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Ishar 1 - Legend of the fortress Logo

Is Eye of the Beholder the limit for role-playing interaction? Ishar proves where there's life there's hope.

Ishar 1 - Legend of the fortress W asn't Ishar that awful film with Warren Beatty and the short guy? No indeed, that was Ishtar, and it had lots of camels in. Ishar has a noticeable lack of camels, but lots of scenery.
Remember a game called Crystals of Arborea? Probably not - it wasn't very good. Anyway, this is the sequel, and the plot is something like this: the land of Kendoria (formerly Arborea) has been plunged into darkness... evil ruler called Krogh built fortress... called Ishar... go and kill him... etc.
Thus you find yourself alone in some pleasant countryside with just a sword in hand a shady figure off in the distance. Your aim is threefold: to find some other stout adventurers, to find out what the hell you're supposed to be doing and then do it. Easy.

Character acting
Ishar is pretty much a standard role-playing game. You wander around the landscape, recruiting characters (for some reason every character in the game is very partial to the phrase "Warm Tear" as a greeting or farewell), finding objects, killing monsters and getting clues. Sub-quests lead you on further to your final goal of getting into Ishar and killing Krogh before he does any more damage.

Wandering around the countryside by means of Dungeon Master-like movement arrows, you inevitably encounter other characters. These can be recruited, but only after a vote from the rest of your team (assuming you've got a team) – if they don't like the new addition, they're out. The characters have the usual attributes, like strength, spell-casting ability and experience.

Ishar 1 - Legend of the fortress But there's more to the characters than that. They each have their own psychology, so friendships may form between them. If you want to get rid of a team member, you've got two options: dismissal or murder. If the character in question is a good friend of the other team members, then they'll vote against you and you're stuck with him. You could just do him in, but then if one of the other characters is the dead one's friend, he may very well attack the murderer. It's a delicate business and some parts of the quest depend on this interaction.

Most of Kendoria is countryside, but there are towns here and there. Wherever you are you usually find some odd but interesting-looking places to visit, which may be private houses, inns, training grounds or shops. The latter are useful for stocking up on spell ingredients such as Gargoyle Claw. These ingredients are mixed in certain doses and arrangements to form a spell, though the magically-capable character has to learn the spell by training before he/she can use it. Spells range from the crap, like Sleep, to the frankly godlike, like Resurrection or Repulse (sends opponents to Hell).

Happiness is a long hike
Ishar! (Bless you). The sum of Ishar's parts is definitely more than its whole. While no aspect of the game is really more than just above average, they blend in a very pleasing way to make up a wholly enjoyable game.
Anyone who's dabbled in the murky RPG waters before should feel very comfortable with the decidedly non-radical control systems used. This can only be a good thing – instead of struggling with the icons you're struggling with the puzzles and monsters.

The graphics really are quite gorgeous, and they look better and better as you continue playing. Apparently there are 20,000 locations and 160,000 views. While we're on the statistics, there are also 30 characters, 150 enemies and 40 possible spells. While all this hugeness adds to the game it does mean you spend large amounts of time trekking round the Kendorian countryside. Still, at least the graphics are worth looking at, and there are some pleasant samples to be heard.

Apart from the unnecessarily inflated price, Ishar is a solid little game with lots to offer. Kendoria needs you. Go on, help them out – they'll love you forever. Warm tear!
Ed Ricketts

Amiga Format, Issue 37, August 1992, p.p.86-87

Ishar
Daze Marketing * £29.99
  • Detailed and colourful graphcs – trees actually do look like trees...
  • ...but they mean the screen update can sometimes be on the doddery side.
  • Character interaction really has been developed to be meaningful here.
  • Enough RPG nonsense to satisfy the hardcore players, but not so much that you need a doctorate D & D to play.
  • Orientation is sometimes difficult – much wandering needs to be done.
verdict: 76%


Ishar 1 – Legend of the fortress Logo

Armes Arborea: erst gingen vier magische Kristalle verloren, denen im Vorgänger Prinz Jarel hinterherhetzen musste, dann wurde das Eiland in Kendoria umgetauft, und jetzt ist auch noch ein Wüstling namens Krogh auf der Bildfläche erschienen!

Ishar 1 – Legend of the fortress Wenn einem soviel Elend wird beschert – das ist schon einen (neuen) Rolli-Helden wert: In diesem Falle heißt er Aramir und steht allein auf weiter Flur, jedenfalls anfänglich. Aber keine Sorge, es laufen ihm genügend Kandidaten über den Weg, mit denen er ein Team gründen und bald zur schlagkräftigen Fünfer-Combo ausbauen kann. Bloß ist „über den Weg" hier eigentlich der falsche Eindruck, denn zumeist bricht der junge Held durch wegloses Unterholz...

Wie schon bei „Crystals of Arborea" entpuppen sich die Wanderschaften als wahrer Augenschmaus; selten wurden plastische Umgebungen und Gegner echter bzw. mit mehr Liebe zum Detail gezeichnet! Das Geschehen wird in einem großen 3D-Fenster aus der Party-Perspektive gezeigt, untermalt ist es von einer auf Dauer etwas monotonen Soundkullise, die ebenfalls verdächtig an das arboreanische Ur-Abenteuer erinnert. Naja, zumindest tirilieren die Vögelein recht überzeugend, es plätschern die Bäche, und eine hübsch düstere Titelmelodie hat Silmarils ebenfalls spendiert. Hat sich also, vom ausgewechselten Oberschlimmling mal abgesehen, wirklich nichts gravierendes gegenüber dem Vorgänger verändert?

Ishar 1 – Legend of the fortress Doch, doch, beispielsweise das Gameplay. Konnte man „Crystals of Arborea" noch kaum als ausgewachsenes Rollenspiel bezeichnen, so kommt Ishar dem Idealzustand bereits wesentlich näher: Jeder Recke trägt nun eine ansehnliche Menge an Eigenschaften bzw. Skills spazieren, zusätzlich verfügen die Charaktere über eine Art Weltanschauung, ähnlich ihren AD&D-Kollegen – im Falle extremer Antipathie meutern sie sogar mal gegen die Aufnahme eines Neuzugangs in Team! Auch Magier und sonstige Hexer leiden nicht mehr an Langeweile, denn außer im Kampf dürfen sie ihr kreatives Potential nun sogar an der Erschaffung diverser Zauber-Potions auslassen (sofern die Zutaten bei der Hand sind). Die Prügeleien haben ebenfalls zugelegt, finden sie jetzt doch im Stil von „Eye of the Beholder" in Echtzeit statt. Der taktische Kampfscreen ist deshalb aber nicht gänzlich verschwunden; man kann hier immer noch die Formation festlegen, also etwa die Bogenschützen nach hinten stellen etc.. Last but not least erwarten Euch diesmal sogar richtige Dungeons, allerdings erst später im Spiel, wenn die unheiligen Gewölbe von Kroghs Ishar-Tempel zur Erforschung anstehen.

Selbst die Maus/Icon-Steuerung funktioniert tadellos; wenn uns Ishar dennoch nicht restlos überzeugen konnte, dann muß es wohl an den vergleichsweise einfachen Rätseln liegen – wie bei der Hatz nach den arboreanischen Klunkern gehören die Aufgaben überwiegend zur nicht allzu schweißtreibenden Sorte. Trotzdem, weiter so, und das nächste Game stößt endgültig in Hit-Sphären vor! (jn)

Amiga Joker, September 1992, p.77

ISHAR
(SILMARILS)
ROLLENSPIEL

74%

"LEICHT VERDAULICH"
Amiga Joker
GRAFIK
ANIMATION
MUSIK
SOUND-FX
HANDHABUNG
DAUERSPASS
82%
55%
63%
38%
76%
72%
FÜR FORTGESCHRITTENE
PREIS DM 89,-
SPEICHERBEDARF
DISKS/ZWEITFLOPPY
HD-INSTALLATION
SPEICHERBAR
DEUTSCH
512 KB
2/NEIN
JA
SPIELSTÄNDE
KOMPLETT


Ishar 1 – Legend of the fortress Logo  CU Amiga Screen Star

With napsack strapped to his back, and a bickering party of adventurers at his side, Tony Dillon enters Silmarils' sequel to Crystal of Arborea...

Ishar 1 – Legend of the fortress IT'S STORY TIME...
If you remember playing Silmarils' earlier game, Crystals of Arborea, you'll already know the story of how Jarel, the Price of Elves, overthrew the evil Morgoth and became the ruler of Arborea, now known as Kendoria. However, since then Jarel has died in a bizarre hunting accident – one of those things the authorities thought was best left unsolved – and many came to the land and tried to take his place. An evil lord by the name of Krogh succeeded, and now rules from his castle in Ishar, a place of evil power. You assume the role of an average citizen sent out to liberate the country and defeat the evil lord. All in a day's work, eh?

You begin the game alone in the middle of nowhere. The only person in sight is some mad guy standing by a tree who recommends a nearby pub. You don't know where you are, what you are supposed to do, or anything come to that, so a good pint down the pub sounds a good idea.

WHERE AM I?
Discovery and exploration are the keys to Ishar. The plot is a complex beast which unveils itself as you progress, occasionally throwing you off balance with the odd puzzle or totally unexpected occurrence. As you move from one point in the story to the next, you will discover more and more clues, until you feel like part of some violent detective story set in a mythical wood. Lost and clueless in the middle of nowhere may not sound like fun, but it actually fires the imagination and kickstarts the plot. The first things you'll notice as you explore the attractive lands of Ishar are the stunning graphics used to depict the area. There are 40,000 locations, with each screen offering a further four viewpoints for each compass point, giving a total of 160,000 different views in the game – all of which are perfectly drawn. Depths and distances are portrayed correctly, as is the scaling of objects, and the effect generated by walking forward is convincing and true.

Ishar is the sort of role-playing game fanatics will die for. I don't know about anyone else, but for an RPG to work for me, I have to feel that I am actually part of the adventure, not an onlooker with a remote overview of the proceedings. Everything is viewed through a first person perspective, and the graphics enhance the feeling of really being there. However, it's all the things you can't initially see that make this game stand out. For a start, there is the overall depth of everything. Each character is completely different, and as you recruit your merry band, you'll realise how helpful it is to keep a varied bunch. Different strengths and weaknesses in different tasks and skills help round your team, and the different classes of characters open new doors when problem solving.

Ishar 1 – Legend of the fortress ALL FRIENDS TOGETHER
The way your party members get along is very important. This is the first time I've ever seen such an intelligent human element in a game like this. Each member of your party develops affiliations and relationships with the other members of your party, and all have a say in the actions you try to carry out. For example, your band of four may meet a very talented, but extremely untrustworthy thief. You want to take the risk of him stealing all your party's possessions while you sleep because you think recruiting his talents is probably worth it. In any other game of this type, you could just recruit who you liked. However, in this case the system is a little more democratic. The rest of your party vote against recruiting the thief as they just don't like him, so he doesn't join. In doing this, you are made to feel your party is indeed a real collection of people.

Characters also get involved with NPCs (Non Player Characters). In one sub-plot, a father asks you to rescue his daughter in return for which he will give you a key. You find and rescue his daughter, but on the way back she falls in love with a male member of the squad. When the time comes to deliver the girl, she won't go without her lover, and he won't leave the party, so the only thing is kill him. On killing him, someone else in the party who became good friends with him turns against you. It's complex, but no more complicated than real life.

A large part of the game involves picking up clues from one person as to the whereabouts of another. Again, it's the detective story element. The game is completely mouse controlled, with the faces of your team members at the bottom of the screen displaying individual status and information screens, as well as the now standard cluster of arrows for movement.

Clicking on one of the two buttons above the characters' faces lets you into a new world of interactivity. 'Attack' prompts the team to battle any enemy currently on screen and clicking on 'Action' opens a sub-menu, from which you can perform all the character functions, including hiring and firing, picking locks, checking your orientation (displayed as your position in location to key areas), or using magic.

A REAL SPELLBOOK
Magic in Ishar is far more than clicking on a scroll and watching the effect. A character begins with few spells, if any, and has to enrole on magic courses to learn more. In addition, they have to be used correctly – magic missiles have to be aimed, for example. Not only are there thirty-five different spells (ranging from standards, such as healing and fireballs, to new spells where you can even turn your party in gas clouds), there's also the ability to crate spells of your own. In the manual there is a list of different compounds to be mixed, the effects of which you'll have to discover for yourself.

The sheer size of Ishar means that you'll be playing it for weeks, possibly months, to come. It's the best game of its type I've ever seen, and is obviously highly recommended.

CU Amiga, July 1992, p.p.60-61

COMBAT Combat in Ishar is run via a very complicated system, which actually proves very easy in practice. All you have to do is repeatedly click on an icon marked 'Attack'. This signals for that particular character to take a shot at the enemy. How well you do is based on a few pointers, though. Obviously, the weapon you are using has a large effect, as does your overall experience. Also taken into consideration are the character's skill in using their currently held weapon, plus his or her physical positioning in the group (characters at the back can only use ranged weapons, such as arrows). The enemies' strength and fighting skills also change the result. Amazing really, when all you get to see is a splash of red and a number telling you how much damage you have inflicted.

buyers guide
release date:
genre:
team:
controls:
number of disks:
number of players:
hard disk:
memory:
 
July 1992
RPG
Silmarils
Mouse
2
1
Yes
All machines

 

SILMARILS £29.99
Stylish and absorbing RPG – highly recommended...
GRAPHICS
SOUND
LASTABILITY
PLAYABILITY
91%
78%
88%
87%
OVERALL 89%



Metzeln wie gehabt


Ishar 1 – Legend of the fortress AGA Logo  AGA  A1200 Speziell

Als Silmarils vor einem Jahr die Rollenspieler in die Festung des schurkischen Krogh schickte, ahnte noch kaum jemand etwas vom kommenden Power-Amiga – daher die Verspätung der speziellen 1200er Version.

Ishar 1 – Legend of the fortress AGA Doch wird ja angeblich gut, was lange gärt, weshalb wir der Edelvariante des Nachfolgers von „Crystals of Arborea" optimistisch entgegenfieberten. Zu Recht?

Nun, zunächst sei Uneingeweihten verraten, daß Krogh im Inselreich Kendoria für Monster, Magie und mächtig mörderische Mysterien sorgt und man ihm deshalb das Handwerk legen sollte. Für den Job meldet sich der Krieger Aramir, welcher beim maus- oder stickgesteuerten Herumstrolchen in der wunderhübsch gezeichneten 3D-Wildnis alsbald auf potentielle Kumpane stößt, um mit ihnen eine potente Fünfer-Combo zu gründen. Die Jungs und Mädels hatten und haben alles, was echte Rolli-Helden brauchen: Eigenschaften und Fähigkeiten, eine AD&D-ähnliche Weltanschauung, die Neigung zu Klick-Kämpfen à la „Beholder" und einige können mit selbstgebrauten Potions etwas umständlich zaubern. Bei den Rätseln geht's nach wie vor in erster Linie ums Draufhauen, und die vom PC konvertierte Optik wirkt auch nicht schöner als vorher. Dafür sind nun neben den Sound-FX (z.B. Vogelgezwitscher) während des Spiels auch zwei atmosphärische Melodien zu hören.

Schön und gut, daß das Game allerdings nicht per Festplatte läuft, ist für eine 1200er-Version peinlich, und die etwas unsauber übersetzten Screentexte hat auch niemand überarbeitet. Fazit: Zuviel Optimismus führt nur zur Enttäuschungen... (jn)

Amiga Joker, July 1993, p.92

ISHAR
(SILMARILS)
ROLLENSPIEL

69%

"WENIG NEUES"
Amiga Joker
GRAFIK
ANIMATION
MUSIK
SOUND-FX
HANDHABUNG
DAUERSPASS
82%
55%
74%
38%
69%
70%
FÜR FORTGESCHRITTENE
PREIS DM 89,-
SPEICHERBEDARF
DISKS/ZWEITFLOPPY
HD-INSTALLATION
SPEICHERBAR
DEUTSCH
2 MB
2/NEIN
NEIN
SPIELSTÄNDE
KOMPLETT


Ishar 1 – Legend of the fortress AGA Logo  AGA

DAZE OUT NOW, £32.99
Ishar 1 – Legend of the fortress AGA
The archipelago of Arborea has featured in a fair few RPGs in recent years. First there was the Crystals of Arborea, then Ishar – Legend of the Fortress and, last month, Ishar 2 – Messengers of Doom. All games have been well received by both public and critics alike. So it was with some disappointment that many adventure fans found that Ishar 1 did not run on their A1200s.
Fortunately, that grave oversight has been corrected and A1200 owners can finally experience the delights of one of the best RPGs on the scene. Not only is it now fully compatible, it has also been significantly enhanced.

The player sees the world from the standard first person perspective but, beyond that, the game does not conform to the usual tenets of the genre.
First off there's no character generation to deal with – you start the game already equipped with one fighter who must then travel the lands recruiting other party members. This is one of the more intriguing aspects because you can often find yourself in a position where you desperately want to recruit someone whom the rest of the party will not have. In this respect a character's personality greatly affects many aspects of the gameplay. You can even find yourself in a position where a wounded character, who is disliked by the rest of the team, is refused medical aid.

The idea of the game is to explore a vast world in an attempt to find clues that will help you defeat the nasty Krogh.
The evildoer has built a huge temple in your lands and is doing his utmost to terrorise and kill the local population. The sheer size of the map is probably the greatest problem that exists with this game in that the landscape is often very sparse with few locations for you to explore. Still, if you like mapping you're definitely in for a treat.

Improvements to the A1200 version include the obvious expansion in colours to 256 which adds significant depth to the backgrounds. Also, the gameplay has been tweaked to take advantage of the faster processor. This is quite welcome given the older version's tendency to run fairly slowly.
The most welcome improvement in this version of the game comes in the form of a doleful soundtrack – great for atmosphere. All in all it's a substantial improvement serving to enhance your overall enjoyment of the product.
Jon Sloan

83%

CU Amiga, August 1993, p.66