Written by  :  Apparatchik (18)
Written on  :  Jul 13, 2004
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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The dawn of realistic computer role playing.

The Good

This game had much going for it. First the scenario while a bit cliched(being abducted by aliens and transported to a fantasy world) in our time, works well here making you more sympathetic with the character you play. It was like you yourself was sucked into another world. This made the game both interesting and hard. You are a stranger in a strange land and must find your way through. There are no guides, friends to help you as you start.

The realism in the game was astounding. Not only do you get hungry, thirsty and tired, but if you do not eat enough good, and expensive, food, or get enough sleep, your effectiveness suffered. If you drank too much beer or wine, you staggered around the screen blinking, simulating a drunk trying to walk home. Realism was also present in the people you met, who may or may not be hostile. You could also try out for jobs and position, such as the wizard's guild and may or may not be taken in.

Other bits made this a gem of a game. In the taverns you could hear songs (or rather the words were displayed while from your speaker came a simple tune, that gave clues to your predicament. You could tell if you were getting close to the smithy by the loudness of his hammer banging, and of course the bank kept strict hours. You only saw people if you met them; otherwise the streets seemed deserted with a low sun in the sky and howling wind. This is effective in conveying the mood of the game. There is a lack of overt action and most conflict is resolved quickly. You can attack, hopefully with a weapon (they can be expensive), trick, or charm an opponent. You can even attack those who are not hostile, but this is noted by the game. There is a moral element here not unlike the Ultima series and the world does react differently whether you are being naughty or nice.

The Bad

This game is hard. Money runs short; you run out of food. Its hard to keep from preying on the innocent in the interests of self-preservation. Even worse is running into an enraged noble you attacks you with his magic sword, while all you have is a stilleto (which cost me nearly 200 gold pieces). Surprisingly I won the fight, but the sword I got was cursed. This is not an easy world.

Also I could never understand why rain storms brought out the muggers and cutthroats. If you had rain, better stay indoors.

The Bottom Line

This is a compelling and frustrating computer RPG. Despite the seeming primitiveness of the graphics and sound, I would say that it as challenging, fun, and demanding as any other computer RPG out there. If you want the experience of being thrust into a new world with little support and with limitless possibilities before you. This is the game to play.