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Ishar 3 logo

It has an even more convoluted plot than the first two Ishar games (Ishar 1 & 2). But does it improve upon them?

I Ishar 3 t does not matter whether you are a paragon of saintly goodness or the personification of demonically malignant evil. If you crave security, you need some form of insurance policy. Especially if you happen to be in the business of malicious wizardry and have set your twisted mind on getting the fair of people of the mightiest kingdom in Ishar under your ghastly thrall. You never know, pesky adventurers might pop up at the most inopportune moment and spoil your best-planned strategy for oppression. That is what happened in Ishar 2. Shandar, the malevolent sorcerer anti-hero of the piece, was defeated and banished to the netherworld reserved for failed malignant tyrants. Unfortunately for Ishar, the kingdom of Kendoria and its misbegotten inhabitants, Shandar took out an insurance policy in the shape of a third party planetary fire and conjunction clause.

Yes, as soon as two of the moons, the sun and the planet Ishar align, Shandar can cash in his policy and transfer his spirit to the body of a Black Dragon with a name that sounds like Weetabix (wohratax). If this happens, the land of Ishar will be blighted.
Of course, this horrible scenario can be thwarted if you turn up at the right place and time – time travel features heavily throughout the game. Seven different eras and key plot points await visitation.

Ishar 3 The engine driving the game is the same as the previous two Ishars - lots of mouse clicks and traipsing around to gain money, arms, armour, spells, character interaction, combat and stuff. Several changes have been made to the chassis however. The most noteworthy of these is at the start of the game. Aside from the ability to load in your favourite party of characters from previous Ishar excursions, you can also create a brand new party. All of the major features – race, class, appearance, strength, constitution, agility, intelligence and wisdom are under the RPG’ers control and the abilities can be adjusted in order to capitalise on the class chosen for that character. Creating a party from scratch helps to speed up the game. Other changes include location flagging on the main map – if you visit a tavern, from that point onward it is pinpointed with a flag on the map. Each location, be it tavern, shop or armourer has a colour code. This is pretty handy even though the map inevitably ends up looking cluttered and messy.
The last of the changes worth noting is the inclusion of photo-realistic townspeople and assorted characters. The addition of these background characters means fewer U-turns, wrong turns and less general directional disorientation.

Oh, and the other reason for the characters being there is to enhance the atmosphere But it does not quite work. Leather-clad fetishists rub shoulders with cider-swilling country bumpkins – the effect is ludicrously laughable rather than atmospheric. Worse still, these characters cannot be interacted with, conversed with or fought with. It is a flaw and spoils the role playing flavour.

Gripes aside, Ishar 3 is still recommended. Especially if you are a fan of either of the previous incarnations. The same criticism applies to the actual mechanics of the gameplay – most of your time is spent traipsing around looking for fights to gain money before you can access the meat of the game in the form of puzzle solving and evil monster beating. But, if that is the sort of thing you like, then Ishar 3 delivers brilliantly.
Steve McGill

Amiga Format, Issue 63, September 1994, p.p.58-59

ISHAR 3
PROGRAMMERS
Silmarils
PUBLISHER
Daze Marketing 071-328 2762
PRICE
£32.99
RELEASED
Out now

Ishar 3 needs 1 Meg to run

GRAPHICS
08 out of 10
Familiarity makes the heart grow fonder. The graphics are still lush and lovely to look at.

SOUND
06 out of 10
Functional. Nothing to wax lyrical about. Combat could be a bit more bashy and clangy.

ADDICTION
06 out of 10
RPGers and Ishar fans will find Ishar 3 addictive. Others may find the travelling time irksome.

PLAYABILITY
06 out of 10
Trudging around continually becomes tedious. Combat needs overhauling in this instance.

VERDICT
"A miasmic mish mash of apocryphal Tolkiesm, cut and paste plagiarism, hack and slash institutionalism and engagingly evil endeavours."
72%


Alle guten Rollis sind drei?

Ishar 3 logo

Was „Eye of the Beholder” recht war, kann der französischen Abenteuergilde von Silmarils nur billig sein: Zum dritten Mal in Folge ruft man nun die Recken ins ferne Fantasyreich Kendoria.

Ishar 3 Voriges Jahr trieb um diese Zeit der ruchlose Shandar sein Unwesen, bis ein tapferes Heldenquintett ihm schließlich die letzte Ölung verpaßte. Vermutlich war es aber bloß Salatöl, denn zumindest der Geist der Chaos-Mönchs hat überlebt und will nun vom Körper des Drachen Wohratax Besitz ergreifen. Der Rachefeldzug kann im Augenblick der „Großen Konjunktion“ beginnen, und diese spezielle Sternenkonstellation steht kurz bevor. Eile tut also not, und auch ein paar Zeitreisen könnten der guten Sache dienlich sein...

Offenbar hatten es jedoch auch die Programmierer eilig, was zumindest den ersten Exemplaren der Verkaufsversion nicht eben dienlich war: Mit unserem A600 wollte das Spiel partout nicht zusammenarbeiten, und die Install-Routine ist trotz eines entsprechenden Passus im Manual nur ein nutzloses Relikt der Arbeit an der kommenden AGA-Version! Es kann also nur von Diskette gespielt werden, was aufgrund der häufigen und langwierigen Nachladerei weitere Sympathie kostete. Zwar haben die Hersteller für die A1200-Besserung versprochen, doch werden wir um ein paar Punktabzüge wohl kaum herumkommen – so viel Schlamperei kann und darf nicht durchgehen. Schade, denn grundsätzlich hätte das atmosphärische Game Besseres verdient:

Wie von den Vorgängern gewohnt, rekrutiert man seine Party aus dem vor allem in Tavernen eingelagerten Heldenpool, kann hier jedoch erstmalig auch eigene Schlagetots basteln. Schlagetots (ersatzweise auch fähige Zauberer) sollten es allerdings schon sein, denn die Feinde zeigen sich diesmal gleich zu Anfang von einer ausgesprochen rauhen Seite. Gut, daß man seine Jungs und Mädels taktisch geschickt aufstellen und dann per Icon-Klicks bequem durch die Echtzeit-Fights lotsen kann – weniger gut, daß die Magier beim hektischen Spell-Prügeln schon mal etwas ins Schwitzen kommen. Die knackigen Rätsel sind gleichfalls in mehr als einer Beziehung eine Herausforderung, mangelt es ihnen manchmal doch ein wenig an Logik.

Die 3D-Optik aus Partysicht ist auch so eine Sache. Zwar kann die Amiga-Grafik nicht mit der PC-Version konkurrieren, doch gefällt sie ein ganzes Stück besser als im bläßlichen „Ishar 2“. Die meisten Bildbestandteile wurden digitalisiert und dann geschickt nachbearbeitet. Den feinen Sounds kann man wie bei Silmarils üblich nichts nachsagen, und auch die Maus/Keyboard-Steuerung steht weitgehend jenseits von kritik. Die erwähnten Mankos lasses es für AGA-Amigos dennoch ratsam erscheinen, auf die Spezialversion zu warten; allen anderen muß halt ein Probelauf vor dem Kauf genügen. (jn)

Amiga Joker, October 1994, p.18

ISHAR 3
(SILMARILS)
3D-ROLLENSPIEL
68%
"ABENTEUERLICH"
Amiga Joker
GRAFIK
ANIMATION
MUSIK
SOUND-FX
HANDHABUNG
DAUERSPAß
75%
61%
76%
74%
63%
66%
FÜR KÖNNER
PREIS DM 89,-
SPEICHERBEDARF
DISKS/ZWEITFLOPPY
HD-INSTALLATION
SPEICHERBAR
DEUTSCH
1 MB CHIP-RAM
5/JA
EMPFEHLNSW.
SPIELSTÄNDE
KOMPLETT


Ishar 3 logo

Thrice upon a time sounds just a bit daft, doesn’t it?

Game: Ishar 3
Runs on: A500, A600, A1200
Publisher: Daze
Author: Silmarils
Price: £33
Release: Out now

Ishar 3 S o Ishar 3 is an RPG then. For those of you who missed the first two (Ishar I and II), it is all set on a distant planet in the kingdom of Ishar, which is all a bit sword and sorcery based and not really ripped off from Tolkien books at all. Nope, no way. The bad bloke is some old gadgy called Shandar, but if you were successful in Ishar 2, you will have killed him. Unfortunately for the good people of Ishar, death simply is not a big enough stumbling block for Shandar, who now plans not only to reincarnate himself, but to use the body of the immortal Black Dragon Wohratax, the last of his species and the hardest hombre on the face of the planet. But as we all know, reincarnation can only take place when the planets are in alignment, which gives you a short time to thwart his evil plans.

ZZZZZZZZ
Fantasy plotlines huh? They get me every time. What is wrong with going out on a limb occasionally? What is wrong with steering away from the typically sad, jaded, overused clichés of the fantasy genre? Ishar 3 features time gates which hurtle you into the past, but since the past just consists of jungles and forests instead of mediaeval cities, it is hardly groundbreaking stuff. From the very start, Ishar 3 is packed with generic, non-specific fantasy pap, from orcs and elves to dragons and cute girls in leather bikinis. Oh dear.

You can attempt to stop Shandy turning into Weetabix in several ways. If you have played the previous games and got attached to your team, then you can use them. If you fancy bursting into pubs and shouting “I am going to save the world! Who will aid me on my quest?” then you can generate a single character and pick up the rest en route, but if you fancy an easy life, you can conjure up an entire team of five adventurers from the very start.

Despite the torrent of criticism that is about to erupt from my word processor, there is no getting away from the fact that Ishar 3 looks great. From the deepest dungeons to the streets of the city and the paths of the forest, it all looks gorgeous. The streets look lived in, the jungles look jungly and all the incidental characters pout and pose in perfect digitised glory. I will say it once again so you are left in absolutely no doubt - Ishar 3 looks great.

Ishar 3 GRRRRRR
However…
I hated it from approximately 20 minutes after I started playing it, and for each and every minute of the long and tortuous hours that dragged by afterwards. For a start, going into any building in the city involves disk swapping, and the game does not recognise a second drive (Instant arbitrary percentage penalty – Kangaroo Court Judge). To add insult to injury, you have to press Return once you have put the disk in, which I found out after I’d wandered off to make a cup of tea and came back to find I still had to sit and listen to the drive whirr away. You cannot install it on the hard drive either. Grrrrrr.

The game is certainly massive, but also for the most part empty, resulting in miles and miles of fruitless wanderings. Quite often you bump into characters who do not speak, do not move and don’t do anything at all really. You cannot buy things off them and you cannot hit them, so what is the point? They are just scenery.

The city forms only one of five giant locations, but it takes literally days of game time to get from one side to the other. This could be blamed on the control system (coming up in a bit) but it is mainly the stupidly compressed day/night cycle. Every few minutes real time, the sun sets and the night begins, and of course all the interesting places to visit are shut at night. Terrific. It is sort of like battling great hardship to arrive finally at the library in Alexandria (intellectual centre of the Hellenic empire from 323BC) and being told it is half-day closing.

You view the action from a first person perspective, which in many cases is a good idea. It works for Battlezone it works for flight sims and it even works for Trick Or Treat, our coverdisk game from AP 39. in my humble opinion, it does not work for Ishar 3. Or rather, the view works, but the movement does not. There is not any animation involved, so you jump from one static shot to another one 25 feet down the trail, and if you turn you get a completely new view. With your direction shown only by a small compass, it is horribly easy to get lost even with the map.

The combat is equally dire. You just click on an icon to make a team member swipe and watch splots appear on you or the enemy. Since your attacks are a curious yellow, it looks like some kind of flan fight to death, only not as interesting.

You will have guessed that I am not particularly taken by this one then. Adventure games are all about immersion in a strange and alien world, and this one does not do it for me. There is all manner of stuff that could well excite a hardened adventure gamer, but it is implemented so boringly and with such a creaky old game engine that I find it hard to believe myself. Certain team members won’t get on for example, and if you decide to kill them off, this could well lead to further internecine strife, but to get this kind of interesting in-fighting, you have got to be enthralled in the game world, and I never got that far. Ultima Underworld and Doom on the PC – now they are adventure games. Flashback, Worlds of Legend and Monkey Island on the Amiga – top adventure games each and every one. Ishar 3 does not even come close.
CAM WINSTANLEY

Amiga Power, Issue 41, September 1994, p.p.51-52



"Use the body of the immortal"




"Stop shandy turning into Weetabix"


Upper UPPERS It looks great, it runs quickly, and it is compatible with the previous Ishar (Ishar I and II) titles.
Downer DOWNERS Ignores external and hard drives, rambling, empty levels, pathetic combat system, minimal interaction with other characters, clichéd plotline and little or no enjoyment gained from playing it.

THE BOTTOM LINE
I find it hard to believe that people are still into this uninspired fantasy dross. If you are, you are going to be a bit more tolerant to this game, but there is no getting away from its ageing game engine, vacuous plot and empty levels. Even cutting it a bit of slack, it only rates...
50

P E R C E N T

THE BOTTOM LINE

A1200 There is an A1200 version out in late September that will be exactly the same but hard disk installable and with 256 colours. Unfathomably, it will also be two quid more. And no, we won’t be reviewing it.



Ishar 3 logo  CU Amiga Screen Star

"Ishar tea all right?" as they say up North. Or perhaps not. Whatever the case, Silmarils have created yet another in the mighty trilogy of adventure games, and Tony Dillon has finished all his greens, so he gets to review it.

I Ishar 3 absolutely loved the original Ishar games. The lush forests and busy cities of Ishar and Ishar 2 generated the kind of atmosphere and environment that made me want to keep playing over and over again. So, I just couldn't wait to get my hands on the latest Ishar game.

THIRD COURSE
Ishar 3 is the third and final part of the mammoth French trilogy, and some may need a little recap just to set the scene so far. In the original Ishar, you had to fight to keep the Kingdom of Kendoria safe from the evil wizard who was trying to overthrow the king and rule the land. If you made it through that one, then in the second one you took part in a daring raid against the Wizard Shandar, in a perilous adventure over land and sea which eventually destroying the Wizard in his own castle.

Or did it? After all, if he did actually die, then surely there wouldn't be room for another sequel, would there? If you haven't already heard, Shandar is alive and well and waiting to wreak his revenge, albeit without an actual physical presence to carry it out with. Long before he passed away, Shandar created a spell that would allow his vital energy and consciousness to survive and adapt after the destruction of his original body. Now he has found a new body to inhabit, one that will make him the biggest threat the world has ever seen. He has chosen to inhabit the body of Wohratax – the last surviving Great Black Dragon.

According to local legend, the Black Dragons were used by the evil armies when they challenged the white knights some 2,000 years before this game. The battles got greater and created more and more casualties, until the great war itself happened and all the Black Dragons were destroyed, with the exceptions of Wohratax himself. In reward for his victory, Wohratax was crowned Lord Of Sith, and given the gift of Invincibility. No wonder that Shandar wants to get his hands on him really!

There is a tiny flaw in the plan, however, and this is where you come into the game. You have to step in and destroy the dragon before Shandar can take over Wohratax's mind. This changeover of minds between Shandar and Wohratax can only happen during the planetary conjunction of the two moons, the sun and the planet Ishar. So you have to make sure that you destroy the dragon before this happens.

If there is one thread that has carried through the Ishar games since Crystals Of Arborea, it is the fact that in each successive adventure, Silmarils take the travelling element a little further. In Ishar, you were restricted to walking around a single large island. In the sequel, you travelled around all the islands on the planet, sailing between each whenever you had finished the puzzles and problems each island had to give you. In this sequel to the sequel, you travel in time between the islands, popping backwards and forwards through time gates to be in the right place at the right time. As you can well imagine, this adds a lot of variety to the game, putting you in all sorts of strange locations against all manner of unusual opponents, from oversized spiders and bees to tigers, zombie guards and, interesting enough, real people!

You will have already noticed from the screenshots dotted around this review that Silmarils have really gone to town on the visuals for Ishar 3. Coming on six disks, there are far more graphics in the game than ever before, and as a result the realistic effect the previous two have generated has been increased ten fold. Take the major city, for example. In most games of this ilk, all locations look more or less the same, or if you're lucky, certain parts of the city will look different to others, if only because the buildings are a slightly different shade of red. In this game however, every single location has its own flavour, and the city actually looks and feels like a real city. You can actually recognise locations fairly easily, and once you've walked around it couple of times, you'll know your way like a native.

THE CAT ON THE MAP
Ishar 3 Ishar 3 contains an extremely useful map facility, enabling you to cut out all the usual aimless wandering and lets you get on with just solving the adventure. When you arrive in a city, you can view a complete street plan of the place, with absolutely none of the major buildings and locations marked. As you visit places, coloured arrows appear to show you where taverns, inns, shops and other important places can be found. Carry out a thorough search of the city and you'll never be more than a couple of streets away from the equivalent of a Seven-Eleven shop.

Going back to the graphics, one of the major enhancements is the use of actors to make up the inhabitants of the city. Although the well-drawn fantasy figures of the last couple of games did the job perfectly well, Silmarils have gone a little further and actually photographed people in costume, which just makes the game look all the more realistic. When you enter someone's house, you actually watch a real person talk to you, instead of another 32 colour barbarian or wizard. Of course, to do this those loveable French rogues have had to try and define the dress fashions of the city, and I can't honestly say they've done the best job they could have. Muscle-bound barbarians stand next to what can only be described a woman dressed in Elizabethan garb, and the image just doesn't quite work. The dogs and horses work well though.

As far as the game itself goes, there have been few enhancements from the last one. Anyone who can play Ishar 2 will feel instantly at home with this as it contains all the same controls and icons as the last. There are some who will say that this is just more of the same, but as far as I'm concerned Ishar 2 was such a great game, there isn't a need to change anything about the controls. Why fix what isn't broken?

At the end of the day, this is a great game. All the right elements of the last two games have been kept, the plot has been improved and the game looks simply incredible. I'm sure that adventure nuts will go just as mad over this one as they have done over the last two.

CU Amiga, August 1994, p.p.66-67

WHERE'S THE PARTY PEOPLE?
Unlike the original two Ishar games, Ishar 3 gives you a lot more control over who you have in your party. Instead of starting with a single preset character, and then having to search the local inns and taverns to create your crew, you can just step into the party designer at the beginning of the game and create the team you want to have. You can define almost everything about your party, from character classes and professions, to how good each character is at various actions by splitting up a number of points between different characteristics. The only thing you can't define is their personality, and as the Ishar games are very much based on team spirit and personality, it is quite possible that you will create a team that just doesn't get on with itself!

SILMARILS £32.99
A500
A1500
A500+
A2000
A600
A3000
A1200
A4000
SILMARILS, 2 CANFIELD PLACE, LONDON NW6 3BT. TEL:071 328 2762
 
RELEASE DATE:
GENRE:
TEAM:
CONTROLS:
NUMBER OF DISKS:
NUMBER OF PLAYERS:
HARD DISK INSTALLABLE:
MEMORY:
 
JULY
RPG
IN HOUSE
MOUSE
X
1
YES
1Mb

 
GRAPHICS
SOUND
LASTABILITY
PLAYABILITY

96%
85%
92%
93%
Almost the perfect RPG. A 'must buy'.
OVERALL: 92%