kingdom of Ashtalarea is one shrouded in a history of
dwarves, orcs, elves magic and mystery. A kingdom of
adventurers, by adventurers, for adventurers. If you're
not the type to settle down and earn a decent living,
trading or farming, then Ashtalarea is for you: Inhabitants
offer rewards for quests successfully undertaken, priests
offer their healing powers for wounded heroes, and weapon
masters offer training in the art of surviving. If not
for all the enemies wandering around, Ashtalarea would
be a great (and safe) place in which to make a fortune
as an adventurer.
with most RPGs your first task is to create characters
with which to explore Ashtalarea. You can create as
many as you like but only play with a maximum of six
(it is advised you do this to give a better chance of
surviving). Character generation is extensive and time
consuming but interesting. It features gender, class,
and all other options usual with this style of game
-- you can even edit graphic depictions of your heroes.
begins at a tavern in the town of Brettle. It is only
at hostelries such as this that you may save your game
position (achieved by staying the night). Most Inns
charge for B & B so you need gold to save a game. However,
should you be skint, you may risk your inventory (and
worse) by staying in a free but sleazy hostelry.
towns you discover all manner of retail outlets (weapon
smith, armourer and shops) from where the wealthy adventurer
may purchase most items required for a successful quest.
As you wander around town you and your party are depicted
as a spinning helmet.
you've seen enough of town life (and armed yourself
as best as you can -- weapons can be very expensive)
it's time to venture into the wilderness in search of
a quest or two.
appears to be no real goal in Knights of Legend,
apart from becoming a successful adventurer and earning
lots of gold (enough of a goal for anybody, I suppose).
The game is played using keys only, or keys and joystick,
to choose actions from an icon panel at the bottom of
the screen (these change to suit your situation).
for the complaints . . .
took six minutes and seven disk swaps to load the game.
It then took me five hours to create two characters,
walk around Brettle, buy a bit of armour and return
to the Inn to save my game. There was no challenge during
this time; only the impulsion to visit every building,
just in case it contained something of import (which
it usually didn't).
with NPCs (Non Player Characters) can get confusing;
at one point I asked a guard about a certain person
he'd mentioned, from which he took me to be that person
and proceeded to give me a task to complete.
came across a crumbly old castle on the road and it
took four disk swaps to get in. Text was hard to read,
even on a 1084 monitor.
are good bits as well, though . . .
throughout Knights of Legend are great, whether
depicting your success at combat or displaying buildings
or characters, they're very good. Scrolling is very
fast and smooth, and the game has a huge play area.
fact, although when I set out on my initial trek through
Ashtalarea I thought I'd die of boredom, the more I
progressed, the better the game became. Extensive combat
commands (such as panic, headbutt, punch, slash, and
berserk) make for interesting -- even exciting -- conflicts.
And the teachers of magic, weapon skills, and the odd
arena where you can prove your worth and up your grade
as an adventurer, all add to the depth.
player's handbook is quite hefty and requires reading
thoroughly, but the reference card speeds up initial
plays. If you have the patience of Job then Knights
of Legend's incredibly slow gameplay system won't
bother you too much and you'll be able to enjoy the
game for what it is; if you're not patient, forget it!
Did I mention that the graphics are really good? (Yes
Knights of Legend modules are planned, through
which you'll be able to explore four more Kingdoms.