In line with everyone else, my BG1 experience was not exceptional. The game certainly warrants credit where credit is due. It provided me with a sense of nostalgia, although I was unable to engage this game like I had with others in the past. I became indolent while playing BG1. Eventually I had no desire to scour the ends of the map to sniff out all the quests. Mundane tasks and tiresome NPCs set the stage for reluctancy every time I loaded the game. It was only after using Stylist’s cheats, did I find much more to enjoy about this game.
I started slow with BG1–meandering around Candlekeep, slaughtering cows, and getting a feel for the mechanics of the game. It wasn’t long before I met up with my first two companions. Wide eyed and excited, we began exploring the great unknown, which actually meant roaming the forests having wolves and bears desecrate our insides. I learned quickly that this game is not forgiving and that I needed to save my progress often. I know that my characters were absolute noob status, but, c’mon, level the playing field a little. Every enemy we came across tore us apart.
After a mind-numbing amount of deaths, I didn’t know what to expect next. I certainly didn’t expect to have a hard time figuring out what I needed to do or where I needed to go. Maybe I didn’t read enough of the uninteresting dialogues. I felt disappointed in myself and in the progress I made thus far. I had played other RPGs and put countless hours into them. Have I been playing Worms too much? Have I lost the ability to appreciate these types of games? No, it can’t be. I’ll keep wandering until I catch a storyline.
After more aimless wandering, I somehow ended up in Chapter Two…WTF? How did this happen? What did I do? I didn’t even know what my objectives were in Chapter One. Oh well, I’ll just go with it. Chapter Two was also sufficiently vague. I had no idea where I was or what I was doing. I was exploring the map and putting up with these ambivalent NPCs. I was able to complete some side quests but I could not seem to pick up the main storyline. Eventually, I said screw it and started using the cheats. My frustration could have been easily avoided had a big red arrow popped up and said “HEY, GO THIS WAY!” or, at the very least, given me an organized quest log.
Now, on to the cheating! Oh-yeah! Explore area, Drizzt defends, and racking up gold is more like it. By the way, if you decide to rack up 55 million gold the way I did, you will crash the game. Expect to have a permanent lag in the game’s engine from now on too.
When it comes to XP, I was having trouble leveling up while sharing my XP values with my party members. Playing as a multi-class (Fighter/Mage/Thief) doesn’t help either. Even with the wrath of Drizzt slicing and dicing through anything in my path, I wasn’t leveling up fast enough.
So I maxed out my XP. And why the hell is there a cap on XP? My highest level was a 6 Fighter and a 6 Mage with a level 7 Thief. Total crap.
I will say that having a multi-class comes in handy when you want to solo the game. I was able to wield decent weapons, pick locks and find traps, as well as cast Level 3 spells. I also found two bad ass wands: a Wand of Fire and a Wand of Paralyzation. This is the Wand of Fire in action:
After maxing out all stats, I dropped my party members, loaded up on weapons, and learned as many spells as possible. I was headed straight for Baldur’s Gate. Although, I never actually made it there. I got side tracked when I stumbled onto Durlag’s Tower.
I spent an entire night in Level 1 of Durlag’s Tower (this place is a nightmare of traps) collecting every item required to solve the four wardens riddles. About three hours in, I was ready to square off with the four wardens and get to Level 2. However, I came to find out that there was one item I did not collect and needed to solve the four riddles. The “engine switch” was locked in a night table, and I could not get it out. It was then that I realized I had put the “odd-shaped key” that I had used to unlock the night table into said night table. Why would I put the key in there? Because I didn’t have enough room in my inventory to keep it, so I swapped it with one of the items from the night table that I needed. Three hours wasted. I couldn’t get the damned thing open again. I needed that key to open the night table and to get the engine switch or I could go no further. My advanced lock-picking skills were of no use. I was stuck. I had to revert back to a previous save point and start over. It took me a few more hours to collect all the items, and I died 70,000 more times but I finally made it to Level 2.
That is where I left off in BG1, and I don’t plan to continue. Level 2 of Durlag’s Tower is just as tedious as Level 1. It’s a laundry list of chores and items to find, which goes along with the entire theme of this game: one giant list of chores.