Lore & Trivia
Because of technical constraints (of fitting within 32K), there was no remaining room to include the story itself within the game. Like an opera or a ballet or a Las Vegas show, one generally has no idea what is going on without first some background context. So, let us begin:
“You are dreaming… In this dream, you are sailing towards an island. [ALCYONE] is with you, a hunter. She points towards the island! ‘Your training begins here!’ You disembark along the coast…” (ALCYONE is the name of whichever persona you selected; and originally the game supported naming your own character, but this was cut due to memory constraints).
Thus the story is a dream sequence, where you will encounter various mythical creatures. However, there is more to the story. The game title itself is meant to ponder the following: Is it your destiny to hunt? Or are you hunting for your destiny? As you will see, the dream reveals the story about a curse, and perhaps it may become your destiny to lift that curse.
Here is an overview of the ACTORS within the STAGES of the story:
The STAGE 1 rats are purely for practice, although they can defeat you if you sit still long enough. JACK is the younger rat that is faster and more aggressive, while the other rat is named JONAS.
STAGE 2 is a KOMODO DRAGON who is named JERRY. He is a long and narrow creature, so it is better to attack at an angle instead of head-on. These are real animals on several islands near Indonesia and are quite fierce, known to eat a full-grown man.
STAGE 3 we debated quite a while on alligators, crocodiles, and gharial. Each of these are at our local zoo. Gharial is a fish eater (and in fact we had in mind to add some fish as part of the CHALLENGES!). We compromised on just using CROCS, as in Nile River crocodiles. We didn’t name the CROCS. But the final CHALLENGE here is a bird, who is one of the last surviving STRZYGA.
STAGE 4 is flashback to an epic battle in ancient times, enacted by your chosen persona. Once upon a time, that persona found themselves on Divinity Island (the island in the river of STAGE 3) having to face off against a massive horde of STRZYGA! These are evil birds that are a cross between an owl and a bat. This situation was witnessed and ended up chronicled in a book, which can only be revealed by obtaining the Gem of Divinity (that you find in STAGE 3). Reading the book awards you a BLESSING, a very unique award indeed!
STAGE 5 is JAMES the scorpion, who considers the cave his nest. He’s quite aggressive, so be careful. Also be aware that JAMES has a brother, named JUSTIN.
STAGE 6 is where you enter the cave. Inside, you encounter a group of SLUAGH (“sloo-ah”)! We considered Scottish folklore of Fachan (a single leg, single eye creature), as I liked the idea of a single strong arm (and we tried an animation where they had an arm from one side or the other). But I wanted to keep the creature to a single cell to maximize their speed. So, I settled on the Irish folklore of Sluaghs, a vile type of fae that travels in groups and desires only to take souls. One of the best descriptions I found is here:
STAGE 7 leaves the cave and you find yourself pitted against two DRAKES, named JOSEPH and JIMMY. JOSEPH has a broken tail and moves more slowly. JIMMY, however, is one of the most aggressive CHALLENGE of them all, so be quite careful near him. If you defeat JOSEPH first, JIMMY goes even more nuts.
Finally, STAGE 8, the most epic battle of all: the HYDRA! We did not name each head of the HYDRA, instead we just collectively refer to her as JASMINE. Notice that each head has a unique suite (HEART, SPADE, CLUB). The HEART is strongest. The fireballs can block your arrows. Technically these fireballs do have a health, but they are regenerated back to “99” during each firing. The heads themselves can attack, although at a slow rate (and only the heads need be defeated, not the fireballs). The ORB and a BLESSING make this easy work to defeat, if you got this far with them.
The story here is that the HYDRA is reborn every few centuries. What you see scattered along the right side of STAGE 8 are the bones of past HYDRAs. As usual, it is a sad story: JASMINE is a triplet of three sisters who were cursed forever to perform this cycle of rebirth and enragement (due to having broken the heart of another maiden, who out of jealously then hired the services of a sorceress to conjure up this wicked enchantment for eternity). As it so happened, the JASMINE sisters had many pets, and these were cursed as well to become the CHALLENGES you see on this island (except the CROCS, STRZYGA and SLUAGH). Clearly, no way has been discovered to remove the curse, only that a brave adventurer must arise to place them all back to rest until the next cycle. But a merchant once claimed to have overhead these words from the traveler with the orb: “She lives!”
Upon putting the HYDRA back to rest, it is customary to speak out this haiku:
Be at peace again,
Till the next cycle begins,
You three stay within.
YONI AND LANGI
These terms are essentially the Hindu version of Yin and Yang. While these words do not fully encompass the concept of male and female in the modern sense, one can interpret Yoni/Yin as female and Langi/Yang as male. The concept here is that life is a balance, and when that balance is disrupted, typically a conflict will follow until the balance is restored. Perhaps certain things happen as natures way of maintaining a balance. This balance includes diversity, as an essential ingredient to life, with one manifestation being that dichotomy of male and female egos. Not in an opposing fashion, but rather in a complementary way towards each other. Seek to balance out your virtues, such that one does not dominate the others, and own what nature has gifted you.
Other Destiny Hunter Trivia
I am not a hunter and I have never fired a bow. Initially I wanted a game mechanic where you had to DRAW the bow and that activated a RANGE indicator along your current direction, whereby you could OVER and UNDER shoot the target. But this resulted in a clunky TWO-PRESS action to fire, and at the resolution offered by the PET I just felt it wasn’t a fun experience (for example, I’d have to PAUSE the motion of the creatures while RANGING). I also realized: that’s not how hunting works. They don’t draw and aim at hundreds of feet, rather the action (with a bow) is often less than 30 feet. I confirmed this by watching various hunting videos on YouTube, where indeed the attack is a straight shot and not an arch.
Originally the CHALLENGES in the game were all animals. Apparently hunting lions, bears, alligators, wolves are all a real thing. The trick is patience and aiming behind the front legs (for the heart or lungs). In the movie The Ghost and the Darkness (1996), hunting became a real necessity as a pair of lions were attacking and eating a workforce that was building a bridge. But ultimately, I decided to change from animals, and instead use “fantasy” oriented beasts (with some exceptions, such as the RATS and CROCS).
Where’s the Diamond?
Why is there no DIAMOND suite for the HYDRA? Well, thing is, there used to be. For one thing, the extra head was a tad slow on performance at 1MHz. But turns out, there is a reason per the story. If you notice carefully, during the STAGES you encounter creatures with SPADE, CLOVER, but never a DIAMOND. The only place a DIAMOND appears is when you make your DIRECTION selection at the very start of the game. The HEART HYDRA represents the actual maiden who was CURSED. Everything else just happened to be in the same chamber at the time. So the CHALLENGES that contain the SPADE (STRZYGAs) and CLOVER (SCORPION) relate to the other two sisters.
DEVELOEPRS NOTEBOOK: Things Taken Out
DEVELOPERS NOTEBOOK: Worlds Smallest RPG with a Haiku