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Throne Of Darkness (PC)

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1 Review

Role playing game set in feudal Japan. Both single and multiplayer experience. Based upon Japanese mythology with the character fighting to overthrow a dark Warlord and his army. Team play multiplayer also available.

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

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      25.11.2001 20:34
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      Throne Of Darkness (TOD from now on) is a combat-based role-playing game set in a fantasy version of feudal Japan. The plot is simple enough, and is explained well in the introduction sequence. Basically, the Shogun of Japan has meddled with powers not meant for man, and has been corrupted by evil forces. You must battle through his forces across the land, leading towards a final showdown against your dark ruler. To do this, you take control of the heroic samurai of one out of four different clans. So what is TOD like? In a nutshell, it’s Diablo 2, but with a few added bells and whistles. For those of you who don’t know Diablo 2, it is a 2-dimensional combat-heavy role-playing game where you guide a hero (that you choose at the beginning of the game from a selection available) through various dungeons and landscapes, gorily beating merry hell out of a wide range of beasties that stand in between you and glory. Your character advances through levels of experience, and you can raise his abilities and learn extra spells and pick up more and more powerful magical items as the game progresses. TOD works in exactly the same way, but it has been refined and improved in several ways… First of all, you don’t have to pick a hero. You get them all. Yes, TOD is team-based. You start the game with seven different samurai, with different abilities. They are: The Leader, the Swordsman, the Berserker, the Archer, the Ninja, the Wizard, and the… Brick. Sorry, game developers, that’s a silly name. You can see where it came from – “OK, we’ve got a character that’s big and hard, what shall we call him? Well, what’s big and hard? I know…” No, wrong choice. He could have been called a Juggernaut, or a Behemoth, or a Stalwart, or even, drawing from the Japanese, a Sumo. But no, he’s a Brick. I’m slowly trying to come to terms with it. As a quick aside while I’m on ab
      out the characters, make sure you use your wizard lots in the beginning of the game. He’s quite shy at first, and doesn’t really rack up much experience, so if you’re not careful he’ll end up way behind the other samurai. Persevere with him though, as he can learn some devastating spells later on, and will become your most powerful fighter by far… Anyway, you can have up to four of these seven samurai wandering around in your party at once. You control one of them, and the others are AI-governed. What is especially cool is that you have a range of different squad formations and tactics at your command, which set each characters position, aggression and chosen weapon type, which you can vary depending on who you’re fighting and who you’ve got in your party. For example, if you’ve got, say, the Swordsman, the Berserker, the Brick and the Archer, you might use the tortoise formation, where the close-combat guys are grouped defensively around the fellow with the ranged weaponry. The computer automatically allocates the most appropriate party member to each position of your selected formation, and you can even tweak or completely redesign the formations in the tactics editor. It’s a really good concept for the game, and getting your tactics right can make a big difference in combat. As with Diablo 2, you have access to a Priest and a Blacksmith. As you can imagine, the Priest sells potions, and purifies and identifies magic items; and the Blacksmith sells and repairs weapons and armour. There are a few neat additions though. In TOD you can also sacrifice magic items to the gods via your Priest in return for points to spend on spells. The Blacksmith is greatly improved. Rather than selling him the tat you find on your adventures, he recycles it and can then make decent stuff from the raw materials. He is also used for customising your equipment. Most items you have will have room on them for
      a number of magical components, which convey different powers to the item or the bearer of it. These components are usually found on the bodies of your slain enemies, and include a multitude of different gemstones; random things like wolf pelts, mercury globs and hairpins; through to enemy body parts like Scorpion Dragon stingers, Tengu (bird monster) feathers, Spider-Witch cobwebs and Kappa (turtle monster) shells. You can access the Priest and the Blacksmith, and can swap party members, at any time. You don’t have to trek back half way across the game to return to your castle so you can flog your accumulated gear – there is a magical link, via your Daimyo (head of your clan), that allows you to deal with them wherever you are. Another great touch that solves one of the things that drove me mad with Diablo. OK, so the game basically involves you wandering around, brutally killing pretty much everything you come across, and building up a stockpile of increasingly savage weapons and increasingly impenetrable armour. You pick up various side quests along the way, such as rescuing villagers and slaying particular beasties; and individual samurai also get quests related to their past, and so on. Eventually, you end up liberating the castles of the other clans and confining the Shogun and his forces to his mountaintop citadel. That’s about as far as I’ve progressed, so I can’t tell you how the final showdown goes, but perhaps I should leave that for you to find out for yourselves anyway… Graphics-wise, the game is OK, but not stunning. The 2d sprites are nice and detailed, and the backgrounds are pretty enough, but it does look a little dated and runs in quite a low resolution (that you don’t seem to be able to change). It’s not the game to load up if you want to show off your monster PC to your mates. Those of you who have played Vampire – The Masquerade: Redemption will know that this so
      rt of game can work well and look brilliant in 3d, so some innovation is required. In fairness though, these 2d graphics do mean that the game will apparently run on a P2-266, so those of you with older computers are in with a chance of playing a recently released game! The sound is perfectly up to the job. Battles sound good, spells sound suitably meaty, and so on. There is even 3d sound support, but it doesn’t seem to like my sound card (Videologic SonicFury) so I’ve turned it off. There isn’t really a lot of point to 3d sound in this game anyway as it’s only 2d… The biggest plus point for the game has to be that it has improved on Diablo 2 with a novel setting and team-based game play, yet has retained the addictiveness of the Diablo series. I can tell you now; you will lose a lot of time to this one… Requires: Pentium 266 (400 recommended) 32MB RAM 700MB hard disk DirectX 7 compatible video and sound

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