'Dunric, you have come to save me. I am in the dungeons far below. I know I can count on you.'
This explains your old teacher's mysterious disappearance, but there is one thing strange about the message.
Your name is not Dunric."
The Immortal is an isometric-perspective adventure game created by Will Harvey, originally released in 1990 for the Apple IIGS and ported to the Amiga, Atari ST, Nintendo Entertainment System, IBM Personal Computer and Sega Genesis. Your character is a wizard searching the deadly ruins of Erinoch for his lost master Mordamir, who appeared to you in a dream and prompted your quest. The story is told largely through character interactions and your own inferences based upon clues you collect; however, you will spend most of the game dying horribly. For instance, the very first thing that happens in the game is that you are given a warning to move quickly. It's more or less the only free warning you will get, and if you choose not to heed it, you are eaten by a worm and instantly killed.
Being instantly killed is something that you will become very familiar with over the course of the game. Walked over the wrong square on the map? Worms break through the floor and instantly kill you. Touched that slime? It's viciously acidic and you are instantly killed. Searched a body too many times? Oh, look, he was killed by that slime hiding in his bones, and since you just touched it you die instantly. Beyond this, the game also includes hand-to-hand combat sequences with trolls and goblins and other creatures, puzzle-solving, and lots and lots of reloading. Spellcasting is somewhat less prominent than might be expected. Your spells are very situational: it's almost too convenient that a "spell to charm Will-O'-the-Wisps" happens to be found near some Will-o'-the-Wisps. Other spells are mostly tools, rather than a bunch of flashy attacks: you can turn yourself to stone, blink momentarily out of existence, and magnetize your hands. Your spells are all limited-use, and you need every charge you're given.
If you get to the end, you're rewarded with a twist on what seemed a standard fantasy plot, as well as a punishingly tough puzzle for a final boss—and in a game as hard as The Immortal, that's saying something.
NOT to be confused with My Immortal, which can also be difficult to get through, but in a different way.
The Immortal provides examples of:
- Badass Grandpa: The player is an old wizard, but one with no readily available spells, who enters this dungeon anyway and manages to survive all its perils and put to rest a feud that's been raging for centuries...after dying about a hundred times.
- Cast from Hit Points: The amulet Mordamir created to kill the dragons kills its user, which is why he sent you to do it for him.
- Damsel in Distress: Dunric's daughter Ana, whom you help out by returning her father's ring (it teleports her to safety). In the end, she gets you out of the dungeon after Mordamir is reduced to ash, with the implication that the two of you end up together.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: And how. Put simply, "The Immortal" in the title ain't you.
- If you approach a hole with a ladder from the wrong side, rather than grabbing the ladder you will fall into the hole and be instantly killed.
- Some games have inventory items that are deadly if you use them incorrectly... or at all. Usually, it's pretty obvious that you shouldn't play around with them. This game has at least three out of a dozen or so items that have this property, and you use all of them during the course of the game. Even your stuff hates you.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: Family Unfriendly is putting it lightly. Even the NES version has some nasty (albeit not as bloody) deaths.
- Mercifully (or perhaps annoyingly, depending on your point of view), the NES version completely cuts out the stage with the most nightmarish death, where walking upon egg sacs causes you to promptly GET COVERED IN LIVE SPIDERS.
- The only thing making this fair? Mordamir himself gets one at the end - once you steal his amulet, the dragon turns and incinerates him before going back to sleep.
- Finishing Move: There are various (and graphic) ways the wizard can finish off trolls and goblins:
- Slicing their heads off.
- Bisecting them vertically or horizontally. With a mere dagger no less!
- Making their heads explode.
- Turning them to stone then crumbling them to rubble.
- Degloving their entire bodies, humorously leaving their skeletons still standing, even after leaving the combat screen.
- Administering a lethal dose of electricity.
- Fountain of Youth: Dungeon feature. It's also why Mordamir wants the dragon dead. Mordamir's people wiped the dragons out to get at the Fountain and the associated immortality. Thing is, they missed one, which returned the favor on the conquerors...except, of course, Mordamir.
- Giant Spider: A giant spider, and her many, many baby spiders.
- Guide Dang It!: The entire game is this and then some. Even with a guide you will die, a lot.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Mordamir, whose amulet protects him from the dragon he intends to use to kill you. Conveniently, you find a "Magnetic Hands" spell shortly before fighting him.
- Hope Spot: You will fall into lots of pits, which is usually instant death. Sometimes you'll catch yourself with your long staff and have a chance to swing back up by hammering a button. Sometimes the staff breaks.
- Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Justified - Mordamir wanted you to reach him, so he left useful equipment for you.
- Kill It with Fire: You got fireball spells, the dragon belches long plumes of flame at you, the dungeons have plenty of fire-based traps, and the amulet's runes are a massive fire spell which kills you and everything inside the dungeons. ...so yeah.
- The Many Deaths of You: There are a variety of animations for your inevitable, repeated demises. Magazine ads for the game were basically nothing but a list of the various ways you could be killed◊. Kind of ironic for a game called "The Immortal".
- Mook Chivalry: A particularly baffling example with the surviving dragon and Mordamir. After the dragon's attempts on your life, Mordamir appears and starts attacking while the dragon just stares at the latter's volleys of magic towards the wizard. Made even sillier by the fact the former is actually animated to watch the attacks go back and forth while doing nothing and still doesn't react even after the latter takes your amulet. Only after you take the amulet back does the dragon resume its assault.
- Nintendo Hard: Terrifyingly, the NES port may actually be easier than some of the others. It's missing the spider stage and a few of the puzzles.
- No Name Given: The wizard. The introduction is based around Mordamir calling him by the wrong name, but you never get a correct answer.
- Oh, Crap!: Mordamir as you gank the amulet from him in the final battle.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Partway through, you begin dreaming of a civilization of dragons, which were peaceful until an army of humans attacked and destroyed them. One survivor counterattacked, but there was one survivor from that group... The last living dragon is at the bottom of the dungeon, and you must survive its fire breath until it wears itself out, at which point Mordamir will arrive to begin the final puzzle.
- Our Goblins Are Different: They're at war with the trolls, and eventually offer to assist you if you'll get a monster out of their water supply.
- Plot-Induced Stupidity: Dragons supposedly cannot attack whoever holds the amulet. When you face the last dragon, it attacks you nonetheless. After Mordamir appears and takes the amulet back within full view of the dragon, the latter does nothing but stare as Mordamir makes attempts on your life. Once you take the amulet back, only then does the dragon suddenly remember to attack those without the amulet and fries Mordamir. The dragon then retreats back into the shadows, letting you free for whatever reason.
- Puzzle Boss: Every 'boss' character is fought using wits and spells, rather than the combat interface. Except the giant spider and Ullindor.
- Recurring Traveler: The merchant, who has exactly what you need when you need it. Justified when Mordamir bitches at you near the end: "Look at me. Do I remind you of a merchant, perhaps?"
- Schmuck Bait: "You see something green and squiggly dangling between the bones. Do you want to investigate further? Y/N". That pile of bones having some very good loot (an elven sword of quickness) doesn't really help.
- Squishy Wizard: Subverted in that although you are an aging apprentice wizard, you are a reasonably competent sword-fighter. Played straight in that, despite this (and your health bar), most traps and larger monsters kill you instantly.
- Taken for Granite: You get a spell that lets you do this to yourself. You're a statue for the duration, frozen in your dodge pose. Don't waste the spell charges.
- Temple of Doom: The setting. Flame traps under the floors. Flame traps in the walls. Arrow traps in the walls. Pits. Invisible pits. Items you must consume to progress that are also lethally poisonous. Innocuous-looking items that literally kill you if you look at them wrong. Giant worms under the floors.
- Treacherous Advisor: Mordamir. His disappearance is just a Batman Gambit to try and get you to destroy the final boss with one of those items that kills you if you look at it funny.
- Too Dumb to Live: Mordamir, who gloats after you run out of defensive spells that "as long as I have this amulet, the dragon won't attack me". He didn't expect you to have one final spell, courtesy of Dunric: the Magnetic Hands.
- Trial-and-Error Gameplay: The game is made of this. Some of the puzzles are explained in-game, but the cryptic clues might not help you as much as you would like. Mostly, you just die until you luck into the solution.
- X-Ray Sparks: Of the lethal variety. You use it as a Finishing Move, Mordamir as a direct attack.
- Your Head Asplode: Mordamir can do this to you with a sonic spell during the final battle.