It's a cult thing this Dungeons and Dragons lark. Pretending to be some muscle bound axe-
You create and guide six player-
The plot from hell
The plot? Well, you'd never guess but some evil, nasty, really very mean guy is hell bent on a bit of subjugation and revenge because well, he's just that kind of guy. Luckily there's a group of hardy brave adventurers for whom the idea of a body-
The first step is creating your party. You can import characters from the previous Secret of the Silver Blades or generate new ones. They start off tough with heaps of magic weapons. This is high level adventuring - not a Kobold in sight. You can adjust the character graphics, however they all end up looking crap.
You start off in this peaceful city of Phlan. Where you can wander around the town in terrible 3D graphics. If these get too much you can swap to a map mode that thoughtfully leaves out the location of the doors making it pointless. After a spot of spell memorising and shopping the adventure proper begins.
The ultimate goal is to defeat the three henchmen of Lord Bane, by teaming up with other characters, finding objects and killing - there's a lot of this. In fact the game soon turns into a constant round of battles. The puzzle solving and character interaction is very limited. It's just bash-hack-
The game is fought in a series of rounds, you give orders to each of your chaps in turn. They can fire bows, cast spells or just slash about with the old cold steel. The results are figured out and your fighter collapses in a hap or not as the case may be. These sections don't exactly inspire, which is a great pity since it's the largest part of the game. There are no sound effects at all- not even the odd sampled gurgle to add a little something.
It's not easy either, great mobs of assorted nasties attack from all sides, so be prepared for a few embarrassing 'party wipe out' situations. Luckily you can save your progress in-between levels.
The world of middle earth, with its gods, legends and magic is a rich and imaginative one. But this game manages to miss out all that goes straight in for a boring marathon session of fiddly fights. It's a game format as old as the hills and it really should stay there.
A few years ago you might have got away with it, now it just looks very amateur. The graphics add nothing to the atmosphere either. The characters are simply blocky affairs, some of the still pictures are good but otherwise it's not much to look at. Nothing much to listen to either, the whole game is played in silence. Unless you are an AD&D nut and relish the idea of anything that uses the official rules then this effort is a poor introduction to role-player games. Will Lord Bane bring evil and destruction to the land or will the brave adventurers prevail? Couldn't really care less.