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Review by: Nick Stewart
Published: February 9, 2000
As mankind emerges into the new millennium, unnecessary complexity and superficial detail seem to be the order of the day. We surround ourselves with electronic devices that we don’t need, luxuries that we can’t afford, and responsibilities that we don’t want. As computer gaming traditionally evolves alongside the society that feeds it, it too has taken to be filled with heightened complexity. While this occasionally nurtures the industry and helps it to grow as a whole, it also has been used by the less ambitious to satisfy deadlines or to ride the coattails of a burgeoning niche. With this in mind, it is satisfying to find a title such as Silver that professes to carry itself with alternating detail and simplicity.
Set in the classic fantasy era of swords and sorcery, Infogrames’ offering is a re-telling of the ancient tale of an evil and oppressive emperor called Silver, who quite naturally has plans to control the world. However, in a mysterious step, he orders his captains to travel the land of Jarrah to capture all women of marrying age. This grievous offense does not go unnoticed by the love-struck male citizens of the land, least of all on the small island of Verdante. The majority of the enraged men form a motley group to chase after the captured women and to combat the evil that is Silver. A man by the name of David, however, unaware of the group, decides to track down and recover his fiance Jennifer without any extraneous help. After being taught a quick lesson in combat by his beloved Granddad, he sets off with his elder in tow to see to it that justice is met. It is not long before David learns the true nature of Silver’s scheme, as well as the means to his undoing. In order to acquire sufficient power to defeat his dangerously potent enemy, David must collect eight magical orbs that have been scattered across the land and lost through the ages. In typical RPG form, Silver requires the orbs for his own purposes, and thus sends his vast army to put a stop to David’s righteous quest.
Whether he’s fighting back invaders in the tempestuous coastal town of Rain or attempting to close a portal to the underworld while fending off hordes of murderous imps, David’s journey exposes him to a myriad of locales and personalities. In what would seem to be a nod to its Japanimation influences, towns and people are attributed simplistic yet appropriate names. For example, the aforementioned town of Rain is at all times subjected to rain storms, the city of Winter is a constant maelstrom of ice and cold, and your old grandfather is simply called Granddad. Despite the basic appellations of its inhabitants, the world of Jarrah is a diverse, sprawling environment, complete with a broad range of voice-acted characters with which David can talk and even adventure with if they are so inclined. On his path of vengeance and retribution, David will have the opportunity to sign up Sekune, a sharp-tongued archer, Vivienne, a capable and fiery warrior, Jug, an axe-wielding mammoth of a man, and Cagen, a martial arts-oriented monk, among others. Each of these brings their own set of specialized skills and abilities to the table, which can be used to a certain degree for strategic planning. At one moment, David may require the services of a long-range defender such as Sekune, while at others a close-up powerhouse like Jug might be of better use. Any character may use any weapon available to the group, although the disparity in their skills will visibly affect their ability to inflict any degree of noticeable damage with a weapon that does not complement their abilities.
While he will eventually require the skills of others to survive, David’s own skills are sufficiently diverse that he can hold his own against the throngs of Silver’s minions. A game that seems to pride itself on its supposed simplicity of use must keep the basic elements as bare as possible, and the character statistics comply to this mindset. Each individual, controllable personality is graced with the classic RPG stats of wisdom, strength, constitution, and so on. There is, however, no experience system, and characters only raise in level after defeating a particularly tricky boss monster in combat. Even though each character within the party at the time of the creature’s defeat receives a boon to their vital statistics, the player cannot decide where to allot the extra points. Rather, the points’ distribution are pre-determined by the character’s specialty, and so Jug, being a staunch warrior, will receive a bonus to his strength upon going up a level. This system renders statistical management as simple as possible, although it comes across as an over-simplification.
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