00:00 / 00:00
Cartucho De Calabozos

By Vinny Vistazo
57:55

Album MP3 January, 2023
Bandcamp January, 2023
Bonus MP3 August, 2023

An alternate reality concept album of dungeon synth, chiptune, and ambient music meant to emulate the experience of playing through a made-up retro video game, the titular “Cartucho de Calabozos”. With the passage of time, experienced players can mess with glitches or even reveal things that were never meant to leave the cutting room floor.

In this alternate reality, the game “Cartucho de Calabozos” is made by a Mexican gaming studio from the 90s. The story of the game itself takes place in a medieval fantasy land inspired by Ireland, sometime around the 1500s.

A mute warrior with an almighty sword, Anlon the Unrelenting, takes it upon himself to hunt and defeat the beast that is devastating the land after consuming the king. It is a gargantuan task for an obstinate man, and one that can’t easily be done alone. Noticing his struggle, he is joined by the mysterious and snippy alchemist, The Great Wizard Gruamhasch, whether he wanted company or not. The two embark on the quest together.

The following document is written to replicate an online game guide from the old web. It is entirely fictional.

v0.03 01/20/2024 CONTENT WARNING: EYESTRAIN, BODY HORROR, DISTURBING IMAGERY, UNREALITY, PARANOIA


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A guide by muchomago



1.00 - Revision History


------ Current Version: 0.7

--- 01/28/04 - 0.1 - Added Introduction and Storyline. Wrote out the details of the Suilin Crypt sequence skip.

--- 02/02/04 - 0.2 - Added Revision History.

--- 04/01/04 - 0.3 - Added segment 5.50. Wrote out the details of the "Jester Face Mini Game" glitch.

--- 03/25/05 - 0.3 - Added segment 5.51. Wrote out how to escape the unfinished map (The "Corrupted Labyrinth") after the "Jester Face Mini Game" glitch.

--- 04/21/05 - 0.4 - Added segment 5.52. Wrote out some basic details of the unused boss (The "Knight of Rust") in the Castle Halls map.

--- 04/25/05 - 0.5 - Added Spoiler Warning.

--- 09/01/05 - 0.6 - Wrote out how to "defeat" the Knight of Rust. Wrote out how to defeat La Oubliête / False King.

--- 09/08/05 - 0.7 - Added Closing Remarks.


2.00 - Introduction


This guide was written by muchomago. *This isn't a basic walkthrough.* For a basic walkthrough, please refer to the list under the "walkthrough" thread. This is a guide specifically written to describe all the glitches, sequence skips, and unused content discovered in the game and how to trigger them. By reading this guide, I'm assuming you already have a very basic understanding of the controls and overall gameplay. (:


3.00 - Spoiler Warning


From this point onward there will be spoilers! Again, this guide is primarily written for anyone already familiar with the game who are looking to experiment. As such, spoilers will remain unmarked. Some of the things in this guide uncover unused material in the game that can *dubiously* be considered canon, and will also remain as unmarked spoilers.


4.00 - Storyline


You play as Anlon (The game manual refers to him as Anlon the Unrelenting, don't know who gave him that title) a warrior from Lamanagh Village. He can't speak, and it seems that the other villagers kind of interpret his silence as off-putting coldness, or an infectious curse. He cares for his home, but he's still kind of outcasted. He takes it upon himself to save the land from an evil beast, almost like he wants to finally be accepted and appreciated by the people around him.

A quick aside - the game manual says that his sword apparently formed out of his umbilical cord and grew over time. Definitely kinda weird and a little freaky, but he makes it work. (lol) The relevance of this is that his sword will always come back to him, can't ever be lost, and can only be truly weilded by him. This isn't really displayed in gameplay, but there is *one* instance of this that will be covered later on in this guide - so put a pin in that.

The whole land is divided up by different cities and villages, ruled by their elders. These elders then serve a king, but it doesn't seem that every elder is on board with serving a king at all. Some of the elders refuse the king, or completely denounce him. All of the king's knights and his servants have completely disappeared shortly before this all happened, and nobody knows where they went. As the beast wreaks havoc on the land, most of the elders, healers, and powerful sorcerers are imprisoned in different locations - all the dungeons. (The game's title, "Cartucho de Calabozos", literally translates to "Cartridge of Dungeons", so there you go)

Not only does Anlon have to slay the beast, but he has to save all the people imprisoned in all these dungeons. If you don't do this fast enough, the people you are trying to rescue get taken away, and are just gone for good.

It can be inferred that the powerful sorcerers and healers are also imprisoned because they pose a threat to this beast, or because they have magic that the beast wants. Amongst those powerful sorcerers is our good friend Gruamhasch. (The game manual refers to him as The Great Wizard Gruamhasch, although I'm not sure if wizards and alchemists are the same thing) In a normal playthrough, he is the second person you rescue, and you're supposed to save him from Suilin Crypt. When you sequence break the game at the very start, it shows a special cutscene - so put a pin in that as well.

Anlon and Gruamhasch then work together to enter all these dungeons and eventually find the beast's nest to slay it. It's pretty crazy that Anlon thought he could do this one on his own, but unless you completely break the game Gruamhasch will always join your party. Actually, you can't beat the game without Gruamhasch in your party because he's required to activate an event at the end of the game. The two of them are just going to have to be together for good!

Thats the basic introduction to the storyline, I'm not covering anything too new just yet. Now it'll be interesting to see how messing with the game here and there can show us more. Lets get started, shall we?


5.01 - Lamanagh Village


After the opening cutscene and once you're in the Interior Lodge map, you're going to ignore Cormac and the chest and go straight out to Lamanagh Village South. Head to the southeast wall and leave, headed towards The Pine Wood Pass. The sun will be starting to set. That doesn't bode well, especially without your sword.

Enemies are immediately going to spawn once the sun goes down. You have to go straight to the The Pine Wood Pass and towards the Suilin Crypt. Without your sword this is going to be a tall order, but if you snake through certain pathways or learn certain enemy walk patterns, you can sneak past ...


5.05 - Suilin Crypt


The hardest part about this is just getting to Suilin Crypt in the first place without your sword and without dying. You'll notice that the first thing that happens when you step in the map is this cutscene:

There isn't another instance in the game in which there is a dialogue box without a character portrait, or without a tail pointing to the character speaking. We can only assume that this is internal dialogue from Anlon himself. This is the only line of dialogue (Unspoken, that is) that we will ever get from him.

Once you hit continue on the dialogue box, the cutscene ends, and you're back at the main entrance of Suilin Crypt. You'll notice that Anlon's sprite will have his sword on him now. This is the only instance in the game when this happens, as briefly mentioned in the game manual.

Unfortunately, even with your sword, there is no saving yourself here. Once you enter Suilin Crypt, you can't go back out the way you came in. Even if you stocked up on healing items before entering, they're of little use. It is impossible. You can try getting past all the monsters to the boss room, but the boss monster of this dungeon, the Seer Hydra, will just be the one to do you in. It is hopeless. Choose which way you wanna go.

You will die.

You came here to this dungeon to die.


5.06 - The Ravine / Game Over


You’re dead.

The death cutscene and game over music will play like normal, but you’ll notice the “Continue?” dialogue box won’t appear. Instead, you'll appear in the water in a ravine, and Gruamhasch will be beside you. He has unique lines of dialogue in this cutscene.


Gruamhasch
You are still as stubborn as when we first met.

Gruamhasch
That can be a virtuous thing. But what you did now was very bullheaded.

Gruamhasch
There are some things you have to accept that you cannot change,

Gruamhasch
things that I cannot change either. But I can change your fate here and now.

Gruamhasch
You cannot do this alone. Let me help you.


Theories


These lines are interesting because it implies that Gruamhasch and Anlon have met before, even though in this current playthrough (and in a regular playthrough) they’re supposedly encountering each other for the first time. It definitely would explain how Gruamhasch already knows Anlon's name.

Its also possible that Suilin Crypt was originally meant to be the first dungeon in the game instead of the second one, and these lines were what was left from that sequence of events. This is the only way to access this cutscene, probably in case someone was crazy enough to get to Suilin Crypt without even grabbing their sword - that’s you!


Gruamhasch will then heal you in the selenite waters.

After this point, Gruamhasch will join your party and you will have to exit through the Cave of Swords like normal.


5.07 - Cave of Swords


*This is important.* Make sure you grab a PIECE OF SELENITE on your way out. You’ll absolutely need it later to continue this playthrough.

Gruamhasch will then start to cycle through his usual dialogue about the Cave of Swords and how he had to look over it (On his own, by the way. Mister "you can't do this alone" can't take his own advice!) It's as if you had just defeated the Seer Hydra. You skipped both of those two dungeons! You don’t have to rescue Barrfind.


5.05 - Oldleagh City


The plot continues as usual, and Gruamhasch doesn't follow you back into Oldleagh City for fear of being spotted or followed. He will meet with you again at the opening of the Oldleagh Cistern. He advises you to meet with his sister, Slaine, who you would've already met by now in a regular playthrough.

So even though you didn’t have to rescue Barrfind, the people of Oldleagh City are still celebrating as if you had. The townsfolk don’t have any different dialogue or anything. Well, might as well take credit for it, huh? Everyone is too happy to have Barrfind back that nobody even bothers to mourn the king.

Head over to Oldleagh City East by the fountain, and meet up with Slaine. She’ll be relieved to "see you again", and knows it means that Gruamhasch is safe. You have the option to inform her about Gruamhasch joining you or keeping it to yourself - its in your best interest to inform her that he's going with you. This shocks her, as he has never made it past The Pine Wood Pass, but being unable to tell Gruamhasch otherwise, she will give you a lot of healing items and food for your oncoming journey. This is a huge help, because she gives you these items for no gold coins - of which I'm sure you have very, very little.

You can try to stock up with what little gold coin you have, but you probably won't be able to afford much. There’s still a lot ahead, and the next dungeons will have a bit of a learning curve because you’re under-leveled. The next dungeon is also the Oldleagh Cistern, where its easy to get poisoned. Try to get extra ingredients for an ANTIDOTE so that Gruamhasch can mix it for you.

You can also try to check out The Jester's Den in Oldleagh City East and play all the mini-games inside. We'll actually be running into the out-of-work jester later, in an unexpected place, so keep that in mind.

Your quest continues ...


5.06 - Oldleagh Cistern


I cannot emphasize enough how you *shouldn't get poisoned* as you boat down the Oldleagh Cistern and into the River of Bile. If you have the materials for an ANTIDOTE, go ahead and get poisoned *once* to see the cutscene where Gruamhasch explains to you how and why he became a healer for those forsakened or failed by the church, if you'd like. But if you don't have the materials, Gruamhasch won't be able to make an ANTIDOTE for you, and you'll end up having to wait until you meet the Grime Witch to possibly be cured, which is several maps and a boss fight ahead.

Even then, its not worth it. If you want the Grime Witch to help cure you of poisoning, its going to cost you more of your bones. The odds are already so stacked against you, you cannot afford to lose anything more. So *don't get poisoned.*


5.12 - Temple of the Unknown


The quickest way to the Grime Witch is by entering on the west side, and the Treatment Quarters will be on the left down the first corridor. She will be waiting for you, because she already knows why you’re there ...

In order to free Ardgal, she asks you for your bones. Gruamhasch offers his own, but you also have the option to offer yours. This would cost you an arm, the one you can carry a shield with, and will permanently weaken you for the rest of the game. This playthrough is already difficult as it is, and without your shield it is impossible. Gruamhasch is unafraid to commit to this sacrifice to help the village elder, and he playfully mentions that there are some bones he simply cannot use anyway. He insists that in order for them to continue and help the others, this is the best course of action. The Grime Witch will then take some of his bones. This scene always gave me the shivers, even if the way she pulls them out is surprisingly dry and un-gory. Something about how she just pulls them out is just weird.

It doesn't seem like the Grime Witch is in it to help the beast, either, she just really needs some bones for her own purposes. Whoever put her up to it probably just took advantage of that. When you finally set Ardgal free, he doesn't even know what any of this has to do with the beast or the king or anything - he doesn't even know that the king is dead! Such a steep price for such an awkward situation.

Also, remember when I said not to get poisoned a couple of passages back? If you were poisoned and couldn't make an ANTIDOTE, the Grime Witch can heal you, but it'll cost you even more of your bones. If Gruamhasch offered his bones for her to free Ardgal, she’d then have to take bones from you, meaning a permanent de-buff and no shield. So if you’re showing up here poisoned, just load a previous save file - it’s just not going to work out.


5.21 - Unmarked Catacombs


Preferably, you’re entering the Unmarked Catacombs with both you and Gruamhasch having masks equipped. If not, the miasma status effect is going to slow you down a lot. If you do have the misfortune of having miasma plaguing you while making your way through, just remember that the controls will be reversed.

It may sound counter-intuitive, but follow the phantoms in the dark portion of the screen when you light up a passage. It may seem like getting too close will initiate a battle, but these phantoms always stay *just* out of your reach. Its almost as if the souls resting here just want you to get out, and maybe not join them. Don’t be afraid.

Be more afraid of the miasma slowly wasting you away.

You will watch yourself wither and shrivel up the longer you stay, flesh falling off bone.

Your insides will deteriorate into a rancid, fetid mucus.

You will become a walking corpse, hollowed out, a feast for hungry flies.

You must leave.


5.27 - Glasdorch Forest


There's no other way around it. You'll have to enter the woods. It sucks you in, and you keep sinking and sinking.

Slowly, the sun's light fades away. The trees blot out the sun. The darkness will be suffocating.

There's no way to remember where you've been. You're going to lose your way. Just walk in a straight line.

Things hidden in the darkness churn and rustle in their natural rhythm. You are the one that doesn't belong here.

It feels like forever. It just goes deeper. Maybe if you pick up your pace, you can finally come out the other side.

You step faster and faster, but there is no end in sight. The cold air aches in your chest as you pant and gasp.

You should be able to make out the tree trunks in the woods just barely, but when the sun starts to set, your vision will gradually be reduced to nothing. Then it’ll start to drizzle.

There’s no trick or secret to doing this, you just have to listen closely and go towards the sound of the rain. You’ll know you’re approaching the Tower of Tempests when the rain becomes a storm.

If you have some on you, take a swig of MOLTEN LIQUID if you start to slow down. The cold is probably making you stiffen up. If you don’t have any, then - this may not surprise you by this point - the next segment will be much harder.

When lightning strikes, it’ll give you the briefest glimpse of your environment. As soon as you see the tower and the open drawbridge with a flash of lightning, you’ll hear the roaring water approaching in a very short cutscene.

Don’t even hesitate or stop to look, just run inside the tower and keep climbing.


5.49 - Tower of Tempests


Keep climbing.

Don't look down.

You have to go faster.

Don't trip.

Keep climbing.

The water is just beneath you.

If you fall, you will drown.

Keep climbing.

If you mess up the button combinations and trip up, just keep going. Any slight hesitation or messing up one too many times will make you fall to your death.

When you reach the very top, a cutscene will play when you meet Ruarc. Ruarc is moreso angry than scared about his capture, and now his current predicament. This was supposed to be a rescue, but now the three of you have to figure out how to save yourselves from the flood. All the while, Ruarc steams about how pathetic the king was - he takes resources from their villages in the hopes the king's knights could at least protect them, and now that all this has happened they're simply gone. Once the cutscene ends and you can look around, instead of searching for building materials you’re going to search for a very specific place in the walls.

In the penultimate room, there's two things of importance:

First, you can look out the window, and a cutscene will play. At the top of the tower, you are above the clouds, and out far enough you can make out a large circular lake. At the center, shaped in a circle, you can barely make out the Castle Ruins. The lake and the Castle Ruins look like a disc. There's an enormous, malformed, hobbling creature wading through the water and headed into the castle opening. It's the beast. That's the final location of the game, and where the beast nests. We're going to be there soon, much sooner than normal.

The second thing of importance is a strange painting you might've noticed. It's two knights stabbing each other as a jester watches and laughs. Death is the final joke, I guess? With the painting on the left and the window on the right, there is a portion of the wall that you can slip into. Here is a screenshot of what I mean:

You have to press your back against it first, walk backwards, and then turn around to get underneath and through it. Once you achieve this though, you can walk out of the map and into a black void. You won't be here long, though, because a few steps in the screen will fade out and transport you to an entirely different map.


5.50 - The Jester's Den


You'll reappear in the Jester's Den, and immediately a mini-game cutscene starts. This mini-game wasn't available to play earlier in Oldleagh City, and goes entirely unused in a normal playthrough. The jester will appear at the center of the stage holding the bottom of his hood. His hood will have a shape drawn on it thats something in-between a face and a question mark.

A dialogue box shows up, but it flickers so fast that you can't really read what it says. Then an input box will appear where you can write in ten characters.

If you just type in something random, or better yet, some kind of profanity, the jester will lift his hood and reveal his face (That looks like it was painted on a completely formless head) and the losing musical riff plays. That's not how you're going to solve this one. The screen will fade to black and fade back in, and the mini-game just reloads and starts over again.

Every time the round starts, the face that the jester has underneath changes. Sometimes its happy, sometimes its sad, sometimes its confused, sometimes its mad. Its sort of like a guessing game. If you write in "happy" or "sad" and the face matches, you get a winning musical riff!

The thing is though, no matter if you win or lose, the mini-game just starts over. You're essentially stuck in a loop, and it doesn't seem like this mini-game really amounts to anything besides a curious glimpse into unused content. But lots of different word combinations were tested, and one of them actually breaks the game loop.


Theories


This definitely looks like a mini-game that was meant to be a part of the Jester's Den back in Oldleagh City, but some of the mechanics seem unfinished or simply don't work. It resembles the color guessing mini-game, but relies on text input instead of giving you options. Options seem more simple compared to text input, so the color guessing game stayed, whereas this face guessing game was made inaccessible. Not sure why this mini-game map is availabe somewhere in the corner of the Tower of Tempest's out-of-bounds map, but it makes me question if perhaps the Jester's Den was actually supposed to be in a different part of the game.

In a normal playthrough, in Oldleagh City, there's an NPC that mentions that the jester in Jester's Den used to perform for the king's court. While all the knights and servants working for the king supposedly disappeared, the jester remains behind. Perhaps he used to have a dungeon of his own, was supposed to be a part of the Tower of Tempests, or was suppposed to be in the Castle Ruins. This could explain why this unused mini-game remained in this unusual location.


Alright, lets get you out of this game loop. Underneath the special characters (The row with Y, Z, ?, !, #, *) is a row full of entirely blank characters. If you fill in all ten slots with blank characters, the jester will lift up his hood to reveal a face made up of different sprite assets that aren't even on this same map.

The sprites in the jester's face are completely random, but they seem to be taken from a set from the Unmarked Catacombs. In this screenshot I got, it looks like part of the Skeletal Wyrm and a part of a Unliving Carcass. It was unsettling seeing it at first. What freaky combination will you get, I wonder?

After that, a completely different musical riff will play, and the screen will fade to black. This time, the mini-game music will stop playing. A deep thumping sound effect will play, almost like you fell down somewhere deep. When the screen fades back in, you'll be in a completely new map.

You'll be alone.


5.51 - Unused Map


First and foremost: *Do not save in this dungeon.* If you save in this dungeon, it'll corrupt your whole save file. In some instances, it can even corrupt all of your save files. All progress will be lost. If you need to shut off or reset your console, just load up a save file at the Tower of Tempest and play the jester's mini-game again.

You'll be in a new, completely unfamiliar dungeon in a random place. Gruamhasch isn't with you. This means you'll completely miss the cutscene at Banshee Point when Gruamhasch gets kidnapped by the king's knights, and yells back at you that you shouldn't worry about him and should carry out the plan. In that scene, as Gruamhasch is being whisked away, you try pulling him back by his cloak, and just end up yanking it off of him and keeping it with you. Even though that scene didn't happen, you'll notice that you have the CLOAK OF LEVITATION in your inventory as if it did ...

This dungeon looks like some combination of the Unmarked Catacombs and the Castle Ruins, and uses some of the same sprites between the two. Some of the map sprites aren't used anywhere else, though, like the walls - they look like a fleshy, pulsating mass that resemble some kind of fungus with many clustered holes. The lighting seems to be set up in a very different way on this map, as its way too dark in some portions with circles of light in different spots. Occassionally, as you step through the dungeon, you'll hear the jester laugh sound effect. There seems to be a connection between this dungeon and how you got here from the jester's mini-game. The music that plays in this dungeon isn't used anywhere else, either. There are parts of the track that sound like a heavily slowed down version of "Boss Monster Rapidly Approaching". There are no enemies or traps, no items or status effects, no NPCs or signs, no windows or openings, and no entrances or exits.

It's a labyrinth. Every time you are loaded into the dungeon, your starting coordinates are randomized, and the labyrinth map is randomly chosen from a set of 6 different maps.

You are stuck here.

There are no exits.

There are only dead ends.


Theories


Given how some of these assets, maps, and sprites are unseen anywhere else in the game, this is definitely a scrapped dungeon. It seems to rely on a lot of randomization, and perhaps this was a map where that mechanic was initially tested out. The Unmarked Catacombs also has randomized maps from a set of three, although your starting position is always at the entrance. Because some of the assets for this unused dungeon and the Unmarked Catacombs are shared, its possible that this was a sort of prototype.

It's interesting to note the way in which you get in here, too. The thumping sound at the start, the way that you can still hear the jester laugh as you try to navigate the labyrinth, how Gruamhasch was specifically coded to leave you with his CLOAK OF LEVITATION in your inventory - it puts the jester in a much more sinister perspective.


Have you wandered enough? Are you tired and helpless, bored and miserable? Have you explored every detail of this labyrinth, every insignificant pixel and unremarkable tile, only to find nothing?

Even though Gruamhasch isn't physically with you, he is still with you in essence. Find a patch of light in the labyrinth, there are a few scattered in every map. Once you've found a patch of light, stand in the middle of it.

Now that you're in the center of the light, go into your inventory and equip the CLOAK OF LEVITATION. Your sprite won't change, but don't move your d-pad. Slowly, your sprite will be lifted on the y-axis, and eventually the screen fades to white.


5.52 - Castle Ruins, Level 1


You'll be somewhere recognizable now, Level 1 of the Castle Ruins. It doesn't matter where in the labyrinth you exit from, you'll always appear inside the gazebo in the moat. You can save here without worrying about your save file getting corrupted.

That means you've skipped a good chunk of the game! (I don't think this counts as sequence skipping because you didn't play different sequences out of order, but it still counts as a skip I guess) You've managed to jump past three dungeons and several plot-heavy cutscenes, but I think the principal ideas are still there - you're at the beast's nest, you have to get into the castle, Gruamhasch was kidnapped and taken there. As you probably expect by now, skipping out on dungeons will leave you extremely under-leveled and under-prepared. There's something new about this map, too.

The music playing in this map sounds slightly different from the Castle Ruins theme, with two new segments added to it. The two new segments give the music a different feeling, like something or someone is slowly creeping in. This is an unused track.

In a regular playthrough, your biggest fear when trying to enter the castle and getting to Level 2 getting lost in the thick fog and a perilous swim through the moat infested with voracious Hook-teeth Hagfish. Having come through the labyrinth, though, activates a completely new and unused enemy to spawn. Without you realizing it, she's already creeping her way towards you, silently, until you're checking your back too late.

You can try running, but if you approach the castle gates without having run into her, she'll just appear right in front of you. You can't hide from her, either, she'll still be able to find you and leave you defenselessly cornered. When you try talking to her, she doesn't respond. Your last option is to confront her, and without Gruamhasch's aid and incomparably weaker strength, she'll just dice you into a bloody pulp. But you can try.

She is dressed as a knight, but her colors don't belong to the current king (Now the former king, I guess?) and her armor is rusted and tattered, as if she had been wasting away for decades. She's guarding something, but it doesn't seem like she's guarding the castle.

The only documentation of her is in the first print edition of the official game guide from January 1993. In there, she is referred to as the "Knight of Rust", and is listed as one of the bosses. The official game guide was then updated in March, that same year, where she was removed. Finding scans of the pages where she's described is almost impossible, and what few have been found across the internet are usually in very fuzzy quality.

Every boss in the official game guide has a stat box underneath their portrait, so even though the text is hard to read in these scans it's still possible to infer a lot by referencing other pages. The Knight of Rust has extremely high strength and stamina, but little health and extremely poor speed. When she does sneak up on you, she can easily take you out in one or two successful swings. Typically, though, it takes her a long time to hobble over towards you, and its easy to escape the battle encounter because her speed is so low.

There are two items in the scans that are listed in the index of the revised official game guide, but don't actually appear in the current game. The first is the ROACH MOTHER, which was originally meant to be on Level 2 of the Castle Ruins. The second is the COAGULATED GEM, which is listed as one of the Knight of Rust's drops.


ROACH MOTHER
A massive arthopod, engorged with eggs, that eternally gives birth to an infestation of writhing maggots.


COAGULATED GEM
Rust from an old suit of armor and rotten blood from a fallen knight have mixed and hardened into a crystalline form. Whoever carries this gem controls the infestation.


This would probably explain how the Knight of Rust seems unbeatable and yet has little health. If the Knight of Rust is just thousands of maggots puppeteering a corpse, she has no health to speak of because she's already dead. If you cut off some maggots from the main body, more will simply take their place.

Considering how the ROACH MOTHER is located on Level 2 of the Castle Ruins, perhaps it was the ROACH MOTHER that she was protecting instead of the castle itself.

What's noticeable about her boss battle page, too, is that it's so short. She is seemingly undefeatable, and yet the guide doesn't appear to be that long. You have to get past her to get into the castle, so there must be some other way to put an end to this confontation.

There is a brief window where you can try talking to her before a battle encounter initiates. Talking won't do you any good, but instead you should open your inventory. Way back at the start of this playthrough, you had died, and Gruamhasch cured you with selenite. I told you to save at least one PIECE OF SELENITE, and this is when that PIECE OF SELENITE comes into play. Pull it out of your inventory. At first, it won't seem to do anything, and a battle encounter with the Knight of Rust will start.

Don't run from this battle. During the battle, a cutscene will play in which the Knight of Rust exchanges the PIECE OF SELENITE you took out for the COAGULATED GEM. The battle will then be over. The COAGULATED GEM will be in your inventory.

From then on, the Knight of Rust won't move. Wherever it is the battle initiated, she'll stay there, frozen.


Theories


Given how the Knight of Rust was in the very first edition of the official game guide and was quickly removed, I think its obvious that she was meant to be a boss battle in the game, and may still be in the game, unaltered, in some of the first copies of Cartucho de Calabozos. Newer copies past March of 1993 don't have this boss battle or music at all, although the code for this boss battle is still in the game and accessible through weird little backdoors. That was probably their quickest and easiest way of removing it.

The most universally accepted theory is that she was removed because the method of which to stop her - using the PIECE OF SELENITE - was too obscure to figure out, especially without seeing the cutscene of Gruamhasch healing you after you died in Suilin Crypt. There's no other way to access a PIECE OF SELENITE save for that one time Gruamhasch leads you out of the Cave of Swords, so if you didn't grab one or didn't have one anymore, you'd have no other way to continue your game. Both things put an anticlimactic end to a playthrough, so it seems most likely that it was changed to make the story more seamless.

I find it a shame that she was essentially removed from the game, because I still find her character and her encounter to be so weird and interesting. I'm not too sad about it, though, because she does eventually come back.


5.53 - Castle Ruins, Level 2


With the Knight of Rust frozen in place, you can now proceed into the castle and climb up to Level 2. Now that you're finally here, it'll be the beginning of the end. Lets try to stock up with what little there is around here.

It can smell you. Make your way up through the first set of stairs. Head into the Choir to find some HEALING HERB growing in between cobblestones on the western wall. It has already spotted you. Next, you're going to want to go down the Primary Hallway to the Collapsed Ballroom, where you can

It's behind you.

It all happens too fast, and so many thoughts flood your mind at once. The beast has taken out entire villages, there is no way you could simply defeat it by sword. You remember the plan you had discussed with Gruamhasch just before he was taken. You remember how the king's own knights took Gruamhasch away, as if to help the beast. All along they were one in the same. The most pressing thing you remember, though, is that you will do anything to save your friend.

With fast, animalistic stomps, the tattered remains of the beast were upon you. You can see the king’s body contorted within the gaping, torn maw, undulating underneath the skin and down the gullet. The beast’s body was nothing but a parasitic womb for the king, writhing in some parts and stretched too thin in other places as he continues to grow. Your first instinct upon seeing the king’s starving face and piercing eyes is to take your first swing.

Your shield takes a hit, and that will be the only one it can take. It just barely saves you from taking a mortal blow, but you can already feel the warm flow of blood oozing down your torso. It aches. No, you cannot fight the king. Though you have enough rage from all the pillaged villagers and elders struggling to protect their people to want to unleash it in an attack, you know it is unwise. You still have your sword, and at the very least you can plunge and twist it in deep enough to slow the king down while you enact the plan.

They knew you would come here to save your friend. They also knew that without him, you would be much more vulnerable. The king would have access to the Cave of Swords, where he could be rejuvenated in his new, monstrous form, forever, and you would simply be another meal. Gruamhasch insisted you carry out the plan and leave him to perish, because stopping the king was above all else. But he should have known by now that you are a stubborn, bullheaded man.

Observing the sickening, pulsating lumps underneath the skin of the beast, you can make out where the king’s torso could be, and you force your sword in as deep as you possibly can. In pain, the king lets out a guttural, gasping gurgle. The beast’s body keels over, but it is far from dead. The blade is so deep in the gored flesh that you must leave it behind. It’s alright. It always come back to you.

This castle used to belong to the previous man who claimed to be the king of these lands. These lands belong to their people, and eventually that man died just like everyone else, ages ago. This king - no, this beast - expects to surpass the man who failed before him, and nests in the brittle remains of what once was. Brittle, too brittle. The king’s hubris should be his demise. Destroying the columns that struggle to hold the castle up should bring the weight of ancient stone upon the beast.

Yes, that was the plan. But you must be fast. Once the constitution of these ruins is dismantled, the whole thing will collapse very quickly. That only gives you a small window of time to find where Gruamhasch is being kept. You are not leaving him behind. Already, the beast — no, the king — is getting back up. You have to do this now. You have to hurry.

Everything groans and shakes around you ask you run. You narrowly avoid being struck by an enormous slab. At any moment, the falling debris could end your life. Or worse, the king - the beast - the king - the beast - in his gnarled, vile body of parasitic growths and decaying flesht is still tailing you, and that could end your life too if you trip and hesitate for a moment. You put more distance between yourself and the marauding, insatiable monster.

You have to find him.

You reach for something stashed away at your belt.

You have to make it.

You begin to unfurl the soft, velvety cloak.

Gruamhasch
Anlon?

Gruamhasch
You ... You came for me?

Gruamhasch
But, the whole place is going to collapse -

Gruamhasch
You have to save yourself, there is no time -

Gruamhasch
Oof!

Gruamhasch
My ... My cloak! You kept it!

Gruamhasch
Wait! Wait! I have never levitated past a couple of inches!

Gruamhasch
What do you think you're doing?

Gruamhasch
I can't believe it.

Gruamhasch
I didn't know that we could fly ...

Gruamhasch
...

Gruamhasch
Thank you ...


5.55 - The End


Anlon's feet touch the ground again, and he removes the cloak to return it to Gruamhasch. The two of you walk back to Oldleagh City together, tired and weary, but accomplished. We are then shown clips of different villages rebuilding and rejoicing now that their elders, leaders, and healers having returned.

Somehow, despite not being the right level, not having the strongest equipment, and not having nearly enough gold coins, you did it! You have helped Anlon and Gruamhasch free all the elders and defeat the beast - or, rather, the king. Either or. They're both the same. The elders go back to their people, there is a sense of relief and freedom in the villages, and the king is just another fallen man in a line of self-proclaimed kings who were nothing more than greedy, power-hungry men. The people in these villages don't really know what you did, and you, Anlon, are still a misunderstood, silent man, but maybe he doesn't need to be bothered by that anymore. He found solidarity in a friend who understands.

Its never really revealed why the false king set out to do all this in the first place. All those knights, servants, and other people working for the false king are still missing, too. Maybe we'll find out what happened with all that later ...

The cutscene ends, and the credits start to roll. I don't know how you did it, but congrats! You beat the game in the most difficult and weirdest way possible.


6.00 - Closing Remarks


Thank you for reading this guide. I had a lot of fun making it, just trying to figure out what things to fiddle with and push around to uncover more secrets, shortcuts, and hidden lore. It also made me learn more about the story of Cartucho de Calabozos and the game series as a whole, I think, and I hope that this guide did the same for you.

It's interesting to note how a lot of the methods of which you get by throughout the game with poor levels and little equipment is by using stealth and being very careful and creative with your items, because thats exactly what you're supposed to do in the sequel. This game definitely paved the way and tested some things out first, and it became a lot more fully-fleshed and refined in the next game. Speaking of the next game, maybe I'll write out a guide for that one too.

Until the next time, warrior.

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