Sunday, January 27, 2008

Portals open every five minutes!

There is a realm of mystery and wonder just outside the winter-dreary city of Madison, a place they call..."The Dells." The Dells hide a number of attractions such as Ripley's Believe it or Not and The Haunted Mansion (non-Disney version), but the most important of these encounter locations?

Wizard Quest!

She Who Must Be Obeyed and I went up to the Dells this weekend, and I was able to finagle her to go to Wizard Quest, a prop-filled building where you play a fruity game to "Free the Four Elemental Wizards from the four realms of the Quadrasphere!"

Its actually a pretty darn cool game. They have this huge building filled with crazy props and little notes and stuff hidden away that say things about the various trolls and whatnot that live in the wizard realms. The goal of the game is to find and free the four wizards in each elemental plane within 90 minutes, but there's a lot more to it than just walking around a fancy maze. You have to collect magic points called "glimmers" to free the wizards (each wizard costs "200-250 glimmers" to free). I was unable to call them "glimmers" without laughing, so I used the more comfortable term "mana" when referring to the magic points. Dr. Girlfriend kept referring to them as "twinkles" the whole game, which was hilarious. All the "glimmers" are recorded on a strip of paper with a barcode on it that you scan to activate the various computer terminals around the place.

Anyway, to get more magic points you can do a number of things, mostly answer questions on these computer scattered around the place that refer to specific clues hidden around (20 points per correct answer). There's also cool puzzles and stuff that cost points to try, and then award more points if you successfully do the stuff right. Plus a lot of it is really physical challenges too, so you can't be afraid to jump in the ball pit or crawl through tunnels on your hands and knees to find the clues.

For those of you "in the know," it was like a big True Dungeon without any battling but much better props and very openly explorable (with plenty of one-way secret passages). Also the puzzles aren't dependent on a "DM" in the corner, they're all computer controlled so if you do the puzzle right the door opens/chest unlocks/etc. There's also a bunch of side quests that the computer terminals tell you whether you've beaten them or not when you go to answer more questions.

Saving the wizards gets you a bunch of cheesy dialogue from said wizard (the whole game has a cheesyness about it, which they acknowledge), and cumulative 5% off anything in the store for each wizard you save. We saved three of the wizards. For the life of me I couldn't locate the goddamn Earth wizard, even though we collected enough "glimmers" to save him. We spent about ten minutes at this door puzzle in the Earth realm before we gave up, and on the drive home I'm pretty sure I figured it out (damn!).

But in any case, did we take advantage of our epic success (and 15% discount)?

Hell yes we did (and yeah, that hat lights up).

If anyone wants to take a trip up to the Dells to face the Wizard's Quest we would be happy to go again. Don't worry about us ruining anything, the next time I go my only goal will be to find that damn Earth Wizard, glimmers be damned!