Nov 13, 2011

Game Review: Legend of the Ancients (1988)

I picked up a pretty cool video game last weekend called Legend of the Ancients, an old roleplaying game for C64 from 1988. To win you have to battle the evil Duke Durthane, who kills the king and rapes the prince every night. After opening the three power scrolls you become a dungeon-master and fight him to the death.

You start off as a farmhand in the kingdom of Beldane when a storm comes and wipes everything out. When you wake up the next day you find a dead body and collect a book and a map and some other stuff from it. Anyway your farm has been destroyed, set off for the castle and that's when you have your first string of fights.

The non-dungeon monsters are pretty okay, I guess they're kind of weird. The Biggun looks like a big pile of bones and the Dire Squeezer looks like a bunch of meatloaf. But it gets weirder, if the Tsipar Knights beat you in a fight, they force you to join a hunting party to track down slaves. If you fight back they rape you.

Once you get to the castle you're at level 2 and if you have enough gold you can buy either a bracer, a dagger, or a horse. You can train with the castle guard corp to increase attack and defense and work in the castle gardens to gain herbal points. Later in the game you can make healing herbs for real cheap if you do it. Working in the stables makes your horse healthier, you get the idea.

Duke Durthane's elite guard will beat you up and rape you if you try to approach the throne room too many times, but you can sneak into their quarters and steal cool shit when they leave the castle with the duke.

After several castle quests and side-missions, you get to level 10 and can go on the first of three quests outside of the castle, each of which ends up in a dungeon. But you have to level up several more points during one quest before you can start another. Unfortunately, you have to run the dungeons in sequence and can't explore parts of the world before hitting certain levels.

Dungeon play is different from overland and castle play and the graphic are more detailed but dungeon monsters are harder to beat than overland creatures.

For example the Goattaur is half-goat, half-bull and charges at you with a bunch of horns. The Stench Dangler can gas you and make you choke and the Blue Guardian, at the bottom of the last dungeon, can actually take whole levels away from you. The one thing about this game is that once you engage a creature, you can't duck, dodge, or run away.

There are also special magic attacks useable only in dungeons that dwarves will sell you. Flash-stars and spider-webs both slow monsters for several turns, for example. These items cost money, but once you're at like level 15 you usually have enough gold. If you need more money, you can sell your body or just rape the dwarves.

After defeating the last dungeon, you return to the castle to confront the duke. Your chances of beating him are based solely on having leveled up and getting better weapons and armor. Unlike modern quest games, there are no special weapons that guarantee a chance to win. If you think you need more experience or better stats, you can replay levels.

In the final battle the duke summons his elite guard who at this point are easy to beat. They just drain your health and weapons, making it harder to finish the duke. In the fight, you have to deflect magic attacks, heal with herbs, and keep hacking away at him. Your magic attacks against the duke fizzle 50% of the time so they're not worth using.

If you lose, Duke Durthane and the elite guard gang-rape you and throw you into a pit where your wounds fester and you starve to death. If you win, you get to rape Duke Durthane and then release the prince from his cage, who maxes your stats and gives you unlimited gold from the royal treasury. Then you can explore the world in what is more or less god-mode. There aren't any new quests, though.

Overall, Legend of the Ancients is great for an 8-bit game, but it used four 5.25" floppies to hold everything and switching between them can get tedious. That's about the only negative. With its multiple quests, awesome graphics and sound, and challenging gameplay, Legend of the Ancients is a worthy game.

Play Legend of the Ancients and remember a time in video games when figuing out how to play and win meant something. It will take you back to 1988 all over again.

Legend of the Ancients
Rating: ★★★★½
Genre: Roleplaying, single-player.
Platform: Commodore 64.
Format: 5.25" floppy disks.
Developer: Quest Software, Inc.
Publisher: Electronic Arts.
Release Year: 1988.
Ages 8 and up.

No comments:

Post a Comment