Knights of the Temple II

9_1You probably won’t remember Knights of the Temple II after having finished it. A German import mix between an action adventure and role-player, Knights has you play as High Templar Paul de Rauque. He’s been having visions lately; visions about Hell, demons and their invasion of the world, and our Christian hero sets forth to put an end to all of that jazz by closing the portal linking our world to theirs. In an attempt to gather the three objects necessary to re-seal the Hellgate, Paul has a choice of three distinct locations to which to travel.

Going through these location marks some of the level variety you will encounter in this game. On one island, he finds an entire Roman city sequestered behind six-foot-high walls as a mysterious disease ravages the population. On another, he finds a gorgeously detailed Arabic city, and on yet another he finds those same Arabs laying siege to a gated pirate stronghold. Besides the obviously lovingly created environments, the graphics are admittedly a bit dated. While the geography and architecture are nice and crisp, the character models are somewhat flat and are overused.

At its core, Knights of the Temple II is a hack and slash ARPG. There are combos to pull off and buckets of dialogue to prise out of the otherwise totally static inhabitants of the game world. But unlike other more complex combat games (Prince of Persia), the fighting system in Knights II meant doing little more then pushing an enemy into a corner and clicking the left mouse button with an occasional foray over to the right.

One annoying thing that makes it a pain to learn the controls is the unresponsive camera. The camera gets stuck behind walls or the many stacks of crates. It accelerates and slows down like a ping-pong ball. Combine this with an unintuitive control scheme and you have a major headache to contend with. Sure, it’s not too hard to remap them all but it would have been even easier to position the jump key below the movement keys as opposed to clumping it together with all the action buttons over on the keypad.

You’ll find plenty of weapons to hack evil apart, though. From swords of different sizes, to hammers or axes. Oh, and a crossbow. All would be well if it weren’t for the sinfully useless camera and controls. But were’re running in circles now. If you’re looking for bad controls, generic plot and a forgetable experience overall, then Knights II is a good bet. If, however, you want a quality and more cerebral RPG that was also Made in Germany, then go for any of the Gothic games.

System Requirements: P IV 1.5 GHz, 256 MB RAM, 1.8 GB HDD, 64 MB Video, WinXP

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