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Review by: Pete Hines
Published: July 4, 1997
As Werner von Wallenrod you have been initiated into the order of the Dragon Knights. The only problem is Duke Eragg, one of the other Dragon Knights, is challenging your entry. To prove your worth and rightful place as a Dragon Knight, you must attend a jousting tournament several days from now. Your trip to this tournament is, of course, fraught with danger and obstacles, and once you make it, you find the story is still far from complete. Using your sword and your wits, you must lead young von Wallenrod to the city of Draconia, participate in the tournament, and find the legendary dragon, Maarach, to prove your worthiness.
The game uses a combination of first-person movement and combat interspersed with first and third-person animated sequences, which help tell the story. For example, whenever you choose a direction to move, the animated sequence takes over and the background scrolls by until you get to the next point, at which you must decide what to do next. The world is split up into these different points, so you won’t spend any time wandering around aimlessly. Ok, you can still wander around aimlessly (I did), but it will be much more limited. You won’t need to work as hard to find doors, paths, and other important locations because if your character doesn’t stop there as he is moving, it is not important.
All movement in the game is handled through your cursor. Clicking the right mouse button allows you to change the icon you are using. There are three main icons to use during the game: the “compass,” the hand, and the mouth. The compass has four directional arrows and is used to move throughout the game. On any given screen, the tips of the arrows will light up to indicate which way you can move or turn in that particular screen. If you can’t move or turn in one direction, the arrow’s tip will be dark for that direction.
The hand icon allows you to pick up things and interact with objects. The mouth starts a dialog with the different characters you will face along the way. Also, when you want to use an object, you pick it up out of your inventory and then place it over the object or person you want to use it on. For example, if you want to fill your gourd with water, take it out of your inventory and point it at the proper location in the stream to fill it.
Conversation is fairly linear. You will have several options of things you can say when you begin a conversation. Based on what you say, the character will respond. Usually, the conversations are pathways to the same result. However, you cannot just blurt out insults or threats without facing the consequences and there are several points in the game where your choice of words is very important.
The other important element of this game is combat. Fighting is pretty straightforward. The object in your left hand is used by clicking the left mouse button, the object in your right hand with the right mouse button. Usually, you will have a weapon in one hand and a shield in the other. You can use different types of attacks (e.g., thrusts, hacks) by moving the location of the cursor when you swing. Moving it to the side will cause your sword to slice across your opponent, while placing it directly over your enemy will allow you to thrust it directly at him.
You also have several spells at your disposal. Some can be used in combat, like protection (for you) and weakness (for them), while others are used for special purposes, like the read spell for translating strange runes. Along the way you can pick up other items and potions which will extend your abilities as magic user.
I do not want to give the impression that combat is the main focus of this game, because it isn’t. In fact, you can go a long way and only have a few battles. In essence, there are several things you need to do to move from one part of the game to the next. How much combat is involved is really up to you and your ability to quickly piece together the clues and move on.
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