If you look through the original MAPSCALE.TXT file, a single map stands out: “Xaimai …10 HARD !!! Experts ONLY! (Zi-may)”
This is the only difficulty 10 map available and if you examine the map set, you can start to see the reasons why. You cannot build any bases until you reach level 4. The levels are mostly tunnels with a ton of rock, meaning that the Oracle will be in a rock face the majority of the time. The tunnels have many unavoidable pits. There are very few transitions between levels, and most are one-way. The cyclones do not travel through rock, so cyclones “patrol” back and forth through narrow areas, making certain passages extremely dangerous.
Once you look at level 5, you’ll notice that pits on level 4 possibly could drop you into inescapable regions of the map that have no exit. The Air Force Base on level 5 is in the farthest of these regions. How do you create a strategy to win the game on such a map?
- Always have a hemp rope, at least (2) rations and (2) medpacks on you at all times. Never let your health stay dangerously low.
- If you use scripts to travel through the monotonous pathways on the map when heading to and from the complex, always be prepared to instantly abort the script if you run into an ice storm or acid rain storm.
- Always plan out every excursion from complex. Determine a pathway back to the complex wherever you plan to go before you travel.
- Bring and drop large caches of spare supplies, medpacks, rations, silencers, hemp rope, at strategic locations in the wastelands, such as the locations mentioned in the next bullet point.
- Since you cannot build bases on the first 3 levels, preplan locations where you will fight to get experience such as at [15,14,1], [3,23,2], and [5,2,3]
- Make selling equipment to gather crystals a high priority. You will be going through a lot of supplies and will need a lot of bases.
- If you fall into a cyclone, consider risking jumping back into the cyclone to return to where you were previously located, despite the possible loss of weapons, equipment, and definite loss of hit points that occur.
- Constant Oracle hunting becomes critical since surviving at higher levels is considerably more difficult. Oracle hunting strategies are described elsewhere on this site, but when you are low level and the Oracle is within a large block of rock, this requires many, many minutes of running back and forth through narrow corridors around where you know the Oracle is located, waiting for the Oracle to emerge.
- The first location where you can build a base is on level 4, and this base is needed to do quite a few things which limits where you could potentially place it. You want to get to this base as quickly as possible from the complex, you want to be able to teleport from this base on level 4 and be able to land near a level up portal on level 3, and you want to be in range of all of the bases you plan to build on level 5.
- Placing a base at location [8,8,4] allows you to teleport to [2,2,3] and in one move, get to level 2, and eventually back to the complex on level 1.
- This base location is also in range of the placement of 3 mandatory bases in the inescapable regions of level 5 [17,12,5] [19,12,5] and [21,11,5] and an optional extra base at [13,14,5]. These bases give you access to anywhere on levels 4 & 5 that you may need to reach and minimize the number of pits you must jump into when pursing the oracle.
It is very useful to use ZOC to record a series of keystrokes in response to prompts (script -> record) and then play these back. The format I used to title my scripts were [starting level]–[eventual destination level]. These scripts will make selling equipment to the complex for crystals actually feasible, but always be prepared to instantly abort the script if you run into an ice storm or acid rain storm. With cyclones, you are often simply out of luck, so consider moving manually and slowly if you think a cyclone could be in the area.
- 1-2: [15,14,1] to [11,26,1] then dn (player confirms by hitting y)
- 2-2: [11,26,2] to [3,23,2]
- 1-1: [3,23,1] to Complex[15,15,1]
- 1-5: [15,14,1] to [24,2,1] then dn (player confirms by hitting y)
- 2-5: [24,2,2] to [24,27,2] then dn (player confirms by hitting y)
- 3-5: [24,27,2] to [5,2,3] then dn (player confirms by hitting y)
- 4-5: [5,2,4] to base built at [8,8,4] then teleporting to base near AFB
- 2-1: [2,2,2] to [9,23,2] then up [9,23,1] to [3,23,1]
- 1-1: [3,23,1] to Complex[15,15,1] (same script as 1-1 above)