Stradt's Possession was the first in a series a games using Dreamforge's new '3D' game engine. The other two games to come out later were Menzoberranzan and Ravenloft II. Being the first game with the new engine you would expect a bug or two, and SSI did not dissappoint. Don't buy Version 1.0 of the CD game, the bugs will drive you insane. The bugs ranged from lock-ups to a nasty disk problem that fried a few directories, messed FAT and wrote rubbish files that could only be deleted by Norton's. A non PC minded person may have got suckered for a new hard drive by unscruplous repairers.
The good news is that the patch cleared 99% of the lockups and I went on the enjoy the game.
A short rundown of the plot sees you pursueing a thief, he and you dissapear into a mysterious mist, when you come to your senses you are in a new land, a depressed land full of wild creatures and ruled over by the Vampire Lord Stradt. Your aim is simple, kill Stradt and escape the land. To kill Stradt you will need a special item, to escape the land you will need all the items in the catalogue ( a book you will find early in the game ). I'm going to stick my neck out here and say that Ravenloft 1 actually is harder and has a better story line than Ravenloft2. Ravenloft 2 has the graphics and atmosphere.
The graphics are good on the static character screens, but only fair on the 3D window. Music is reasonable, but the voices of many of the NPC's are dreadful, the exception is the Vistani you meet, most of the rest have broad US accents that don't lend any atmosphere to the gothic setting of the game. Unfortunately SSI has still persisted in some of the voices in Raven 2 and Menzo.
Combat is real time and early in the game you will be killed more often than not, SAVE, SAVE and SAVE again is the motto. The first section of the game sees some tough battles with Goblins and Worgs. Your first priority is to find a small building. Here there are some items and also a safe haven to lick your wounds until your ready to go out and thump some more gobs.
Overall Ravenloft 1 is an under rated game, certainly the bugs and linear game play do not help, but give it time the game does grow on you.
The most valuable character to create is a Cleric, the clerics skills both healing and spells are invaluable. Later in the game you will combat some really tough Flesh Golems, remember your clerics native skills.
Avoid getting possessed by the Jeweller's ghost until you have the graveyard key.
SAVE, SAVE and SAVE again.
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