Questron 2 logo

Dave Eriksson answers a sterling call to arms, saving worlds, tackling a graphic interface and offering hints for the toughest games

The latest fantasy role playing game to reach us is Questron II from SSI, distributed over here by US Gold. Those who enjoyed the Ultima or Phantasie adventures will find this to be in a similar vein. Questron I (CBM 64) had you fighting to save the land from an evil wizard, Mantor, and his use of the Evil Book of Magic. In that long drawn out struggle you were aided by the King's chief wizard Mesron.

In Questron II, Mesron recalls you to continue the fight against Mantor. The Evil Book cannot be destroyed, and he fears that Mantor will return and tap its power. You re sent back through time and space to ensure that the book was never created.
This sets up a fascinating paradox. To give you magical aid, you carry the Evil Book with you.

The screen displays countryside towns and tombs in plan view. Dungeons are shown in 3D. To the left of the main display is an action menu and status report with comments on the four lines at the bottom of the screen.

You start with 15 points for your five main attributes - charisma, strength, agility, stamina and intelligence. These will be modified as you become wiser to the ways of Questron.

Mouse or keyboard commands are simple to master. The main menu offers a choice of: Arm (choice of weapon), Board, Climb, Dismount, End Game (save character), Fight, Game Speed, Inventory, Load Game, Magic, Loot, Speak, Use Item, Wear and Examine.

As you move the screen scrolls showing areas of the country. There are a number of towns. Most of them sell food - which has to be bought fairly often - weapons and armour, which come into their own later in the game. In some towns you may buy hit points, spells and different types of transport ranging from horses and llamas to ships and eagles.

Money is important and the two main sources are killing monsters or gambling. Casinos offer three games: High-Low, Blackjack or Wizard's Squares. A cool head, careful strategy and a strong will (leave while you are winning) can make you rich.

I would recommend an early visit to the nearest casino and a few games of Blackjack, saving your character each time you double your money. After this, check around the countryside so you know where things are and talk to everyone you can.

Your first quest must be to find the Hall of Visions in Redstone Castle. Here Mesron will contact you and give you a hint what to do next.
There are three cathedrals on this continent of Landor, under one of which is a system of tombs. Explore them thoroughly.

You may loot from any chests you find, but guards will try to kill you. Before you take them on make sure you have plenty of offensive spells.

Different monsters are to be found in the grasslands, swamps, oceans, forests, mountains and dungeons. Some of the traveling creatures are not immediately hostile. Meet one and ou may be offered information or equipment at a knock down price.

When you have reached a certain point in your quest you will be able to travel across the sea to the Realm of the Sorcerers. Deep below one of the dungeons six evil twisted men are helping Mantor create The Book. You must destroy them and the incomplete book.

The dungeons are rife with traps. By this time you should be bright enough to spot them. Then all you have to worry about are the monsters that creep up from behind. Look out for the Scroll of Scalna - with its help you can map the twists and turns of any dungeon.

There are lots of things to find and use and all have some significance. Return to the Hall of Visions at regular intervals as Mesron may have something of importance to tell you.

All those physical types that delight in going off into the great blue yonder should polish their boots and oil that sword, for Mesron needs a hero. Just remember, get as much gold as you can, never talk to the guards and leave looting those chests until you are sure of yourself.


Questron 2 logo

SSI/US Gold, Amiga £24.99

Well, spit in my billy-goat's eye if this isn't another RPG that's been around on the 64 for a mega long time. That hard-hatted Phillippa woman gave it 81% last summer, probably just around the time when six gnomes on their way to a garden convention decided to shelter under my bridge. Dead good banquet, that.

Er... yeah, right. Let's do a recap of what this here story's all about. Back in the good old days when evil was allowed to run unchecked in Landor, six mad sorcerers got together to produce a very nasty book - a magic book, to be precise. All you have to do is go back in time and make sure it's never created. Easy, eh?

The action is displayed with full overhead view pretty much Ultima-style except that you only ever control one character and all your options (fight, climb, use magic, loot, wear, etc) are always displayed on screen. Basically, you leg it round a countryside of swamps, forests and mountains bashing some pretty ugly monsters (vipods, mutant carps, stink worms, jelly nymphs) and looking for food. Towns (where you can gamble, buy food, spells and a whole load of other gadgi items), cathedrals, tombs and 3D dungeons are dotted around the place - but your main, well-hard mega-objective is to get to the Hall of Visions for a bit of advice.

Nose

Easier said than done, that. For a start, you haven't got a map (though it's not difficult to make your own) and worse still, it's pretty hard going if you try and fight everything right from the word go. The more puzzles you solve, the higher your character rating, the more advanced magic, weapons (fancy things like a fauchard, whatever that is) and means of transport (llama, ships, eagle) you can buy.

Trouble is, you may not survive that long. Your best plan (apart from to stop for a slime-break and a fried lizard leg) is to suss out which creatures are easy to kill and get the hell out of it when any other appear. Oh yeah - and buying information out of the odd, helpful, friendly troll might do you a bit of good. After some of the portrayals of trolls we've had in recent games, I'm pretty chuffed at these; they even got the colour right - a very fetching shade of green. Luverly.

Whaddaya think of it so far then? Sounds pretty much like Ultima IV. Not exactly, Ashley (he's my pet fly). For a start, the fighting and speaking options are pretty limited (just bash and listen) and they could have included at least a basic map. I could have tangoed to a bit more sound as well. Minimal spot effects aren't much when you've got all those bits of wire soldered together inside the Amiga so you can have loadsa notes.

Still, the graphics aren't 'arf bad for an RPG and all that bashing, munching and trading does get pretty addictive - especially if you cheat (I did hur, hur, take a look at the Vale Of Hope). Once you've got into the puzzles (which might take up an afternoon's lizard hunt) it really starts to get froody. OK, so it's not the most involved RPG you've ever seen, but it is good fun. And I can tell you, after a week of bile and stomach bug down under Ludlow Bridge, you can forget about gnome pavlova, billygoat pie and lizard stew - it's fun that really counts. Er... Burp...