Fine Eastern-style RPG
This is an original and unusual RPG that follows on from the equally intriguing Moebius and stands as another fine release from Origin, a company best known for their equally excellent Ultima series. This one features a complex plot inspired by Eastern mysticism and combines it with a mix of top down RPG exploration and side scrolling combat to create a thoroughly rewarding adventure that is ideal for fans of fantasy adventures like Ultima, Zelda or Baldur's Gate. The plot revolves around that classic genre staple of an evil warlord in search of power, and who teams up with a cunning alchemist in order to achieve it. As the game starts, the world is being overrun with thieves, bandits and giant Buddha skeletons so it is up to the player to seek out the wise Moebius, become his disciple and bring peace back to the land. The basic gameplay is familiar from many other top down RPGs, with vast lands to be explored, characters to speak with, items to collect and nasties to be bashed over the head. It is in this latter aspect that the game differs somewhat, as it is here that it shifts to a side on view, and presents the player with a nice range of moves and special abilities to use. Combat can be challenging and is quite tactical, adding some much appreciated depth to the game. The controls are fairly simple and easy to pick up, while visually Windwalker is quite striking for its age, with some highly evocative environments to explore, some imaginative enemies and nicely chunky sprites. Really, the game's biggest issue is its high difficulty level, which might put some people off, but if you are an experienced RPG player, this is a fine adventure.