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Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Pool of Radiance (NES)

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Title Screen

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Pool of Radiance

Developers: Marionette, Strategic Simulations
Publishers: FCI (US), Pony Canyon (JP)
Platform: NES
Released in JP: June 28, 1991
Released in US: April 1992


GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
MusicIcon.png This game has unused music.
TextIcon.png This game has unused text.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.


Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Pool of Radiance is an RPG where you gather a party of five heroes and must slay the evil Tyranthraxus who plans to conquer Phlan as well as the Moonsea region.

Unused Music

Track 28 of the NSF file is a piece of music which isn't used anywhere in the USA or Japanese releases of the game. It may have been intended for the random caves that were in the computer versions which were later stripped from the NES version.

(Source: Zophar.net)

Unused Images

Ohlo

Ohlo's portrait revealed (Japanese version)

Ohlo (in the Slums) uses the same character portrait as Genheeris. However, you can never be up against a wall when you enter his room, so his character portrait is never used. Character portraits are usually (but not always) only displayed when you are facing a wall.

Envoys

Envoy's portrait revealed (Japanese version)

The same situation applies to the Envoys in the Kobold Cave. They use the same character portrait as the Diane enemies found in Yarash's Pyramid.

Unused Text

The game contains a huge amount of unused text.

Buccaneer Base

In the buccaneer base, your objective is to save an heir. There is no known way to kill him, but there probably was originally an intention to somehow get him killed:

One of the buccaneers sees you with the body and yells:
Attack them!

You can buy a pass from a shady man to see the Captain who has the heir. However, he doesn't ever seem to lose/sell the heir. There is a slave trader you will meet who wants the kid, but he does not ever end up getting the heir.

Captain: Sorry, The boy is not here. The captain goes into his room
and you leave.

After you kill off most of the buccaneers and the Captain, the game tells you the buccaneers leave you alone. Maybe they had originally wanted to get revenge on the party:

The remaining buccaneers make a last attack.

Perhaps some kind of running mechanics were planned in the game's development? Here, the text says how the heir can't keep up and then he falls behind and you couldn't rescue him.

The child begins to fall behind.
If you keep running he won't be able to keep up.
 and...
He couldn't keep up with you.
You couldn't rescue the Bivant heir.

Diogenes's Cave

More (unused) advice from our friendly silver dragon who lives in a cave up north!

Diogenes: You should use use the efreet bottle in Valhingen Graveyard to beat
          the vampire.
Diogenes: There is a vampire in the Valhingen Graveyard. You should slay him.
Diogenes: You were foolish to lose the help of the efreet.
Diogenes: It was very kind of you to bring the efreet bottle,
          but it is you that needs the Bottle. Take the bottle to Valhingen
          Graveyard and slay the vampire.
Diogenes: The efreet bottle was your best chance. You were foolish to lose it.
          But there is still some hope.
          Go to the Valhingen Graveyard. You must slay the vampire there by
          yourselves.

After you complete the kobold cave, Diogenes leaves his cave, never to return.

Kobold Cave

You disarm a deadfall trap.

The main boss fights in the Kobold Cave are three consecutive battles. You get no breaks between them. However, in combat, you can make your party members run from battle, and maybe if you go back, the envoys will say this.

Envoy: You were stupid to return. Well, this time we will destroy you.

Some choice text. Again, you can't leave the three battles.

Kobold king: You seem rich. I'll forgive you if you surrender.
What do you do?
 Fight
 Surrender

All exits are blocked. The catapult is ready to fire again.
King: You will never escape!
What do you do?
 Fight
 Surrender
Women and children kobolds run away. It appears to be a kobold cave.

This room contains shabby tables littered with bones.

Refers to the catapult (or Ballista in the computer versions) used to kill your party before the second wave.

There is a broken catapult.
You find the trap. But the passage is too narrow to go around it.
What do you do?
 Disarm the trap
 Leave
The Kobold suddenly ducks behind a large boulder.
The noise you made draws the attention of a large monster!

Some unused text about your party being thrown in a prison.

You are brought to the prison.
The kobold guards take some of your items as they drag you along.

A young woman in nomad dress comes out and says: Let's join together
against the kobolds.

Kobolds charge out and begin to throw rocks at you.

You have your belongings stolen and you are thrown into the prison.

Kovel Mansion

There is a bunch of unused text scattered throughout the game's ROM.

The following occurs at Kovel Mansion. However, everything is worded differently in the final game:

The thieves split up. One runs through the east door and the other through the
south door.
What do you do?
 Pursue through the east
  You catch the thief and he begs: Please don't slay me! I'm a leader. I'll
  order my men to leave you alone.
  What do you do?
   Let him go
   Slay him
 Pursue through the south
  He runs to the door. When he gets to the edge of the room he turns and
  laughs: You fools! I'm only a minor thief.
 Give up

Kuto's Well

In the final game, after you beat the first batch of kobold, a second set of kobolds "climb out of the well" to attack you. However, some unused text words it differently:

Kobolds appear from around the buildings.

Mendor's Library

In the computer versions, there is a garden your party can walk through. However, it does damage to them. In the NES version, the garden is still there, but you cannot walk through it (without cheats, and even then), the text is unused.

There are also some books in the library that aren't actually implemented in the game.

Hmmm...
To do:
Insert unused book names
Strange green plants are growing in a clump. You see it more clearly now as
Green Slime. You pass around it very carefully.
You step on a strange green plant. You see it more clearly now as Green Slime.

New Phlan

When you beat Mendor's Library and get all of the books, you take them to the City Hall, and the Clerk will give you a reward for any that you find. There are some books in the library that you find that the game says aren't valuable, though. Maybe if you don't find any valuable books, this text may be used.

The Clerk: These book aren't very valuable. We can't give you a reward.

Note that she says 'book' instead of 'books', or 'This book isn't'.

The Clerk lets your party know by the end of the game that Cadorna has betrayed them. However, this is (usually) after you complete Zhentil Keep, so maybe it is used if you can somehow save Zhentil Keep as one of the last missions in the game.

The Clerk: Bring the letter to Zhentil Keep. Cadorna the betrayer might have
exchanged the genuine letter for a forgery. Be careful.

Nomad Camp

You can't run away any longer.

Podol Plaza

Early in the game, your party is sent to watch an auction in the plaza. Along the way, you can hear monsters rumor about things. However, these aren't used. Sad, because they reveal a bit more about the plot.

What's the true identity of The Boss?
There are more ogres these days. The giants took their castle and
drove them out.
leader
The Shrine of Bane in the Plaza is recruiting for Mace.
Another
And that was why Grishnak was in an ill mood.

Sokal Keep

Referring to the dead elf skeleton in the first room. If you try to talk to him in the final game, the game says "This elf expired a long time ago."

It seems that he cannot answer any more.

When you read from the dead elf's scroll, it will give you passwords to avoid the fights. In the computer version, you had to not only translate the words from the game's decoder wheel (for Copy Protection), but type in the right word as well to make the skeleton patrols leave. In the NES version, there is no decoding wheel, and thus this string of text is not used:

You try all of the words from the elf's scroll. But in vain.

Stojanow Gate

After your party takes a few steps upon entering Stojanow Gate, you will come across a man with a wagon. However, in this text string, the game mentions that the merchant is conversing with a bugbear guard. Also, the game says he hands the cart over to the bugbear, in which the bugbear lets him through the gate. Your party must do the same to get through the gate by purchasing the wagon. Or, you could just kill him and take his cart.

A man in a wagon is talking with a bugbear guard.
You see him hand something to the bugbear and the gate is opened.

Textile House

There are many undead enemies here, but skeletons aren't one of them.

A skeletal force spots you and attacks.

Some more unused text. Perhaps it was supposed to be used after a battle?

All of a sudden, it is quiet... You keep moving nervously.
This building is damp. It stinks. What's the smell?

Maybe this was intended after you broke the lock to Cadorna's treasure box:

It's already broken.

In the game, you can (rarely) pick up tapestries. They serve no other purpose but for you to sell to the shops in New Phlan for extra gold. Here, the game teases you about one that's useless. Well fine! I already maxed out my gold to 65535 anyway! (Yes, that is the max amount of gold you can have in the game.)

A tapestry hangs on the wall. But it's mildewed and rotted to pieces.

A message about baby hobgoblins.

Eek! Baby hobgoblins scatter with a cry.

This, alone with the 'damp building' message may have been intended for the slums, as there is a room fitting that description in there. However, this text appears with the other Textile House text. No pun intended.

The room is messy.

Again, there doesn't seem to be any 'baby' hobgoblins in the game. Just adult hobgoblins.

Mmmm...looks like a hobgoblin nursery.

Some text about Skullcrusher, an NPC that you rescue. The 'west corner' text might refer to the Skullcrusher text.

The word SKULLCRUSHER is carved in the north wall.

Skullcrusher: Hey, look! He points proudly.

Something is in the west corner of the room.

There is an expired hobgoblin on the ground.

SKULLCRUSHER is carved into the wall.

Skullcrusher: Ha, ha, ha! He cracks his finger joints.

Some choice text:

Examine the body, Kick the body, Do nothing
 You don't find anything.
 You touch the body. It doesn't move.

Some more unused text strings:

Some dishes are scattered on the floor.

You barely escape.

In the Textile House, you also meet Restal, who forges Cadorna's treasure box lock for half the treasure. It appears there might be some way to actually go down into his guild, but it is unknown how, as the game just asks you who wants to climb down the well. Here, you must pick a thief in your party or else you will die. Also, when you go down the well, the game doesn't show the well, as you are still at the top.

*Character Name* could go down easily with the ring

Maybe from Kuto's Well, but it appears in the same area as the Textile House text.

An arrow flies from the archway at the bottom of the well.

Tyranthraxus's Lair

Possibly unused text? The thief you meet in Tyranthraxus's Lair somehow knows you robbed the boxes in Valjevo Castle's Bane Shrine.

Man: You are the shrine robbers!
The man attacks you suddenly.

After you recruit Genheeris, if you try to walk past the room leading to Tyranthraxus, Genheeris will leave the party and you cannot get him back. Perhaps this string of text was originally meant to give the players a choice whether to keep Genheeris or not:

I'll try to get aid
while you go to
slay Tyranthraxus.
Is that OK?

Wilderness

They break off and start to run away.

Yarash's Pyramid

There is a note on the floor:
Number 213 is making good progress. Number 214 expired Failed again.

The stirges leave.

While there IS a "the *monster name*s leave" message in various areas of the game, in the pyramid, there is no way to escape the stirges once you encounter them.

Zhentil Keep

The guards in Zhentil Keep try and kill you. In some other areas in the game, there are options to surrender your belongings in scenarios. However, it is not used in Zhentil Keep.

You couldn't get out and are caught. Your belongings are taken and you are
thrown out of the keep.

Unused text about a patrol finding your party.

You run in confusion and smash into an enemy patrol.

Unknown

This text string may have been used if all of your party members were held by enemies, but when that happens, the enemies just kill your party and you get the simple game over message.

None of the party can move.

This string may have been intended to be used whenever you leave the shops in New Phlan:

Come here whenever you need my help.

Regional Differences

Character Names

In Pool of Radiance, there are three pre-generated characters the player can put in their party. The characters' names are different in the USA/Japanese version, rather than be translated. Gwydion is Rampart (ランパート), Felgar is Ganglion (ガングリオン), and Goldleaf is Aspect (アスペクト).

Startup Screen

Japan US
Pool of Radiance - Title 1 - Japan.png Pool of Radiance - Title 1 - USA.png

In the Japanese version, there is an orange border around the screen. This was removed after the game was released in the USA. There are also some changes to some of the text. Also, the player has to wait a few seconds before proceeding to the menu in the USA version, whereas in the Japanese version, the player can go to the menu right away.

Title Screen

Japan US
Pool of Radiance - Title 2 - Japan.png Pool of Radiance - Title 2 - USA.png

Similar to Hillsfar, the Japanese version calls itself a "Computer Product", and the USA version calls itself a "Video Game".

Meat Storeroom

Japan US
Pool of Radiance JPN(NES)-Glitch 1.png Pool of Radiance USA(NES)-Glitch 1.png

In the US version at Valjevo Castle, there is a room you can go into where the game explains a lump of meat hangs. Then, the game will scroll up from the text box back to the main screen while at the same time one of your characters says you are in a meat storeroom. In the Japanese version, everything is explained in one box of text. The Japanese translates to: "A lump of meat has been hung from the ceiling. Character: It's a storage room for meat. Wh-what's this?! The meat hanging here is human flesh!"

The computer versions simply mention the same thing as the USA version. The human flesh may have been too graphic for Nintendo of America's policy and they were asked to remove it.

Credits

The Japanese version's credits of the developers were originally in hiragana for the Famicom version. Also, no aliases are used in the Famicom version, revealing the real names of T. Watanabe and H. Tadokoro to be Takatsugu Watanabe and Hironari Tadokoro. The names were probably shortened in the USA release because the names went out of the 'credits zone'. Also, the two SSI developers' names were in all caps in the Famicom version. Also, the roles with the words 'BY' in the Famicom version were corrected to 'by' in the USA version.

Character Sheets

When you completed the computer ports of Pool of Radiance, there was usually a character transfer utility program you could use to transfer your characters into Curse of the Azure Bonds (sequel to Pool of Radiance) and its sequels. However, because the NES couldn't have such a utility, the developers at Marionette decided to give the player 144-character-long passwords for each character to transfer them into other games. However, Curse of the Azure Bonds and its sequels never got a console port, so these passwords are completely useless. Also, none of the other AD&D games on NES utilize these passwords.