Wizardry IV: A Ziggurat that Violates Metaphor

The fourth level — level 7 — is another one that I remember, albeit not well enough to get through it quickly. The Temple of the Dreampainter, it calls itself, and it also tells us that it is a ziggurat. I actually had a hard time understanding what it meant by this, the first time through, because it’s another one of those bits where the content asks us to ignore what’s represented by the visuals and the world model, like the “castle” in Wiz3, but worse. The “ziggurat” consists of a mass of 2×2 rooms in a wedge formation. In other words, the map is a picture of a ziggurat viewed from the side.

To support this notion, you “fall off the ziggurat” if you’re ever outside the wedge and there’s no wall immediately to your south. I emphasize that the direction you fall is southward, not downward; the DUMAPIC spell is unambiguous. It took me a good long time to understand this, that the rationale for this peculiar southward gravitation is that this is a side-view level, simply because it doesn’t actually give us a side view. Wiz3 told us “No, seriously, this stretch of floor is a lake, no matter what it looks like”, and I was able to accept that pretty easily. But “the floor here is actually part of the sky” is a step too far for my liking. It’s easily my least favorite thing the game.

No Comments

Leave a reply