Thursday, 12 May 2016

Ancient!

I finished off Legacy of the Ancients last night. For its age, I quite enjoyed it. It's a pretty standard Ultima-style RPG of that time, with a primitive overland section combined with 1st person dungeon exploration. It's quite a compact game with only 3 dungeons and a couple of castles, but you do have to revisit some of them multiple times, which strings it out a bit. The framing story is fairly unique. There's a 'hub' dungeon which is a museum, and you need to gather coins to view the exhibits in it - each one unlocks something different, a new area of the game, or a new ability. Your task is to collect coins so you can unlock all of the exhibits and proceed to the big bad. The actual combat system is fairly rudimentary - you just press F to fight - and there is a selection of weapons, but they essentially all do the same thing, just with slightly bigger numbers. You can buy a few magic spells, but they're expensive, so you can't go wild, and each spell is only good for one use. There are a lot of combats, but weirdly, they don't give you any experience. The caretaker of the museum grants you new levels when you've completed certain tasks in the game, and levels don't really do much - just give you a few more hit points and alter the kinds of monsters you find, what they give you, and what's available in shops. Monsters usually only give you money or food when you defeat them, but if you talk to them then they'll sometimes offer you treasures for sale - including the coins that you're after. This leads to a very polite - ask questions first and hack bits off later - dynamic where I spent most of the end game trying to chat up monsters then running away if they just growled at me. Not very heroic, but I was in a hurry to find the last coins I needed. You can also sometimes get coins randomly in towns from shopkeepers, but I found it was quicker to talk to the monsters. It's actually quite a fun little game, and the story is quite good (though very basic). It would have been nice if the game was a bit bigger - for example, there's one castle that you have to basically loot numerous times, getting a little bit further each time, and killing a million guards in the process. It would have been nice if there had been different castles for each part of the loot rather than revisiting the same one over and over again, but there we go. It was the eighties, so I can let the designers off. The graphics are all CGA, but quite good for the time, I particularly liked the goofy run cycle for your guy (and loved the goofy fly cycle for pegasus!). I don't know if I'd particularly recommend a game this old to most people, but I enjoyed it - particularly the slightly mad framing story. Onwards!

Next up on the randometer is...The Lion King! Yes, the platform game based on the movie. No idea what this one's like, but I enjoyed the Aladdin game back in the day, so hopefully it's a little like that. I'm also getting through Tomb Raider Legend. Handily, the game tracks your completion, so I can officially state that I'm 41% through it at the moment.

.,.Hmmm...my copy of The Lion King appears to be bugged. The roar meter never fills up, so it's impossible to progress in the game. Ah well. All I can say is that it looked quite nice - very similar to Aladdin in its cartoon graphics and animation style. So, next up on the randometer is...Inquisitor! Ooh, quite looking forward to that. It's a newish but Infinity-Engine-style old-school RPG. Should be a good one.

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