IFReviewed by Tom Zuchowski on 2006-05-06 02:09
MAIN PGM Version: 6
Extra Commands: THROW, PULL
Deleted Commands: SAVE
Special Features: None
Playing Time: 2-3 hrs.
Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: "In the beginning, the gods called the Valar came into the world. Then other races were born. Among them were the Elves, wise and skillful. Their greatest smith, Feanor, created three gems--the Silmarils--which shone with the light of stars.
"But the Valar named Melkor took the Silmarils and fled to the North, and the Light of the World was diminished. From that day he was called Morgoth, the Black Enemy. He built a vast underground complex, and it was named Angband, the Iron Prison. Above Angband, he raised Thangorodrim, the Mountains of Tyranny. Morgoth made war on all that would not call him king. He set the Silmarils in an iron crown, and it never leaves his head.
"Now, the Final War is brewing. As the armies prepare for battle, you are summoned by Manwe, the king of the Valar. He tasks you to infiltrate Angband and retrieve the Silmarils. This is extremely dangerous, for Morgoth has a great host of monsters at his command. And none who have entered Angband have come out alive.
"You travel for days through forests until you come to the edge. In the distance you see Thangorodrim, and the entrance to Angband.
"May the Valar give you strength!"
Comment: As we all know, Sam cut his teeth in Eamon by adapting much of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth saga to Eamon. This adventure is Sam's adaptation of the Second Age story of Beren One-Hand, as it was recounted in "The Silmarillion". Naturally, much had to be changed to make an adventure out of it, but all of the primary characters are in place.
Castle Angband was a very dangerous place that was populated by very powerful denizens. Sam sought to duplicate the vast danger that was recounted in the original story. There are four or five friendly monsters and over 80 enemies. Many of the bad guys are demonic and have huge Hardiness numbers. To enhance the danger, Sam removed the SAVE command. Get it right or die.
Still, it's not an impossible adventure for a very strong character carrying a 'tactical nuke' class of weapon. I found it to be quite playable with a player hardiness of 25 and a 4D8 sword. And Sam scattered three healing potions around the castle. Everything that I drank healed me.
This is a savage "Hack'n'Slash" foray. While there are about a dozen locked doors, they are all easily opened once you find and dispatch the bad guy who has the key. There are a half-dozen secret passages, all revealed by LOOK.
I gave it a (10) for difficulty when I first played it some years ago. This high number comes from the heavy combat against very strong opponents, a couple of no-warning death traps, and the lack of a SAVE command. I found the replay for this review to be much easier, because I had my old map to guide me past the worst of it.
The high difficulty also had a lot of effect on my rating of the adventure. It has the kind of high-quality text and map that we have come to expect from Sam and might rate a 7 or 8 if it was more survivable.
This adventure comes from a period in which Sam strongly believed that a good adventure should require several replays before you win through. It is virtually certain that you will play it two or three times at the minimum. Make careful notes on your map of the locations of your friends, of important artifacts, and of the bad guys that can be avoided, and you will make it soon enough.
One hint: Though I found him to be killable by conventional means, Morgoth can be easily slain if you use the right command and artifact.
Used with Matthew Clark's kind permition.
Original review available at Eamon Adventurer's Guild Online website.