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As far as scores go it's 999 all the way down the line, and you might need to call out the emergency services to help you through this new little beauty from Mike Singleton. It even goes beyond what he did with earlier titles like Lords Of Midnight and Doomdark's Revenge as he's produced a state-of-the-art graphical tactics adventure that adds a smidgeon of Swords And Sorcery and a hint of Heavy On The Magik to those previous games. As well as nifty graphics and sound, Dark Sceptre is well designed making it accessible and easy to play - in the sense that it's very quick and simple to grasp, without needing keyboard overlays, 84-page instruction manuals and seventeen fingers.
Dark Sceptre provides value for money - it won't be completed within a few goes. The task ahead is daunting put perseverance rewards with a game to capture the imagination.
Dark Sceptre is quite a departure from Mike Singleton’s Doomdark’s Revenge
and Lords Of Midnight
, of which I’m a big fan — but it’s another engrossing Singleton game. And here he uses an ingenious masking technique to get past attribute clash. The warriors walk and fight convincingly. But the lack of detailed instructions is frustrating, and much time is spent discovering the object of the game and who’s best to befriend. Still, if you can put up with this, Dark Sceptre becomes rewarding.
Huge colourful sprites roam the game area clashing only in combat. A black border around each figure prevents any hint of attribute clash - it's clever, effective and very well done. Sound is limited to stomping footsteps and chilling steel-on-steel effects, plus a short piece of music to indicate a recruitment or a desertion. The large game area and the amount and variety of objects that need to be manipulated properly means you'll be puzzling for quite some time. Even so, the ability to save the game position enables you to pick and play for short periods without having to cover old ground.
Dark Sceptre is certainly a challenge, and if you liked Lords of Midnight, you'll go for this. Was it worth the wait? We'll pass on that...
The characters stomp jerkily around at a terrible slow pace. This does tend to ruin the game to some extend which is a shame. If you don't mind slow gameplay then you'll find a large and entertaining quest awaits in Dark Sceptre.
Dark Sceptre is a tremendous idea for a game but a complete disaster in implementation. I like the idea of controlling many characters with detailed instructions, making allowances for personality and trying to complete a complicated quest... What I don't like is watching a bunch of slowly animated characters jerking around aimlessly, getting gradually wiped out.