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Having grown up with console RPG's, Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, Hero Quest and The Lord of the Rings, Baldur's Gate certainly seemed the game for me. Open ended, non linear adventuring? A plethora of NPC's and playable characters, and six playable characters at that? Luscious scenery and backdrops, and a user manual so thick and filled with spells and tactics it was almost a novel in itself? Yes please! Sounded to me like some serious old school, deep fantasy adventuring. And, in all honesty, at first... I hated it! Sure, the character creation was impressive. You could tailor just about everything to your personal taste, including the colour of your hair and clothes. But that's where the fun stopped.
Maybe it was a bit of a culture shock. D&D rules are complicated when compared with the typical console RPG (which I love, mind you... I'm not one of those "pfft, console RPG's are SO inferior" types), and I remember picking up the game, wandering around aimlessley engaging in far too many conversations, before dying quickly in a battle which seemed to last mere seconds. I found myself in 'Candlekeep', a small but picturesque town, embedded within sturdy castle walls, which I explored with some puzzlement as the endless array of hooded figures gave useful tips, and I fought a couple of brigands who seemed to be out for my blood (hack, miss, slash, miss, hit, slash, miss...) and I was, thus far, entirely unimpressed. Oh well, at least it looked pretty, and sounded realistic. On escaping Candlekeep and beginning the adventure proper, I ventured into the wild with Imoen, my newfound adventuring buddy, and I watched my life vanish with a few hits, upon getting attacked by a couple of wolf-like creatures, while hacking away and missing every time with whatever the heck I had equipped.
All in all, I was a little bored, and underwhelmed. But, perseverence is a powerful tool.
I took a deep breath. I sat and read the manuals, and spellbooks. I browsed the impressive looking map. Then I discovered a little something which completely changed the scope of the game for me... wait a minute... you mean you can hit space, pause the action and issue commands to individual party mebers??? Oh! I see! So hitting 'attack' on the nearest enemy generally isn't the best tactic in this type of game, huh? Treating each PC as an individual makes encounters far more beatable? That would explain it.
I started over, took my time, learned a few spells, bought some armour and other goodies, and tried agian.
People... if you were ever in two minds about Baldur's Gate either because you thought it would be too hard, too mired in finicky details and endless spells and attacks... then you'd be right.. and get playing ASAP.
Baldur's Gate was a total revelation to me. It was the kind of game I'd always wanted; a living, breathing world, deep and colourful, realistic, with entirely too much to do or see on the first run through, or second, or even third.
You are the leader of a party of (eventually) six player-controlled characters which you command (or not, if you prefer to go it alone... good luck with that!), searching for an explanation as to why you've been thrust into this dangerous world to fend for yourself, following the story, questing, stealing, doing good deeds... whatever you fancy, really. Quests - which, again, are wonderfully varied, are open - ended, and you can complete them as you see fit. Find a ring, give it back to it's owner, don't, kill it's owner, give it back then steal it from them, sell it... whatever tickles your fancy. You will accomplish this while traversing rich woodlands; living, breathing communities and towns, interacting with a colourful range of characters, and purchasing any one of hundreds of weapons, armour, trinkets and srvices.
You will lose hours on some single campaigns, you will meet impossibly powerful enemies, and annoying villagers (Noober, anyone?), while unravelling a story which is extremely captivating, and well thought through. If you can give it time, you will love Baldur's Gate. I've played the game through many a time now, and I still haven't seen or done everything, or unlocked all of the mysteries within the game. Baldur's Gate 2 carries on the legacy, and I wouldn't even attempt to differentiate the two other than a more user friendly interface in the sequel; they are both remarkable games, and I would wholeheartedly recommend them, particularly if you've never played them for whatever reason. Classic and still brilliant - and two more tips, which will help you along your way - remember to set your options to auto - pause the game when a weapon is broken (invaluable at times, trust me!) and be sure to lure enemies to you one at a time. Remember, fools rush in!
Extra praise for the sound effects, which really breathe life into the world. At times, it's like somebody stood in a busy 'ye olden days' tavern with a tape recoder, it's so authentic.
Baldur's Gate - legendary game.
Although the RPG world may be owned largely by Final Fantasy, one mustn't forget Baldur's Gate, a stunning RPG game for the PC, released in 1998 that set the world alight with its impressively non-linear system of gameplay, in which the moral choices of the player heavily influenced the outcome of the story.
You begin as a young man who is poor and growing up in the town of Candlekeep. However, strange things afoot, and mercenaries parade the various towns in the region with the hope of killing anyone who look remotely wealthy. Things pick up as you and your mentor Gorion are out for a walk, when an unknown assailant requests that you come with him. Gorion refuses and attempts to defend you, but is viciously murdered, before you flee with your life. From here, you meet your friend Iomen, who proclaims that she was watching the entire time, and so you begin to build a party as your adventure through the region of Baldur's Gate begins, with the hope of avenging your master's demise.
Baldur's Gate has been hugely successful, and is an impressive achievement because it melds the rules of Dungeons and Dragons into a computer game, of which it was the first game to do this successfully. It also was popular enough to spawn numerous expansion packs and sequels.
It's a visually impressive game alright, but what really impresses me is the sheer scope of the game - the area of Baldur's Gate is HUGE, and to explore the entire map literally takes hours. There's so much to do, and the player is never forced to do anything they don't want to, meaning the various subplots and side stories can take up more of your time than the main campaign! It's a game that's virtually flawless in presentation, with a compelling story and well developed characters.
Although I used to game a fair bit on my desktop it no longer works and I bought a laptop for uni. Having been confined to my laptop for so long I decided it was about time I see if there was anything I could actually play on it to while away my time this summer.
You start off in Candlekeep where you were raised by Gorion, a mage. You were an orphan along with Imoen whom you grew up with in Candlekeep. It turns out someone wants you dead. Gorion being away of this leads you out of Candlekeep with the intention of taking you to those who will protect you. Unfortunately bandits kill Gorion leaving you on your own. Imoen however has followed you and travels with you for the rest of the journey.
The story takes quite a while to play through and I've noticed complaints centering around the lack of character build up. I played the game with almost all of the latest mods on, one of which is a romance between your character and a selection of others as well as friendships and romances between the other characters. This made it quite interesting, I'm not sure how much of the conversation was modded and how much was the original game.
The player creates their character i.e. select sex, race, skills etc. Unfortunately certain skills depend upon rolling a dice, which if you read anything online about these skills, is supposedly quite important. Important to the point where some spend hours rolling or download some kind of cheat enabling them to manually select the skills. I spent about 5 minutes or less rolling and ended up with a pretty decent skill set. The build of your character is somewhat important though for the most part if you have enough money you'll be able to buy items which enable you to overcome an average skill set.
Your character travels in a party. As the game continues you will meet more companions although there is a maximum number of companions you can have in your party. Some will wait around if you wish to change your party, others will leave if you refuse to let them join. The characters are good, evil or neutral. Chaos may ensue after some time if you mix good and evil.
There's a multitude of quests. It takes a hell of a long time to complete and it is addicting. Despite my love of graphics, I can get over the old graphics on this as the gameplay is thoroughly enjoyable. Although there are areas you must go to in order to carry on with the main story, you can go to the other areas first and leave the main story for quite a while or you can simply do those areas at the same time as you reach each main story point.
Overall it's a decent game that will keep you playing. However I've not moved on to BG2 yet as considering the amount of time it took to complete BG1 + expansions I think it'd feel quite monotonous without a lengthy break in-between.
I've lost so many hours to this game! My obsessive love for this is second only to to the squishy lovey-dovey feelings I have for the Fallout series. It uses the Dungeons and Dragons AD&D 2nd edition rules system, so the setting and creatures that populate it should be familiar to D&D veterans.
The game follows your character as he (or she) learns that they are a rather important person in the grand scheme of things and thus goes on an EPIC QUEST to find their role in the coming troubles. This is, of course, a standard fantasy type plot. But don't worry about that, because there's so much of it that it won't really matter that it's a bit clichéd.
Another reason you shouldn't worry too much about the plot is that you will find yourself ignoring it for huge chunks of the game as you immerse yourself almost completely in the gameworld, which is HUGE and detailed. There are many lovely environments to explore, and you will likely play for months before even reaching the titular city of Baldur's Gate.
Gameplay is standard RPG fare, very easy to pick up and intuitive to use. When you've collected a few party members you can switch team formations easily and controlling party members is effortless and swift. Combat is easy to grasp too, though to be honest a large amount of my tactics involve throwing all my party members at one enemy at a time trying to swamp them with superior numbers. And magic. Lots of magic.
Graphically, I suppose its 3D isometric view is slightly dated now, but I find it charming. The locations are lush and beautiful at times, though there are places where you can't quite get to a position where you can get rid of the black fog-of-war, which is a little irritating.
As you go through the game, you get to choose whether you will be good, evil or neutral (a game feature that far predates these modern games that are boasting this as if it's a new thing e.g. Fable 2). This affects how people treat you and, interestingly, which NPCs will join your party to become your companions. If you're too evil then the nobler characters will snub you, if you're too good then the more evil characters won't give you the time of day.
There are tonnes of sidequests (occasionally feels like hundreds) and many many slavering beasties to slay. There is also multiplayer capability, but I do not know how effective that is as I have not taken advantage of it.
As it is an older game, your computer should be technically able to play it, though Vista tends to sulk if you play older games so you may need to play it in Compatability Mode. The only other possible downside is the sheer number of discs the game comes on - 5! That's quite a lot compared to modern games. I recommend you get hold of the version that comes on a PC-DVD as that cuts the disc-swapping right down to zero.
In all, this is a superb game. If you love huge, immersive RPGs with a great balance between story and action, then this game is for you. If you like empty shallow graphicsfests designed to push games systems to their graphical limits, then you'd best not bother with this.
Play Diablo II a lot and thinking it is the best RPG ever? Let me tell you, Diablo is not, and you just entering the first gate of RPG world. To me and most of the fans of Dungeons & Dragons, the answer is 'Baldur's Gate', produced by the famous team - Black Isle - the creator of Fallout (you may saw a lot of ads of Fallout 3 these days).
Unlike Diablo I and II, the world of Baldur's Gate does not have much brilliant special effect, and it does not rely on special effect to catch the eyes of fans. Instead, the only thing black isle relied on is task. In Baldur's Gate, you may encounter millions of tasks (may be too much...). Some of the task is highly related to the main story, and there are plenty of tasks are side branch. That is to say you have to choose, which task to finish and which doesn't, just like the real world.
And, I forget to mention that you can create you own character, and choose your side. Good or evil, it depends on you. That is why I love Baldur's Gate much more than Diablo.
Warning! This review uses words not often seen in the real world such as 'foe', 'flee', 'maiden' and the like. Apologies.
Baldur's Gate has long been regarded as the best traditional RPG available on the PC. When I say traditional, I mean with the usual experience points system, magic weaponry, party of adventurers rather than something like Deus Ex, which was a hybrid of a few genres.
Installation of the game is a breeze and before you know it, you're creating your character. Character creation is a staple of traditional RPGs and this one's no different. Most attributes can be altered, even the voice, and these are all fairly unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Watch your "rollable" attributes though constitution, dexterity, charisma and the like. It's these that determine how much of a pansy (or not) your character turns out to be. Strength, for example, help you bash enemies, high charisma helps you make friends, dexterity dictates how able your character is a using a bow and arrow (though real adventurers use a sword to pummel their foes).
Once you're satisfied with your character, off you go into the world of Baldur's Gate. Various inhabitants of Candlekeep (your home town) give you pointless tasks to achieve to let you familiarise yourself with the in-game mechanics and this introduces you also to the experience point system where you're rewarded by experience points for completing tasks. You'll have to find missing books, talk to a guard who'll teach you how to fight and other chores before you're summoned to the great library by your step-dad.
Your step-dad Gorion (get used to this everyone has silly names) is a miserable, serious sort and after some lecturing you on some great evil or whatnot (which you ignore cos he's only a trumped up librarian) he claims you will both have to leave Candlekeep. Hurrah! The open roads! Quaffing ale in inns! Meeting fair maidens! He forces you to tie up any loose ends before leaving, which you do, and off you go. Gorion apparently has some mates that he wants to meet and they're waiting in a town near by.
Unfortunately, you're only about two hundred yards down the road before you and Gorion are attacked by the medieval version of the Village People, including some guy that's camper than a row of tents. He forces you to flee. As a typical librarian, Gorian tries some mumbo jumbo he's probably read from a book, before failing miserably to stay alive. The last thing you see is Gorion cut down by the Camp Knight who proceeds to do some comedy bad guy gloating.
Awaking the next morning, you're joined by your chum, Imoen, from Candlekeep who secretly followed you along the path and watched everything. Stupid girl. Now you have to drag her along. At least you have someone to do the cooking
Now this is where the game starts properly. Obviously, given the introduction and tutorial level, it's up to you to find the Camp Knight, give him a bit of a hiding and avenge Gorion's death. Oh, and if you could find out why all of this happened, that'd be just dandy. So far, so good. This is all typical RPG fayre and you'll have seen it all a million time before in other RPGs and fantasy films.
Baldur's Gate is a hugely complicated game with loads of little rules and whanot to get your head around. If you've ever played Dungeons and Dragons in any shape or form, this will help you a little as BG uses this system as the underlying engine. If you've never touched D&D, don't worry as it's all fairly straightforward and the game does it all for you. All you have to do is get your little party of people from A to B, bash any baddies (or goodies you're given free reign to be Good or Evil), and cart off any treasure.
The interface for doing all your funky stuff is really quite simple and intuitive once you've mastered what the various icons mean (perhaps a dip into the instruction manual would help). Before too long, you're rearranging your party, swapping items, learning spells and tooling up your characters like a pro. Battle is something that requires a little practice, so it's worth spending a bit of time on it when you're given the chance in the Candlekeep tutorial level.
There are loads of little nuances with the game that change dependant on your own path throughout. Being the goody two shoes that I am, I decided that being evil simply wasn't my bag, baby. Dandering around the countryside performing good deeds, helping old ladies find their husbands, beating up giant insects all helped contribute to my reputation and my reputation, in turn, had an effect on who joined (or stayed) in my party. Killing the annoying yokel in one village who does nothing but follow you about, mutter inanity and say "heya" wasn't too helpful to my reputation, but by Jove, it was satisfying killing the little runt.
There's a load to do in BG. Along the way to finding Camp Baddie, you've got tons of quests and sub-quests to plow through. It makes sense to do as many of these as possible because there are experience points that must be gained and beating up giant spiders just isn't enough. Soon, you'll be milking the game for experience points so that your characters can become stronger, more resistant to damaging magic, more accurate with a bow and less likely to have some puny elf come along and kick sand in your face at the beach. Here and there, you'll be given little titbits of plot advancement which leads to further quests.
This is where BG is a winner. If you like RPGs, then BG will provide you with tremendous value for money because there are hours upon hours worth of entertainment here.
I bought the Baldur's Gate collection on DVD from Amazon for a tenner and for that, I got Baldur's Gate, the add-on pack "Tales of the Sword Coast", Baldur's Gate 2 and its add-on "Throne of Bhaal". All for ten of your English pounds! How big a bargain is that?
There are a few minor issues. As Baldur's Gate is a fairly old game in computing terms, there's not much you can do about screen resolution, so the graphics can look dated and a bit rough in places. That shouldn't effect your enjoyment of the game, well, it didn't bother me that much once I got into the game and most of the important stuff is still clear.
The sound is excellent overall, but some of the lines from the voice actors are used far too often. If I hear that bald goon shout "Go for the eye, Boo, go for the eyes!" one more time, I will shove my sword up his ummm backpack.
The age of the game means that you don't need a spanking new PC to run it, either. I thought there might have been issues with running such an old game with Windows XP, but these worries were unfounded and XP is supported (at least in the compilation that I bought).
Atari's recommended specs are:
Pentium II 300 or AMD K6-III or faster
64 MB RAM
Direct X compatible graphics card
Direct X compatible sound card
Direct X 8.0
I ran it (with no issues whatsoever) using:
Windows XP Professional
1 GB RAM
Soundblaster 7.1 soundcard
ATI Radeon 9600 graphics card
Direct X 9.0c
Although Baldur's Gate is easily the funkiest RPG computer game I've ever played (this is admittedly not too hard as it's a genre that I generally sneer at, with only Ultima Underworld 2 and Ultima 8: Pagan breaking my embargo), I must warn you severely. This game will take over your life. You will get up in the morning, load it up to try and level up your main character before breakfast, and then wonder why it seems to be dark again all of a sudden and your watch is saying it's time to go to bed. In this probably epic tale of a young chap finding out he's a Death God or something, there are so many quests, sub-quests, amusing routines that you repeat over and over again (like the exploding ogre) and bits that are dead hard and force you to reload a million times, that you should only really start the game if you have the free time to finish it. In other words, if you are unemployed, a student, or just plain waiting for death, this is the perfect game for you. For those unfamiliar with role-playing (like me! I rock!), you basically have to create your own character, whose life story is then cunningly integrated with the main plot of the game. In a breathtakingly pointless piece of PC gibberish, women are just as good at men as everything, oh yes, and people who think otherwise suck. Despite the fact that the game takes place in a cod-feudal setting and women are portrayed as mindless ditherers setting you stupid sub-quests to find their errant son/husband throughout (I don't know why they bother, you always find the stupid sods dead in a ditch somewhere). The character creation process is painless. You select various skills and stuff, and you may as well do it at random because you can always retrain your character in the course of the game, and because you have to reload if your main character dies, you tend to keep him out of the fighting anyway. The only tricky bit comes when you have to accept the d
ice rolls for 'attributes' like dexterity, charisma and stuff. The brick-thick manual explains what all these things do, but who can be bothered reading that? Make sure you've a fairly high constitution score is my best advice on this as that determines the number of wounds you can take. The game itself is great. You wander around, and there's a lot of random minor characters with silly names full of apostrophes. They tend to speak in silly film quotes (peasants say 'You talkin' to me?' in a cod-Taxi Driver stylee) or high melodrama ('I am death come among you!!!') All the various pretty graphics depict snow showers, storms and stuff like that, but you'll turn them off as soon as you get fed up because basically it's nice to be able to see your characters beneath all the anti-aliased, dithered, pant-sniffin', polygon rendered, whatever things. You start off in a library which is a reclusive seat of academia. Despite the fact that you can't get back in once you leave it, it's been infiltrated by an alarming number of assassins. Your guardian decides to take you away, thankfully without your intensely annoying 'best friend'. Darn! Gorion is slaughtered by a big camp man in armour and you're alone on the road. Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, a cheery Bonnie Langford-lite voice cries, 'Hi it's me, Imowen!' Sure enough, your mischevious imp chum has followed you secretly. Bah. So much for hitting the brothels, adventurer, now you have to get on with solving mysteries, avenging your adopted father's death and all that nob. Along the way to some big tavern place (also full of people trying to kill you, nice huh?) you meet various potential companions. The great thing about Baldur's Gate is that you can actually turn into a genocidal maniac, and choose travelling companions accordingly. Apparently, if you lay waste to one town
a vampire appears and thanks you for resurrecting him by spilling the blood of the villagers. Ooh, tempting. If I knew which town it was... The gameplay is fairly intuitive, and relies on clicking fairly obvious icons. The only trouble is that sometimes the 'Party AI' kicks in when you're trying to talk to people. Once I was attempting to pickpocket a sleeping child (hey, what can you do?). He woke up and became hostile, which damaged my reputation to start with. When Imoen turned round and killed the brat with a single arrow, my party suddenly became antichrists. The really annoying thing was that Imoen was so disgusted with 'my' behaviour that she left the group. Pfft, don't forget to write. There are drawbacks to all this fairly uncomplicated fun. As should be expected for such a vast game, the plot is horribly convoluted. There's a complex series of villains, all under someone else's command, and it takes an age to massacre your way through to someone who can actually tell you stuff about the plot. That gets a little annoying. Things can also slow down in the heat of battle when there's a large number of people, and it takes an age to load different locations. But on the other hand, you get to wander into people's houses and rob them blind in the middle of the night. Such wholesome fun can not be missed, and it runs on a bog-standard low-end Pentium, so there's no excuse not to get pillaging right away! I'll see you next summer when you complete it!
To be honest, I haven't really been into PC games at all over the years. Sure I loved games like Tie Fighter and Chaos Gate, but the PC just couldn't excite me like a console did. It wasn't really until about 2 years back, when I bought Red Alert 2 and Diablo 2, that the PC drew my interest for gaming. Those 2 games drew me in to a realm of gaming, that I had been missing out on for years. Since then, my interest in PC gaming has peaked, and im beginning to play many great games I had missed out on in the past. One of those titles is an RPG by the name of Baldurs's Gate. The first time I saw Baldurs's Gate was about 3 years back, when I was at my friends house. Every time i'd go over, he'd be playing it. He used to tell me how it was one of the best game he ever played. It looked pretty cool and all, but it still really didn't interest me much. I was going to wait for the console version on it on the Dreamcast. Unfortunately, that game never materialized, and two summers I finally broke down, and bought the PC version. Damn, I should have bought this game sooner. In case your not familiar, Baldurs's Gate is an official Dungeons and Dragons game. Yep, the same Dungeons and Dragons countless people have been playing with pen and paper for years. Now, I cant say i've had much experience with the old pen and paper version, but from what I understand, this is the best representation of D & D in a game yet. You first start out Baldurs's Gate by making your character. You can choose a male or female, choose a chara
cter portrait, race, roll dice for stats, choose your alignment, choose weapon proficiencies, and finally choose a character class. Classes are all strait from D & D as well. Here you get your usual assortment of classes, including fighters, paladins, mages, clerics and thieves. You can also go duel class as well. My personal favorite is the paladin class. Paladins are superior at hand to hand combat, can use pretty much any weapon or armor and can also gain cleric spells as well. A good thief is also a must in any party. You'll find their Hide in Shadows, lock picking and trap disarming extremely useful. Once you start the game, you begin in a small town called Candlekeep. Candlekeep is mainly a training area. In it, you'll find a number of robed men, which will give you tips and advice of playing the game. There is also a training area to get yourself accustomed to team combat, as well a few side quest. Once you meet up with your characters stepfather and leave town, then the real action begins and the massive story begins to unfold. Your character has some kind of importance, and for some reason many are trying to kill him. In your journeys you'll not only discover who you are but many other secrets as well. I wont go anymore into the story then that. Its been a long time since i've played an RPG where I cared about the storyline this much, so I wont ruin it for anyone. Baldurs's Gate is a very open ended game. You are given a very good sense of freedom in everything, unlike anything i've ever seen in an RPG. Think sort of like t
he freedom of games like Might and Magic, except much better implemented. The story in Baldur's Gate just seems to flow along with the games openness in a way I cant really describe. You really have to play through it, to see what I mean. Every new town or area, has their own unique quest or challenges. Some may affect your characters in positive or negative ways. For example, you may run across a guy in a town who thinks your someone else. He may offer you an item. Take the item and play along and you will gain the item. Be honest with the guy, and you may earn a reputation bonus and some experience. Other instances have you with people asking you to assist them in killing a foe, or retrieving a lost item for them. What you do is entirely up to you. Just be careful though, as some bad choices may cost you a few reputation points. And unless your character is evil, then a bad rep is something you don't want. Party gathering is entirely up to you. In your travels you'll meet many faces. Some offer to join you while others need to be talked to in the right way. Also, unlike most PC RPGs i've played, these characters have personality. My favorite 2 are the thief Imoen and the ranger Minsc. Imoen has this irritating, yet likable flair to her. Just make sure you save before you try stealing something with her. Get caught, and the guards may come rushing in. Minsc on the other hand, is a very colorful character indeed. He has a pet hamster named Boo, which he believes is from outer space. Wacky stuff, but all set in a serious believable tone. Combat itself is very well done. Its all based in real time and is pretty frustrating until you get used to it. For the most part, you'll find yourself using your thief's Hide in Shadows ability to scout out an area. If you should happen to find some enemies, its best to try and lure out as few as possible and then gang up on them. Some of these enemies can be pretty tough, and will kill you in a single hit if your not careful. Make sure you save as often as possible. Another bit of advice on the combat is to frequently pause it so you can have time to direct your characters. This will make combat much easier. Also, another thing to keep in mind if your not familiar with Dungeons and Dragons is the magic. Unlike most RPGs, you don't have spell points or learn new spells as you advance levels. Instead you must memorize spells and use spell scroll. Using a spell scroll will write the spell to your Priest Scroll or Mage Book. Once its memorize you can equip it by setting it in an open spell slot. As magic users advance levels they will be able to use more lower level spells and gain the ability to use higher level spells. Another thing is that once you use up your set spells you must have your party rest to gain them back. It all sounds a little confusing if you never played an RPG with this system but you get used to it. Another thing which may bother those who have lived off console RPGs, is the leveling up. Characters in Baldurs's Gate have an experience cap, and can only reach up to level 7. I believe you can go up to 2
levels higher, with the "Tales of the Sword Coast" expansion. The 7th level max may sound a little low but its not really. Level gaining is much more drastic then most games with level 100 max. By the time your at level 7, you'll be extremely powerful. Still though, you need to be careful in combat as a well placed critical hit by a strong foe, can still kill you. Baldurs's Gate also features an online multiplayer mode. For the life of me I have no clue how to work it. My lack of online experience with games, really shows here. From what I understand though, its pretty much the same as the solo experience with the exception you control only your character. If anyone could help me with getting an online game set up the right way in this please leave comment or mail me. My one and only serious complaint about the game, is the disk swapping. The game consist of 5 disk, which must constantly be swapped when you enter new areas or return to old ones. Still though since the rest of the game is so damn good, I can overlook this. Graphics 9: Incredible. You'll see no 3D gimmicks here. Baldurs's Gate is pure 2D goodness. The environments are all viewed via and overhead perspective, and look exceptionally detail. You'll see birds flying around, The weather will change from clear skies to rainy, day will eventually become night. Characters are also very well done. They animate fairly well but occasionally become a little choppy at times. Nothing that really takes away from the game though. Another
feature I like is how you can change the colors of your characters at anytime. New weapons and armor can change the look of your character as well which I think is very cool. I hate it when in games I buy a new piece of armor or weapon and my character looks no different then they did before I equipped it. Sound 10: The sound is nothing short of spectacular. The music has an epic movie sounding feel to it, that fits the action perfectly. Sound effects are very sharp and clear. My favorite part of the sound however, is the character voices. They all perfectly acted and add so much personality to each of them. Characters also carry out conversations while walking as well. Not much variety in these those and they tend to repeat a little too much. Again my favorites are Imoen and Minsc. Click on Imoen and she may say something like "Whatcha Want" or "Hmmp, Your a queer fellow." Tell her to attack and she may say something like "I've done had enough of this." She's just too cool. As for Minsc I just love it when you direct him to attack and he shouts "Go for the eyes Boo! Go for the eyes." These voices are just too cool. Control 9: The control, like most PC games is all point and click. Select your character either by clicking on them or their portrait and simply click where you want them to go. You can also drag the cursor to make a box to select a group of characters. Spells are used simply by clicking the spell box on the bottom bar and selecting the spell. You'll definitely want to pause the action before u
sing magic though. My one gripe however is that like 10% of the time you set up a magic you it seems to cancel out and you have to go set it again. Its nothing major but enough to annoy me abit. Overall, I would highly recommend Baldurs's Gate to anyone that's into Dungeons and Dragons or RPGs. If your a console freak that refuses to play anything but Final Fantasy type games then you may not care much for this. Still though I urge anyone who ever remotely likes RPGs to at least try this. Baldurs's Gate is indeed not only one of the best RPGs of all time, but one of the greatest games ever. Its simply that good and shouldn't be missed. You can pick this up for around $20 or less now so there's really no excuse not to try it.
So you are looking for a beat-em-up but want a bit of a plot, or you just like running around bashing monsters indiscriminately? Either way, I have the game for you. Balders Gate is based around the old style Dungeons and Dragons paper and dice game. With only two major differences. The first being the moderator. No longer is this job in the hands of a power happy human, the computer does all the work and it does the job well! The second being a visual representation of your gaming world rather than a written or verbal description. I discovered this game last year after buying a new computer. Keen to test out the visual and audio capabilities of my new toy, and being an old Dungeons and Dragons guru, it was first on the list. I was not disappointed! Set in a world that can be best described as "Medieval", you take on the role of Gorions ward. Gorion is an elderly and wizened wizard who has brought you up as if you were his own child. Raised in Candlekeep, a fortress of knowledge inhabited by monks, situated on a volcanic crag overlooking the sea on the Sword Coast. You take on the role of a Fighter, Mage, Cleric or thief in a fantasy world where magic is rife and nasty creatures lurk around every corner in abundance. The manual is nice and thick. It gives you advice on setting up your game, advises on how to create your character and also contains extensive information on spells, weapons, and creatures that you will encounter. It also gives you background information on the sword coast, the land in which you will live your adventure and this helps add to the atmosphere of the whole experience. The game comes on five compact disks and is contained in a fold out cardboard wallet. This is good for quick access to your disks but bad because you can often pick it up and drop them all over the floor! My advice would be to fully install the game on to your hard drive if you have the room, to avoid a lot
of disk swapping (and particularly disk dropping!). There is also a nice glossy map included with your game. However the game itself has a map feature so you don’t really need it. It's a nice little extra anyway! Creating your character is easy and based on random "dice" like rolls. These statistics can be tweaked a bit to fit in with your chosen type of character i.e. you can give a fighter more strength and less intelligence or vice versa. Being prone to thumping monsters, rather than zapping them with magic, I usually choose a Fighter and this is the best character to chose if you are a novice. Choosing a Thief, Mage or Cleric can be a bit more difficult to start off with but can be more rewarding later on in the game. The interface is very easy to use and all actions can be accessed by a mouse click. Your characters profile shows all his/hers characteristics. From here you can see the items carried and equip them if necessary. You can customise your view, personally I find it is best just to leave it the way it comes. All in all it is very well laid out and you don't need to be particularly well co-ordinated to play the game. You soon become familiar with the controls and finding information, be it the map or your personal log, becomes second nature after a very short time. The game has one main theme running all the way through it and you are gently led through the various stages, progressing only when you have completed certain tasks. There are also various sub plots and these are mainly generated when a new character joins your party. You can control up to six characters at once and the each have their own artificial intelligence. The first character you create is YOUR character and the others a referred to as "Non-player characters". These add to the atmosphere, they each have certain dialogue routines which can be very entertaining. Be warned though, some character
s get on better with eachother than others, chose the wrong mixture and you could find one of them storming off in a huff! I believe there is about fourteen non-players characters scattered throughout the game and part of the fun and replayability, comes through choosing different ones each time you play. The graphics are great, with beautiful background features and some nice effects when creating spells for example. The sound is good although the mutterings of your team can sometimes get a bit repetitive. Good for it's time, it can compete very well with many games only reaching the shops now! One feature that might appeal to a few people is the ability to multiplay. This function allows you to play online with other gamers. I have not attempted this personally, but have spoken with many people who have. Apparently this can be a very time consuming practice, riddled with technical problems. However, even including this extra function can only be seen as a bonus. Just playing the game on your own is value for money experience. I thoroughly enjoyed this game, it kept me busy for months. There are a few problems with it. The artificial intelligence and pathfinding ability of your team sometimes leaves a lot to be desired. Quite often you can travel across a territory only to find one of your non-player characters stuck behind a tree, miles away. When the sequel came out "Shadows of Amn" , a lot of the problems were addressed and improved upon. But to be honest, the problems were pretty minor and can be over looked. One major benefit about obtaining a game, long after it was released is all the patches available online. These fix a lot of the minor niggles and can be obtained from the gameplay official site linked above. There are also a lot of programs about to allow you to adapt Balders Gate. There is an official add-on called "Tales of the Sword Coast" which adds a few new areas and items. There a
re also many add-ons from unofficial sites (of which there are many!) and these all allow you to keep your games fresh and interesting. Very cheap to buy now, I would recommend playing "Balders Gate" first before the official add-on. Then go on to The sequel "Shadows of Amn", finally moving on to the add-on for that game "Throne of Bhaal". As you can see, if you enjoy the experience when you start on your journey in Balders Gate, it can go on for months with all the follow-ons! Minimum Requirements ******************** Pentium 166Mghz Windows 95 16Mb RAM 300Mb Hard Drive space 4x CD-ROM 2Mb Video card I intend reviewing all the follow-ons soon, in case you were wondering why there is not more on them in this opinion!
So you are looking for a beat-em-up but want a bit of a plot, or you just like running around bashing monsters indiscriminately? Either way, I have the game for you. Balders Gate is based around the old style Dungeons and Dragons paper and dice game. With only two major differences. The first being the moderator. No longer is this job in the hands of a power happy human, the computer does all the work and it does the job well! The second being a visual representation of your gaming world rather than a written or verbal description. I discovered this game last year after buying a new computer. Keen to test out the visual and audio capabilities of my new toy, and being an old Dungeons and Dragons guru, it was first on the list. I was not disappointed! Set in a world that can be best described as "Medieval", you take on the role of Gorions ward. Gorion is an elderly and wizened wizard who has brought you up as if you were his own child. Raised in Candlekeep, a fortress of knowledge inhabited by monks, situated on a volcanic crag overlooking the sea on the Sword Coast. You take on the role of a Fighter, Mage, Cleric or thief in a fantasy world where magic is rife and nasty creatures lurk around every corner in abundance. The manual is nice and thick. It gives you advice on setting up your game, advises on how to create your character and also contains extensive information on spells, weapons, and creatures that you will encounter. It also gives you background information on the sword coast, the land in which you will live your adventure and this helps add to the atmosphere of the whole experience. The game comes on five compact disks and is contained in a fold out cardboard wallet. This is good for quick access to your disks but bad because you can often pick it up and drop them all over the floor! My advice would be to fully install the game on to your hard drive if you have the room, to avoid a lot of
disk swapping (and particularly disk dropping!). There is also a nice glossy map included with your game. However the game itself has a map feature so you don’t really need it. It's a nice little extra anyway! Creating your character is easy and based on random "dice" like rolls. These statistics can be tweaked a bit to fit in with your chosen type of character i.e. you can give a fighter more strength and less intelligence or vice versa if you chose to be a Mage. Being prone to thumping monsters, rather than zapping them with magic, I usually choose a Fighter and this is the best character to choose if you are a novice. Choosing a Thief, Mage or Cleric can be a bit more difficult to start off with but can be more rewarding later on in the game. The interface is very easy to use and all actions can be accessed by a mouse click. Your characters profile shows all his/hers characteristics. From here you can see the items carried and equip them if necessary. You can customise your view, personally I find it is best just to leave it the way it comes. All in all it is very well laid out and you don't need to be particularly well co-ordinated to play the game. You soon become familiar with the controls and finding information, be it the map or your personal log, becomes second nature after a very short time. The game has one main theme running all the way through it and you are gently led through the various stages, progressing only when you have completed certain tasks. There are also various sub plots and these are mainly generated when a new character joins your party. You can control up to six characters at once and the each have their own artificial intelligence. The first character you create is YOUR character and the others are referred to as "Non-player characters". These add to the atmosphere, they each have certain dialogue routines which can be very entertaining. Be warned
though, some characters get along better than others, chose the wrong mixture and you could find one of them storming off in a huff! I believe there is about fourteen non-players characters scattered throughout the game and part of the fun and replayability, comes through choosing different ones each time you play. The graphics are great, with beautiful background features and some nice effects when creating spells for example. The sound is good although the mutterings of your team can sometimes get a bit repetitive. Good for it's time, it can still compete very well with many games only just reaching the shops now! One feature that might appeal to a few people is the ability to multiplay. This function allows you to play online with other gamers. I have not attempted this personally, but have spoken with many people who have. Apparently this can be a very time consuming practice, riddled with technical problems. However, even including this extra function can only be seen as a bonus. Just playing the game on your own is a value for money experience. I thoroughly enjoyed this game, it kept me busy for months. There are a few problems with it. The artificial intelligence and pathfinding ability of your team sometimes leaves a lot to be desired. Quite often you can travel across a territory only to find one of your non-player characters stuck behind a tree, miles away. When the sequel came out "Shadows of Amn" , a lot of the problems were addressed and improved upon. But to be honest, the problems were pretty minor and can easily be over looked. One major benefit about obtaining a game, long after it has been released is all the patches available online. These fix a lot of the minor niggles and can be obtained from the "Gameplay" official site linked above. There are also a lot of programs about to allow you to adapt Balders Gate. There is an official add-on called "Tales of the Sword Coast"
which adds a few new areas and items. There are also many add-ons from unofficial sites (of which there are many!) and these all enable you to keep your games fresh and interesting. Very cheap to buy now, I would recommend playing "Balders Gate" first before the official add-on. Then go on to The sequel "Shadows of Amn", finally moving on to the add-on for that game "Throne of Bhaal". As you can see, if you enjoy the experience when you start on your journey in Balders Gate, it can go on for months with all the follow-ons! Minimum Requirements ******************** Pentium 166Mghz Windows 95 16Mb RAM 300Mb Hard Drive space 4x CD-ROM 2Mb Video card I intend reviewing all the follow-ons soon, in case you were wondering why there is not more on them in this opinion! .
Balder’s Gate is a great Role Playing Game. It has a very free-structured story unlike Japanese style RPGs (like final fantasy), which have a lot less choices. You also have a lot of choice about your character. These mean that you can play the game through 2 or more times and it will be different every time. In the game you control Gomrath, an orphan raised by the monks in Candlekeep. One day without any warning you are told to get all your belongings and leave Candlekeep for you are in grave danger. What danger this is, isn’t revealed until later in the game (I won’t spoil this for you). In your adventures around the sword coast you meet many friends like Imeon, a young friend of yours and an expert thief, and Minsc, everybody’s favourite ‘nutter’ (and Boo the miniature giant space hamster). You only have room in your group of heroes for 6 people though, and so the 21 ‘playable characters’ cannot all join your group. You will have to make choices about which ones you want with you. At the start of the game you must choose your character statistics. You first choose gender and species. The 6 different races that you can choose (human, dwarf, elf, gnome, halfling and half-elf) all have their own advantages and disadvantages. You then choose one of the many character classes including warrior, wizard (and specialist mage – specialises in one type of magic), thief, priest (two types) and the bard (who is a specialist thief/pickpocket). There are 26 classes in total including multi- and dual- classed characters. You also choose alignment, weapon proveniences, ability levels and, with some characters, special abilities like magical spells and thief abilities. This system is based on AD&D (Advanced Dungeons and Dragons) rules, first used in the Dungeons and Dragons games. This system is used throughout the entire game in battles and to calculate health. Health is lost in battles and i
f all your characters health is gone they die (unless you have a reincarnation spell). As your characters level up they will have more health, strength etc. Your characters level up by winning battles. When a battle is won your party gain a certain amount of experience points, which are divided between the party. When a character reachs a certain number of experience points, they ‘level up’. Another thing you will get for winning many fights is money. With money you can by new weapons to make your characters fighting abilities better. There are 25 normal weapons in the game (and many other rare/magical ones). They are split into the categories bows, spiked weapons, small swords, large swords, axes, blunt weapons, missile weapons and polearms. Not all weapons can be used by all characters, wizards can only daggers, staffs, darts and slings. Another way of increasing your health/defence is wearing armour. Each character has an armour class, which goes down when they put on better armour. A lower armour class is better and means you are hurt less by attacks. Other items you can use to lower your armour class are things like shields, cloaks, helmets and magic spells. Magic is a significant part of the game, being the main ‘weapon’ of wizards, priests and druids. There are 5 levels of magic, with different kinds for wizards and priests. Your character learns 2 or 3 spells at the start of the game and can learn more as you progress through the game. You will learn many surprising things along your way around the sword coast and fight many side-quests, finally ending in Baldur’s Gate a huge port city. The 6 CDs (with the add-on pack) and the re-playability means there over a hundred hours play time, which is worth the £15-20 you’ll pay for the game. Baldur’s Gate 2 has been released now but as that continues from where Baldur’s Gate 1 finishes, it is worth playing the series from t
he start. This is definitely one I recommend. More tales and more swords, but do we need them? – Tales of the Sword Coast Add-On pack for Baldur's Gate Tales of the Sword Coast is an add-on pack for Baldur’s Gate. It adds three extra areas to the ‘Sword Coast’ where your adventures take place. This makes the game even bigger than before. It also corrected some bugs from Baldur's Gate and changed the interface slightly. I enjoyed Baldur's Gate a lot as you can see from my Dooyoo review (I gave it 5/5) so this ad on pack should be a good thing but I’m not sure. The game is already so big that it isn’t needed much. ‘Three new areas are added to the Baldur's Gate map the town Ulgoth’s beard (A strange town name, even for Baldur's Gate), Durlag’s tower and a mysterious island (this place is horribly difficult)!’ says the back of the box. The advantage of the extra areas is you can gain more experience points for later on in the game.
there is a man called mr baldaur and he has a ate. he lives in a house with a long drive and at the bottom of the drive is a gate made out of metal and when you open the gate you can get in baldaurs house and then you knock on the door and baldaur is in there and sometimes he gives you mince pies and sometimes he gives you peppermints it depends how he is feelnig these days but then he says thank you and you leave the house and go out baldaurs gate
Some games just amaze me. Some games go the extra mile and make you feel as if the programmers actually loved the product they were making. Some games, how should I say, "Kick Ass". Baldur's Gate is just such a game. The RPG market has been filled with sub-par games that either had nice storytelling, but horrible graphics and interface, or the opposite. There haven't been that many that pulled all the right elements together. The good people at Black Isle summoned all their skills and love of gaming to produce what has to be, the role-playing event of the year. They have single-handedly moved the RPG genre up another notch in the gaming ladder. From the moment you dive into the character creation, until the last encounter with the ultimate evil "Sarevok", you know that you are venturing into new territory. You're breaking ground along with the people who invented the technology that you are experiencing. Instead of a real-time or turn-based system of movement, Black Isle has implemented the best of both worlds in deciding how your characters move and fight. You have the ability to pause the action anytime during gameplay, and then direct your adventures movements individually. This gives you as much control as you like over the action of each individual character. Or you can forgo the micro management aspect and just charge straight ahead into battle. The choice is totally yours and makes the game open to every kind of player imaginable. The story revolves around three major cities on the Sword Coast; Beregost, Nashkell and the infamous Baldur's Gate. But that's only the beginning of the plot. There are a huge number of subplots and other individual quests that will keep your head spinning and your characters busy. There is a major plot to destabilize the Sword Coast by controlling the iron distribution. Many different incidents present themselves as the plot unfolds. An unknown plague
strikes the iron mines, rendering the iron ore used to make weapons almost useless. Traders who carry the ore are being attacked by an organized band of bandits. Things are falling apart all around your main character, who has to not only solve the iron crisis, but also must solve the mystery of his fathers death and bring vengeance upon those who killed him. Along the way your main character will also find out about his own past, things that lay better buried. Few characters can use magic, but all characters will learn basic skills as they proceed though the individual chapters of the story. All characters gain points though their journey and these can be exchanged for weapon and talent skills depending on the character you've chosen. There is so much character involvement that you really find yourself immersed in a wonderful world where you can't wait to go up another level and discover what skill, weapon proficiency or spell your character has available. Creating your first character will probably take you at least a half an hour. There are just so many variations that you cant make for yourself when designing the perfect adventurer. And once you begin play, you'll be able to guide up to six characters in your merry group. Once an NPC joins your group you'll be able to outfit them just as you can your main character, and train them to your liking. But you'll have to be wary "who" you choose to join your party . All the NPC's are widely varied in their alignment and if your main character is a "Chaotic Evil" Wizard, then the "Lawful Good" Paladin you team up with might attack you, after you're forced to kill an innocent villager who catches you stealing from him. Your actions on and off the battlefield can and will affect how other characters treat you throughout the game. The game environment is as large and varied as the plot itself. There are literally hundreds of unique l
ocations with beautifully hand rendered background images. Each place you visit is professionally drawn enhancing the believability of the environment you are experiencing. I was blown away several times during gameplay by just how unique and varied the landscapes really were. The five CD's that are included with the game are packed with hundreds of hours of playing time. Animations, by nature, consume a great deal of disk space, but very little space is wasted on them in Baldur's Gate. There are several nice, small cutscenes that accompany each chapter. All of them are all tastefully done, adding to the sense of "being there". They never dominate, nor take precious disk space away from the main game, but give the player a little reward upon finding major areas of the map. All the graphics involved in the game are top notch. The soundtrack is equally well done. There really isn't an area that was neglected in the making of the game. The added multiplayer support is another bonus unto itself. This is the first "true" RPG to include such a feature and it was nicely implemented. (Some might say Diablo was the first, but actually Diablo is not a true RPG in the strict RPG sense, however, Diablo II looks promising.) Unlike the game world of Diablo where all characters are equal in their control of the game, Baldur's Gate Multiplayer mode puts one gamer in the traditional role of "Dungeon Master". The DM traditionally did little or no playing, but instead would set up and help control the adventure. The host in Baldur's Gate can act in the same manner, guiding the other characters onward though their quests. I did have a few small complaints. Keeping track of each individual quest can at times be confusing. All material clues are automatically placed in your journal, but there are many entries that are not really necessary and they add up to a huge mass of entries that you have to scan
over and over in a search for what you should do next. I prefer the "Quest" book in Diablo over this style of note taking. Also, I understand the need for an "Experience Cap" on the characters you create, but a cap of 89,000 in a game this large is just plain silly. It's too low. The characters should have been able to reach a level of 10 with a cap of 175,000 - 200,000 (at least). The level of the cap is far too low for the sheer size of the game. It serves only to limit the replayability of the game while we wait for the expansion pack. And my last observation is that, in multiplayer, the host can and usually does copy any character that has better items than he/she currently owns. Then, when the game is over they can take your character's possessions and just give them to their character. This severely limits the chance of finding and joining other players who you hope are playing honestly. These minor complaints aside, Baldur's Gate delivers hours of fun RPG adventuring.
Baulders Gate gas got to be one of the best RPG games around today. From the minuet I first started playing it I ceased to have any existance outside of my bedroom. With its fabulous areas and imaginative characters, Baulders Gate doesn't just have one mission. Of course there is the main mission to find out what is happening at Nashkil, but there is also the missions that friends along the way introduce you to. Whilst playing the game I find myself almost believing that I am the character that i have created and feeling really sad when Gorion dies. Normally in a game you have just one path to follow in order to complete the game but in Baulders Gate you can choose where you go and in what order you go there. Very addictive.
Baldur's Gate has kept me occupied for half a year solid. It's not that it's a hard game to play, it's simply that it is so complex and detailed, with such a brilliant storyline, you just have to go back to it time and time again. The graphics on Baldur's Gate are excellent, they are realistic and well drawn, with loads of creativity and originality. The sound is very atmospheric, being light background music that fits with all the different situations, and the comments made by the characters to certain decisions are informative, useful, and even witty! There is a lot of interaction, and the characters in the storyline are well thought out and designed, easy to understand, and make the game very interesting. There are always multiple answers you can give in conversations, which set your tasks, can get you killed or rewarded, and make the player think a little about whats happening before clicking. The storyline itself is remarkabley detailed, starting you out as a youngster in the care of an old wizard, you get introduced to the game step by step, in a very carefully thought out tutorial, making this game one for experienced hands or rpg beginners. The plot is intriguing, making you set out into a large and detailed world to find the mystery of why you are so important.. There are numerous smaller quests along the way, all equally as interesting, exciting, and rewarding. The game can be played over and over again, each time giving you a different outlook as you do different quests and take different approaches to situation. I found the game quite hard to complete, sometimes it can seem a bit vague as to where to go next, but after a while, i realised that's a good thing, as it encourages you to explore, and you find a lot of other information out by going into all the areas possible. All in all, i am still enjoying this game, and it's the best role playing game I have played on my PC yet.