Companions of Xanth

Moby ID: 319

Description official description

Two otherworldly and all-powerful demons are competing with two unwitting human champions over the future of the magical realm of Xanth. One of these unlikely champions is Dug Mundane, a young lad from our world who has just broken up with his girlfriend Pia. His friend Edsel sends him a computer game, betting that if Dug ends up liking it he'll forfeit his attempts to win Pia's heart back. However, when Dug puts the game disk into his computer, he is teleported to Xanth, where his adventures begin.

Companions of Xanth is an adaptation of Piers Anthony's fantasy novel Demons Don't Dream (included in some releases), taking place in his mystical and punny world of Xanth. Unlike Legend's previous parser-based adventures, this one is fully mouse-controlled. Commands such as "take", "give to", "listen", etc. are on the left of the screen; directional icons and an inventory are at the bottom, with an illustration of the current location taking up over half of the screen. The gameplay relies mostly on inventory-based puzzles, with many solutions involving puns.

Besides puzzle-solving, there are also branching conversations with the various characters populating the world. The game is divided into several areas; some are interconnected, while others become unavailable for exploration as the plot advances. It is possible to die in the game, though the player is allowed to undo his last move if that happens. There are also a few instances of getting irrevocably stuck if the player failed to pick up a crucial item in an earlier area. Although the game invites the player to pick up a companion in the beginning, only one choice is correct, while others lead to a premature end of the game. The chosen companion can be talked to most of the time and provides hints and solutions to some puzzles.

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Credits (DOS version)

58 People (57 developers, 1 thanks) · View all

Companions of Xanth is based on the book Demons Don't Dream by
Game Design and Programming
Game Design Assistance and Steerage
System Design
System Programming
Graphics System and High Magic
Dialogue System and Troll Games
Music System
Help System
Other System Programming
Cut Scene Writing
Art and Music Direction
Room Art and Animations
Background Art
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 72% (based on 17 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 29 ratings with 3 reviews)

Now, this game is really p(f)unny! ;)

The Good
The graphics in this adventure game like most of the old adventure games from Legend are impressive. I believe, the cut-scenes even have real-life digitized characters (Mortal Kombat style). I played the disk version, so I have no idea how good the voice acting is (I plan to play the CD version sometime). The background music is very atmospheric and absolutely wonderful, perfect for this kind of fantasy game. The music even changes with each location, so thankfully I didn't get to hear the same repetitive tune all the time e.g. like in the disappointing, Prisoner of Ice. The plot/storyline is very unsual indeed, maybe because it's based on the book (which I haven't read). I enjoyed the puns immensely, although I gather from other reviews, some people didn't. Oh well, we can't keep everyone happy. Can we? I couldn't help laughing at puns such as Censorship, Com-Pewter, hotdog etc. At one stage, I even felt like 'kicking the bucket', which I couldn't catch. Get it? The characters are memorable, especially Nada Naga, Grundy Golem and the troll. I enjoyed poking fun at grundy golem during the game's beginning.

The Bad
As the game's title shows I had to choose a character to be my companion on the quest to save Xanth. Actually, Nada Naga is the only companion that can be chosen. When I tried to select the others (one by one), the game ends even before Dug (my character) leaves the cave. I guess, the other characters were just there to fool me. Well, I was happy to have Nada Naga as a companion anyway (who was my first choice, honest!). As I mentioned before, the troll was a memorable character for me, that's because he was such a nuisance! At a certain point of the game, he forces Dug to solve several puzzles. I think one of them was with match sticks. This was bad news for me, because the walkthrough I had didn't have a solution to these puzzles, so I actually had to do them on my own! Horror of horrors, don't you agree? ;) Sometimes, the humour in this game can be inappropriate for young players, including some of the cut-scenes. So, parents keep your kids away and teens take notice. ;)

The Bottom Line
This is a typical point n' click adventure game by Legend, but with a unique plot. The story goes as such, two mundanes (earthlings) called Dug and Kim play a game against each other, without knowing that they are pawns in a wager of two demons, that will decide the fate of the land of Xanth. Dug has to make sure that he wins, otherwise Xanth becomes a land without magic just like our Earth (gasp!). We get to control Dug, who doesn't believe in magic (that's why he looks like a computer screen in the land of Xanth). Poor Dug also plays the game to win a bet with his best friend, who plans to date his girlfriend as a prize. Overall, it's a thoroughly enjoyable and amusing fantasy game like none other.

DOS · by Roger Wilco (1144) · 2003

One of a kind adventure game

The Good
If I wanted to list all the good things about this game, in the first place I would put the graphics which is very colourful and subtle making a really good impressions. The next to mention is music and sound effects. Maybe the latter does not exist in huge amounts but music fully compensates it. Basically in each location there is a different tune that tries to set you in a correct mood to solve the problem that lays there. The CD edition of the game has all the dialogues fully spoken bringing a completely new experience for those who managed to complete the regular version. Another thing I found highly enjoyable are inside jokes, word plays and puns that exist not only in the conversations between the characters but also in the puzzles itself. On one hand this is a very brave move since the game might not be accessible by some players and probably it wouldn't be possible to make any other language versions than the one the game originally was created. However this bold move made this game highly unique!

The Bad
There is no diamond that does not have a flaw. There are two big problems with the "Companions of Xanth". The first one is its linear plot. Sometimes choosing the wrong answer in the dialogues section or not taking an object somewhere at the beginning of the game will end up with a Game Over screen. The second problem is somehow connected with the first one - the surreal level of puzzles, sometimes difficult to apprehend creates a feeling and a notion that some things are not needed or the player is afraid of doing them... It makes the game rather difficult and not enjoyable for everyone.

The Bottom Line
"Companions of Xanth" is a highly recommended adventure game only as long as you like surreal type of puzzles and you are fond of word play and puns that are also some type of puzzles. If your English is not good (it mostly concerns all of you for who English is not a native language) and you don't feel like using painkillers on a windowpane as a right approach to solve the problem, then this is not the game you should run. For all of you who might find such things intriguing, you will for sure appreciate this game. It is a very unique and one of a kind game.

DOS · by mailmanppa (6238) · 2017

Another Legend legend

The Good
1993 was a golden year for adventure games: CDs were available, and games were drawn in sumptuous VGA colour. Both these technologies are used to their maximum advantage in this game, which is both beautiful and atmospheric. Xanth represented a move away from true interactive fiction for Legend, but it is interesting as it retained the compass and mapping system seen in their earlier adventures. The 'Companion' mentioned in the title is a really nice feature: basically you get to travel with a snake-woman who you can turn to for advice (hints) throughout.

The Bad
I cant think of anything!

The Bottom Line
Legend produced a number of consistently high-quality adventures that I can't recommend enough. You realise just how inconsistent the other games developers were in comparison. Xanth is another that is extremely good, just remember the puns aren't meant to be side-splittingly funny!

DOS · by jossiejojo (37) · 2004

Trivia

CD version

Companions of Xanth was released on disk and CD-ROM. The CD version features full speech.

Covermount release

The full version of this game was released on a cover disc for Computer Game Entertainment magazine.

Outtakes

During the game's closing credits, a series of outtakes from the voice actors is played in the background.

Information also contributed by Demian Katz and Roger Wilco

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by RmM.

Additional contributors: Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe, Jeanne, Patrick Bregger.

Game added October 23, 1999. Last modified May 12, 2024.