Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Neat, scrolly landscapes that help you believe you’re actually travelling through Esteria. Not too repetitive, even though the play area is large. Effective use of lighting effects in the mines. Many of the minor monsters are not very convincing.
Jolly, friendly tunes play all the while, but don't help the atmosphere. Simplistic spot effects do little to help the cause
A huge area to explore, with some really tricky twists and turns every now and then! But maybe a bit too tricky... sometimes you have to bump into things by accident!
Simple save game position makes it easy to keep going when the going gets tough. Very little tedious wandering around - lots of action. And the urge to gather gold and get better equipment is strong.
An absorbing and straightforward introduction to going questing on the Sega. Keep your S back issues handy while you play, though!
The island Kingdom of Esteria is having serious problems - not only have the silver mines just about run out of silver, but a real mean sorcerer by the name of Dark Dekt is working very hard to achieve total domination over the land and its people.
Many years ago the Kingdom was protected from the forces of evil by the Goddesses of Ys, a friendly bunch of deities who had to leave suddenly, but wrote down all the good magic they knew in six books before they departed. These six books, crammed full of protective spells, are Esteria’s last hope. If the wicked Dark Dekt get his hands on them, then it’s doom and gloom for the rest of eternity. Should a bright young swordsman manage to find them first and hand them over to the people... well, things would be wonderful again.
Enter hunky swordsman Aron Christian, would-be hero and star of this quest.
(Image caption) Attacking one of Dark Dekt's minions in the palace.
Three books lay hidden in the Tower of the Doomed, and three books have been scattered across the land. Your mission, now that you have chosen to accept it, is to explore the fields and villages of Esteria and hunt through the abandoned silver mine and the temple to find the first three volumes. Only then can you enter Dark Dekt’s inner sanctum in search of the other three books that make up the set.
The basic mode of play doesn’t demand too much joystick dexterity - the hero stomps around the locations quite happily with touches on up, down, left and right and scrapping with one of the wandering monsters couldn’t be simpler - just bump into it, pointy sword to the fore. Energy bars show the relative strengths of the hero and his foe -and the advantages of a bit of shopping down at the armourer’s are quickly made plain. With the basic combat gear, even the weakest monsters are very difficult to kill, but tool up a bit and Aron gets into tank mode.
It’s difficult to get rich (and therefore difficult to get the weapons you really need) just by topping the wandering nasties - in the early levels, you get between 2 and 14 gold pieces a kill, and it takes a lot of spilt monster blood to buy a decent sword, let alone a suit of armour. Serious money can be earned from the locals by doing deals - finding lost valuables and returning them, for instance.
It’s a ‘Shopping and Killing’ interactive novel, really. Getting and using more powerful armour and weapons increases the hero’s offensive and defensive strengths, and killing enemies and achieving certain objectives builds experience points. The more strength and experience Aron has, the higher his personal level and the more hit points he can take before expiring.
Chatting to friendly villagers can yield useful clues and hints as to how to achieve the tasks that are vital to success. And don’t forget to visit the folks who stay indoors - the shopkeepers and other pillars of the community.
(Image caption) I dunno, these women - always wanting something!
Some items are immediately useful - like swords, shields, armour and magical rings; others need to be carried around in your inventory until they become useful in a specific situation. A simple command window allows you to keep track of inventory, pick out items to use, check on Aron’s status and load and save game positions.
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