Shard Of Spring (SSI) Review | Commodore User - Everygamegoing

Commodore User

Shard Of Spring
By Strategic Simulations Inc
Commodore 64/128

Published in Commodore User #43

Shard Of Spring

For 2000 years, as the rest of the land either froze in Siberian temperatures or baked in the desert sun, the small island of Ymros enjoyed an almost eternal Spring. The secret behind this perfect weather combination was the enchanted Shard Of Spring, a piece of legendary Lifestone, which was radiating a sphere of magical power preventing the foul weather from the mainland contaminating the island.

The Shard was kept in a small shrine, fashioned from crystal, deep in the heart of the island's forest. Three years ago, a cold wind blew across the land, it was formed from the deepest reaches of evil and it laid waste to the crystal shrine, and took the Shard.

The next day a tall man in beggar's rags gained entrance to the royal palace, nobody knows how, he brought a grim message:" Siriadne, my master, has in her possession the Shard of Spring, if you and your people do not pay her due respect she will destroy the Shard and the land will be reduced to nothing more than a frozen hell."

From that day on the people of Ymros have been giving gold, food and offering sacrifices to her. In short, she had them by the proverbial short and curlies. It is your job to assemble a party of adventurers to retrieve the Shard and destroy the evil Siriadne. You have to start off after booting the game up by making the familiar character disk or tape which holds all the game information plus character statistics.

Once this small hurdle has been jumped, you get on to the character select screens. First you have to choose the race which you wish your creation to be, either Human, Dwarf, Troll, Elf or Gnome. Each one of these, bar Human, has a specific profession, either warrior or wizard. With the Human you get to choose your job description.

Warriors are both fighters, and tend to have more hit points (life force to the uninitiated) and can use any weapon and wear any armour. They also have skills such as hunting and hunting.

Wizards are naturally spell casters and can use no better weapons than daggers and can only derive protection from leather armour.

When you have selected your character, he is assigned his speed, strength, intellect endurance and skill. If you are dissatisfied with any of these attributes you can ask for them to be 're-rolled', which more often than not ends up being worse than the original. A feature which I have only come across in this game is the ability to select skills for character such as Karate, Dark Vision Hunting and other energetic skills for your warrior, and skills which enable your wizard to cash cast certain spells and identify objects.

Time plays an important part in this game, for as the night draws in your field of vision is narrowed, and as it grows lighter your range of sight increases.

While meandering through a dungeon or tripping lightly through a forest, you could well be set upon by those nasty green role-playing irritations, the Orc or alternatively something bigger and far more destructive. When you actually enter into the combat mode the computer displays a blow-up of the immediate area which looks similar to the Exodus: Ultima III combat. But there is one notable difference, there are dots at the side of the screen, and if a member of the party touches these, an exit appears for all those chickens who might suddenly turn pacifist. To prevent the group splitting up, only one exit may be created.

The graphics, as experienced computer role-players might come to expect, are small one-colour efforts which go hand-in-hand with the appalling sound.

The two major problems with Shard Of Spring are, first, it costs a packet, and secondly, you need at least two people in the party. Apart from that though, this game should appeal to all Role Playing Gamers.

Mark Patterson

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