After the length of this post, maybe I should not try and fit two different games into the same post as well.  Just keep them separate as I play them.  Forgive me as I try to work out a good system.  We'll see what works in the future.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Finishing up Duke Nukem Forever, and more Pool of Radiance

This week I finished up with Duke Nukem Forever. Lets pick up where I left off last week.
I was wandering around in the bowels of the Hoover Dam. Now at the bottom of it, I run across a HUGE octo-alien.
Flying Octopus...  and a BIG one.
After a fairly easy fight in which you just hide behind some boxes, and avoid his incoming balls of lightning or whatever it is he throws at you, this big bad monster runs off like a coward.

Now I head off into the dam proper, with the intent of shutting down the generators inside.  Apparently, the aliens have tapped into the power the dam is generating and using it to keep their portal open.  Looking up, the stream from the sky seems vaguely familiar.  It reminds me of the view of City 17 in Half-Life 2 after blowing up the citadel.  I didn't take pictures of these myself so I went looking on the internet.  Here is the comparison...

DNF portal
Half-Life 2 portal
Pretty similar anyway.  So off to shut down the aliens power and maybe find out where my giant Octo-alien friend went off to.

There's a tentacle where the lobby used to be...
Good thing I don't have to search for too long.  After running over a running generators and up some scaffolding, I run into a guy that seems pretty content to be trapped inside a crane operator booth with thousands of aliens running around.  He takes me across the room where the coward Octo-alien is lying in wait for me.  Here again we run into another not so epic boss-fight.  It is just about learning the pattern, hide for full health, run out to get ammo from the unlimited supply crate posted right nearby, shoot a bit, rinse, repeat... 
Back again.  Hopefully not to run off again when he loses.
After launching a few hundred rockets into this flying octopus, he tries to draw the whole crane closer before he can sign out with this particular alien species death throe.  His smaller counterparts corpses explode shortly after being killed causing a fair bit of damage, so I can only assume that this monster exploding would be lethal no matter where I happened to be.  So, I do the only thing that CAN be done.  Launch a few hundred more rockets into this guy. 
He doesn't want to go down alone!
He does finally quit trying to pull me closer, and does explode a little, but not serious enough hurt anyone.  So with this guy finally out of the way, I can get through the door behind his corpse and continue on my mission to shut down the power plant.

My head is starting to get about as big as that dead alien down there.
The next areas are filled with the spinning turbines of the power plant.  Shutting down the power is much easier than I thought it was going to be.  An image comes to mind as I stand and look at these spinning generators, and being in a destructive mood, I set about completing my mission.

My inspiration!
At least the tool box will fit!
Things that are spinning rapidly don't take too kindly to anything trying to pass through them.  Thankfully, some mechanic was kind enough to leave his toolbox close by.  The toolbox works wonderfully to stop the turbine from spinning and I can proceed on my way.  The power is still not off though, so there must be parts later on inside the damn where instead of destroying everything I see, I might just be able to hit a switch. 
There's the switch!  I guess easier is not always simpler...
After jumping across an electrified pool, killing a legion of aliens, and watching a friend die, I get the switch off.  Well, the lights are still on, and there are still aliens around...  apparently its harder to get a whole power plant to stop generating power than originally thought.  So instead of wasting time trying to figure out what I need to go do to turn it all off, and pouring over schematics and blueprints to find out where to go,  we decide to handle things in true Duke Nukem fashion.  Lets just blow the whole damn place up!  By placing charges at spots along the bottom side of the dam, and blowing them at the same time, we hope to just bring the whole dam down, and any leftover aliens with it.

This ends up bringing us to an entirely underwater area.  Though you don't move very fast, and have to stop for breath every few seconds, the aliens have no such handicap.  They seem to be able to move around as easy as they do on the surface, though I guess the only ones I saw were the octopus type...  figures they'd be at home in the water too. 

Breathing is accomplished by finding a stream of bubbles and hovering inside the bubble cloud.  Most of this area is just about following the air tube, and opening its valves along the way to continue deeper, placing charges along the way.  Of course, nothing is ever easy.  Upon getting close to placing the last charge, a nasty worm-like alien shows its ugly face.

Now for the worms, this seems to be a staple of science fiction.  For some reason, worms are scary, and giant, and eat everything...  I would have to give credit to Frank Herbert for making the giant worm popular with his Dune books.  These giant creatures have made many appearances though modern science fiction and fantasy.  Dune, Tremors, Lost Planet, even making an appearance on an asteroid in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. 
Giant Sea Worm.  Why do these aliens have to be so creepy?

After the worm was destroyed, the dam was blown.  Down comes the whole thing in huge rush of water, and me along with it all.  Amazingly I survive, and am greeted by the president yet again...  If he was unhappy before with my alien ass-kicking, hes down right pissed the hell off now.

Who does this guy think he is?
Unfortunately, he happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and mister alien emperor himself comes and shows the president what he thinks of his whining.  Of course, after dealing with the president, the emperor sets his sights on me. 
Big guy...  but still no match for the Duke!
The last boss battle was still pretty easy, though it did take longer to complete.  Basically, you have to deplete this guy of his health 3 times before he calls it quits.  Oh yeah, did I mention that just before the emperor dealt with the president, the president launched a nuclear missile at the aliens to try and deal with them his own way?  Well, I'm standing at or near ground zero and have to get out, and quick.  The general who has been around the whole time, giving orders, and generally not contributing, finally does something...
 I'll leave the rest of the ending of this game for you to discover. 

Now that the game is complete, I'll summarize my view of the game.  This game, at least in my opinion, was never meant to be a game changer or a show stopper.  In its 12 years or more of development, it changed hands so many times, went through multiple game engines, and probably many rewrites before getting to this point.  It was meant to finally be finished, and not much more. 

I did enjoy this game for my time with it.  Its probably not a game I would play through entirely again.  Maybe at some point in the future, but not soon.  Its not really a game I would recommend to friends, unless I knew they enjoyed this type of game and could handle the crude humor.  It is definitely not a game I'd recommend to strangers without knowing their stance on language, ethics, and sexism.  If I knew those though, I don't think I could call them strangers anymore.  I had fun, and there wasn't really a point in the game where I wished it would just hurry up and end.  It moved from place to place well, and had pretty good variety of game play.  Between the shooting, the platforming, the shrinking areas, the driving, the underwater...  it was a fairly diverse game.  I gave it 6/10 when I updated the completion status in my collection database.

Now, time to move on....  Pool of Radiance.  I have moved further into Sokal Keep.  Mostly clearing the whole zone, but for one fight.  This fight as well as the one in the slums is a coming of age test.  It is a battle with hobgoblins and orcs of epic proportions.  This one battle usually takes about 25 minutes.  I manage to lose every time, barely.  After a few tries, I went back to the slums to try my hand at tackling the troll fight once more.  This time, after gaining a couple of levels on my party, and a couple more magic items, I emerged victorious!  The battle was still tough, and lost a few through the fight, but managed to keep everyone alive enough to not have to spend 5000GP on a resurrection.

Finally...  and a lot of experience when there's only a couple left alive to learn from it!
Here is a screenshot of the state of my party after this battle.
Those in red are unconscious thankfully.
After heading back to town and resting up and training the people who did get a level, I went to see the clerk for my reward. Clearing the slums was a chore, but I finally managed it and I was eagerly awaiting my reward. The reward was some gold and gems, and another job. This time I was tasked with heading to Podal Plaza and find out any info I could about a powerful magical weapon being auctioned off there. I think I may have to hold off on that one for a little bit.  I want to try my hand and getting past that group of orcs and hobgoblins in Sokal Keep first.

Expand all you want.  Didn't look like a place I'd want to live!
My goal this week is to finish out Sokal Keep and then see what other trouble I can get into.  As for another game to play, I don't know.  I try to keep a couple going so if I get frustrated with one I can walk away from it for a bit and have fun with something else.  I was considering heading into Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony.  Its not a RPG, and it fills the action and shooter that Duke Nukem Forever will leave.  I'll start work on it this weekend.