Witchaven II: Blood Vengeance

6_1Which Witchaven is which?

Capstone’s Witchaven II: Blood Vengeance uses the same technology as the first game. Although it looks nothing like it, the engine behind it is the same one that powered Duke Nukem 3D, but don’t expect any of the quality gameplay to come with it. Where Duke takes players on a wickedly frantic ride, Witchaven 2 has you slogging, trundling, and hacking your way through dark levels and ugly enemies from start to finish.

The game opens with your triumphant return to your homeland, Stahzia, shortly after you destroyed the evil witches in the original Witchaven. After a little too much celebrating, you drift off to sleep and awake the next day to find the village empty. A massive golden dragon sent by a witch who survived the first game tells you of the fate of your fellow Stahzians — naturally, their only hope for salvation is you, and to be successful, you must survive the witch’s 15-level labyrinth.

While the fantasy setting in Witchaven 2 might promise more creativity than the usual alien-bashing, bad controls and lackluster combat soon kill any glimmer of hope. The control options include mouse and joystick configurations, but as in Duke or Doom, the keyboard layout is the simplest to grasp. Still, even it can be frustrating at times; try to bring your character to a stop, and he seems to “float” to a standstill, like a car with bad brakes. At other times, you’ll spin out of control or find yourself moving when you need to be still. These control problems only get worse in battle.

1_1Witchaven 2’s fantasy setting means most of your weapons are of the hand-to-hand variety. So the hacking and slashing is up close and personal, but judging the distance to your enemies is tough. That can leave your character swinging wildly while the monsters kill you. The graphics are virtually identical to its predecessor, which is to say they’re bad.

If the controls weren’t so bad, the weapons so lame and the enemies so boneheaded, you might find Witchaven 2’s sinister design a welcome change from the norm.

System Requirements: Pentium 66 MHz, 6 MB RAM, 62 MB HDD, MSDOS

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