Deathspank strands me in a Demonic Mine

So I’ve been playing Deathspank, the hack & slash rpg-lite game from Ron Gilbert and Hothead Games. You can find it on PSN or XBLA for $15, or whatever arcane equivalent that is in Microsoft Points.

It plays basically like a Diablo or Torchlight, though it’s stripped down somewhat. Still, I’m really enjoying it but there’re reviews all over the place. So I’m not going to review it but I do want to tell you a story.

The other night I was on a quest to rescue a lost orphan. I have a special orphan sack in my inventory so I can carry lots of orphans, you see. I’ve heard one of these little tykes is in the Demon Mine. So off I go. The fighting is challenging but not impossibly so. I’m level 12 and the demons are 12-14. I can do this thing. I follow the signs to the Orphan Storage Area and finally I come face to face with the Demon Nanny, who is responsible for taking care of the captured orphans.

And I find that this Demon Nanny is a lot tougher than her Demon colleagues. I die. And die again. And again. And finally decide that I’ve bit off more than I can chew and that it’s time to head back above ground to take on easier tasks until I level up a bit. But it’s nearly midnight so I save my game and quit for the night.

So tonight I fire up Deathspank again and start making my way out of the Demon Mines. But all the baddies I killed on the way in have respawned. No worries, I killed them once, I can kill them again, and I need the exp. Then I run out of food. Uh-oh. As far as I can see, in Deathspank you don’t regain health automagically (if you do, it’s very, very slowly). You need to eat or drink potions to heal. Eating takes time and combat ‘breaks’ the process, and potions are instant regens. When you die, your drop a bunch of coins and respawn with about 1/3rd health at the Outhouse you most recently passed by.

So I was trapped. A horde of demons between myself and the exit, and me with no way to heal myself. The only thing I could do was whittle away at the baddies: kill one or two, die, respawn, kill another couple, respawn. Sometimes I wouldn’t even kill a single demon. Other times I’d get through three of four. I did find a couple of mushrooms (food items) in my pack which I used very judiciously.

It was *awesome* to be stuck in this position. It took me back to my days of playing Diablo when death meant dropping all your gear on your corpse and hoping you had backup stuff in town. Sometimes you’d died a second time and lose even more gear. Sometimes you’d start doing naked corpse runs… run through the monsters frantically clicking on gear and picking up a few bits before you died (you’d drop equipped gear but not stuff in your backpack, and clicking on fallen gear put it in your backpack). We’d curse up a storm in these situations and wind up playing much too late into the night and when finally we had all our stuff back it was *so* satisfying.

Kill-die-respawn. Kill-die-respawn. Slowly, painfully, I made it through the dungeon and finally saw the light of day once again. Deathspank was saved! He immediately ran back to town to gorge on pizza and fries.

It was the most fun I’ve had gaming in quite a while. And I’m sure most of today’s gamers, in that situation, would be complaining about how the game was broken, or too grindy, or something.

So here’s a salute to Ron Gilbert and Hothead Games for building something that can tickle the fancy of us old-timers who remember when games sometimes stacked the odds against you. Sometimes its good to be a punching bag.

9 thoughts on “Deathspank strands me in a Demonic Mine

  1. I’m sorry, but it’s not awesome. I’m in the same situation (at level 11), trapped behind demons who can one-shot kill me and physically block the path to the exit, with absolutely no chance of getting out. It’s terrible game design, and has totally put me off playing the game after trying for an hour to get out of this place and failing.

    I was enjoying it, now I can’t bear the thought of playing it again. if I wanted to beat my head against a brick wall, I’d just do that, and save myself the 10.

  2. You have any stealth potions? Maybe you can just run through them?

    Or just block as you run through?

  3. Here are a few tips I learned doing the exact same thing. There are a lot of french fries to be found in town in barrels and killing some stuff in the dump, do that first so you can get food. Second, you can buy health potions and Crit potions at Bong’s Potion shop. Also, edge weapons do nothing against the demons, so try a mace. I had one that did nature damage and at level 12 I was two shotting most if not all of the demons. Also, I died about three times on the Nanny before I was able to get her down, so it maybe that you have to die a few times before she feels you’ve made her look good enough.

    I would tell you what happens next, but why spoil the a good P.I.T.A.

  4. I /had/ stealth potions, but I used them getting in…

    and oakstout, those would be really helpful tips, but they all require me to get out of the dungeon first, except trying blunt weapons. I’m not sure I have any on me, but it might be worth a try. the other option is starting again from scratch.

  5. yea. Being stuck with all the outhouses not working in the dungeon sucks. I only discovered the blunt weapons work better because I got frustrated with only doing a little bit of damage on the big demons. The mace I have isn’t the best weapon in my arsenal, but it does great against the demons.

    I will tell you the good news without spoiling anything. On the other side of the orphan is the exit so you don’t have to go out the way you came in.

  6. LOVED Deathspank. Bought it last week. Played through it all weekend. “Won” Saturday night, and went back yesterday morning to get the final trophy for hitting level 20. The writing and humor were hilarious, and I loved going through all the chat trees. The voice acting had me cracking up all over, not the mention the situations. Every time Deathspank started talking about the orphans I was snorting everywhere.

    I was trying to remember what it reminded me of, and it wasn’t until I was researching the game and possible sequels that I found out it was by the Monkey Island guy. Which I have been replaying as well, having snapped up the two remakes and the Tales of Series on the PS3 recently. All around, a VERY enjoyable gaming experience and I am very happy with my $15. Fingers crossed for a sequel, but it looks like it was intended as a one shotter for right now. Even though the writing and post-end game seems to point a different direction.

    And as for the Demon Mines, I don’t remember having that much trouble there, though my first attempt had to be aborted to gain some more levels. It took a few attempts on the Nanny as well, but I never got stuck in the cave. Maybe because I’m a packrat/hoarder and I always had plenty of food and potions around to help me out. Also, don’t forget the resist gear. The Fire Resist gear, though being low level, maintains it resistance levels throughout the game. That can be helpful on her also.

  7. well, thanks for all the help. I managed to get out with a lot of blocking and luck (and the fact that reloading a save gives you full health), then got more stuff, came back and smashed the demons in the face.

    I’m now back to

  8. I just found this article, seeking aid at exactly the same part, and now must thank you as this article made me remember diablo and as such made me persevere and get past that part. Thank you. 😀

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