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The game released and the wait was finally over for those impatient fans. For despite taking well over two years on the development of the game, the designers at Stormfront Studios signed off on a product that was clearly rushed to stores by Ubi Soft before its completion. Newsgroups filled up with protests, dozens of people complaining about everything from an install program bug that could supposedly delete their Windows directory to the linear plot that was nothing like the expansive adventure that had originally been promised.

Patches soon arrived, but the disappointment lingered. If anything, however, these negative notions reinforced the idea that I really needed to get into this one before submitting the review. The Rules Well, they did. While the game may be much more stable with the version 2. Initial press releases openly promised that the game would begin a new era in RPGs, much like that started by the Gold Box line in the late s, through all sorts of new ideas. Combat would be turn-based and highly strategic, set in a living world where you could use tables for cover and barricade doors.

Aside from the turn-based combat system, none of these promises has been fully realized. The plot involves the dreaded pool of radiance coming back to life and threatening New Phlan in pretty much exactly the same way as it did over a decade ago.

Until you get well into the plot, every "new" room looks a lot like the last. As a result, Stormfront must have spent a good chunk of the design process unclear about what changes the Third Edition would bring to the table.

The result is a muddled mess that follows the new rules in spirit alone. A Stunning Feat However, there are significant differences to the way that such things have been implemented. Feats, introduced to allow the player to individualize his character with special attributes, are automatically selected for the player. Virtually all of the advances to the mage and cleric classes have been tossed because of this rigidity. Furthermore, the only mage subclass in the game is the sorcerer, which has been given the unique trait of being able to cast spells without prior memorization.

Not a huge loss from my human paladin-favoring perspective, but still. Combat is almost as strategic as promised. Movement rules are strictly applied and seem to be identical to that in the tabletop game. Meaning that you have to go through initiative checks and then maneuver your party toward the enemy carefully once you enter the combat phase. You have to be extremely cautious with how you move, because one false step can get you backstabbed. The end result is something that plays a lot like the old Gold Box games.

Unfortunately, those Gold Box games, along with turn-based gaming in general, have largely been supplanted over the past decade by quicker-moving, more modern alternatives. Perhaps the biggest movement annoyance is being unable to scroll the screen past the supposed sight limitations of your party. Such unquestioning devotion to pen-and-paper rules in a completely different format is nonsensical.

Sleeping Through the Swordfight Battles are incredibly tedious in the beginning. Much of this is because the game seems completely off-balance. From the very start, you can wander into battles with creatures that are too powerful for your puny party. The dark elves, for example, are insanely strong. Fleeing seems to be impossible. Yes, you can run away, but you remain in combat mode as long as the foe that triggered such a state is still alive.

Also, the living battlefield concept was jettisoned somewhere between the first PR information and the day that the game went gold, though. As if the designers needed to slow you down even more Party members are highly detailed, with accurate armor and weaponry, and move in a realistic fashion.

Monsters are also very well drawn and animated, although there seems to be a limited number of monster types in the game. Even the more boring tunnels come to some life thanks to good artwork. Certain objects seem to almost protrude from the screen due a winning use of color, texture, and shadows. Other successful elements include a musical score packed with nuances.

Where games of this type tend to favor bombast over subtlety in their music, this one goes in the other direction and blends sweeping tones with minor notes that hint at a sense of humor and wonderment. Perhaps the most enjoyable frill, however, is the personalized Dungeon Master who describes your travels. Choosing to be the first computer game to present the Third Edition rules seems to have been the most serious error made by Stormfront Studios. Much of the basic design is confused and unwieldy, likely because the designers were trying to create a game at the very same time as those new rules were being drawn up.

In this regard, the game was truly ahead of its time One has to wonder who thought this to be an astute idea in the first place. Even at the time that this decision was first announced, I thought that it was more than a little foolish to be basing a game upon rules that had yet to be finalized.

The potential for trouble was obvious right from the start. That initial poor judgment seems to have prevented the game design from ever developing a real identity. Neither are the designers, as far as I can tell. Review By GamesDomain.


Download Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor (Windows)

Six races are offered, including elves and halflings , as well as four classes fighter , cleric , wizard , and thief. Other computer systems, such as the Commodore 64 , require a separate save-game disk. These actions are taken immediately, rather than after all commands have been issued as is standard in some RPGs. They also observed that the depictions of monsters confronting the party "looked as though they had jumped from the pages of the Monster Manual. For example, fighters can wield melee or ranged weapons; magic-users can cast spells; thieves have the option to "back-stab" an opponent by strategically positioning themselves.


Pool of Radiance: Attack on Myth Drannor


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