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  Blades of Exile
Introduction
Blades Of Exile is an excellent RPG style game that has been out for a more then 1 year.

Why review a game that has been out for awhile and the creators of this game, Spider Web Software, have gone on to creating bigger and greater games?.

Answer!!

Over the last six months I have been searching the internet for a great RPG game to play. After trying numerous duds I found a shareware version of the Blades of Exile Game which turned out to be one of the best RPG games I have ever played. After obtaining a registered copy and playing through the scenarios it confirmed my initial observation that Jeff Vogel at Spider Web Software produced an outstanding jewel of good old RPG. I was somewhat dismayed when checking around that no one heard of this game. This is probably due to the fact that Spider Web is a small company competing in a big world of software games. I am doing this review in order to give more exposure to this excellent game.

Overview

The Valley Of Dying Things

Rated easy

The crops are withered the children are dying and even the water burns. Can you find the source of the sickness before the entire valley dies.

You start in Fort Talrus, an outpost at the entrance to Skylark Vale. Skylark Vale is currently afflicted by a horrible plague, a plague only you can cure. Before you can save the Vale, however, you need to be able to walk around. Many monsters and puzzles will inhibit your progress. You will have to talk to people and search far and wide in order to get all the clues needed in solving the game. Conversations with NPC’s is in an interactive format where you have to ask questions and if they are the right ones you may get a answer. The on line recording feature allows you to keep track of these conversations and other key tid bits of information in your log book for reviewing at a later date.

A Mild Rebellion.

Rated Medium

The enemy is a secret band of deadly rebels. Your job is to infiltrate them and find their leader. The question is – are you on the right side. Another excellent scenario with a superb plot and story line.

The Za-Khazi Run

Rated Hard

A fortress is under siege and only you can get them the weapons and supplies they need to survive. You have 20 days to complete a long and perilous journey through the worst caves in exile or all will be lost. Very challenging, and excellently done.

Installation

-Smooth and trouble free. Insert the install disk, run install and it was over in 2 minutes without any glitches. Very smooth

Gameplay

-Excellent

No animation in combat sequences but graphic and picture quality is superb. Combat sequences are turn based, challenging and as the game progresses they get harder. The further into the game you go the more the excellent story line unfolds. The scenarios, besides having the main quest, have numerous side quests that a party can go on. Starting out in the Valley Of Dying Things I found that going on these quests strengthened my party enough to succeed on the main quest. Carrying my party over to the next scenarios equipped with their hard won equipment and skills was a definite bonus.

3D animated graphics and surround sound audio tracks it doesn’t have so if this eye candy is of extreme importance to you then don’t waste your time on this game . However if you like a good ol’ fashioned style RPG game that has excellent and challenging game play, captivating story line with a touch of realism and lots of detailed graphics then give this game a try because you will not be disappointed.

Character generation

As with any RPG game this program allows the generation of a custom party of 6 adventurers or the choice of a pre-generated party that can be modified. The difference lies in the character statistics which allow for the choice of 3 races, 10 advantages, 5 disadvantages and 21 skill categories. All generated characters have access to all these statistics which allows for dual/triple class abilities eg. Fighter/mage etc. from the start. Selection of the advantages and disadvantages determines how fast the characters levels increase with experience points.

Development in the 21 skill categories areas is accomplished, during game play, by Spending skill points on character development that are obtained with level advancement. This feature allows for more flexibility and control over character development which I find is a big plus for this game.

Replay Value

The scenario editor that Blades Of Exile game comes with allows for modification of the characters abilities

Blades of Exile comes with 3 excellent scenarios that are challenging and well designed. However you need a registered copy of the program to be able to take advantage of playing other scenarios besides "The Valley Of Dying Things". After playing a scenario you can transfer your party to the next scenario without losing any character statistics, levels or hard won booty. The only penalty are items that summon monsters to your aid are taken away due to the monsters of one scenario may differ from others. After these three scenarios are completed there are more scenarios available on the internet for downloading at no cost. The Spider Web web site alone has 54 free scenarios and I have located several other sites where many more free scenarios are available. A definite bonus!!!

One of the nicest features BOE has is that it comes with a scenario editor that allows you to create your own scenarios. You can create scenarios for yourself or trade them with others. This editor besides allowing you to create a complete and detailed game with story line, it also allows you to create weapons and items. These items you can customize to have any of numerous abilities or attributes and can be empowered with a variety of spells. This allows you to create almost any type of weapon or item you can dream of.

This Single feature alone will make BOE a program that will be around for some time. This fact is demonstrated by the BOE web ring as well as an extensive membership/mailing list that is still going strong. Over the 6 weeks that I have subscribed to this list I have seen a lot of activity where people are exchanging ideas and also getting answers if they get stuck in a scenario. All questions posted where players were stuck, was answered with in that day by fellow BOE’ers. They are also putting together another scenario contest which would see a release of even more scenarios.

Character Editor

Got Stuck, near death out of money and food??, The Character editor that comes with the unregistered game can give you unlimited gold and food, heal your party, and do several other useful things. The registered version can do much more - give you all sorts of items, complete your quests and give you maps, add as much experience and skill as you want, and more. Are you hard up for a certain spell?? . This editor can give you any of the mage or priest spells available as well as giving you the secret recipes for alchemy potions.

Did I say alchemy?. One great feature of this game is the ability to find alchemy recipes and ingredients that are required to make a variety of useful and powerful potions. As your player characters (PC’s) increase in level you can develop their alchemy skill ( only 1 of the 21 skills) . The higher their alchemy skill the better the chance of your pc’s being successful in making these potions.

Packaging/Manual

No manual came with the game however the online help more then made up for this as it was comprehensive, detailed and read like a well set up manual. It could also be printed out if you wished to have a hard copy of it. The online help also included a fairly detailed background story on the world of Exile and where BOE fits into the scheme.

Review ID Number: 192
  Product Details
Spid Web
Review Date: 2001-04-20
Reviewer: Nick Sardy
Rating: 9 out of 10
 
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