Menzo takes first prize for one catergory , unfortunately its not a good one. Menzo is the quickest CRPG I have finished so far. It took me a little over a week at maybe 1 - 2 hours per day, certainly no more than about 10 hours total gameplay. I remember getting to the underground city and saying to myself " I hope that there is more then this to the game ", unfortunately there wasn't much more.
A simple run down on the story sees the folk of a village kidnapped by the drow ( dark elves ) and being led into the caves to the underground city, Menzoberranzan. Your job is equally simple, find them and release them.
Menzo is the second in a series of SSI games featuring the Ravenloft game engine. The graphics are a definate improve on Ravenloft 1. Much of the background music is similar and the sound effects very similar, unfortunately the NPC voices are also similar. Some are convincing, but many others still sport a broad US accent that marrs the Ravenloft game as well. One thing I did like however was the NPC's you met move away from your standard fair, there was a horse/man type person and even a large bird like creature who wanted to join your party.
Combat has been improved from Ravenloft, only minor modifications but enough to make it easier. Your biggest aid in combat however is the NPC character Drizzt, when I picked this guy up at Level 16 ( or something similar ) sporting two special weapons I thought there had to be a catch. But no, Drizzt sticks by you until much later in the game. With Drizzt in the party combat is ridiculously easy. Easy is the motto of the game, there are no great puzzles, no hard battles and the game is totally linear. Everything you need to solve puzzles on a level is found at that level. There is no turning back once you decend to a lower level.
I was fortunate in not requiring a patch disk to complete the game, I had very few lockups. I did however encounter numerous monsters stuck in walls, just hack at the wall and the monster will die.
Overall I will say that Menzo is suitable for a beginners RPG, experienced RPG will not get their value from this all too short game.
Its hard to come up with hints with a game so easy, but here's a couple.
As there is no turning back once you enter the caves, make sure that all the surface is explored completely first. There are some items that make life a bit easier in the underground that are found on the surface.
There is a bug that if you do a save game in ( Luecretta cave ?) that sees your flying potions dissappear from your inventory. So try to do the cave without saving.
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