WIZARDS AND WARRIORS
Wizards and Warriors has been the type of RPG that I have been waiting for a long time. No doubt W & W will not appeal to all, in fact I read a few negative messages in the CRPG newsgroup and I am now satisfied they were written by pathetic testosterone challenged boys. Boys whose idea of a CRP is Quake with magic.
W & W has many elements that are lacking from the current crop of so called RPG's. It has a full party made of several races. It has a turn based system. IT requires a balance between magic and might. It has well crafted NON-random dungeons. Above all W & W has a decent story line.
The game begins by setting your quest at the introduction. The overall plot isn't too different from most games, basically destroy the bad guy. What is different is WW takes you on quite a journey to get there.
First impressions for fans of Crusaders of the Dark Savant is that there is a vague familiar look to W & W , and it is hardly surprising the main author of the two is the same. Down the right side of the screen are your characters, and a balanced party is essential. Make sure that you include a thief in your crew. The left side of the screen is the interface to your map, magic and items. The main game screen is a 3D player view. By the standards of many of the action 3D games the graphics look a little dated, but are more than adequate and the well constructed dungeons do make up for them.
Combat can be live or turned based, I always used turn based. Using magic is fairly easy on turn based mode and spells are easy accessed or changed. At least one of your characters should be a powerful magic user, later in the game they even get to use one of the more powerful weapons, the ' Staff of Death '.
Combats at the start of the game are quite hard, but towards the end you may wish the crank the difficulty level higher as the combats get too easy. This is one of the few improvements that could have been made to the game.
On a stability level I would rate the game medium. It is not crash free, but there appeared no terminal bugs.
Non-player character interaction is close to the best I have seen in a CRPG. The voices are well acted, no John Wayne accents, no New York or LA street accents, but true medieval sounding characters. The dialogues are quite extensive and put the likes of the Balders Gate 1 & 2 to shame.
Sound is another area that could have been improved. The music score is only average. ( Nothing comes close to beating Shadows over Riva yet ). The monster sounds are so-so, although the ones that talk are well done.
There are a few puzzles to solve in the game, most are well constructed and make sense. The game is fairly linear so most items needed to solve are certain dungeon are located in that dungeon.
Overall Wizards and Warriors gets my seal of approval. It is the best game I have played in the past two years. It is much harder than the Balders Gates series, but not as tough as the Wizardry or Thunderscape.