My first AD&D Game - From the paper and pencil, to the TV cartoon, to the game...a kid's dream come true.
Well I still haven't played the legendary Pool of Radiance, the predecessor of this game yet (plan to in the near future), but what ever the game is like it must be great as Curse of the Azure Bonds as one of the first games I've played, like any first game someone plays, sticks with you in your soul and never lets go.
Curse of the Azure Bonds like a part of a long history of AD&D computer based games, specifically part of the Forgotten Realms Epic (the other being the Dragon Lance Epic
). Before I get to the Curse of the Azure Bonds, I'd like to share my knowledge of the difference between the two epics.
Both epics are based on the AD&D Novels. Dragonlance is probably more familiar as it is centralized to the journey of certain heroes and their quest. Forgotten realms is a more complicated and unfocused set of stories. Both occur in different worlds, but in some sense still use the same system. Dragonlance has a more complex system than Forgotten Realms: Dragonlance has more specific races (different types of Elves, Dwarfs and the Kender) as well as the unique Knight class. Dragonlance also introduces different Gods of worship, more direct impact or consequence in alignments of which also limit different specialization in spells.
Forgotten Realms in comparison can be called as the more 'general' AD&D system. Hardly any limitations compared to Dragonlance. One might say easier, others also might say less irritating.
O.K. Back to Azure Bonds.
The story is very simple, basically means you know what's your supposed to do, at least. The only problem is how to do it. Thankfully, the story is already set so basically what ever you do won't impact the overall story. Other AD&D games are irritating in that area. So basically its up to you where you want to go first, how you want to handle it. Either way you end up where you should be and should feel stressed about the possibilities of handling a situation wrong. No right, no wrong, just another way.
The mapping system used by Curse of Azure Bonds (don't recall if other AD&D used the same approach) was later adopted by Realms of Arkania: Startrail
and other RPG's.
As much as I like this game, I must admit the AD&D concept is pretty much irritating...and this is not limited to the game...here are some I noticed:
The character system is a sexist system and discriminated system revolving around the "Human Male" character. Other sexes and races are inferior. Female characters receive devastating strength points. Race bonuses don't mean much as in practice, high levels, class and spells replace it any way.
Alignment in AD&D games are practically useless. Not quite sure what it's for either, as most of the story strongly suggest a more 'lawful good' approach, even if all your characters are evil. Then again I could be wrong...though I doubt it.
Shops and Money are practically have no value. Most shops sell the same thing that you don't need - standard gear. Money is abundant...too abundant. There are certain situations where you find certain coinage that have particularly no use what so ever and only burdens your weight.
60-70% of spells in AD&D are practically useless, unless the story creates a certain situation for it to be useful. If not, its usually revolves around Fireball, Lighting Bolt, Hold Person, etc. Most Druid spells are a joke.
Human change class is an irritating concept. You just can't get the perfect character with this approach...
Too many random monsters. AD&D is a game that never seems to run out of monsters. Any AD&D game player knows that sometimes you just can't rest and fix your party. Very irritating.
The Bottom LineWell it took me more than 5 years to finally finish this game, due to some problems near the end game. Obviously a must if you want to experience the full Forgotten Realms Epic. Though, honestly I wouldn't advise it as a 'stand alone' game...unless you are already familiar with AD&D.