(Here’s a post from 2014 which people liked and I have thus brought back from the dead. For the record, I have all my old posts archived, so if there’s one you really enjoyed and want to see again let me know I guess.)
VorlorN (2013) is a dark fantasy adventure game which follows the mysterious Donavin as he searches an ancient citadel for the power to grant his greatest wish,
to speak to his grandmother one last time wait to finally earn his distant father’s approval hold on to meet his twin brother nope to return to the boxing ring for one final rematch against Ricardo de Puzones to go back in time and see his beloved Nadia. VorlorN was featured on RMN last may, and garnered such favorable reviews as:
“Plays pretty well, and includes pushing of boxes to get on top of them and keep walking.”
After throwing all my current game projects into the nearest dumpster, knowing from here on they could only ever live in VorlorN’s shadow, and throwing out my previous reviews for a similar reason, I decided to write a walkthrough for this game instead, mostly as a record of the progress I made purely through button mashing and intellectual accidents. There are no pictures owing to the fact that 90% of VorlorN is pitch black and sadness.
- Interact with SPACE and ENTER. Don’t use Z. It is forbidden.
- There is no inventory or pause menu. You won’t know what items you have (except for the mask and torch) or how much health is remaining. X will cause a very slow screen to appear and ask if you want to quit, which is frustrating, and will eventually persuade you to actually quit though you weren’t considering it otherwise.
- SHIFT lets you run, unless you’re on stairs or somewhere important and sentimental or something.
- ALT is used to sneak, but you’ll find you don’t really need it.
- You can push a box with SPACE or pull a box by pressing SHIFT and moving towards it. That’s really weird. Don’t do that.
- SHIFT + SPACE should let you jump over gaps, but who knows? Life is truly a mystery.
- Once you get the sword, you can defeat enemies and break some objects using SPACE.
- F12 on the game over screen goes to the menu immediately.
- Q is used for the brief and unexplained telekinesis puzzle. It doesn’t work anywhere else. Feel free to scream, cry, wail, and gnash the teeth accordingly.
- Save at the white eggs. I thought these were obvious death traps at first, so don’t be old and crotchety like me because you’ll probably end up dying more than once in the game.
- Make sure you have sound on. The soundtrack was
stolenborrowed from other games for a damn good reason, and you’ll need some sound cues to tell if there are enemies present.
- You can sidle against walls.
- This game has real-time combat and stealth. Feel free to scream, cry, wail, and gnash the teeth accordingly.
- There’s no witty flavor text on anything, sorry. 🙁
- No, I don’t know what the mask does.
- Exits/entryways on the sides of the screen might look like they take up two spaces, but only the bottom space serves as a door.
I. The Ancient Citadel
After the neat little intro text about a legendary citadel that spawns in the sea every eon, your character will disembark from a wee dingy at the very threshold of said obscure citadel, though if you grab the VorlorN DLC you get to play an alternate mode where you sit around waiting for a billion years for that thing to appear. I just hope it doesn’t sink back into the ocean while we’re on our quest!
Massive conveniences aside, you’ll need to go to the top-right dock to grab an unlit torch. Donavin will instruct you on how to jump across small gaps so you can get to it. Theoretically you need a running start with SHIFT followed by a tap of the SPACEBAR to make it over, though the controls here are pretty generous so you can usually just press both buttons at the edge if you’re lazy, and you and I are both lazy.
Once you are inside with the unlit torch, your next task is one of a Herculean scale. No but really, if you can’t figure it out, it means you OD’d on your sleeping medications and should stop playing.
After opening the door you will encounter your first save egg. You can go left or right when you reach the egg. Either direction will insult your intelligence about the same. Activate the door with the two switches. Donavin makes a comment to the effect that there’s probably a Yeti in the following room or something, so don’t fuck around too much and hold hands with your designated VorlorN buddy.
Here we have 6 crates. Grab a big one and a small one and put them flush against the middle wall like steps so you can reach the top. There’s two more torches to light to open the next door. If you’re stuck here, raise your hand and tell the researcher you’d no longer like to participate in their typing monkey study.
Congratulations! You’ve passed level one of the pacer! Shit gets real now, moderately.
After the brief cutscene, go to the left and walk along the edge of the chasm to get to the other side. Check out the scroll for some generic foreboding diary exposition. You’ll be asked whether you want to take the scroll or leave it there. Should you take this scroll? I still have no fucking idea. Sometimes in life you just need a nice reminder that you have free will even when your decisions have no foreseeable consequences. It’s not like you have an inventory to ever look at these again. According to the developer there is “a secret that can be unlocked” by getting all of them, which is weird because they’re not hidden at all and having already found them all, I still don’t know what the secret is.
In the next room you’ll come face to face with the first of the game’s many dark monsters, which I will lazily refer to as Shadows. Unfortunately, for this altercation you’re rather defenseless, and both the near and far doors are locked. Good thing you’re well-versed in Citadel Causality, because you know when there’s a locked door it means it’s time for torches! You can jump from the top or bottom onto those little torch islands and light ’em up, causing the Shadow to disappear and the door to unlock.
VorlorN Monsters 101:
- Your HP is never explicitly known. You’ll hear heartbeat sounds when it’s low, however. When you’re in critical condition, go to your safe place and wait it out. My safe place is the local library, but if you’re stuck within the confines of the Citadel, try the nearest lit room.
- The monsters will make a low sound and knock you back a bit when they strike. There’s no striking animation, so you’ll just have to imagine the pain, which is great, because I’m also imagining the fun! Imagination ho!
- From now on you’ll need to learn these important sound cues: first, there’s the foreboding soundtrack that plays in a dark area. This means there are enemies somewhere in the room; second is the chase music, which plays as soon as one enemy notices you and continues until you leave the room or defeat all the enemies there using the weapon you’ll get later. Non-boss enemies respawn in a room as soon as you leave and come back, even if you’ve killed them. If neither of these tracks is playing, that means the area is safe, and obviously fully lit areas have no Shadows in them either.
- You can use the sneak mechanic now, but you should be able to walk past a Shadow normally without incident if you’re both hugging opposite sides of even one of the narrower passageways; the AIs tolerate a distance of about four spaces. Just don’t get in their line of sight or do things that are loud like running when you’re next to them.
Soon Donavin will reflect on an unexplained necklace lying on the ground. I have no idea why that’s there, but go with it. Also, go ahead and reheat your pizza at this point, because you’re in for a long and unnecessary hallucination… flashback… sequence. Nadia’s identity as the mastermind is revealed. She resembles a platinum blonde string bean that got pressed between two mattresses and I do not think I care for her very much. If you’re doing your second runthrough, Donavin will lose his mask for this scene, completely shattering the storytelling illusion and all suspension of disbelief. This is the author’s way of asking why you are participating in a second run of the game. “To write a walkthrough,” I manage through the tears, “for the children.”
Our resolves strengthened, we press on.
II. The Keys of Dawn and Dusk
Welcome to hell! We’ll be here a while, because this part’s kind of long. There’s about 3 Shadows in this circular hall area, but it’s unlikely you’ll encounter all of them unless you go looking. For reference, I like to walk down the center of the rest of the hallways in the game so you can move as necessary if a Shadow is nearby; they are usually on one side or the other.
The Citadel is mostly symmetrical, so if you go up aways in either direction and through the door on the inner wall, you’ll reach the glade. Go south to the staircase because there is nothing else on this entire map worth looking at. In the cellar there is a mysterious old man who has been living there subsisting on air particles or something. His life has been dedicated to standing still and pretending to study the secrets of the Citadel, so now you must locate two keys on opposite sides of the building so he can open a gate behind him. Don’t bother visiting the old man again until you’ve found both of them, for he will only make wooshy airplane noises if you do, as though feeding a reluctant child with a spoon.
The Key of Dawn
Take the hall to the right. There’s a few Shadows here and a box or two to mess around with. Just keep your distance from them (the Shadows and the box both; now is not the time for foolish playthings!) and retreat to the nearest open door if they give chase. Note the upper doorway towards the end is locked, and if a monster is close by, they will hear you try to open it. Go straight to the end of the hall.
Oh lordy, light! You can see! Plus there’s a lever at the bottom of the screen. Stop it, Nakazu, you’re spoiling us. You’re going to need to climb the ladder and push one of those boxes off the ledge, and then push it off the the floor onto the bridge you just raised. Now you can jump across! Hit the switch on the loft on this side, too, and then proceed to the next hallway. Towards the middle of this passage there’s a door above and below you which are both open. The top one contains a scroll, which you can access from the upper side of the table:
“I have been studying them since they appeared. Once human, they are now mere vessels. Something far greater is controlling them. If only I had more time. My last candle is growing dim.”
Mostly I wonder why he needs a candle when there exists the Shining Glen of Inexplicably Blinding Lightness (or the SGIBL for short). The bottom room has nothing of value, but once you investigate it you’ll see a mysterious figure walking out the door. Watch out for the two oogy-boogies in this hallway. At least I think there’s two. It’s black on black. I can’t see. I don’t even know if I’m getting paid for this.
For this next room, if you didn’t choose the amphibian boon when you created your character, go ahead and start the game over. Just kidding, humans too can enjoy the painfully slow ambient walk in this water-filled room. You can’t run (or hide), but there are no monsters here so don’t worry! … Yet. I feel patronizing giving you basic directions, but I have to connect the narrative between more important explanations, so I’ll assume you can find your way to the far door while providing other unnecessary details.
~~~~~ DONAVIN P.O.V. ~~~~~
Donavin thought about what he was going to make for dinner. It sort of seemed like a breakfast-for-dinner kind of night, especially since he had woken up mid-afternoon, tired as always having stayed up so many late nights training for this fateful encounter with the once-in-a-billion-years-whatever. He thought about making his signature hashbrowns, which he always made for family get-togethers, even in circumstances where hashbrowns were totally inappropriate. He supposed he could pop some freezer pancakes in the toaster, too. Are you supposed to toast those? Are they like waffles?
Grab the key unless you’re an idiot. Watch out! Now that you have the key, the redeads will come out and try to attack you on the journey back through the waters. Fortunately they didn’t pick the amphibian boon either and are only lv. 3 in frogmancy, so they will walk at the same nursing home pace as you do. Essentially only one actually chases you; not that there aren’t others, but if you’re anything like me, the screen will be too dark to notice them. There’s no checkpoint on either the Dusk or the Dawn route because theoretically it is a challenge to get a gameover here, especially since, once you get up the stairs, you can start running and increase the gap between you and the Shadow in pursuit. Dear Donavin, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to demand you try running up a flight of stairs instead of striding as though delicately carrying a very heavy set of curtains and not being actively driven out by netherworld demons. Unfortunately, you’ll soon realize that Donavin has a tragic case of Tourettes, except it’s just one motor tic and that tic is sometimes feeling the need to walk with the aged and practiced reverence of a malnourished undertaker, usually whenever most inconvenient to the player.
Ok, so hopefully you didn’t die. If you did, take a break and play a round of sudoku, and then maybe don’t pick up this game again.
The Key of Dusk
Save at the SGIBL, just in case. Take the hall to the left. Avoid the three shadows and, again, don’t bother with the topmost locked door or the random crate, which is clearly just there to show off RPG Maker’s amazing physics engine. I mean wow. Just look at those boxes go. Push. Pull. Wow.
This key is significantly more challenging to acquire, which is strange, because you’d think that most likely English-speaking players would go left to right and thus encounter the now anti-climactic Dawn puzzle second, unless they are English-reading players who read this great guide beforehand. Why would you design it the other way around unless you were a backwards person or secretly Japanese? Like AL QAEDA!?!?! Busted, Nakazu.
There’s a boogy-woogy in this next room, which sucks because it’s small and dark. Don’t bother with the bottom-left lever, it’s a trap and it will alert the Shadow if you press it. Look, I don’t know what you’re trying to pull here, developer (clearly it’s not a lever), because my contract just said that when the light goes on I press the lever and then the big men in lab coats give me cocaine and brain tinglies. This is really busting my chops.
Unless you’re fairly lucky, the monster will likely go after you while you make for the top-left ladder. He (she? bunself?) will be able to land a hit on you towards the bottom, but just keep climbing and eventually you’ll be immune from further attacks. If there’s one thing Shadows are worse at than being frogs, it’s understanding vertical space. Push each of the four statues down onto the buttons below to open up the windows and destroy the monster. You know… because otherwise you’d be fucked. The room is a safe place now! If that Shadow hadn’t just been killed, it would be expressing bunself without fear of judgment.
With that out of the way, you’ll be able to use the lever now to summon a bridge. Hey! This room is like that other one only except reversicle-backwards! Go nab the lever on the loft on this side to remove the barricade from the door in what is both a necessary and challenging extra puzzle. I wasn’t kidding about the rat thing.
There’s a hallway. Very exciting. But watch out! There’s a Shadow lurking in this next top scroll room. The scroll says:
“It started as whispers. I thought I was hearing things. Each night now, her voice calls to me. She even haunts me in my sleep. I can’t take it anymore.”
The bottom room again has nothing worth looking at but you’ll either encounter a figure that disappears with an orchestral sting or you’ll sort of hear what sounds like a lady pretending to be a baby. Excuse me, baby, but some of us here have busy adult things to do.
There’s nothing in the following room, but soon you’ll find yourself on a torchlit pathway set to absurdly unfitting music. Could it be…? Is that…
Ellie fuck what is her name Nadia? Yes, ever since she died she’s been waiting down here in this once-in-a-billion-lifetime-charlie-and-the-chocolate-factory citadel for you to come down on the off chance and maybe have a few drinks. That explains so much. This is Purgatory.
“Why are you here?” Donavin asks like not a complete dumbass.
“I don’t know,” says blonde one, “I just remember getting lost.” Women, am I right? You send them off to go fill up a tank of gas or something and they get lost in a primordial citadel. Figures! Fortunately, Donavin might be slow, desperate, and pretty dumb, but if there’s one thing he isn’t it’s dumb. The jig is up for this faux Nadia and she will reveal herself to actually be a monster! This is heart-wrenching after that very human exchange between these two lovers who converse with the tender poetic cadence of a confused mailman. VORLORN!! But women, am I right? You send them off to go pick up some Mexican take-out and they turn out to be an evil ghostzombie plotting your demise! Don’t panic, though, this chase is easy if you know what you’re doing.
Zombie!Nadia will push you backwards and screamingly towards an encroaching sortie of ghouls. You won’t be able to get past them, so start walking back towards her platform. Occasionally you’ll fall behind a step, as though pushed back by a forcefield. Why? Only God knows the answer to those kinds of questions. Just keep mashing the left arrow key until you face Not-ia, who is standing still, presumably wiggling her eyebrows and tittering like a little bitch. Push her backwards and off the cliff, like you do with all ghosts. Retreat back towards the exit for the key.
The Statue Guardians
Return to the SGIBL cellar and you will see the old man is missing. That’s ok, this was really always a one-man operation, anyway. Open the gate to claim your reward. It’s the Master Sword! “Let my light shine through the darkness,” the sword says sensually, but that’s really just geek-speak for “finders keepers.” Sorry you weren’t here to see it, old dude. Donavin walks really slow because it’s supposed to be important and mystical and stuff. Question: why is the primary dwelling place of the Shadows also incidentally home to the one man-made weapon that can destroy the Shadows? That’s like the people of 1945 Hiroshima seeking refuge in an atomic bomb factory.
You’ll meet up with the elder dude outside the sanctuary. Unfortunately he can’t offer much more valuable information despite spending most of his life here to study the citadel’s secrets or whatever his dumb excuse was. He will tell you that the sword you picked up can destroy Shadows and magical seals, meaning the top route is unlocked for us now.
If you take away only one thing from this guide aside from that Hiroshima joke let it be this: START KILLING SHADOWS NOW!! You will need to meet a monster-slaying quota to progress later. You know, like a sociopath. VorlorN!! Now is the part of the game where you will be seeing a lot of gameovers, because non-standard battles in RPG Maker are usually pretty shit. Practice makes slightly-better-odds-than-pure-chance, so get swinging! The nice thing about having a sword is that you can blaze through enemies if they’re in your way rather than sheepishly hoping they don’t see you if they spawned in a bad location and fleeing when they do. The not-nice thing about having a sword is that it sucks.
VorlorN Monsters 202:
- Do not run recklessly through the halls looking for your quarry, because Shadows will sometimes be hiding clandestinely against the walls of their exact same color, and life is unfair.
- Find a shadow and position yourself some spaces away facing it. I think it’s easier to go from the side because you can see it approaching better.
- While it might seem like a better idea to sneak up and attack, monsters will still notice you from a space away, knock you back, and wreck you, so don’t try it.
- Run a space towards the monster to get its attention.
- Whichever party lands a hit knocks their opponent back, so learn to time your sword swings right. Hit the spacebar once it gets close to you, then repeat until it’s dead.
- What makes monster-slaying difficult is that sometimes between shots the monster will run to a different side, so you’ll have to keep up with its crazy AI movements or else take all three of the damage you’ve been allotted.
- Remember to frantically heal and save whenever possible.
Wow, so easy!
What, this battle system is absurd and impossible, you say? Look, I’m not advocating starting now because it’s a fun activity; I’m just saying that you can have the dessert if you want it, but you will have to eat your vegetables at some point.
III. The Soul Gate
Hey, that’s a pretty cool name. Too bad I made it up just now.
Let’s go to the uppermost door! Remember, have a plan to kill everyone you meet, and if your patience allows, go back to the save point between successful kills, because you’ll probably take one unit of damage most fights, and you only have three or four total. How much HP do monsters have? Usually two, sometimes one if you’re lucky or three if you’ve pissed off the god of bad adventure games.
Once you get through there, kill the two monsters in this hallway and then slice the statues flanking the end door. If you don’t break these seals, the door will send you back to the start of the hallway. The nice thing is the monsters are spaced so that triggering one does not set off the other.
Walk up the long flight of stairs, have a little Snake Eater moment, and — what ho! A new cutscene! What could it be? It looks like a guy walking in the SGIBL– oh, fucking Nadia. Look, Nakazu, I wish I could feel human emotions, I really do, but you’re not making my life easier by making this the most cardboard and drawn-out relationship ever. We know nothing about these two people. Donavin’s only known trait is being dead, and that’s only when I’m playing. Nadia’s traits are blonde and vagina. Here Donavin puts a flower on her gravesite, but what did she die of? I like to think she just sat down one day and her heart just stopped because it was tired of being so goddamned boring. Admittedly the music is nice, but it’s also from another game. Maybe I have composer bias, but at some point you really might as well make your game a splash screen that says “go play some Final Fantasy!” if the greatest aspect of your game is the assets you took from a different game.
The Crystal Ball
There are no monsters in the next two areas. This section of the game is focused on puzzles rather than action, so put on your thinking cap and climb aboard the U.S.S. Bullshit!
If you figured out this puzzle immediately, than congratulations, because my first time with it the thing managed to short-circuit my entire prefrontal cortex. There’s a crystal ball up ahead of you and two more paths branching out to the sides which lead to some castle allures. Each tower outside has three orange crystal blocks on tracks which you can push forwards or backwards. The idea is to line the blocks up so that they project light through the windows on either side of the crystal ball, loaning it magical power… or something. The tracks have about five slots on the grid you can place the blocks. Naturally, my first instinct was to think on different kinds of wacky light puzzles might be involved here. You can’t actually see the target windows when you’re outside, so I tried counting the steps from the hallway door to the crystal ball windows and then from the hallway door to whatever slot the number lined up with, which I actually think produced a wrong answer.
Anyway, don’t overthink it, because the answer’s just put them all in the middle (on both sides), then return and touch the crystal ball.
The next area has a save point and branches out in pathways again in the shape of a cross. There’s a scroll in it for you if you keep moving forwards, along with a locked door sealed with a gem(?). Unfortunately you can’t read this one because [DATA EXPUNGED], so you’ll have to take it and bring it to Esmée. For now, let’s take one of the side paths!
(Optional Puzzle) The Mask of Deception
Be careful; this basement area has two prison cells on each side and one of them will contain a Shadow. You can’t open the cell doors, but the monster can. Do not charge at the door hoping to catch it coming towards you, as you’ll get pushed back and attacked. Wait on one of the sides for it to come out and then kill it. Great job! Keep going down the middle stairs.
Now you’re in a chamber with some of the most confusing geometry I have ever seen. Light the torches on each side to uncover a magical scroll from the sky.
“The mind is capable of many things. Powers can be unlocked through concentration. One of these abilities is teleqinesis.”
This tells us a couple of things. One, the author can’t spell telekinesis. Head up the ladder on either side and you’ll see a room with a switch across a wide chasm. Unfortunately, this isn’t a job for your sidling skills. You’ve got to unlock your latent psychic abilities, because some guy on a piece of paper told you to! I’m guessing you didn’t pick the teleqinesis boon either when creating Donavin so we’ll have to do some creative problem solving. Position yourself in front of the switch and leave the game on in an active window for three hours. You will need to do this only for the first switch; after that, Donavin will have spent enough time meditating to solve the puzzle. Check out my tutorial on knitting for beginners so you’ll have something to do in the meantime.
That was a joke. In what may be one of the stupidest puzzle solutions of all time, the solution is Q. You have never used it before, and no you cannot use it again afterwards, as telekinesis apparently only works in these few rooms, which I will dub the Q Dimension. You see, the mispelling of “telekinesis” was actually some very lousy signposting. Thankfully, over the years I’ve built up an arsenal of puzzle-solving heuristics, one of which is “slam every button on the keyboard,” which I never actually expected to work in my lifetime.
Once you’ve Q’d the queue of cues, the pathway in the center room will fill with water, allowing you to jump in and wade to the other side. Behind the statue is another room where you will have to sidle on the ledges beside the giant gap to reach the sanctuary beyond. Super duper, there’s another scroll!
“You must be true of mind and body to have come. This artifact shall endow you with deception.”
You can’t actually take this scroll, as it will disintigrate due to Donavin’s now uncontrolled wealth of psychic power exuding its force. Go hop onto the platform with the chest to receive a mask. What does the mask do? That’s a good question! Maybe it makes you deceptive, like it does me when I say I love this game. If this is your second playthrough (why are you here?) the chest will be empty because the mask is already on your face, but I’m sure the author still appreciates you coming.
When you return the monster will have respawned. I think the torches from earlier helped you recover HP, so you should be able to take it down.
The Soul Gate (Again)
Backtrack a lot and return to Eduardo, who is now looking out into the river. It’s nighttime now in all the outdoor areas, though they should still be free of monsters. The old man will tell you that the scroll is actually enchanted parchment (which means… something?) and that a certain number of souls are needed to unlock the jeweled door. If you’ve been following my advice, the number shouldn’t be too high (mine’s 3; it’ll probably be closer to 10 if you’ve been slacking). IIRC the original version required 30 souls to get through, but the number was patched due to complaints. Besides, you can only have so many artificial lengtheners before a game becomes a sleep aid app. Go ahead and save after this conversation just to be safe.
In case you were wondering, I guess the Shadows may be former-human vessels, but they still have souls and you have been killing them, so yes, the real monster is you. You should be able to resort to the classic strategy of hunt, duck and cover. Just poke your head out the door on either side and see if a monster is nearby, kill and save, rinse and repeat until you fill the quota. If you want a change of scenery or have a large number, you could go on a killing spree down one of the dusk/dawn hallways, but I think you have to check in with Edmund at the end so don’t backtrack any more than you need to. You may find your sword skills are improving, but be careful not to start fostering any hope that this will get easier, because the final boss is still a nightmare.
Once that’s done, Endocrine will tell you that the scroll disappeared while he was supposed to be safeguarding it. Women, am I right? You take them out for a night of dirty dancing and they turn out to be irresponsible bearded scholars. It’s just too bad you can’t use him to fill your soul quota. Well, that’s all you’ll get out of him, so now it’s time to return to the gate. If you’re still struggling with the swordplay you can stop going after enemies now, otherwise kill or avoid them depending on whichever is faster.
Interact with the black gem and the door will open in a swirl of dark magic. Onward and upward!
IV. He Who Controls the Darkness
The Endless Maze
This room sort of looks like a grid. Try taking any one of the doors, and you’ll find yourself in the same room again. Ugh, not an endless maze! If you’re not too far in, you can usually take the bottom door repeatedly to exit if you need to get off the ride and get a coke. Don’t bother looking for any markings on the walls of some rooms or the direction Shadow Ganon’s sword points in or anything clever like that. Instead, try walking like a civilized person in any direction via the intersection in the center of the room, including the one you came from. Donavin will visibly pause walking in one direction; when he does, take that corresponding door twice. If he never pauses, keep changing rooms and trying paths until he does. Eventually the pauses will happen on the uppermost door, and you’ll end up in a new room by taking the upper path. That explanation came out dumb and confusing because I am about as baffled as you are.
Gee, this next place sure seems like a good place for a Bomberman boss to show up. Unfortunately, this measley miniboss is not Thunder Bomber. If for whatever reason you’re low on health, stop by one of the four torches in the room. Investigate the area and you’ll see the far exit is inacessible. When you retreat towards the center you’ll trigger a jump scare appearance from what appears to be Satan. Don’t worry if you didn’t save or anything. This is more a chase than a fight. Here’s the pattern: Satan dashes at you, doing about one damage; he’ll do this in the beginning. Satan then remembers you have the Legendary Sword and runs around the grid like a schoolgirl. You chase after him with your slashy thingy and do one hit of damage. Satan sets his motors to MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE, and will either rocket out of sight or rapidly circle a grid like a frantic broken AI. It’s better if he stays in your range of vision, because if he doesn’t, you have to go looking for him, and he may hit you with another surprise charge, and then the cycle starts over. You should be able to take him out in about four hits. You can heal at one of the torches if he has you on the ropes, so this battle should be pretty easy; contrary to the epic background score.
Who is this guy? Nobody knows, though he kind of looks like those seal statues for what that’s worth. It does rather appear as though you have slaughtered a helpless janitor, but Donavin is far beyond puny human morals now. Hop over the gap to reach the exit and continue your EPIC JOURNEY. There’s a save egg in case you thought that was a close call. No, it is not a crystal! My egg schema says that’s what an egg looks like, and my crystal one is not yet ready to accomodate objects that are white and egg-shaped and eggs.
The Citadel Bells
You’ll encounter six buttons and a switch. No problem man, you are so conditioned to hit switches you don’t even have to look at them or be next to them, for that matter. Unfortunately, it seems this switch didn’t get the memo, and you’ll have to press some goddamned buttons or something to open that far door. You can reset the buttons using the lever. Now you’ve got to trigger them in a certain order, but go ahead and slam the things at random to listen to the sound each one makes. How could you order all these different sounds? To play out the Westminster Chimes? Looks like you’re having nostalgia from a better game, friend.
Did you guess from low to high? In that case, I’ve been told to relay a message from the people at VorlorN, Ltd., and they’re telling you to eat a cactus. It’s highest sound to lowest, which you would know if you had coded the game, but you didn’t, which is why we’re all here, unfortunately.
If I’m talking to one of the .01% of the population with perfect pitch, here’s all the sounds you’ll hear from highest to lowest, as I have attempted to decipher them through the confusing carillon overtones.
Ab4, F4, D4, B3, G3, C#3
The location of the sounds changes every time you enter the room. Baller! If you can’t seem to make it out after a few rounds, consult a friend or family member that is musically trained. That way you’ll have someone to call 911 later. Once you hit them in the right order the bells will sound and the door will open.
Following that, the author has decided eyesight is no longer necessary. Go straight forward. A crystal or two will be blocking the way. Handle it as though you would any interpersonal conflict. After you have sliced the crystal in two, you should eventually come to a larger space wherein there is a crystal that can’t be sliced, because… reasons. About halfway between the two doors on either side of the room there should be two lanterns. Light them both and go stand in the center of the room like a jackass.
Shadows will surround you and you will be unable to move. Do not fret! A voice in the distance will order them to desist and then speak to you. Who is this mysterious being that controls the darkness? It’s… you, from the future, because–… because… because!! You will explain to yourself that even with time-travelling powers, Nadia could never be saved. Destiny is set in stone, so now Donavin from the future has returned to stop himself in the past from ever making a wish for such power in the first place. Ten points for you if you immediately noticed the collective drop of IQ in the room when I wrote that sentence. Future Donavin tells Past Donavin to stop living in the past, but if there’s one thing Donavin isn’t, it’s dumb.
Thus Donavin declares, “I shall create a time paradox and destroy you!” because he is tired of all the neural activity that isn’t happening. We all know the real reason Donavin wants to kill you, though. It’s because you both wore the same outfit and it’s totally embarrassing! One of you has to go home and change!
Since you and you have some misgivings, you will now have to die. How are you able to control darkness in the future? I don’t know, but the last familiar face you saw wasn’t real, so maybe it’s another ghost?
If and when you die, remember not to push F12, since waiting out the gameover will take you back to just before the battle. Unless you have given up, in which case press F12 with abandon.
Ok, so here’s the skinny. You won’t be able to move whenever the screen is covered in darkness, probably because your life thus far has been too convenient. When you see (that was a joke) or hear the first boulder drop down, dash towards either torch. I picked the right side. Light the torch and wait for the Future You to appear. Future You will be walking around the stage in a circle. As it turns out, he is actually a dinosaur. I knew it! Your goals in this battle are 1.) get the torch on your side lit and 2.) hit the dinosaur with your sword. Dinovin covers the room with darkness whenever you land a successful hit, so you’ll need to repeat this about four times. I think the torch heals you slightly, but that’s just me proceding with cautious optimism; more importantly, it lets you see and illuminates the dinosaur.
This doesn’t seem like an annoying enough task, though, so Nakazu went ahead and threw many, many oogy-boogies in the mix. You will have to fend these off while trying to get hits on the dinosaur; they will appear whenever a boulder drops or the dinosaur summons a dark vortex. If either of these forces hits you, Donavin will be stunned, though aside from wasting time this doesn’t seem to have any negative effect.
“But wait!” you cry with sudden alarm, “Donavin only has 4 HP! What the actual shit?!” This is a good point. Here are two general strategies you can try: you can run around like a maniac, crossing the stage and dodging Shadows on your tail; or, if you actually want to win, you can wedge yourself between the crystal cluster above the torch and the near wall. Enemies don’t spawn from the edges of the stage, which means that both the final boss and the Shadows have to come to you, and will do so only from below. Assuming you can press a button at the right time, this will make your life a lot easier. You simply wait for the boss and his minions to approach in a line and press spacebar at the right moment, like using a tiny row of ants as a baseball.
Once you hit Dino Don, he’ll cry out and make the room dark again. Once you’re able to move, stay in that spot and slash a few more times to be safe; any leftover monsters will gravitate towards you, so once there’s nothing below you to hit, the mad dash to light the torch should be clear of obstacles. Light it and retreat to your hidey hole; then continue this process another few times until the boss is dead.
Since you’re probably reading this in between gameovers, I’d like to take this moment to reflect on a very serious current issue we face in society. Kids, take a course in game design. Please. If you see your friend who wants to make a game in RPG Maker but hasn’t a clue about intuitive design, make sure they’re not missing out on some 2-week RPG camp this summer. Check the symptoms using our helpful word, “P.A.I.N.!”
P is for Puzzlefuck.
A is for Atmosphere. Go ahead and run a word search on your friend’s game bible. If the document contains more than five instances of “scary atmosphere,” it’s off to summer camp.
I is for “I’m a dinosaur,” and
N is for “Nobody needs to know the controls!”
Save a life, or at least several hours of mine.
Ok, congrats! You maybe beat the boss. Unforunately for you,
The Cavern is Collapsing!
I’ll assume you’re not a masochist, so get out of there as fast as you can. The top exit is accessible now. I don’t want to find out what happens if you don’t try to leave and neither do you, so move your hiney.
Proceed up the stairs. Think about killing yourself. Proceed up the stairs. Edward will appear and start a cutscene. He’ll reveal that he was a ghost helping you all along, and that it’s time for him to move on to the next world before dramatically fading away, like in Pokemon Mystery Dungeon 2, another game with powerful, emotional storytelling. Oh gosh, I hadn’t realized the Mask of Deception got back on my face! Sorry about that.
This would be really dramatic if Edison had actually been helpful and it wasn’t just me doing all the work, or if I actually cared about his existence at all, but I checked the code for this game and both these variables are set to FALSE. Proceed up some stairs. Briefly consider homicide. Reach a stone which looks like a gravestone which would actually be pretty neat but it’s not because Editor was a throw-away character, like all the characters in this story.
“Judgment will be placed upon you through this gate.”
Cherubs will descend from the heavens and drop off a ballcap bearing an enormous F- on it.
The other rocks say, “Welcome home, child of mankind,” or as we say in English, “child.” Since you’ve apparently vanquished the darkness (no more nighttime forever now, sorry), the following chamber will be splendidly filled with light: so splendidly, in fact, that Donavin moves at the steady pace of a knocked over Pez dispenser because he is busy being AWESTRUCK or something. It’s hard to feel the reverence at this point, but do try. I couldn’t. Mostly I wanted to kill my mysterious father for getting me into this mess in the first place.
If you go without stopping, you will be holding the up arrow key for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. Look, I know group projects are a nuisance, but sometimes you really do need that extra set of eyes and ears to tell you all your ideas are terrible. As the saying goes, one head is better than zero heads and one limp body shouting “AND THEN THE HALLWAY WILL BE 137 SECONDS LONG!”
You’ll be treated to what seems to be, thankfully, the shortest cutscene in the game, featuring PHOTOREALISTIC BACKGROUNDS(!) and a little Renaissance ditty. Donavin — whose face we can now see — and the blonde one walk towards each other. There is also a teddy bear on the ground for some reason. …I don’t get it. Are they having a baby? What’s it doing in the middle of a random field? Is Blonde One actually 12 years old, making their relationship not only unsympathetic but now also illegal?
“What is happiness to you?” the game coolly and mysteriously asks. I have forgotten what that word means, but all I know is fuck the ocean.
Donavin’s legs could not be saved. Maria left him three weeks later for a track and field all-star.
~~~ BAD END ~~~
There’s supposedly a new game plus feature but upon playing it the only difference seems to be that Donavin is wearing the mask the whole game if you got it in the first run.
I also have no idea what the secret is for unlocking all the scrolls, unless I’m somehow missing one. I’ve tried looking at different let’s plays and everyone’s result seems to be the same, which leads me to believe nobody missed any of the scrolls because they’re not hidden at all, and maybe the very last scene is the unlockable. Too bad I’m too cranky to go and find out!
So what happens to everybody in the end?
- Likely Esmond was an academic trying to study the mysterious Citadel but was too feeble to defend himself against the shadows and died possibly running out of resources while in the refuge of the glen. His soul was then trapped there, but didn’t become a vessel because he died in the sanctuary of light, like a happy light bubble surrounded by an evil donut. When Donavin was able to defeat the source of all the shadows, he ate the donut and set Esmond’s soul free. I think it’s also implied Esmond was the author of at least the first three scrolls.
- Donavin from the future was not actually Donavin but the essence of Darkness, controlling an army of lost souls — perhaps those of past explorers or sinners who were drawn to the Citadel? It’s hard to accept that he’s actually Donavin, given the unexplained control over shadows and initial resistance to, you know, being sliced in half. Perhaps he was a manifestation or at least an entity that preyed upon Donavin’s doubts and fears, or maybe even mine. He told me no matter how much I time travelled I will always have played this game somewhere in my timeline. I still have nightmares.
- Nadia is fucking dead, sorry.
- Present Donavin probably ascended to a higher plane, having proven his mind and soul were pure by murdering lots of souls, right? We never really see the transition from the cavern to the following room, so he may have died when the darkness sustaining the main Citadel was vanquished, causing it to collapse and take Donavin with it. Esmond does appear in the next room, seemingly from the same cavern entrance, which further implicates the death theory, since he claimed he never strayed far from the glen earlier and couldn’t pass through solid parts of the building (e.g. he needed keys to open the door to the sword room). In the afterlife, Donavin was able to reunite with Nadia without the use of time travel.
- It’s possible the mechanics of the afterlife in this universe convene so that Donavin had to die heroically and couldn’t just kill himself to meet Nadia without all this trouble.
- This is me giving the author the benefit of the doubt, by the way.
- It’s possible the mechanics of the afterlife in this universe convene so that Donavin had to die heroically and couldn’t just kill himself to meet Nadia without all this trouble.
- Donavin’s boat went on to be a celebrity in a lot of boat movies, but once the fad died out struggled to maintain his career and overdosed on prescription medicine.
The biggest question that remains for me is where the Citadel came from in the first place. It’s an uninhabitable magical labyrinth home to the embodiment of darkness and not in the same plane as humans for the good majority of its existence… so how the hell did bookshelves and tables and other human things get in there?
Finally, is VorlorN™ really a trademark that needs to be enforced? If so, then why? I’m certain very few competing content creators are itching to steal this title. VorlorN™ might be a play on “forlorn” (meaning you’re supposed to press V to solve the puzzle, obviously), opting to begin with a V because a big F on your taskbar sort of looks more like a porn dictionary; and of course the N is capital to signify the whole word is secretly a heteropalindrome and that Nrolrov is Nadia’s true identity. At best, this seems to be the author’s attempt to tie the work with a little pink professional ribbon, but arbitrary copyright is very near half-demon OCs and Sonic recolors as a first step down the path of sure destruction. You could go ahead and remind everyone you own VorlorN, I guess, but the only party competing with you is this guy on Etsy. Maybe Nakazu wants to be the big trademarked fish in a small pond.
For those of you inexplicably hoping for a sequel, I am slightly vexed and confused to say that Nakazu has ditched the RPG Maker train for bigger and better pastures, claiming that the engine is limiting his “true potential.” I hate to be that guy, but what?! The music is all from better games and the sprites are from the run-time package! The only parts you did were the scenario and the mechanics, and those were all two of the bad parts! If anything I think RPG Maker XP was trying to make a game and had its potential limited by Nakazu.
Anyway, that’s all I can afford to say about
Voxengo VorlorN before my lawyer has to get involved. If there must be a steady influx of new VorlorN players, at least they can be less confused and frustrated with each successive generation.