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Video Game / The Tomb of the TaskMaker

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A sequel game to TaskMaker, the 1990s Macintosh Western RPG, from the same creators, Storm Impact.

Set many years after the predecessor, the game now has the player leading the world from Castle Hall following the death of the TaskMaker. As its protector, the player is asked aid from people in neighboring villages. For the first tasks, the player is asked to retrieve objects possessed by monsters that terrorize said villages; after retrieving each item, it is destroyed.

After a while, the player gets word that the TaskMaker has come back to life. The next task is to retrieve the key to his tomb. Upon arriving at the tomb, the player discovers that the word of the TaskMaker's rise was a ruse planted by the Captain Guard, who must then be defeated to restore peace in the land.

The game boasts many features beyond that of its predecessor, including the ability to make the player male or female, and a fighter, mage, or thief. A completely new world is built around Castle Hall, with many new dungeons and villages to explore. The graphics have been dressed up, as well.

However, it was released in a tight time for the company, and many corners were cut in the development. (See here for further info.) The game never made it past version 1.0 until July 2008, when developer David Cook posted a slightly updated version on his website.

Tropes present:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Zehner's Palace is loaded with objects starting with Z. There are more of them than you'd think.
  • An Adventurer Is You: The player can choose to be male or female, and a fighter, magician or thief.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • If stuck, the player can buy a scroll with a hint to each dungeon. Also, some of the secret options in the original game were moved into a "Player Options" menu.
    • Almost every village or dungeon (including the tutorial) has a hidden angel. Bestowing her Bucky's Beef Stew will cause the angel to state her name before disappearing, and she can be summoned once to heal the player and take them back to Castle Hall. This also works on Bucky herself, who can be found in Nottingham.
  • Awesome, but Temporary: Once again, wands and spell scrolls can only be used for up to four or five times before they disappear.
  • Bag of Holding: Taken even further than in the previous game. Using Silver Lining scrolls will expand the pouch up to 61 items.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: One NPC jokes about the game crashing when he is frightened.
  • Call-Back: Many to the previous game. For instance, Rich, an NPC at the Castle Hall bar in the first game, now has a tax office in the same general area in the sequel. The player can also pass through a wall to find some abandoned remains, one of which is the original game's weaponry shop.
  • Cap: Stats are capped at 1000.
  • Cheat Code: Many of the cheat codes from the previous game carried over, albeit with different names and warnings that the player should only use said codes if stuck.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Some controls were changed. "Blast" (capital B) became "Strike" (capital S); "Cure" (capital C) became "Heal" (capital H); and "Determine" (lowercase D) was merged with "Examine" (lowercase E). Making the Heal one worse is the fact that capital H was "Haste" in the original — a useful spell that doesn't exist in Tomb.
  • Death Cry Echo: A different sound than the previous game.
  • Death Is Not Permanent: As in the previous game, the player can die and go to Hell an infinite number of times.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • When frightened, the boat dock owner will point out killing him will still not result in the player being able to get a boat from his docks for free (the dialogue box that prompts for the boat fee will still show up). The fact that he acknowledges this shows that the developers anticipated that players would try to get free boats in this fashion. However, it is still possible to bypass his fee by throwing a projectile weapon at the switch that opens his drawbridge.
    • Doors adjacent to a "shape" wall (triangle, square, etc.) can only be opened if the player has the corresponding key. Said doors cannot be bypassed even if the player is ethereal, nor can they be knocked down with Falling Wall scrolls (which are otherwise able to knock down doors).
  • Dual Wielding: As in the first game, a player may choose to wield two single-handed weapons.
  • Escaped from Hell: There is one out of four possible "ironic hells". One of them has the player giving presents to Devils, and they make fun of him/her for doing so. After enough times, the exit opens. Nothing prevents the player from killing them at this point.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: The character creation dialogue box allows these options: Warriors can use the most weapons, but cannot cast spells or use some scrolls, Magicians can use some weapons, but can cast the most spells (including spells to weaken, dispel, or teleport enemies) and use all scrolls; and thieves are also limited on weapon use but can cast some spells and pick locks on doors or treasure chests.
  • First Town: As in the previous game, Castle Hall. Unlike the previous game, the player starts already inside Castle Hall.
  • Forced Tutorial: As with the first game, this is subverted, but playing it anyway results in Disc-One Nuke.
  • Foreshadowing: In later tasks, the Castle Hall guards start randomly disappearing. They turn out to be agents of the Captain Guard, the final boss.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Using the "original place" cheat code in the TaskMaker's tomb after the final boss has spawned will cause him not to re-spawn when the Tomb is reopened, thus rendering the game unwinnable.
  • Get on the Boat: Two cases:
    • To get to Butterscotch, the player may either sail out of the boat dock in Castle Hall for a small fee, or purchase or find a Ship in a Bottle, which instantly creates a boat if the player is facing water.
    • The Isles of Muck, Eyearrass, Fracture, and Nottingham are all accessible solely by navigating a path in Zehner's Palace which opens out to the water (or again, by using a Ship in a Bottle).
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Many dungeons and towns have treasure chests laying about, which can be opened to find an item.
  • Intimidating Revenue Service: The dungeon of Eyearrass is loaded with evil Taxmen, who will slowly drain the player's money instead of attacking normally.
  • Joke Item: As with the previous game, there are many:
    • Bar o' Lead has no value other than preventing teleportation by the final boss.
    • Subverted with the Stick o' Wood, Empty Can, and Empty Bottle. They seem useless at first, but placing them into the fountain in Gofe will yield a magic wand or Healing Potion, respectively.
    • There are also some creative Stealth Pun items, such as a useless axe called "Aks a stupid question...", and "hard rock bands" which are the highest armor rating but deafen the player.
    • In Butterscotch, there is a scroll for an "Ebonics Lesson" that contains exactly what you think and nothing else. It has no value and can't be sold.
  • Level Editor: As in the last game, one is accessible after the final task.
  • Money Spider: Far more exaggerated than the previous game. Killing nearly any monster or NPC will often result in a huge treasure trove.
  • Playable Epilogue: One is accessible after the final task. It consists of a small pathway lined with NPCs that generate random lines of praise, and a teleport that reveals a secret message.
  • Player Nudge: If the player returns to the Seat of Power without the current task object, a messenger from the corresponding village will offer a hint on how to retrieve it.
  • Power-Up Food: As in the previous game, various forms of food give various stat boosts, with Bucky's Famous Beef Stew being the strongest. Various coffee drinks can also be found that do likewise.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Referenced in the character creation dialogue box; the only differences between male and female players are in the character sprites and a few sound effects.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: Trading Post, Grayclay, Isles of Muck, and Eyearrass all have subterranean sub-levels that are randomly generated (Subterra, Tubors, Undertow Cove, and Papyruswork, respectively). Grayclay itself is also randomly-generated.
  • Sequence Breaking: Once again subverted, as the player can't access other towns until he or she sits on the throne, nor can he or she pick up task items until they are assigned.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One of the rotating "final words" for an NPC's death is "Shucky darn and slop the chickens!", which comes from an old Garfield strip.
    • Another "final words" line is "Rosebud."
    • A character named Lucy appears in one dungeon. Next to some diamonds.
  • Take That!: If you examine a bush, it will say "Bush (at least he was honest)" — no doubt a slam to Bill Clinton.
  • Significant Anagram: The most powerful cloak is named "Cloak and avoid", which as its name indicates, is an Invisibility Cloak. This is an anagram of "David Alan Cook", one of the game's creators.
  • Skeleton Key: As in the previous game, skeleton keys can unlock normal doors once, with no upper limit on how many keys may be purchased or carried; in addition, Thieves may purchase lockpicks which can be used indefinitely. However, doors with shapes next to them require the key of the corresponding shape, and cannot be picked.
  • Sprint Shoes: As in the previous game, Boots o' Speed double the player's speed, allowing two moves for every move made by an NPC.
  • Teleport Spam: The final boss can do this.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: As before, the player can slaughter and loot all the NPCs in a town, then use the hidden spell to restart that town and do it again. And unlike the last game, there's no point system.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Killing Mom or Bucky will render the player permanently deaf, blind, and drunk. Killing an angel sends the player to Hell in 1.0.1.
  • Violence is the Only Option: Averted in a new way. Magicians can use a Bluebangle to dispel any monster under a certain health level (which increases as the player gets stronger), a Zamia cone to weaken them, or Freedom Leaves to teleport them away.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The boss is about 10 times stronger than any monster, and has legions of mooks. The boss can also make items drop out of the player's pouch or make him/her thirsty, and he can summon more mooks.
  • Wallet of Holding: As before, the player can carry forms of currency, but can't use them in a shop until deposited in an Auto Teller. Also, the player will still lose any un-deposited currency upon dying.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Most monsters only say "Arrrr!" regardless of mood, a sign of the game's rushed development. Another NPC says "some hint here" when happy.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: As before, there is a Food meter, which can be replenished by any food item or a healing scroll. Wearing a Food Ring or Candy Necklace will keep the Food meter full at all times. Unlike in the first game, the Food bar is refilled upon entering Hell, which can be a useful bailout for a player who dies of starvation but has little money.
    • There is also a Thirst meter, which rarely comes into action unless the player has come back from Hell or is made thirsty by the final boss. Thirst is replenished either by finding a beverage of some sort (with some, such as Coffee, Latte, or Cappuccino also restoring other stats), or using a Heal spell a few times if the player is a magician.