Siege of Avalon Anthology

10_1The reading man’s role-playing game.

Released in an episodic format in its day, Siege of Avalon uses the tagline “Played Any Good Books Lately” to promote itself. From seeing that, you might wonder whether this here really is a game at all, or if it’s only a “game” in the sense that you get to provide some minor input to keep the plot flowing along. The answer is ‘yes’ – Siege of Avalon really is a game, albeit one with a lot more reading and high fantasy fluff to keep true to its tagline. But is it enough to entice seasoned CRPG fans?

Siege of Avalon combines elements of Diablo and Baldur’s Gate to create an interesting role-playing experience for more patient gamers, and while it might not have the polish of those other games, it does enough right to warrant giving it a glance. It’s the standard single-player isometric CRPG, advancing your character’s stats and coffers by killing enemies, completing quests, and running fetch errands.

Avalon’s chapters build on each other, with the first providing a general introduction to the history of the conflict and a chance to map the landscape. The second chapter introduces party logistics by allowing you to choose a companion to share your adventures. Chapters 4, 5, and 6 are expansion chapters (i.e., not central to the main story line). Although these are deemed “optional,” without the experience gained by playing them, your chances of surviving the end game are less than that of the proverbial snowball in a hot spot.

1_1In terms of geography, Avalon is huge. In addition to the citadel, there are caves beneath the castle and a large village area outside the walls. Initially you will have to do a lot of walking to traverse the landscape and get the lay of the land. As you explore each section, an on-screen map is completed to aid you in future visits. While the maps are highly effective for the zone you are exploring, there is no global point of view outside of the castle and it is easy to become disoriented as you explore.

For those who’ve played Baldur’s Gate and don’t mind spending as much time reading as they do playing, Siege of Avalon might prove to be a worthwhile experience. It steps away from the technical sides of a game based on AD&D rules and removes the confusion of learning how to simultaneously control multiple party members, but has enough complexity and plot intricacy to keep you on your toes

System Requirements: Pentium II 450 Mhz, 64 MB RAM, 48 MB HDD, Win98

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