Platforms: PC
Publisher: DreamCatcher Interactive
Developer: Silverback Entertainment
Genres: RPG / Action Role-Playing
Release Date: February 26, 2003
Game Modes: Singleplayer

7_1Dungeon crawling blasts off into space.

In as few words as possible, Harbinger is Diablo in space. With only a partial understanding of what made Diablo good, it transposes the action role-playing genre into the science fiction realm. Actually, it’s not really outer space so much as a spaceship that seems to have been built from a bunch of metal-walled dungeons. You know it’s a spaceship because you get missions sending you to a different part of the “ship,” which is a matter of going to the next level.

The pre-built locations have the haphazard look of random levels but none of the replayability offered by the big D. The developers have hand-placed absolutely everything, robbing Harbinger of any sense of exploration or freedom. There is only the option to go back to town between levels to sell stuff, with “Town,” in this case, being a room with two aliens behind desks. Between them is a teleportation circle called an umbilical, which is aptly named considering the tethered narrative.

Although the three character classes play differently, leveling them up is so simplified that it takes a backseat to managing their inventories. You spend a lot of time arranging stuff in your grid, Tetris style, so you can carry as much as possible when you go back to those aliens behind their desks. After all, you’re going to be selling most of the stuff you find. Treasure is limited to a particular class, and since you’re only playing one of the three classes at a time, you can’t use two-thirds of the things you find. So instead of replay value, Harbinger instills you with a lingering doubt that maybe you should have chosen one of the other characters. If this is enough to get you to play a middling action RPG over again, consider your gaming time well spent.

System Requirements: Pentium III 1 Ghz, 256 MB RAM, 16 MB Video, WinXP

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  1. Ce Tecpatl says:

    Despite of all its obvious flaws, it’s one of my favorite games of all time. Its atmosphere is unsurpassed, sounding and voice-acting are simply brilliant, and sprite graphics galore is just amazing.

    Though now, having reverted back to WinXP, I surprisingly have some nasty visual glitches, like missing textures, some sharp-angled black artefacts, disappearing of parts of sprites and so on, though it worked flawlessly on the same hardware but on the newer OS (Win7). And the mighty DxWnd doesn’t help at all although it does have ‘Harbinger fix’ in its library.

  2. CCC says:

    I saw this game on a now-defunct video game shop back then in San Diego when I was about to start university. But I didn’t get it because I didn’t wanted to waste time. The description make it seems like I saved my 9dollars.

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