The other night I sat down for bit of Might and Magic 6, which I started five years ago but have not yet completed. Which may seem a bit ridiculous. Certainly this is personal record for the longest amount of time spent on a single run through a game.

The slow progress is due to the way I only intermittently give it my time. I make it my main gaming pursuit for a few weeks, and make a bit of progress. Then I put it aside for several months. This might give the impression of a game that has become a chore, something I force myself to trudge through before running out of willpower.

I won’t deny the game can be hard work. It’s taken me weeks to play through some of the larger dungeons, slogging my way through one room full of monsters at a time. It also lacks the conveniences we expect from modern RPGs – there are no map markers to tell you where to go, and fast travel is limited to a few links between towns. On top of all that is the sheer scale of it; the sort of game you can play for weeks and feel barely any closer to the end. So inevitably I’d want a break sometimes.

However, that’s all to be expected from older-school RPGs. I am in fact quite enjoying MM6, and find that it meets my requirements for exploration, questing and goblin bothering. I’m certainly determined to finish it, however long it takes, just for my own personal satisfaction. If I was fed up of it I’d have abandoned ship and churned out a review already.

The problem is more that my gaming time is limited, and I’m also easily distracted. When I do have an hour free I’m thinking do I want to play a Space Quest, or have another go at Diablo 3, or dust off a 90s shooter. Or, I’ve really been wanting to play Deus Ex: Human Revolution. There are stacks of games sat on my virtual shelves, all demanding my attention. So MM6 sometimes falls a little behind on my priority list.

Still, I’ve been making progress since I last wrote about it. My team has levelled up numerous times, gained better shiny swords and learned new spells. Most of the enemies I complained about last time are now a minor threat at most. Every time I see those damn harpies I obliterate them with fire and lightning, even the Evil Eyes are manageable.

Not that the entire game has become easy; I’m questing in new regions where far more potent enemies await. Currently the deadliest threat I have encountered are the Supreme Titans, who are bastards of the highest order.

This isn’t going well.

The Titans are massive, taller than a house. They take the forbidding appearance of ancient, armoured warriors. You’d only need to see them striding around, to guess they are heavy hitters. Indeed they can inflict grievous damage with their fists or magical attacks. Furthermore they can take an insane amount of punishment in return.

These basic factors alone would make them extremely challenging, and thus suitable foes for a high level party. Yet they have one more ability, that elevates them to true bastard status. They can fling a spell that inflicts instant death. Armour is irrelevant. Hitpoints mean nothing. Your guy just keels over stone dead.

The spell isn’t always successful; I estimate it works maybe one time in three. Yet because the titans are so durable, they will have time to cast it several times even if you blast them with everything you have. So the odds are, if you go into battle, someone’s dead within a thirty seconds. Charge into sword range: dead before can swing at them. Stand back and launch spells: watch 10% of their health fall then someone is dead. Cast a bunch of buffs on your team: more attacks land, you take 20% of their health off this time! Then someone’s dead.

Each battle is, therefore, a rather panicked business. In turn based mode it’s impossible to dodge spells and projectiles, so I can flick over to realtime, but that’s all a bit chaotic. I sometimes end up doing these ridiculous evasive manoeuvres: firing my best spells, then running in circles until my casters are ready to fire again (as written about fighting Fire Archers a looong time ago). Another tactic I found was to hide behind an obstacle like a stone obelisk firing meteor shower. This spells calls a hail of firey rocks downs from the heavens and doesn’t actually need clear line of sight. A slightly cheap trick perhaps, but one that I feel is justified in these circumstances.

I’m currently exploring the Hermit’s Isle region, a desolate desert far from civilisation, and the terrifying giants are every where. Every time I see their looming shape on the horizon I hope it’s one of their lesser cousins, the Noble Titans or just regular no-prefix Titans. Those ones are a bit less tank-like in their constitution, and more important can’t cast instant death.

Invariably though, any group will contain at least one Supreme. So I take a deep breath, check all the buffs are up (to boost hit chance, spell damage etc), and look for any bits of scenery to duck behind. If I can somehow bring this thundering colossus down, that’s fantastic but there are probably another eight or ten in the area.

I suppose I am approaching the end-game here so I should be expecting something particularly brutal. The titans are, hopefully, the toughest non-boss enemies. If not, well, I’ll probably be back in another couple of years to grumble about something else.