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The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard (Windows)

81
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.9
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Jeanne (75633)
Written on  :  Jun 06, 2002
Rating  :  3.29 Stars3.29 Stars3.29 Stars3.29 Stars3.29 Stars

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Summary

A game I will never forget

The Good

Okay, I’m primarily an adventure gamer so maybe I remember this game because it was harder for me than normal. Redguard attempts to combine adventure with action and it handles both fairly well.

Redguard is strong on adventure. The Adventure Elements include:

  • Loads of conversation with various types of NPCs – The conversations are sometimes the only way to actually solve some of the many situation-oriented puzzles. You’ll be traversing back and forth to talk to characters again because things change as you progress.


  • Puzzle solving – finding keys, helping NPCs with their unique problems, assembling strange machines, reading star charts etc.


  • Items & inventory – Picking up, using and even combining objects.


  • Exploration – Many different areas to investigate. Inside buildings of the towns, out in the countryside, caves and caverns, behind waterfalls, up on rooftops.


  • Involved story – There are people to save and secrets to be discovered. The story evolves as you talk to characters and explore the many areas of the game.


Your character is a mercenary, so naturally he’ll need to go where a normal person might hesitate to go. This is where the action comes into play. Learning the keyboard controls was fairly easy and with a bit of practice I was climbing, jumping, swimming, and sword fighting, albeit a bit awkwardly at first. I vividly remember the first time I backed up at a ledge and fell down, only to have my character grab hold of the ledge. Then left and right lets you scoot along the ledges, pulling up when you reach the next platform.

According to what I have read, the engine used to make Redguard was outdated by the time the game was released, so it appeared that the designers took a step backward instead of forward. Since it had been ages since I played an Elder Scrolls game (not to mention an action game), I didn’t know what I was missing. Walking around and interacting with the environment seemed to play well, so I took it in stride.

The Bad

Redguard had some serious design flaws that surfaced while I was playing. No patch was released to help the situation either. The problems that I encountered had to do with loading an area map. I was completely unable to continue when the fatal crash occurred. Only by a little troubleshooting on my part was I able to bypass the coding errors and get beyond the problem.

Being able to look all around a screen is nice, but adjusting view angles in this game was disorienting most of the time. Looking up in the wrong way would bring the pixels even closer and cause claustrophobia to set in quickly. Don’t get me wrong, I thought the graphics were very nice, but I didn’t want to see them directly in front of my nose! (I played the standard software version, so I don’t know if the 3Dfx version was any different.)

As I said before, this game was hard for me – mainly the jumping accuracy with my keyboard. (I can’t remember if this game supports a game pad or joystick, but either of those would probably have worked better than the keyboard.) One of the trickiest jumping sequences in the game required you to jump from a high ledge down onto some strategically placed mushrooms perched in an underground lake. Somehow you had to jump from mushroom to mushroom, aiming your jumps in mid-air!! I thought I’d never get across to the far ledge (which was almost impossible to see from your start point, by the way).

When a game makes the player feel awkward, inept or stupid, like it did me, you can’t help but dislike it.

The Bottom Line

I enjoyed Redguard, despite the fact that it made me feel inadequate, but it could have been so much better. If you are experienced with games like it, you’ll probably find it much easier than I did. I did finally complete the game and felt a great deal of satisfaction having done so.