13Shannara the game is based on Terry Brooks’ best-selling series of novels with the same name. The folks behind the game, Legend Entertainment, had worked extensively on adapting the works of authors such as Frederik Pohl (Gateway) and Piers Anthony (Companions of Xanth) into fun and rewarding PC games. But instead of the deep RPG or thoughtful adventure that most fans would expect from them, Legend’s version of Shannara is a surprisingly lightweight game that probably won’t hold much appeal for the dedicated audience it targets.

The setup for Shannara isn’t the problem (even though Brooks had little to do with the script for the game); it starts well enough, with the ancient warlock king, Brona, returning to the land of the living, decades after his death, in order to seek vengeance against those who killed him. Naturally, his first act is to unleash armies of horrible monsters upon the lands. As the young hero, Jak Ohmsford, you soon learn from a Druid named Alanon that only you have the power to end Brona’s evil reign — and to do that, you’ll have to retrieve the Sword of Shannara.

Throughout the game, Legend’s penchant for creating attractive, easy-to-use and accessible games certainly shows in Shannara. Movement and action commands are clearly marked and easily accessible, and the inventory system is a breeze. But as attractive as the presentation is, there’s simply not enough meat in this game to hold your interest for long.

12Unlike in previous Legend titles, the narrative elements that create and maintain the story are sparse throughout much of the game, revealing little information about your quest; for the most part, they’re limited to character interactions directly related to whatever the current puzzle is. As for the puzzles themselves, you’ll find they are simply too easy to present much of a challenge even to novice gamers, since a few clicks through items in your inventory is usually all it takes to solve most of the problems you encounter. In the end, Shannara is lightweight game for lightweight adventurers.

System Requirements:486/33 MHz, 4 MB RAM, DOS

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