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The bitterest hill is hard to take

Hillsfar logo

G Hillsfar ARY Gygax adds a few more gold pieces to his secret hoard by allowing the D&D name to be used on Hillsfar, a new role-playing game from SSI. To what extent this partnership goes is uncertain, but seemingly only to the level of having Advanced Dungeons & Dragons scrawled all over the place – on the box, on the loading screen, on the hint booklet… er not that I needed to read it of course.
Before you go anywhere in Hillsfar you must select a character. This may be of the roll-your-own variety or from the obligatory selections of ones-made-earlier. If you bought Pool of Radiance or Curse of the Azure Bonds, then you can import your character from there, tax free.

Loading in characters – hah! That is a different experience. If there is one thing more annoying then 17 levels of requesters asking you if you are really absolutely sure, certain and positive that you want to overwrite the character in memory, then it is the total lack of any sort of warning whatsoever. Anyway, then you ride into the much fabled metropolis of Hillsfar. Well, maybe they did not have much to fable about in those days. Travelling the highway is itself an adventure. Watch out for all the obstructions in the road – trees, paddles, bales of hay… Added to that, the occasional crazed lunatic takes a pot shot at you from the trees. Who said raving paranoia was a disadvantage? If you do not believe in predestiny, then you are going to be very upset by this game.

Hillsfar There are four character classes – fighter, thief, cleric and magic user. Each has three quests available to him, always the same and always in the same order. OF course, what you do in your time off is up to you.
You can become horrendously wealthy by offering to clean out various persons’ chests while they are not about. You can also become horrendously dead ‘cos if they catch you in the backstreets trying to pick door locks they are going to send you home to your mother in a cardboard box.

The city includes a cemetery, an arena, a shooting range, various pubs – you cannot get a decent pint of Guiness in any of them – and a fair sized sewer system. What you do is totally up to you.
There are other locations outside the city if you want to brave the equestrian challenge again, but they are only really worth visiting if you have to go there as part of a quest. Otherwise you may as well have robbed somewhere closer to home, since once you break in, most places are the same – a maze with chests of booty lying about.

Sounds are generally OK but can be a bit strained at times, so they fit in excellently with the gameplay. To be truthful, it is probably a very accurate simulation of life in a primitive environment, it certainly captures the timeless tedium and pointlessness of it all.
The modus operandi of thievery has just reverted from touch screens and modems in high rise offices to the more noble lock picks and large swords in dank dungeons, but the quality of life is just the same.
Some of the little sequences you stumble upon, like the arena for example, are quite entertaining and graphically effective, but there is not too much to keep the interest above critical boredom level.

Lucinda Orr

Amiga Computing, December 1989, p.p.42-43

Hillsfar
£24.99
SSI
Atmosphere 12 out of 15
 
Graphics 11 out of 15
 
Gameplay 10 out of 15
 
Value 10 out of 15
 
Overall - 72%


Hillsfar logo

SSI £24.99 * Joystick or Keyboard

Hillsfar There is no RPG system more famous than the AD&D one and SSI have spent the last couple of years trying to capture if not the whole system, then at least the feel of it, on computer. Heroes of the Lance was the first to appear and turned out to be more of an arcade adventure than anything else, then Pool of Radiance came out and was much more like the original system. And now Hillsfar, the second in the series to appear on the Amiga.

The game takes it name from the town around which the game is set and basically it is a mix of two different game styles: adventuring and arcade action.
The arcade side of things plays a less important role in the game and include such things as combat in the arena against various enemies like lizard men and minotaurs, riding your horse from one location to another, improving your aim on the archery range and running around searching for treasure and other goodies in the various mazes that appear to be in almost every house.

If you are more interested in the adventuring then you will find yourself wandering around trying to complete various quests. Of course before you start you will have to create a character, deciding what race he/she should be (human, elf, dwarf and so on), then the person’s occupation (fighter, thief, cleric and so on). Once you have done all that, it is down to you to decide just what to do – visiting the guildhall of your chosen occupation is always a good place to start – but whatever you decide to do it is largely up to you just how you go about it. Whatever path you take, though, it will not be long before you have to have a go at both sorts of game.

GRAPHICS AND SOUND
The screen is split intro three for the most part, the major portion being taken up with a plan view of the town with a small window to the left showing the town through your eyes. The remaining window is reserved for cameos of the various people you will come across and text messages. Overall the graphics are less than impressive, but they serve their purpose well enough. Sound, as well, is disappointing but it does not impair your enjoyment of the game.

JUDGEMENT
It is always difficult to produce a good game that is a distinct mix of two very different styles without upsetting the purists. SSI have tried very hard – and succeeded – at doing just that. For arcade fans who fancy a bash at something else in between the action events and for adventurers who fancy a slice of action then this is just the sort of thing.
Andy Smith

Amiga Format, Issue 5, December 1989, p.41

GRAPHICS 6
SOUND 4
INTELLECT 5
ADDICTION 7
OVERALL 72%