This is a guide / walkthrough for the Amiga game Darkmere by Core Design. Written by Joachim Froholt.
If you’re following this solution, it would be useful to find the maps online (unless you’re mapping the game yourself). You can find them here.
I found the existing Darkmere-walkthroughs lacking some important details, so thought I’d try writing one myself. This is the first time I’ve written a walkthrough, so it’s not awesome. Hopefully it can be of help, though.
I recommend that you use the WHDLoad-installed version of Darkmere, as that enables saving whenever you want (select magic in the help menu). Otherwise you need to use time rewind potions to save the game. There are probably enough of these, at least 12 in the first level for instance, but the whole concept of limiting saves like this is just annoying.
Remember that you can use the help menu to ask for advice. This will give you an ingame hint. With the WHDLoad-installed version you can do this as often as you’d like. In the regular version, you can do it five times.
Throughout the game you can examine a ton of items, and even smell & listen sometimes. You will never need to examine random objects in order to win, so you don’t need to go around examining every bone and bottle of ale. Examining something for the first time will identify it and similar objects for the rest of the game.
There are a bunch of potions to find, including some that don’t have labels. Honestly, I never ever needed to drink unlabeled potions, so I never found their usages. Stealth potions are handy as they make you invisible, and strength potions are a good way to shorten fights.
This game is often described as an RPG. It isn’t, though, and there’s no experience to gain from killing enemies. So if you don’t need to, don’t bother.
A note before you start: Once you’ve completed the level, everything you’ve picked up will disappear. So there’s no real reason to stock up on tons of potions et.c. Besides, the enemies you meet in Level 1 are really easy, and you regain energy by killing them, so you should hardly need any potions at all.
Rats – One hit and they’re dead.
Orc – Dumb as heck. Just face them and hit continuously, and they’ll just commit suicide on your sword. You may need to reposition yourself if your hits don’t connect.
Dragon – A bit more dangerous, easier to kill when cornered or backed up against a wall. But you can just run past them.
Civilians – Don’t attack, unless they wear hoods (see walkthrough).
Throughout the streets you’ll find keys. There are two kinds of keys; door keys and chest keys. Examine door keys to find out which doors they unlock. Houses will contain useful loot, some enemies and chests (filled with more loot). There should be more than enough chest keys easily available, though it’s a good idea to search all the streets before starting to go into houses. This way you’ll get as many chest keys as possible before starting to use them up.
You need the password to leave the level. A dwarf who will appear in the Tolk Inn after a while has it, but he won’t just give it to you.
To start with, explore and find five ingots (can be found in houses, as well as rare enemy drops), which you need to give to the blacksmith in West Road. This will cause a beggar that you’ll need to buy a key from to appear on Algan Street later in the game. I experienced a bug where my ingots disappeared upon saving & restoring, so do this in one sitting if possible.
Talk to the civilians you meet, be sure to ask about everything. Remember that new keywords will appear as you get information, so talking to the same person multiple times may yield more info. Be sure to ask the Armourer about the Forest, the Barbarian about the Spider and the Armourer about the Innkeeper. Ask the Innkeeper about the Skullbuster and the Alchemist. The innkeeper will tell you to get him a herb from the Alchemist.
The alchemist is on the other side of the river. In order to pass the mad knight at the bridge, you need to buy an axe from the armourer in South Wall Street (price 20 gp). Give this to the knight, and he’ll let you pass.
Note: You can buy a key to a house on the other side of the river by talking to a beggar about the mad knight (price 30 gp). This house will also contain a key to another house. AFAIK there’s nothing you need to complete the level in any of these houses, so this is optional.
The alchemists will want you to find three stolen potions in exchange for the herb. You will not find these in houses. Throughout the town you’ll meet three hooded characters. One on the corner of North Street and East Wall Street, one in Fennel Street and one in South Wall Street. You might have to visit their locations several times before they show up. You can talk to these guys, as they act just like civilians. But you might notice that they tend to steal your stuff. So kill them. They’ve got the potions you need (and whatever loot they’ve already stolen from you).
Give the potions to the alchemist, take the herb he gives you in return, give it to the innkeeper, grab the bottle of skullbuster and give it to the dwarf in the next screen at the inn if he’s there yet. He’ll tell you the password and you should be good to go.
The next bit might be optional, if you’ve already gotten the password, but if you haven’t here goes: Talk to the beggar one screen up from the monastery in Algan Street – he’s the one you triggered by giving the ingots to the blacksmith. Buy the key to granny’s place (20 gold coins). Visit her in Holan Street and ask her about the Gate Keeper. If the dwarf didn’t turn up at the inn before, he’ll be there now, so you can give him the skullbuster and get the password.
As you talk to the gatekeeper to leave, the monastery bells will ring. Go to Algan Street and enter the monastery. Save the druid from the orcs, talk to him and return to the gate. Note that you are able to do this as soon as you’ve gotten the password, if you want to save yourself some walking. Now exit the level through the gate.
Orc – Still around, still useless. At least you get some health back as a reward for killing them.
Spider – They don’t have much health, but unless you time your attacks (no more holding down the fire button) they will probably get some hits in before perishing.
Spider Glade Spiders – Distract with rabbits. They’re really tough.
Ogre – Big and tough, but just as dumb as the orcs. Same tactic works, it only takes a bit more time. You might be able to sneak past a few of these as they will be sleeping (especially if you’re using stealth potions), but eh. They go down easy enough.
Undead – These guys will shoot at you, and chances are they’ll give you your first taste of the game over screen unless you were dumb enough to attack regular civilians in the first level. They can be quite tough. Try dodging their bullets. If possible, hug the side of the path to keep out of the way of their attacks. Try attacking from the side (using sweeping attack), not head-on. Then you won’t be pushed back by their attacks and you can dispatch them pretty quickly. Often it’s possible to hit them without them being able to hit you.
This is a big level, so get a map (or map it yourself) if possible. Kill & grab the bunnies you come across (yes, really) as you’ll need them later. 10-15 is probably enough, though you can eat any leftovers for health. Also collect valuables, because there will be four bridge guardians who each wants 10 gold coins (or one ingot) to let you pass. Again: There’s no point in hoarding more potions and stuff than you need, as everything will be taken from you when you exit the level.
Early on you’ll reach a dead end where the road is barricaded. The exit you need is actually one screen back. There’s a skull on the ground, attack it and you can move past it and into an unmarked path. There will be more of these, so keep your eyes peeled as you explore the level.
Explore as you please, but due to NPCs triggering as you proceed in the story you might want to explore in the «right» order so you don’t have to walk too much back & forth. With that in mind, there’s a partly hidden path on the screen after the first undead you meet. That’s the way towards a big part of the level, including your first objective.
Follow this path to the bridge. Ignore it for now, and go back one screen. See the skull-on-a-stick? There’s a super hard to see path going north next to it. That’s where you’ll want to go first. A couple of screens further on, there will be another hidden path as the main road turns left. Destroy the skull, and go straight ahead. Turn right at the junction guarded by an undead, pay off the bridge keeper and follow the path until you reach another undead creep. Kill him, and head left here (north), to the orc outpost. Climb the ladder, find your grandpa. Ask him about everything, including the incantation keyword that pops up after you ask him about the mage.
Note: If you go straight ahead at the undead-guarded junction, you will eventually reach another toll bridge, and past that you’ll find the water nymph Epona who will heal any wounds for free.
To get to the mage, go all the way back to the first bridge mentioned. Pay the toll, cross the bridge and head right (south). Then follow the path as far as you can – it goes straight, and then left. At the keep, use the «say» command to lower the bridge. Enter and talk to the wizard. He’ll tell you that you’ll need to locate three items that are scattered throughout the level: magic mushroom, a unicorn horn and a piece of dragon bone.
Now is the time to explore the level fully, as the characters and items you need have been triggered. You can do things in whatever order you want.
The Unicorn is pretty close to the keep. Follow the path back towards the bridge, but turn left at the first junction. You’ll find him. He wants you to kill the orcs who harmed him, which as far as I can tell means he wants you to kill all the orcs in the wooded glade area you get to by taking the first possible right turn on the path from the keep, and heading straight ahead. Once that’s done, return to him and get your horn.
To reach the dragon bones, you have to pass through the spider glade, which you’ll find by following the path from the keep straight ahead, past the bridge. This is where you need the rabbits you’ve hopefully been collecting, because these spiders are really tough compared to the regular ones. You’ll identify the tough spiders by their initial passiveness. While they’re passive, throw rabbits and they’ll go away. There’s a giant web in the glade, which you’ll need to destroy to proceed. Just hack away at it and it’ll give away eventually (there’s a second web, with skullposts in front of it, but that one is just a red herring). At the dragon cemetary, search the various screens and you’ll find the bone.
The mushroom queen is in the part of the level I advised you to skip early on. Go back there and explore, you’ll find her. She wants you to save her sisters, who have been kidnapped. They’re all the way in the other end of the level. Go to the wooded glade from the Unicorn-quest and head down instead of up. They’ll be at an orc outpost, guarded by two greenskins. Have fun hiking all the way back to the mushroom queen for your reward (be sure to pick it up!).
Once everything’s been found, return to the mage. Give the three items to him, and he’ll sort you out for the final confrontation. Head to the stone circle, which if you haven’t found it yet is in the general area of the mushroom queen, say the incantation and, after teleporting, follow the path and enter the cave.
You’ll generally meet the same enemies as before, but the orcs do seem to come in tougher variations and will kill you quickly if you’re slow to position yourself or they corner you.
In this level you’ll find general door keys, both lying about and as fixed loot from enemies. Be sure to look out for them, as they can be a bit hard to see. You’ll need them to unlock doors, which are plentiful. This time there IS a reason to hoard potions and health items, as there is a boss battle at the end.
This level isn’t too hard to explore. After the locked door at the end of the first dark passage, turn right and explore that part to find the first couple of objectives. They are the library, where you’ll find a book describing the dagger of fear, and the sacrifice room where you’ll find said dagger on an orc shaman, as well as a girl to save. After you’ve explored this area, head back. There are quite a few optional areas, but you’ll probably want to search them all to get your hands on enough potions and such. There are more than enough keys available, so don’t worry about wasting them. As you explore the rest of the level you’ll eventually find the prison.
Each cell has its own key, which can be found on an orc or spider, often directly outside of it. As in the village, these keys must be identified prior to use. Some cells contain monsters, beware of an undead in cell 2, but most contain prisoners from the village. Once you’ve freed everyone except the guy in cell 11, you’ll get the key to that cell. He turns out to be Uncle Bob, who tells you how to use the lift mechanism located in the back of the prison area. Make your way to the lift, which for some reason is operated through the inventory/use command.
Find the dragon door and open it with the dagger of fear. As you enter the final chamber, you might want to quaff a stealth potion so you can go straight past the dragon eggs and chat with the boss. You do have to kill all the mini dragons afterwards, though, and that can be a bit of a pain because it’s much harder to corner the dragons here than it was back in the village. If possible, save often and use strength & invisibility potions to your advantage (position yourself right and hit the dragons before they detect you).
After they’re all dead, drink another strenght potion and go in for the main kill. The final boss is much easier, she’ll just sit still while shooting at you. It is quite possible to position yourself between her firing arcs where she can’t harm you, and just kill her with a few hits. When that’s done, congratulate yourself and watch the ending.