SHADOW OF POWER - Master Creating
Probably Qbasic's most popular role playing game, Shadow of Power has stood as proof that we freeware programmers aren't wasting our time with walkabout demos. Shadow of Power is proof that a group of programmers CAN take on an ambitious project and make a good job of it, even in Qbasic. Shadow of Power is a zelda style Action-Role Playing game which rivals many Snes Action-Role Playing games in terms of gameplay. Many think of this game as the the high point of the QMunity..
Graphics : **** (Very Good)
Reminisant of Zelda, Shadow of Power boasts terrific console style graphics. Holger, the game's main character, has loads of animations, and the envioroment always seems to change. Unlike most other RPG's, instead of just changing tileset to give you a feeling of new location, Shadow of Power goes all out and treats you to lightning effects and rain as well as a hugly diverse number of locations. On Holgers jouney, he'll be treated to swamp, grassland, cave, snowfield, castle, lava, anything you wern't expecting really. Graphically, the huge number of locations is what sticks out at you more than anything. Another thing that sticks out at you is the sheer detail that have went into the graphics. Animation is brillaint, there are eight spells each with very fancy animations (Like a golden helm and shield that forms around Holger or a pair of wings that sprout from his back.) Not to mentain the butterfly that occasionaly sweeps across the screen. It's overly clear that a lot of effort has went into the game. So what counts against it? Why not award an excellent mark? The simple answer is that too many things have obviously either been stolen or at least very strongly inspired by the Snes Classic "The Legend of Zelda III : A Link To The Past". Of course, the game still looks great, I just don't think it's fair to award marks for plagerism.
Music: ** (Poor)
In terms of programming, Shadow of Power pulled off a qbasic first. Shadow of Power uses the windows sound system to play midi files for the game. Although well chosen, the music is totally unoriginal (Taken from the web, as admitted freely in the end credits). I sympathise with Master-Creating - They've obviously spent a lot of time with this game, but it's unfair to give undeserved marks in this area. In fact, if it wern't for the games excellent speach engine, the game would have not recieved any points whatsoever in this round. All the important text is accually spoken rather that written in text boxes - an excellent addition to the game.
GamePlay : ***** (Excellent)
The games strong point, which is why the game is so popular. Gameplay is esentially all that matters - which explains why I'm so fond of the Commodore 64 even today. There is really nothing whatsoever to count against the gameplay in the game. Holger can get a variety of spells and weapons and certain items are needed to defeat certain enemies - for example, holy water to kill the undead. Things like this really keep the game intesting. There is also a more mature aspect of the game which is admitatly fun. The enemies bleed a lot... Em... let me elaborate. Instead of a number appearing over the enemies head, or, god forbid, the enemy simply disappearing Final Fantasy style, the guts of your opponent land neatly in a pile where then enemy fell, or in the case of the undead, form a pile a rot and reform after a few seconds! I know it makes me sould like a maniac, but the violent humour in this game wil leave you in stitches! For example, in one particular place, you hear a zombie's voice asking you to press a switch. Once you've done this, the same voice informs you that "You did the right thing". Roughly 30 zombies then preceed to pour out of a previously unopenable corridor. The more simple aspects of the gameplay having been perfected (Like the physics of hitting your enemies, for example) is one of the things that make the gameplay deserve full marks, a result many commercial games simply wouldn't recieve.
Replay Value: **** (Very Good)
Another one of the games high points, Shadow of power contains many useless items, irrelevent puzzles and well hidden secrets that give you pleanty of reason to repeat the game. It's just such fun anyway that you'll want to repeat it, even if you managed to find everything.
Challenge: *** (Average)
Another one of the games low points, that game, even on the Difficult setting, is just too easy for my liking. You can die as often as you like, it doesn't matter, you'll get to replay the room again anyway. There are one or two tricky places, the last castle for example, or the early parts of the storm castle. But in general, the games just too easy. However, my little brother happens to think it's very difficult, even on easy mode, which would make me suspect the game was aimed at a lower age group. If it wasn't for the excessive body count, that is.
Story: * (Very Poor)
It appears that after spending quite some time getting the gameplay just right and adding just the right blend of puzzles and magic, Master-Creating simply didn't have time to "Waste" on story. Really all that is said about the story is "Holger is dreaming of glory and honour". After that, Holger partakes in loads of unrealeated mini missions in order to achieve "Glory and Honour". The Complete absense of story is this game was really the only thing keeping it from a more respectable result.
Overall : *** (Good)
So, to sum up, a disappointing result for the most fun Qbasic Game ever. I like this game. I really do, and it really is worth the download for the wonderful gameplay. All it's really lacking is a good story and a nice soundtrack. . Gameplay may be the number one factor in any game, but when it comes to Rpg's, it's music and story that count. Any game that can combine the sort of gameplay this game offers with a nice soundtrack and a decent story will come damn close to that so-far unachievable excellent mark.
Download this game at : http:\\www.master-creating.de
Reviewer - Terry Cavanagh (firstname.lastname@example.org)