Anvil of Dawn



MACHINE REQ - 486/33 ( 486/66 RECOMMENDED)


After a long drought in CRPG's during the middle of 1995, the end of 1995 saw several releases. Of these I have played Thunderscape, Stonekeep and Anvil of Dawn. Thunderscape had promise but quickly started to bog down, and obviously wasn't beta tested. In the middle stages I really had to push myself to stick with Thunderscape. Stonekeep is buggy, and vastly overrated. Of the trio I have enjoyed Anvil of Dawn best .

The basic story isn't overly original. The fair land of tempest has been invaded by an evil Warlord and his armies. You have been chosen as one of five heroes to go out and free tempest from the Warlord. To achieve this requires you to visit various sites such as The Underground City, The Sunken Ship, The City of the Dead, etc, etc. You will need to retrieve certain items to build a coffer that can hold The Dark Slag, the Warlord's power source.

Anvil of Dawn is the first game to be produced by the Dreamforge team since their departure from SSI to New World Computing. SSI's first effort since Dreamforge's departure was Thunderscape. Anvil is a far superior game in most aspects.

Anvil is a single player RPG. You have five pre-generated characters to choose from. Each has certain skills, your usual brains vs brawn, magic vs weapon type stuff. I would dearly of loved to be able to generate my own character, but not to be. Anvil does not present much in the way of interest to the statistic loving player. Although characters base starting skills are different, the character you choose can be advanced in any magic discipline or weapon. All characters can wear armour or use any weapon. The main playing screen is a first person perspective, not unlike Menzoberranzan and the Ravenloft's. Movement is strangely stepped based, like Stonekeep. Combat is real time, although action will thankfully freeze if you go off rooting around your inventory. The combat is fairly easy throughout the whole game, I found that swords were the best weapons to advance in as you found several very good swords throughout the game. Magic spells are learnt either by finding a spell scroll or by being taught a spell by one of the many non player characters you meet. Usually there will be a small puzzle to solve before the NPC will teach the spell. Each spell is represented by a icon symbol on the right side of the screen. Clicking on a spell's icon will cause your character to make the appropriate finger gestures to activate the spell. I found the spell icons a little too close to the playing area of the screen, more than once I moved the mouse to the right to turn my character and activated a spell accidentally. Graphics are reasonable on the inside locations such as dungeons and castles, very similar to previous Dreamforge efforts. The outside location graphics are excellent, but little action takes place outside. Music is fair, there are better games if you love your music. It is in speech however that Anvil scores big points in my book. I found the speech well done and there is a lot of it, unlike the meagre speech rations of Thunderscape. All encounters with NPC's have full speech. All five pre-generated characters have separate speech voices.

Puzzles tend to be a bit repetitive, weight down this plate, flick that switch. None of the puzzles are very demanding and you should get through them all. I only had one crash during the whole game and that was upon entering Gorge Keep, but luckily Gorge Keep is not vital to finishing the game. Anvil of Dawn is an enjoyable game. I thought Ravenoft II - Stone Prophet was slightly better though. I hope that Dreamforge keep up the good work at their new home. But please Multi-character, full statistics and non step movement next time guys.

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