IFReviewed by Tom Zuchowski on 2006-05-14 09:37
MAIN PGM Version: 6.2 (heavily modified) with 7.0 database structure and lots of new goodies
Extra Commands: REMOVE, FILL, USE, EAT, SWITCH, WEAR, RESUME
Deleted Commands: BLAST, POWER, SPEED, WAVE Special Features: can READY artifacts in both hands; 2-game SAVE; can RESUME a saved game at any time; true distance fighting using a bow with real arrows; comprehensive SOLUTIONS program; detailed player instructions can be dumped to printer; 2-disk adventure; uses 7.0 ML search routines
Playing Time: 2-10 hours, depending on how much you use the SOLUTIONS program.
Reviewer Rating: 9.0
Description: Your people were nearly wiped out when they were driven from their homeland generations ago. Now, their numbers have grown, and many think that it is time to march and reclaim the homeland. But the coming battle is anything but certain, for the enemy is very formidable. A party must first recover the Staff of Retribution, a talisman of enormous power that was hidden by the priests when the final battle was fought outside the great temple named "Sanctuary". With this power, victory would be more assured.
So you find yourself leading the party, sneaking into enemy territory in a desperate bid to win entry into Sanctuary and then to try to discover where and how the Staff was hidden. But when you near the site, your entire band is wiped out in a surprise attack! You are the only survivor...but the Staff must be found!
Comment: Every time I think that Sam has peaked out, he comes up with something new that amazes me. With this adventure he again breaks new ground. Starting with the 'encumbrance' system that originally appeared in 'The Boy and the Bard', it has been greatly expanded into what Sam calls 'ACE': Advanced Combat & Encumbrance. ACE has many new features never seen before in Eamon. Among them is a combat system that takes distance into account--for example, you might be pinned down by enemy bowmen who you would have no choice but to shoot with arrows. You carry a quiver and must actually nock an arrow for each round (this isn't as inconvenient as it sounds, for there are several different types of magic arrows available).
There is TONS more Good Stuff. Surprise attacks are possible. You must brew your own healing potions. More magic than you can shake a stick at. Lots of sophisticated combat. Dozens of subtle puzzles. Sam buries you in clues; which are real and which are bogus? Most are real, but you will have to work it all out.
Hack'n'Slashers can pass this one by; even the combat requires careful thought: sword or bow? What kind of arrow? Is this thing supernatural? Is it charging? Omigod, what weapons do I have readied? A mindless approach will not give satisfactory results! And some of the puzzles are pretty complicated, though I found them all to be reasonable.
It's hard to judge the difficulty. The SOLUTIONS program gives you a progression of hints that work right up to outright solutions of each puzzle and trap. If you do it all yourself, it probably rates a (9) or (9.5) difficulty. If you use the hints, it of course drops considerably.
One hint: if you think that you have run across some typos or mapping screwups, the odds are pretty good that you haven't! I missed entry into a series of important puzzles because I made this mistake.
I can't decide if this is the best Eamon that Sam has ever done, but it is certainly a contender! Used with Matthew Clark's kind permition.
Original review available at Eamon Adventurer's Guild Online website.