Computer Gamer1st June 1986
Published in Computer Gamer #15
Swords And Sorcery
Imagine a fantasy role-playing game that involves combat, conversation, magic, treasure and quests. With a display that includes a 3D picture and a map of your immediate surroundings and various boxes of information as well as large pictures of all the characters that you meet. And where, when and if you complete your tasks, you can transfer your hero over to further modules that are being planned. And the whole thing controlled by just six keys Sound too good to be true? Well, it isn't. It's Swords And Sorcery and it's here now.
Whilst there are many quests and sub-quests for you to pursue, your main target is to find the assorted bits of the Armour of Zob which was unmade by its maker aeons ago. The armour is spread across many levels of a dark and dangerous dungeon and, whilst some characters will help you, most are only interested in your demise.
The game is controlled by a series of menus. Your five basic actions are hit, magic, handle, act and talk but these all lead into further menus which give you an apparently bewildering choice of action. For example, choosing handle then allows you to pick from pick up, drop, wear, take of, hold and take out. Picking one of these then gives you a list of items to be acted upon. The 8 and 0 keys move you through the menus whilst 9 selects the current choice. Movement is achieved through keys 1-3 which turn you left, move you forward and turn you right respectively.
The game starts with you spending fourteen days training your character in various fields such as sword play and agility. Then it's off on your mission.
The main part of the screen shows a 3D display of the rooms and corridors with a map of the area of the dungeon that you are currently in, although this map gets replaced by status and combat details. Below that is a box giving details of text and conversations. Combat does not necessarily take place whenever you meet a monster. You can try talking to him and cajole or threaten him in order to gain some information, perhaps about one of the artefacts that you have just found. If, however, you do decide to attack (or vice versa) then you must decide whether to use one of your weapons (maybe an enchanted one if you have found one) or to try casting a spell. You only start with a few magic spells, gaining more with experience but your initial arsenal of spells does include a fireball.
Swords And Sorcery is a highly complex game that will keep you quiet for ages, especially when you consider that several expansion modules are planned. It will take you some time to get the hang of what's going on around you but the game is such that you want to go back and try again. If you enjoy this type of game, Swords And Sorcery is highly recommended.