|Frontal assault: Not for the faint of heart!|
The entire game is leading up to this point, which could be called the end-game, if it wasn't for the dispatching of Baba Yaga, which comes later. Entering the fortress can be done in two ways, the first being a direct assault. This particular method is the one I chose, only because I usually don't and I wanted to see how difficult it would be. It turns out it's not actually difficult, provided you can easily overcome three brigands and avoid a lot of arrows. The second method involves a secret passageway, which you find out about from a meeting between Brutus and Bruno.
|Bruno and Brutus, talking about me|
The secret passageway is found by the Antwerp, which is a big blue, bouncing thing. Easily avoided, you next need to actually find the passage, which is hidden by a rock door. Again, how you open this can depend on your character, but the easiest way is to take the key from Brutus' body after you eavesdrop on his meeting with Bruno. The tunnel is guarded of course, by possibly the hardest monster in the game, Fred the cave troll. There's a pass phrase to get him to leave you alone, but I always think it's worth defeating him. Doing so nets you a bit of cash, and the satisfaction of knowing that there's nothing left to be frightened of!
|One Antwerp, just as odd as it looks|
Entry to the fortress proper requires getting past a guard of an entirely different calibre, the Minotaur Toro. Your choice here: Attack (Fighter), cast Calm (Magic User) or sneak past (Thief). Sneaking is certainly the hardest of the three, with a very high stealth skill required, as well as good timing. Once you're past Toro, you face the wall to the fortress (They didn't skimp on security!). Climbing this wall is the only way I could get my skill to 100, so I spent a little time here. Obviously I had to defeat Toro to do that, which was worth it anyway because he carries a decent amount of silver with him.
|Also prone to a bit of gloating|
The fortress itself is all about trial-and-error, and in some respects could be considered the weakest part of the game. There's only really one way to get through, so make sure you save often as you progress, and try not to hang around too long in one place!
|The Three Stooges|
After your meeting with the three stooges, you come face-to-face with the Brigand Warlock, who turns out to be none other than Yorick, faithful protector of the Baron's daughter, Elsa. He offers you the not-quite helpful advice that you should have a dispel potion, which you should really have by now, otherwise you better have an earlier saved game! His room is another maze, and again trial and error will see you through to the final chamber.
|Hope this works!|
Finally, you get to meet the Brigand Leader! Who happens to be a young girl, also known as Elsa von Spielburg. But we knew that already, otherwise why would we be here? Throwing the dispel potion over her returns her memory (and also a change of clothing), and we're one step closer to countering the curse! Yorick returns to let you know about the secret way out, and you better grab the mirror before you leave otherwise the game finishes rather abruptly, with a non-standard game over. (It's quite clever really, there are only a few things you need to do to complete the game, but obviously full completion requires you to accomplish the entire counter-curse)
|A Magical Transformation|