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Tower of souls logo  AGA

Cue the slushy music and listen to a tale from the murky and questionable past of Steve McGill, Caldonian game reviewer and ex-role playing gamer.

I Tower of souls n the beginning there was Dungeons And Dragons. The original rules were packaged in a handy, simple booklet that imparted all the necessary guidelines needed for a few imaginative (pre)adolescents to get together around a table, throw innumerable oddly shaped dice and consult multitudes of seemingly esoteric tables based on the results of the dice throwing.
To help in the imagination stakes, the gamers would invariably buy themselves little metal figures, paint them up, and then project the alter ego of their role playing character on to said metal figure.
The idea was a raging success, albeit coltishly at first, and the game soon expanded into Advanced Dungeons And Dragons which required the minimum of three books - The Dungeon Master’s Guide, The Player’s Handbook and The Monster Manual. Despite this expansion in scope imagination, the game stayed intrinsically the same. Players found that when they had become proficient at the rules, the most important element in making the game enjoyable was the plot driving the action.

Many Dungeon Masters just did not catch on to this fundamental premise for making their scenarios fun. Instead, they preferred to labour over the mechanical of the rules and inflict tedious dice rolling on players to accomplish the most mundane actions such as opening locked chests and finding secret doors. As such, only about 10 per cent of campaigns and dungeons were worth playing. The rest were, quite frankly, crap in the extreme and against the grain and spirit of the role playing genre.

So why I am telling you about all of this? Well, put simply, Tower Of Souls captures the essence of everything that was wrong with, and still is wrong with, role playing games in general and role playing computer games specifically.

To make any headway in the game you have to repeatedly and mechanically search and check just about every piece of dungeon or tower furnishing that you see on-screen. It leaves you feeling completely detached from the plot which, in this instance, is probably a good thing because Tower Of Souls is to eb brutally honest, the most tediously clichéd tale of wretchedness I have ever had the misfortune to read.

It is like the progeny of an Edwar Lear pem and a Tolkienesque tale that has had nonsense added to the fantasy and fantasy extracted from the nonsense. As such, you do not so much end up being bored with the game, as end up hating it. And that is a damning indictment of a game that othwerise is technically accomplished. Just like the tedious old Dungeon Masters eh?

Amiga Format, Issue 73, July 1995, p.52

TOWER OF SOULS

Publisher
Black Legend, through Kompart: 01438 840004

Price
£29.95

Versions
A1200/A4000

System requirements
2Mb

Release date
Out now

 
Graphics   8 out of 10
Looks wonderful. Would add to the atmosphere if there was any atmosphere to be added to.

Sound   7 out of 10
Technically competent. Able to stand up to any other game.

Addiction   3 out of 10
No, no, unless you are the worst kind of masochist it has no redeeming features.

Playability   4 out of 10
The engine makes for a playable game, but that means absolutely nothing.

Overall verdict
Considering the technical prowess of the programming, this game should be a lot more fun to play. Dear oh dear.

44%



Tower of souls logo  AGA

Price: £29.99   Publisher: Black Legend   01438 840004

Shiny swords, a dash of sorcery and a thoroughly nasty dragon. Hmm, wonder what type of game this is eh?

Tower of souls I n the land of Chaybore things have been sweeter than the smell of fresh flowers dancing happily in the spring breeze. I say had, because the crystals which protected the people of Chaybore have been taken by Baalhathrok – an evil demon. Using the crystals as a focus for his power, Baalhathrok opened a portal to his own dimension and built a fortress. The citizens of Chaybore began to struggle for survival as the fortress’ pumps sucked the goodness from the land. Things were not looking good then and the people of Chaybore could see no hope for the future. They had not counted on Treeac hower. Found by a hill farmer one night, the baby Treeac was the future saviour of Chaybore, as foreseen by Maylor, the prophet.

Enough, enough! The plot is the standard RPG fare then and you can probably guess the rest of the story, even if you do not torture yourself by reading through page after page of the seemingly never ending intro. So, as Treeac it is down to you to both destroy the life sucking pumps in Baalhathrok’s fortress (with the magic sword given to Treeac by the hill farmer), as well as finding and returning the missing crystals of Chaybore. Treeac can be played as either a out and out wizard or warrior, or more commonly a mixture of the two. Mixing the skills is a simple matter of moving sliding bars one way or t’ other, as in Gremlin Interactive’s Legacy of Sorasil for instance. Seven levels and a total of 125 map areas must be traversed, but the viewpoint is isometric rather than first person as in the majority of RPGs. This gives the game a similar look and feel to the Heimdall series, but although good the graphics are not in the same league as Core Design’s classics.

The seven crystals must be collected in order and once this is done Treeac can enter Baalhathrok’s lair and finish off the demon once and for all. As well as the magic sword there are 32 different spells available, each of which has five strengths and these can be cast at one of three levels. At the lowest level a spell can only be cast within an area in reach while at the highest level everything that covers even a distant area will be hit. An alchemy screen allows herbs, fungi and the like collected during Treeac’s travels to be mixed together to help create the full range of spells available.

Choose your weapons
Combat weapons can be found, some of which are much stronger than others, and with all the usual cronies which inhabit these mystical lands, thankfully armour can be found lying around too. Find and search some of the many hidden rooms if you want to discover the best equipment on offer in the game. Other than the numerous enemies, puzzles and locked doors do their best to slow you down. Some puzzles are very brain draining, but a rather nifty lock picking feature makes battling your way past any lock gratifying.

Tower of souls At the end of the day
As RPGs go, Tower of Souls is easy to get to grips with. The control system deserves special praise. No longer do you have to click on a grid or direction icon to move. Strolling around the play rea is simply a case of moving the mouse to wherever you want Treeac to move to. Place the cursor over Treeac and he will stop. Combat is initiated by moving the cursor over the character you wish to fight and clicking on the left mouse button. Other controls are handled by clicking on the right mouse button and moving the hand cursor to the icons displayed across the bottom of the screen.

Sadly the gameplay is not so praiseworthy, but this is more of a reflection on a tired genre than the game itself. Even so fighting is a rather hack and slash affair, with not enough of the strategy or turn based action found in the majority of RPGs, while the puzzles are the bland ‘the route is blocked so find the hidden doorway’ variety. The isometric display can also prove confuding at times. Despite some novel ideas like the control system and the alchemy screens Tower of Souls feels lacklustre. If you are a D&D fiend then you will probably get a few week’s fun out of this but itf not take Celine Dion’s advice and ‘think twice’ before purchasing. Ho ho.

CU Amiga, June 1995, p.52

TOWER OF SOULS £29.99
A500

A500+

A600

A1200

A1500

A2000

A3000

A4000


 

workbench version: 3.0+

number of disks: 5

RAM: 2 MB+

hard disk installable: Yes
 

graphics

sound

lastability

playability
 

84%

72%

72%

73%
 

OVERALL
Competent but unenthralling RPG.
 
72%


Tower of souls logo  CD32

In der letzten Ausgabe wußte Black Legends Mixtur aus "Heimdall" und "Darkmere" bereits auf Diskette sehr gut zu gefallen, doch auf Silber ist dieses Iso-Abenteuer wahrlich Gold wert!

Tower of souls Im Fantasyreich Chaybore ist der Teufel im Gestalt des Dämons Baalhatrok los: Das Biest hat sich in einem Turm verschanzt und produziert dort mit seinen sieben Monstermaschinen unentwegt Unholde, die es auf die Bevölkerung hetzt. Um den Seelenfrieden der Einheimischen wieder herzustellen, muß der Spieler nun in Gestalt des Helden Treeae alle 125 Locations des sieben Stockwerke hohe Gemäuers nach sieben versteckten Zauberkristallen abgrasen, denn sie allein können die furchtbaren "Totokopierer" zerstören.

Der heldenhafte Seelsorger wird zunächst in einem kleinen Charaktermenü wahlweise mit mehr magischen oder kämpferischen Fähigkeiten ausgestattet, sein Weg wird dann per Automapping kartographiert. Bis der Wurm im Turm eliminiert ist, bekommt man abwechslungsreich gestaltete 3D-Räumlichkeiten zu sehen, die teils bildweise umschalten, teils aber auch supersoft in alle Richtungen scrollen. Allerorten sind hier teilanimierte Feuerspeier, rotierende Stachelräder, Nagelböden und ähnliche Fallen postiert, aber als Ausgleich lassen sich in zahlreichen Vasen und Truhen hilfreiche Utensilien (Nahrung, Heiltränke, Kräuter, Rüstungen etc.) finden. Um die Kisten sowie die vielen Tore und Geheimtüren zu öffnen, benötigt man allerdings stets entweder den passenden Schlüssel, den mitgeführten Dietrichsatz oder Gehirnschmalz zum Knacken der Zahlenschlösser.

Amiga Joker Hit Hinzu kommt, daß den Fußböden der meisten Räume unentwegt kampflustige Skelette, Vögel oder Insekten entsteigen, solange die Monstermangel der jeweiligen Etage noch arbeitet. Daher bedarf es schon etwas Übung, um Treeac blitzschnell in die beste Angriffsposition zu drehen und den Unholden in Echtzeit mit dem mitgeführten Schwert einen neuen Scheitel zu ziehen. Noch aufwendiger gestaltet sich der Einsatz von Magie, denn zwar gibt es da vier Kategorien mit jeweils 32 Zaubersprüchen, diese müssen aber einzeln mittels einer komplizierten Maschinerie (für die ein eigenes Bild eingeblendet wird) aus etlichen Kräutern und Tränken recht mühevoll zusammengemixt werden. Der Lohn sind schlagkräftige Argumente wie Feuerbälle, Blitze oder Tiefkühl-Spells, die dann einfach per Button aktiviert werden.

Die Unterschiede zur AGA-Diskversion beschränken sich zwar auf den Sound, doch sorgt gerade die komplett neue und in Molltönen Akustik für eine dramatische Atmosphäre. Da sich auch die Pad-Steuerung bald als handlich-präzise erweist und die vor liebevoll gezeichneten Details und guten Animationen geradezu überbordende Grafik von jeher zu gefallen wußte, kann man abenteuerlustigen Aktionisten diese Scheibe wirklich nur empfehlen – egal, ob sie ein CD32 oder einen AGA-Rechner mit CD-ROM besitzen! (md)

Amiga Joker, September 1995, p.?

DER SEELENTURM
(BLACK LEGEND)
ACTION-ADVENTURE
85%
"SEELENWANDERUNG"
Amiga Joker
GRAFIK
ANIMATION
MUSIK
SOUND-FX
HANDHABUNG
DAUERSPAß
81%
76%
88%
84%
77%
86%
FÜR FORTGESCHRITTENE
PREIS DM 69,-
CD
EINGABEMEDIUM
SPEICHERBAR
DEUTSCH
PAD/STICK
CODES
KOMPLETT