Druid: Daemons of the Mind
The company behind Druid is none other than Sir-Tech – a brand name which should be familiar to fans of retro adventure/rpg hybrids. Sir-Tech was behind the wildly succesful Wizardry series, and they’ve done a lot to break out of the mold and try new things. One of those attempts is the game before you.
It tries, but in a lot of ways the game is still a fairly conventional isometric role-playing game – which of course isn’t a bad thing. But you do all of those conventional role-playing things, like gain experience points by fighting monsters, level up, locate items, improve health and magic power. You play a druid without a name brought to the mystic world of Navan by three other druids to assist them in finding their missing brother. Each druid rules an island, which you must visit in your quest to find clues about the disappearance.
Druid is played from an overhead isometric perspective as you travel from area to area looking for items to use, people to meet and creatures to fight. Combat isn’t the most central part of Druid, although it is vital. Throughout your druid’s travels, he meets various hostile humans and monsters that block his path. Surprisingly, they all seem to be about equal as far as strength and hit points. In any case, druid’s combat system is pretty nice, as it allows blocking, fleeing and difference attack angle strategies. The combat is also surprisingly fast.
Druid’s magic system, especially the every important healing spell, is useful if not woefully spectacular. It also breaks the game somewhat, since creatures won’t attack you unless you enter their space. Stay far away and you can lob spells at them all you want. Elemental spells (water, fire, and so on) make up the majority of them.
For a role-playing game, Druid is mercifully short. Though several endings are offered, none of them are really worth replaying the game. If you’re looking for that Sir-Tech spark, you probably won’t find it here, or at least not on par with their more famous and unavoidably comparable Wizardry series. Druid is moderately challenging, short, conventional and not all that interesting. It is, however, a viable RPG for those intimidated by the richer environments of Wizardry and Realms of Arkania.
System Requirements: Pentium 166 MHz, 16 MB RAM, Win95
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