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Stonekeep (DOS)

79
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.3
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Mirrorshades2k (273)
Written on  :  Feb 13, 2001
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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Summary

A fun dungeon crawl with great sound, decent graphics, and a pretty good storyline.

The Good

It's basically a dungeon crawl, but there's a lot to it that make it engaging. The sound is great... everything has sound from footsteps, to swinging swords, to doors opening, to eating and drinking. The graphics are not too shabby, and the display is full-screen (with minimal game-mechanics interference). The story is fun, and it develops much more fully as you progress into the game.

I also liked the way magic was handled. Instead of your character having spell points or mana, spells are cast through "runecasters" which themselves have a mana charge. The runecasters have different numbers of open "slots", each one of which holds a spell to be cast. There are locations called "mana circles" that recharge the runecasters, so the need to wait as mana or spell points gradually return is eliminated.

The Bad

Perhaps the most annoying aspect of the game is the way items are handled. Items may be located anywhere on the floor of the map square you're standing in, and at times this deteriorates to a "find the pixel" game to locate an item. Smaller items can be hard to see, especially if hidden behind a corpse, a table, or a pile of garbage.

Once you pick up an item, it is stored on a magic scroll... from top to bottom and one-dimensionally. After playing for a while, the scroll gets quite long and it can be difficult to move through the entire thing quickly to find the item you want. Also, like items can be stacked on top of each other, so if you have 3 daggers only one picture of a dagger is shown. This is nice, except if you decide to re-arrange your inventory you have to move the items one at a time. So if you have 50 healing herbs, you have to relocate each one, one at a time. This gets a bit tedious.

Finally, there are still a few technical bugs, even in the most recently-released version (v1.2), that hinder gameplay. Two I have found that annoy me personally are: one of the NPCs (Wahookah) doesn't "appear" every time that he should -- on occasion you need to give him items for clues, but you can't if he's not there; and sometimes when I save the game, there's a hardware I/O error and the savegame is lost (so use 2 or 3 slots and rotate them for game saving... the first time I played I used only one slot, and was quite despondent when all the time I had put in was wiped out).

The Bottom Line

Though not one of the more popular RPGs, I feel it's certainly worth playing. Full stereo sound and music, very good graphics, and a non-cluttered interface really allow you to get "into" the game. Try playing it at night with the lights off, and you'll see what I mean!