A Miskatonic Dragon Rising in Second Life

Miskatonic Town

So, I’ve probably mentioned I’m really not one for the whole “Halloween season” thing, but a couple of years ago I dropped into Miskatonic County, the themed Full region held by Tobiath Tendaze, and tried their Halloween / horror first-person adventure / shoot-’em-up. As it has been a couple of years since that visit, I decided to drop back and see what has changed with the new adventure, Tales of Miskatonic County: Dragon Rising.

In the shadows and back alleys of Miskatonic, evil has returned. Cultists have raised portals and called forth horrors from the abyssal plains to attack the city. Their goal is to restore the reign of the Great Old Ones. This Halloween, a titan will rise!

– Introduction to Tales of Miskatonic County: Dragon Rising

The HUD: The compass and bio monitor “sidebar” with Inventory option (1); The health status monitor (2); and the information display (3), which can display information according to the button at the bottom of the sidebar.

Visitors to the region are delivered to a landing point where the essentials can be picked up – a HUD and a revolver. Both of which are available via boards on the walls of the landing point.

When obtaining the HUD, may be asked to join the region’s Experience. This is a necessary part of the activity, so you should click on the Yes button. Don’t worry about the control permissions being granted over your avatar – these are necessary to the game and will be revoked when you leave the region (those who have previously accepted the Miskatonic experience need only touch the board to receive a fresh HUD).

Once the Experience has been accepted, the game HUD will automatically attach to your screen, and – unseen – a character sheet is created for you, if one does not already exist. This records and saves your progress, and allows you to leave the experience at any time (removing the HUD), and then re-join it at a later time, your progress being automatically uploaded to the new HUD. If you wish to delete all of your progress and start over, click the red cube at the landing point.

I’m not going to explain the HUD in all its glory here, as it includes an option to receive an explanatory note card, so I’ll leave you with a quick image-based overview (right). Do note that the three numbered elements of the HUD can be moved independently around your screen.

Once the HUD is attached, click the Pistol sign on the wall to obtain what looks to be a Colt Python .357 Magnum. While this may not be “the most powerful handgun in the world” (as a certain cinematic cop might say through gritted teeth), you will need it to blast the various nasties you’ll be encountering, preferably before they do you a serious mischief.

To find said nasties, take the teleport portal just outside the landing point down to the ground level and the edge of the town of Miskatonic. On arrival, you’ll need to switch to Mouselook to aim and fire your gun (left mouse-click). The nasties themselves may be wandering the various locations, others might be spawned via a “gateway” and others may burst forth in front of (or behind) you unexpectedly. When they attack you, they will cause damage to your health, shields and armour – so shooting sooner rather than later is advised. Such damage will recover over time, but should your health reach “zero”, you’ll be teleported to the town’s care centre where you can use a hospital bed to recover.

You can also help recover your health in several ways: by consuming the food and drinks that might be found within some of the buildings (which you can move around in 3rd person view as the nasties do not enter them), or by collecting any first aid kits you might find, or by using the energy vials some of the nasties might leave behind when “killed”. In all three cases, left-click the object in question to “add” it to a slot in the HUD’s inventory, then click the slot itself to “consume” the item it contains.

It is possible to simply run around blasting nasties, using the teleport portals (tunnels and covered bridges) to move between the town’s different locations to locate them. However, there is also at least one story awaiting discovery by touching various books, etc., and then reading the contents via the HUD.

However, there are also NPCs – non-player characters – awaiting discovery. Touching one will open a “dialogue” conducted via the HUD that will both provide information (possibly via more than one touch or by clicking the HUD info panel), and one or more quest options, including a list of possible quests which you can opt to complete. (you can select up to 5 quests at a time, opening opportunities for varied game play).

Interacting with an NPC via the HUD – clicking the NPC or the HUD’s information area may display further information from the NPC, which may be displayed over several “pages” of the information area of the HUD – click on it to move through (1). There may also be an options list where you can click on individual items for information, including any available quests (2). Click a quest adds it to your task list; completing it removes it from the task list

Quests vary in content from continuing the shoot-the-nasty format through to performing rescuing or finding items. Again a note card available through the Help options in the HUD will provide information on the various quests that many be available.

All of which adds up to the opportunity for first-person entertainment.  As with 2019, I found that while the instructions on using the HUD, following quests, etc., to be very detailed, the broader brush-strokes of the main story seem to be poorly presented. What is the coming “titan”? What role does it play in the actual activities within the region? Perhaps this is only discovered by completing all quests, etc., which admittedly I have not done.  I will say that I found the shoot-’em-up aspect oddly addictive – as I did in 2019 -, although this was tempered by the fact that the game HUD seemed exceptionally slow to respond / update, even when I was the only person in the region.

Nevertheless, if adventure games / hunts are your thing, Dragon Rising may well be worth the time poking at.

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