Are you a gamer? Do you enjoy loosing yourself in a fantasy world of occult and sorcery? And do you enjoy strategy computer games? If your answer to all these questions is yes then I think this could be the game for you.
Lords Of Chaos puts up to 4 players in wizards robes, primed with spell lists and mana levels with which to do battle against other players or, if alone, the computer's evil wizard Torquemada who, unlike his Spanish inquisition namesake, is not out to kill thousands of innocent people but you.
Lending heavily from the style of Laser Squad, Nick and Julian Gollop have improved upon their last creation and created a world of strategic sorcery where you go in with the single outlook of kicking some magical ass.
Players can begin with a random character with various spells and abilities but if they find him a bit baggy for their style of gameplay they can tailor a wizard to their own specifications.
So, you're all settled any ready so what do you do? Each wizard begins with various ability scores - mana being spells, action points are used up with each movement or task undertaken with stamina, constitution, combat and defence points depleting on each turn that they are called into use. A graphical display shows each ability and its present level.
Each wizard, along with the characters that he summons to help him, is selected by joystick and then manipulated according to the current menu. At the beginning of each game it's a good idea to conjure up some confederates. Battle is done on the ground, in the air and with things that have been dead too long. Any of the the (un)dead can only be vanquished by using magic, hitting them with magical weapons or putting them against one of your dead and wiffy companions.
Your wizard controls each of the characters to the point of even hitching a ride on mountable monsters. These are very useful because it means the rider can conserve movement points and use them for spell casting and creating the very necessary potions which can only be done by collecting the needed ingredients and putting them in the same space occupied by the cauldron. Add to this mixture one wizard and use the relevant potion spell.
Potions are integral to the game as is the interplay between the wizard and the creatures under his control and careful use of spells is needed to progress through a game to the exit portal which will take the wizard back home where he will be awarded experience points - used to increase the number of spells known to the total of 45 and to increase the effectiveness level of each spell. Also, experience points can be spent increasing wizards abilities.
Wizard's and their abilities can be saved allowing their use by players in later games so if he should disappear in a cloud of octarine smoke, he can live to cast spells another day.
As with many plan view RPG games, the whole format has really been superseded by the latest batch of graphical Dungeon type games that has increased the appeal of the genre to include the arcade player. However, where Lords of Chaos really scores over them is in the depth of gameplay that is available and the level of board game strategy that is involved. Playing against your friends or even just alone, the three included scenarios will be complemented by extension modules which will add two new scenarios for 4 - 6. So, if Lords of Chaos appeals to you, then be sure that you could spend quite some time playing it.
Mythos have created a game that is ideal for the board war gamer and the role player with clear, recognisable graphics and all controlled from the joystick once the complicated control system is mastered. Sound is lacking but this will only annoy the committed arcade freak and should not detract from what is an absorbing and challenging game.
Reviewer: Garth Sumpter
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