Written by  :  Jeanne (76590)
Written on  :  Oct 26, 2003
Rating  :  1.43 Stars1.43 Stars1.43 Stars1.43 Stars1.43 Stars

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Visiting Camelot is cool ... but

The Good

Taking on the role of someone wanting to become a Knight of the Round Table in King Arthur's court is a great basis for a game. Learning how the legendary sword Excalibur came into being would add to the enchantment. Add in being able to meet and talk to fairies and other legendary characters like Merlin the Wizard, Sir Lancelot, and even King Arthur himself and you have what could be a great story. (I've always wanted to visit Camelot!) Sounds like a natural King's Quest storyline, doesn't it? Well, too bad it isn't even close to the quality of those games. What you end up with is just a mediocre game where the story is mostly written in a journal (that you read on screen) rather than played out.

Background graphics are nicely done although static. Animated birds and animals appear in the graphics. Wolves, deer and boar peak out in between the trees. Birds fly in the sky. Buildings and other architectural shapes are realistic and well drawn. Other 3D effects include smoke, fumes from fire, magical fields etc. - and those are good too. There is water, but it is static like the other backgrounds. One nice feature is being able to set your resolution either to 640x480 or 800x600 - but I saw very little difference between the settings except for the size and quality of the on-screen text. I also liked being able to turn on realistic shadows which made the rest of the items on screen look better.

Sound effects are minimal. You won't hear the sound of footsteps or the creaking of a door opening. You do hear the sounds of the birds and some animal noises as well as swords clashing during a battle. The music is composed of an original score and I enjoyed listening to it, although most of it plays while viewing the main menus.

As an adventure game, it has adventure-type puzzles. Most of them are inventory or conversation based. None of them were particularly hard if you have stumbled upon the right person or other clues. And, although there is fighting, it happens automatically if you have the right weapon. So, adventurer gamers, don't worry! It isn't even remotely a traditional Role-playing game. But, choose wrongly to fight (rather than talk it out) and you will die.

The premise that you can play the game twice - using two different personalities and codes of ethics - makes for great replay value. (If you really want to play it again, that is.)

The Bad

Arthur's Knights 1 is only a fair game and it could have been much better. Here is a brief list of some of the things I didn't like:
  • It's painfully linear.
  • Riding the horse is tedious, needless, and, frankly, a joke.
  • Too much traipsing around just to talk about one subject or get an item.
  • Keyboard-only movement? Give me a break! The whole game could have been point-and-click. Nothing about the keyboard movement seems necessary.
  • Character graphics look dated -- say 4 years old. Angled edges for their bodies and faces - stupid movements. (Reminded me of Timegate: Knight's Chase)
  • To talk to someone or use an object, your character must be not only in a particular spot but also positioned directly in front of the person or thing. This means that you'll spend a good amount of time figuring exactly where and how to stand to perform any action. (Also the same in Knight's Chase.)
  • The English voices were repetitive - you could tell that the same people spoke for many different characters. At least your character had a decent voice although sometimes his inflections weren't very good, especially when asking questions.

    In addition, I had a few crashes forcing me to reboot my computer.

    The Bottom Line

    Truthfully, I played the game through only to grab some screenshots, write a review and check it off my list. Because it is so linear, you will probably resort to using a walkthrough just because the puzzle clues are so very obscure. You may also be turned off by the keyboard movement controls. I would recommend this game only if you can find it cheap and have nothing else to play.

    The sequel was released the same year. Let's hope that it is a bit better, but I'm not counting on it.