Pool of Radiance

RPG 1988 Dos Dosbox SSI Fantasy First person

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A relic worth a revisit

From the get-go you have to be worn. If you're a master of current gen RPGs, this game will feel alien and absolutely hard to play. But, if you're willing to cut it some slack, you will embark on a journey like no other. You see, Pool of Radiance is a game that is the first of a series of 4, all built on versions of the Gold Box engine, engine which was even used to build the entrails of the first graphic MMO ever - Neverwinter Nights. However, some elements will still feel common to RPGs today. You will play a character in the Forgotten Realms universe, more exactly you will be inhabiting the city port Phlan. You won't be alone, you can raise a party of 6 characters max, and will have the power to decide their class and their abilities, just as if you were defining them in a pen and Paper D&D game. Your party will gain experience points as you accomplish tasks and will thus be able to grow your party's powers and prowess. The game uses both a first person perspective as well as a top down map. Important information about your location will be displayed as text and the battles are also heavy in text and numbers. The game will take some time to get used to but once you've done so, you will really get to experience an interesting, though classic D&D story. Try it if you're ok with DOS games mechanics or if you have the patience to see what one of the first electronic D&D games felt like.

Bad graphics, but what a game!

The first of the Strategic Simulations "Gold Box" series and an all-time classic. You'll have to ignore the 1989 graphics (they're worse than you think). I first played this on the C64 with 8 perpetually changing double-sided floppy disks and never finished it due to a notorious hidden door in the final level. About 10 years after, I downloaded the game and an emulator in under 5 minutes. This time, I found the bloody door and finally managed to defeat Tyranthraxus, the evil dragon wizard - a rather pathetic looking sprite that had nonetheless eluded me for 10 years. I'm writing this review about 10 years later than my first 10 years after. If I can survive the graphics, I may take up the 3 sequels and continue with my characters while awaiting "Dragon Age: Origins" in 2009. It's combat heavy, but if you download the manual, there are journal entries that can be read as the game progresses that really show the RPG elements of the game.

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