Written by  :  D Michael (232)
Written on  :  Jan 02, 2007
Rating  :  4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars

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Lots of fun for its time

The Good

I played this game when I was young. It was impossible to convince my parents to purchase an Intellivision so my experience with the system was limited to only a few games that a friend had. What made AD&D exciting was not just the early 80s fantasy RPG craze, but the fact that it was somewhat taboo, especially to my folks. My 'friend' that had this system and game was annoying to me, but nevertheless I spent many nights at their place just so I could play the game. I know that's bad, but hey a gamer's gotta do what a gamer's gotta do.

The story is quite simple really. You must make your way to the big mountain on the far right of the screen and get two pieces of a crown that you connect together to end the game. Getting there is half the fun.

Part of the game is on the overlay map, the other part is in mountains. On the map, movement is simple in that you can move in one of four directions. Some mountains are impassible, the forest requires an axe, the gate a key, and the rivers a boat. Other mountains can be passed by fighting your way through the interior.

There are various difficulty levels, with 'Hero' being the hardest. You begin on the map and plot your way through to the large mountain on the right. Since the layout of the map is different in every game, considering your path is required each and every time you play. It is possible (sometimes) to complete the game without getting the key, axe, or boat but where's the fun in that?

Obtaining any of these items requires entering certain mountains and fighting through monsters for the reward. I like that the game control inside of the mountain caves is handled by using the disc for movement, and the numberpad for the direction of firing your arrows. As a result, you can be moving in one direction while shooting arrows in another. Arrows can also ricochet off of walls, and a skilled player can stay well out of harms way while deflecting arrows at his enemy. Alternatively however, your own arrows might backfire and hit you.

Like the map, the caves inside the various mountains are different every time, being randomly generated. The various monsters are in different positions as well. Among these are some that annoy you by slowing you down, steal your arrows (you do have a limited supply and can run out if you use too many without finding more), or just flat out try to kill you. Once you make it to the final cave, there are fast moving demons found nowhere else in the game guarding pieces of the crown needed for completion and it takes a whopping 3 arrows to kill them.

Upon completion of the game (which shouldn't take more than 20 minutes at a time), there is a sound played that is the best sound I've ever heard in retro gaming. It is a blissful, yet powerful tone, and I can't even begin to describe it. Ever go to the movies and see the THX stereo demonstration at the beginning? If you know what I'm talking about, yeah it's kinda like that.

The Bad

The game is a little short, but thankfully offers some replay value via varied maps and randomly generated cave passages (think diablo type randomness).

Keeping inventory of your arrows is so annoying. You can often run out of arrows being completely defenseless. There is no number on the screen reflecting the number of shots you have in reserve, rather a button that you push on the controller that makes the game sound off with a rapid succession of 'ticks'. Think of a metronome on the fastest setting and then speed that up a bit. Every 'tick' represents one arrow. The count is fast enough that you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between 15 and 20 arrows. If you have too many arrows, then the sound takes forever to go away, even at its rapid pace. I counted arrows one time, waited awhile for the count to finish, got up, poured myself some juice, went to the restroom, came back and it was still ticking. Very annoying but still kinda funny.

The Bottom Line

For its time, there was no other game like this one. Not because it was better than anything else, but because it was more original than anything else out there. I seem to remember this being my favorite Intellivision game. Highly recommended if you're a fan of Intellivision, but if you are a fan, I sure you already know about this one.