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Betrayal at Krondor (DOS)

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4.0
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Written by  :  ShadowShrike (309)
Written on  :  Aug 15, 2003
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars

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Summary

Decent role-playing game with some nasty flaws

The Good

Krondor had some features that were very innovative for its time and I wish more games of today would use. The inventory system was simple and polished, with excellent descriptions for every item that could be found.You could move around using the helpful overhead map and use a yet larger map to see your position in the world.

The world was polygonal with sprites used for objects such as trees. For the time the game was made this was rather good technology, and although it is in no way passable by today's standards, it isn't all that jarring to have to play with.

There are no loading times anywhere in the game as you travel around the world, except when a chapter switches. This is a big bonus-- while loading screens from this era on today's computers would likely blink by in a second anyways, it is far nicer to simply be able to travel about the world unhampered by them.

Combat is fun and has a great system. Instead of the usual battlefield you will see appear in RPGs that don't have real-time combat, the game sets the battlefield as whatever area you encountered enemies on, which makes it seem a lot more realistic. The area is turned into a grid battlefield with the party at one end and the enemies at another.

The Bad

First of all, the artwork comes to mind. Instead of hand-drawn art, which is always the best, the characters appear to have been video captured, which never seems to work with a low-res game such as Krondor. Not only that, but the characters generally look horrible-- wizards look like farmers in bathrobes, knights like farm hands with pots over their heads, etc. It is often painful to have to see a character picture as dialogue progresses.

Furthermore, there are some problems with the game engine. The camera is 'drawn out' from the screen so that it takes two times as long to rotate 360 than it should. You can speed up rotation, but this only makes the effect more dizzying. It's very weird to see what looks like 720 degrees of landscape go by as you turn around.

The game's major strength was supposed to be that it was set in Raymond E. Feist's 'Riftwar Legacy' series. Personally, I am no big fan of his works-- I have read a few books in the series and found them to be devoid of character depth, lacking in intelligent narration, and set in an utterly typical fantasy world. The game is no different. The story for this game is no better than that of any other RPG, and it's no worse than any of Fiest's books-- which I think says a lot about the quality of the series. Enough on that point, however; put simply, the story for this game is nothing special, and I have encountered far better in the likes of Daggerfall.

Another minor issue is that the day passes too fast; one day seems to be equivinant of a natural game hour. If the designers needed it to take longer to get between places, they could have just streched the whole world making it three times as large, or made the character's steps smaller-- the way it is in the final product is totally unreal.

The Bottom Line

Since it was released as freeware by Sierra a long while ago, Krondor is worth the time to find and download. Unless you're a fan of Feist's work, however, don't expect anything special.