Siege of Avalon Review
publisher: Digital Tome
developer: Digital Tome
P233, 32MB RAM
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Jul 19, 00 (released)
|» All About Siege of Avalon on ActionTrip|
Dusan "Lynx" Katilovic
Siege of Avalon is a well-known title amongst RPG fans. We are currently writing about it as the developer finally decided to publish it as a retail package on a CD, containing all six episodes. Just to remind you - The only way to play this game until now was to download it from its web site - the first episode was free and used for evaluation, and if you wanted to finish the entire adventure, you had to pay to be able to download the remaining five episodes.
The story begins with your arrival to Avalon, where you came to find your brother. But, alas, Avalon is in despair, being under siege by the evil Mirtha. Supplies and moral are slowly diminishing, and only a true hero could turn the course of history. So, in a flick of a wrist, you find yourself in the middle of an epic battle, both with your's and Avalon's destiny at stake, and you only wanted to visit your brother...
You will face this complex and continuous saga through numerous dialogues, combats and puzzles, and if you are good enough, you might just end it as a victor. The first chapter will introduce you to the history of the conflict you got involved into, and the general gameplay concepts. Chapters three to six are not essential for the basic plot, but they are all very interesting and fun to play. Chapters three, four and five, have been designed as a sort of an homage to each of the three classes (warrior, scout and mage, respectively) appearing in the game. Depending on the character class, you will get a certain number of side-quests; for instance, in the third chapter (warrior) you will get a quest to acquire three amulets by any means necessary, and if you do so you will be knighted.
The entire third chapter is focused on combat - fighting in the forests outside Avalon, you will encounter allies that will help you oppose the big bad Sha'ahoul, which turned inhabitants of Avalon into his slaves and is trying to prevent you from delivering an important message to a fortress in the woods.
Not all of us are born warriors, so I expect some will prefer playing the fourth episode, meant for people with a keen eye and a lot of patience. In this scouting mission, you will have to carefully explore the nearby village and find out what fiendish plan villainous Sha'ahoul devised against Avalon. And as you are already there, you might as well thwart it.
The fifth chapter is real refreshment, as it transports you to other worlds within the Astral Plane, like the icy Frosthelem, or the blazing Infernus. This is the most difficult chapter of all, but fortunately, some of the spells you will gather on the way are powerful enough to secure your way to success (like "mirror image", which creates three replicas of your character, and is essential for completing several quests).
Apart from the basic, campaign quests, you can also try to solve some of the side-quests, which will give you additional training points, used to improve you character's stats: strength, coordination, constitution, perception, charm, mysticism, combat and stealth. Training points can be distributed freely, which gives you a chance to fully customize your character.
As I already mentioned, one of the most important elements of the game are your dialogues with NPCs. If you want to fully experience this game, you will have to be very patient and concentrated - Siege of Avalon puts the plot and the dialogues before combat and exploration. The game uses a classical point-and-click interface, which is far from innovative, but definitely functional. The game is based on RPG books and stories dating from the time before we started playing RPGs on our computers and this can be seen by the way the story develops, and by the way the character perceives it... as the game progresses, your character will frequently update his journal, writing down his thoughts, and it can grow up to dozens of pages!
Siege of Avalon is a typical medieval CRPG with an isometric view and nice graphics. Characters and objects are small, but extremely detailed. The inventory has the already forgotten "paper doll" system, which makes your character look exactly the way you dress him up. You can only carry a limited amount of objects, so pay heed as to what you need and what you don't.
The programmers decided not to record voice-overs for characters, and to leave all dialogues in text-only mode. The upside of this method is that Siege of Avalon can be played on several languages, and the downside is the fact that it requires a lot (and I mean a LOT) of reading. Background music is basically good, but it can get tedious after some time. Sound effects are good, and become the general atmosphere.
In a way, Siege of Avalon is a beginners' course of RPG for newbies. Even though it has a great story, which is sufficiently complex and intriguing to keep you glued to the screen for hours, the game lacks depth we had a chance to see in Baldur's Gate. Its retro-look and episode concept will probably attract a large number of fans, especially from the ranks of older RPG players, who are able too appreciate an involving story and good puzzles more than eye-candy.
Interesting and complex plot;
Too much text to read, occasionally monotonous.
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