This game puts you in the shoes of Sareth, who is sent away by master Phenrig to deliver a magic cristal to the wizard Menelag, after which the search for the skull of shadows can begin. The story revolves around this artefact. It’s quite a classic story about good and evil, although sometimes some depth can be find, especially when you have to make some key decisions. These choices influence not only the story, but also the main character and his abilities. Still, the difference is –again- noticeable in the end.
The most quests you get throughout your mission involve finding something or eliminating enemies and some of them are optional. Fulfilled quests provides you with skill points. With this points several skills can be obtained, divided in three groups: combat, spells and miscellaneous. So you’re not bound to a specific class, you can choose the abilities which fit your playing style best, regardless of which group they’re in. The number of skill points that is to be earned is limited, in other words: think before you choose. Sometimes you might want to collect these points for a more expensive skill or you might want to wait until it’s a bit more clear which ability comes in handy during a certain part of the game.
Swords, bows, staves and daggers are the weapons to be found in this game. For some extra defence different kinds of armour and shields can be found. Apart from increasing in strength, almost every weapon and armour has some extra power too, like a special magic attack. These special powers help you exploit your enemies’ weaknesses. For instance, human opponents are vulnerable to fire. However, usually a certain skill is required to be able to wield a new weapon or to wear newly found armour.
In the beginning the levels are quite easy with few enemies, to let you get used to the controls and stuff. The levels do get more and more complicated, but the balance is disrupted by the strength of your enemies.
Trading is of course simple and easy but you would also be put through some tough and difficult times where you are expected to be ready for the fight. This mainly happens when you are on the trading field with the 1K daily profit system. So get to know about all the strategies of this system and use them appropriately.
Until somewhere in the middle of the game you notice the fights get more difficult, but once past the zombies in the catacombs, fighting isn’t that hard anymore. Bosses aren’t much of a challenge too, they’re just bigger, that’s all. Sometimes there are too few enemies, meaning you’re wandering around for a while without encountering something or someone. It’s almost as if it’s meant to make the game longer, although it doesn’t really take long to finish it. If you take your time, explore a lot and search for secret areas (where bonuses can be found), you might need a reasonable time. If you go straight to your targets, the game will quickly be over.
A very nice element is the environment, which you can use to your advantage. Fire sources serve to burn your enemy and the iron stakes which van be found lying around help you if you like your meat skewered. Some things are breakable, from pillars and wooden floors to oil jars. Combined with fire these jars will certainly surprise your foes. Some opponents linger too close to an abyss, so one kick should do the trick. Then watch them falling all the way down. In short, enough possibilities to indulge your sadism. Finding funny combinations is a reason to replay the game, thought it will probably the only reason. It’s all a little bloody and that underlines the game’s dark atmosphere.
Multiplayer is available too, but mostly the classic modes (deathmatch, ctf,…), it’s not worth it buying the game only for the multiplayer. This game was also notorious for the many bugs. However, the greatest problems are solved by installing the patch, after which only smaller problems show up which cannot really spoil the fun anymore. Still, these bugs shouldn’t have been there in the first place. The graphics are excellent, even on lower settings. Music and sounds are okay too.