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December 30th, 2004, 02:39 PM
I actually liked THE BARD'S TALE (I) when it came out, even though it was very primitive compared to games that were released later.

I really liked CRUSADERS OF THE DARK SAVANT (Sir-Tech). The sequel (Wizardry 8) was also pretty good, with better graphics and a touch of the same atmosphere.

DAGGERFALL (Bethesda Softworks) could have been really great, but it was released prematurely, with a wealth of crash-causing bugs. But it was still lots of fun between the crashes. The sequel, MORROWIND, was lots better, graphically, stability-wise, and in most other ways. The music score could have been more varied, although what little music was there was excellent - MORROWIND's title theme is perhaps the best short "classical" music piece ever written for an RPG. (I began playing ARENA, the prequel to DAGGERFALL, but gave it up for lack of interest.)

ASCENDANCY (The Logic Factory) is a great space-conquest strategy game. You win by exterminating the other races in the galaxy, thus creating new colonies for your own people. The Introduction movie that explains the game is a thriller. Note: the best races to play are the Chamachies (lizard men) or those vaguely female-looking nature-spirits, Govorim.

COLONIZATION (MicroProse) was OK. The economic management of the colonies was fun, and so was killing the Indians. The MIDI tunes in the game were better than average for game music.

BETRAYAL IN ANTARA (Sierra) had a very strong storyline. The graphics were behind the times by the time the game was released, but to make up for that the music (by composer David Henry) was fabulous, especially the long tune with harps and violins to the fore and low brass sweeping the background, that plays in the taverns of Pianda. Another tavern-tune with flutes dominant, which plays in the Januli bars, is also excellent, though much shorter. And although not as excellent in evocative power, the beer-songs (written by somebody other than Henry, I think) are also fun to listen to. The voice-acting by the main characters was superb. Oh, and if you are not very alert as the story unfolds, the ending will come as a very novel surprise. Despite technical glitches (you need a patch to get into Chapter 9), a few annoying limitations on the character's freedom of movement, and a bit of obvious allegory and unnecessary "political correctness" in regard to Grrulf culture, this is a good game.

William Escobar: "May your roads be dry and cool, and your ale sweet and warm."
Scott Gratisi: "May your wit be dry and cool, and your women sweet and warm."
Aren Cordelaine: "Bravo, but you're a pair well met."
Scott Gratisi: "And well parted, though I'm sure we'll meet again."

Jerry Abbott