"Don't worry," quoth Matt, handing me a manual as big as the collected works of Mills And Boon. "It's not as complicated as it looks." Gulp. As a rule of thumb, flight sims and strategy games have big manuals, and Lords Of Chaos certainly falls into the latter category. Of course, you'll know this already if you read Macca's Megapreview a couple of issues back. Anyway, off I trolled, game and paperwork in hand, to load up my humble Spec. So what's it like? Blimey, steady on, give me a chance...
Right, here we go... Lords Of Chaos is the product of the feverish brain of Julian Gollop, he of Laser Squad fame. It's a sword and sorcery epic in which you get to play a wizard either against the computer or with up to three pals. There are three scenarios, each of which gets progressively more tricky. Basically you've come from another world called Limbo (nice name, isn't it?). Each scenario takes you to a different world where you have to perform various tasks before a portal appears through which you can leg it back home. Your main challenge is to stay alive (!), but other tasks include collecting treasure, fighting beauties and duffing up other wizards. If you survive a game you're then able to benefit from your experience - you're rewarded with experience points, and you can then spend them building up on the various attributes of your wizard.
Dungeons And Dragons fans will recognise this feature, and be pleased to hear that much of the game system is akin to D&D. You can start a game with a wizard created by the computer, or else use the rather unique Wizard Editor to create your own. Each wizard has a set of attributes and knows certain spells. Furthermore, each spell - and there are 45 in all! - can be mastered at different levels. You will also be able to make potions by finding ingredients like mistletoe, ambergris and holly and bunging all into a steaming cauldron.
After getting this far into the game you'll hardly be wanting to start again, will you? Good job then, Spec-chums, that you get the facility to save games and characters onto disk (or tape) for future use. The graphics are nice and colourful, and some of the little sprites are animated. There's even some sound when you zap creatures with spells, but actual combat is all worked out by the computer in a silent, orderly sort of fashion. All in all, there's lots (and lots and lots!) of depth here - real value-tor-money stuff. Starting with just your wizard you soon conjure up hordes of mystical creatures who you then take control of. Some of the creatures can fly, some can walk, and basically you get to boss them all around, Hurrah! Find yourself some treasure, locate weapons, turn them into magic weapons, get out there and kick bottom.
And that's it really. A whopper of a game - perhaps not the kind of fodder to keep die-hard arcadesters happy, but D&D fans, sword and sorcery nuts and strategy enthusiasts will absolutely lap it up. If you fall even vaguely into any of these categories then you'll certainly want to check out Lords Of Chaos.
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