Monday, December 19, 2011

Magicka: The Stars are Left

Finally got my hands on this highly anticipated DLC campaign for Magicka.  It offers three more chapters of adventure, with all-new enemies and magicks, more challenge maps, and two robes (one of which has to be unlocked).

It's set 20 years after the original adventure.  Vlad appears and suggests, then tells, then basically forces you to go on this new adventure.  Also, he's quick to remind you that nobody is to find out about his "little secret".

This isn't really a review, because I'll blatantly tell you right now: If you already own Magicka, GET THIS DLC.  There, I said it.  This post is more about impressions and strategies, and does basically spoil the entire thing.

There are 7 magicks available in The Stars are Left, in comparison to the original campaign's 23.  Two of them are Revive and Haste, the other five are entirely new.  There are some things that you can only obtain if you're using the Investigator robes: a weapon that polymorphs your target, and a magick.

At the beginning, break down the door that led to the very first Sherlock Holmes area in the original adventure.  Shoot a rock at the tree, and a magick tome falls down.  Get it to learn Tractor Pull.  What does it do?  Well, you stomp the ground.  I think it makes stuff on the ground move closer to you.  Not entirely sure.  It's not all that useful.

The first boss is a giant spider named Parker, and when you beat him you get the achievement "No power = No responsibility".  Yeah, a Spider-Man reference.  A Magicka content update wouldn't be complete without more references.

During the second chapter, having the Investigator robe equipped will enable you to open a gate and get the Chain Lightning magick.  Before that, when you reach the village where Gram's Workshop is, if you talk to the guy by the fire repeatedly, he'll eventually give you a magick tome.  Stop talking to him when he says this (if you talk to him too much, he takes back his offer), then go to the shop nearby to get it.  Sadly, just like Tractor Pull, it's not all that useful.  So not useful that I forget its name.

The second chapter is also home to... Endermen.  Yes, the ones from Minecraft.  Except that instead of picking up terrain, they pick up you.  And then eat you.  They also teleport around.  They're a lot more frightening than Minecraft's Endermen, quite frankly...

If you remember coming through the part with the Endermen in the original campaign, you'll know that you can freeze the river just after the checkpoint to get to a Sherlock Holmes area with the Sword of Masters (aka the Master Sword).  It's still there, and it's one of the better weapons available, so you might as well get it.  The cultists shoot Arcane at you (despite the fact that it looks like Lightning), so give yourself an Arcane shield and you can pick them off from afar with the sword's projectile.

The second boss is a winged demon that makes a couple appearances in the third chapter as well.  Nearby where you fight it, there's a book for a much-needed magick: Levitation.  I highly recommend grabbing this one, as it comes in incredibly handy in the third chapter.  The boss isn't actually all that difficult, it just takes a while to wear it down.  Basically he jumps around and tries to convert you into a cultist, which is an instant-kill attack.  Luckily, it's at point blank range, so stay mobile and you won't even have to worry about it.

The third chapter is entirely the buildup to fighting Cthulhu.  There are puzzles you need to solve to activate various mechanisms to enable you to reach his room.  The orbs that activate the mechanisms are red, and what else is red?  The Arcane element.  What's its opposite?  Life.  Whack each orb with Life and it'll turn green and activate whatever it's linked to.  Whack it with Arcane to disable again.  The disable mechanic is really only needed in one room, where you have to bounce a life beam off of three mirrors (and all the way across the room in the process) to activate an orb that opens a door next to you.  This door is on a timer and will close after a short period of time.

One of the rooms had me puzzled for quite a while, and it ended up having the derpiest solution.  One room has a bunch of steam vents that will push you off of the walkway that goes past them.  The solution?  A rock shield.  Apparently it gives you enough weight to prevent the steam from pushing you off.  On the other side of the steam vents is the mechanism, activate it and the walls rise up and you'll have a fight on your hands.  Unless of course, you have the magick I'm about to mention...

Also attached to this room is a platform with a semi-useful magick: Portal.  Unfortunately, due to an oversight by the developers (or something) if you're not playing on a widescreen resolution, you can't use the stairway that takes you to this platform.  Instead you'll have to Levitate and Haste over from the other side.  Now that I think about it, I have occasional troubles exiting one of the previous rooms as well.  It's the one with the unlimited numbers of enemies that Vlad so helpfully accidentally awakens for you.

Anyway, Portal is indeed a reference to the game of the same name.  Predictably, you'll have to cast it twice to get any use out of it at all.  Also, its usability is limited since you can only place portals in already-accessible areas.  However, it can be used in the steam vent room to bypass the walled-in fight after activating that room's mechanism.

There's a sword you can get before you make the tentacles go away.  Haste and Levitate yourself to the platform where the Portal magick is, and go through the door.  The sword is stuck in the tentacle.

Partway through solving all of this, the winged demon will challenge you again.  Just defeat him again and move on.  Keep him frozen for an easy win.

All this buildup, and once you've got all three main mechanisms activated (the bridge, the door, and the water), you can finally exit the top of the main room and fight Cthulhu.  While technically, yes, you can indeed enter the room without activating the water, you will die upon entry, lose your weapons, and the boss fight can't be triggered.  Strangely enough it still shows the bubble effects where Cthulhu first comes up out of the water, even though there isn't any water.

Let me tell you now, Cthulhu is a really difficult boss.  As in, Assatur is a pansy.  Cthulhu really tests your knowledge of Magicka's spell mechanics and your ability to adapt to what's happening.  Easily more difficult than the entire rest of Magicka combined.

I had two bulleted lists here containing all the stuff that happens in the fight and how to deal with it, but it was even more tl;dr than the rest of this post, so I removed it.

Now, for the actual strategy that worked.
  • Throw on a rock shield (self-cast ED) at the beginning, and refresh it whenever you have a free moment.
  • Stay at the very top of the stairs in the middle area, this way the tentacles can't hit you.
  • QFQFASA.  Queue up the next one while you're hitting him with the current one.  The DQRQRQRQR method may deal more damage than the full duration of the steam-lightning beam, but it's less repeatable than the steam-lightning beam.
  • The lesser demons that get summoned periodically will die to a single area-cast QFQFASA.
  • Once the winged demon is out, Haste yourself, get close, and cast EARAR on it.  I prefer to put it on my sword to cast it, but it works just as well when regular cast.  This will freeze it and keep it in place.
  • Throw up a shield (regular cast E) in the general direction of wherever Cthulhu is.  Yes, we're ignoring Cthulhu for now.  Whenever the shield gets taken out or needs to be relocated, put it back up.
  • Keep doing the frost-lightning shield attack on the winged demon until it dies.  This will be tricky because it jumps across the room periodically.
  • When the winged demon jumps, make sure you're not beneath it when it lands, since you'll die instantly if it lands on you.
  • Resume steam-lightning beaming Cthulhu (and responding to his attacks, obviously) until you win.
After beating Cthulhu, the Cultist robes are unlocked.  They come with a sword that inflicts poison, and a staff that can summon those weird fire things from Chapter 3.

As an aside to all of this, why can't I use any of the new weapons, staves, and magicks in challenge/versus modes?  There's a rather awesome staff that allows you to conjure lightning while wet, and a sword that can fight on its own without a wielder (never used it, not sure how it works)...


  1. Although your post is quite ancient, I have to mention that the secret weapon found in the tent in chapter one turns anything into a much weaker enemy (or into a troll, sometimes, but that's bad luck). this is helpful against the Endermen (chap. 1) and the Elder Thing (chap. 3). hit them with the werezombie paw, and they will loose all their annoying abilities. also the Endermen and the tentacle big blobs of chap. 2 have the same mechanics as the Yeti in the original Magicka: Wrap yourself into an ice shield, and they can not grab you.

    Also the magick you get from speaking with the guy by the campfire (Plasma Party Propp) deals at least 8000 damage when it lands. Its only weakness is the unpredictability of its destination. however, when facing Cthulhu, if you practiced enough that magick, you can burst the final boss very fast.

    finally in the room with the vents trying to blow you away, you can simply activate the orb in that room by standing on the edge where the wall will appear, then blast the monster with Plasma Party Propp, or jsut walk away by falling back on the ledge.

    I have not found anything fancy/special regarding the sword stuck on the tentacle.


    1. Old post or not, I really appreciate the comment. As you can probably tell by looking around this blog, I don't really get many comments.

      I didn't really play around with the weapons that this DLC added that much, other than grabbing the staff that lets you cast lightning while wet. As soon as I realized I could still get the Sword of Masters, I grabbed it and never looked back. I was also entirely unaware that an ice shield could counter the Yeti, let alone anything in The Stars Are Left. I'll have to replay chapter 11 now, just to try that...

      After posting this and having had a general hard time beating Cthulhu, I did find the "spam Propp's Party Plasma" strategy and used it a few times. So long as you don't typo the combination for the magick, it's easily the best way to defeat him.

      The great thing about Magicka is that different players are going to have different working strategies for dealing with the same things. I rather like my "set up portals, skip fight entirely" method of dealing with the monster at the end of the steam vent room. One time I set up the portals wrong and it actually followed me through...

      Also, I failed to mention the Outsmouth challenge in this post, which quickly became one of my favorite challenge maps. I really love how it restricts your available elements and makes you think about different combinations than you're used to. It taught me the importance of the Lightning-Fire combination... A good AFAFA or AFAFF (I just hit A and F simultaneously three times and then cast...) on a group of tightly packed enemies, as is common in the Outsmouth challenge, sets them all on fire, so you can keep kiting while they take damage.

      I still need to go back and play this game some more. Ever since Dungeons and Daemons came out I haven't been at 100% achievements :(


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