It is a Really Polished Game

Champions of Krynn logo Amiga Computing Supreme Award

FIRSTLY, I must emphasise that Champions of Krynn is not the sequel to Curse of the Azure Bonds, even though it utilises an enhanced engine from the Forgotten Realms series. Krynn is, in fact, the first in the Dragonlance series.

The story starts after the War of the Lance has finished. The dragon armies are planning revenge for that defeat. Their aim is to quash the forces of good with the help of the Dark Queen thus making her, and evil, total rulers of Krynn.

Improvements and changes to the Forgotten Realms series are as follows. Firstly, the magic system has been changed. It is controlled by three moons, each representing a god (good, neutral and evil). You will need to choose carefully as each moon brings its own benefits due to the mage's power varying with the waxing and waning of the moons. That said, though, you are unable to choose an evil mage in Krynn.

So along with the need to memorise and study spells, the chances of mages dominating the game are reduced - a good thing as the AD&D system is particularly susceptible to this. The gods also influence clerics, who will need to choose a divinity to receive specialised deity powers.

Combat, although important, has been re-designed to a more balanced level. There are not as many random encounters; the numbers of monsters reach about 10 instead of the previous 30 to 40. In addition, the monster's hit points are reduced so they are easier to kill.

There are plenty of tough individuals though - do not think you have got off lightly.

An interesting wrinkle in this modified system is that certain characters produce new game elements. Kenders (a cheerful thief-type chappie) replace Halflings and Solamnic Knights replace Paladins. The former have the unique ability to taunt an opponent, while the latter have the unique personality trait of giving away a portion of their valuables - noble fellows that they are (stupid, but noble).

Then there are the Draconians. Surely this bunch of critters are the programmer's revenge, because when they are killed they either turn to stone (trapping your weapon), blow up(!) or turn into a pool of acid.

Fans of the books will be glad to see Dragonfear make an appearance. This morale killer emanates from mature dragons but is only really troublesome to low level characters.

Finally, your choice of characters makes a difference. For example, only if you have a Solamnic Knight in your party will you be allowed to play a particular sub-adventure (the prize being some fancy plate armour).

Krynn is a vast improvement over the earlier games which, in this fast development area, are now looking creaky. Pool of Radiance had boundless freedom and very little plot while Curse of the Azure Bonds had a good plot but little freedom. Krynn has both plus, unusually for an SSI game, no little intrigue.

There are a number of sub-plots to draw you into the game, there is even a romance in there!

The game is pretty big, coming on three disks along with a 60-page Adventurer's Journal, 12-page instruction book, reference pamphlet and poster - value for money or what?

The market of RPGs is split down the middle. There are those RPGs which concentrate on puzzles, interaction, etc (Ultima) and those RPGs that concentrate on hack 'n' slash and other action elements.

Champion of Krynn falls into the latter category - and as such offers the highest quality production and most professional game design yet see in its class.

Addictive, detailed, with a balanced combat/magic system that can be recommended to combat aficionados, Krynn is SSI's best yet. I cannot wait for the next!

Champions of Krynn logo

SSI ist immer wieder für eine Überraschung gut: Während die Magier und Krieger unter uns noch auf die Amigaumsetzung von "Pool of Radiance" und "Curse of the Azure Bonds" warten, taucht plötzlich und unerwartet der dritte Streich der Dragonlance-Reihe in den Regalen der Händler auf. Ist nun der Nachfolger in der Hand besser als der Vorgänger auf dem Dach?

Zu Beginn kommt wie immer die Erschaffung der Charaktere. Sechs Recken gilt es nach dem nicht unumstrittenen AD & D-Standard ins Bildschirmleben zu rufen. Neben sieben Rassen stehen sechs Charakterklassen (Ritter, Zauberer, Priester, etc.) zur Verfügung. Also alles wie gewohnt. Anschließend kann man das Konterfei seiner Helden bestimmen, damit man sie in den folgenden Kampfgetümmeln auch wiederfindet. Absoluter Gag und für mich auch absolut schwachsinnig ist das nächste Feature: Die einzelnen Charaktere können zum Schluß noch modifiziert werden, das heißt, man kann ihre Werte praktisch beliebig nach oben powern! Ist die ganze Party dann abgespeichert, beginnt endlich der Ernst des Abenteuerlebens.

Die Aufträge erteilt einem der Stadtkommandant, sie sind der Reihe nach abzuarbeiten. Gesteuert wird mit Tastatur (Cursor- und Zifferntasten) oder mit der Maus, die ich aber gleich wieder in ihr Loch gesteckt habe, Auf dem Screen sieht man ein Fenster mit dem Sichtfeld, das bei Bedarf in eine 3D-Kampfansicht wechselt. Außerdem eine Auflistung der wichtigsten Charakterwerte und eine Mitteilungsleiste, über die die Kommunikation mit dem Computer stattfindet. Ein Druck auf Return fördert schließlich noch weitere Menüpunkte wie Lagern, Zaubern oder Handeln zu Tage.

Die Bedienungskomfort ist nicht gerade toll, aber ausreichend. Der Bildaufbau geht recht langsam vonstatten, er kann allerdings durch Abschalten der Animationen und Icons beschleunigt werden. Die Teilweise animierten Grafiken der Monster sind wirklich sehenswert, dafür hat man bei den Stadt- und Dungeonansichten gespart. Soundmäßig tut sich (rollenspieltypisch) herzlich wenig, es gibt nur gelegentlich Kampfschreie und das übliche Taptap beim laufen.

Vom Gesamteindruck her kommen mir die Champions of Krynn wie eine Mischung aus "Bard's Tale", "Phantasie III" und "Alternate Reality" vor: Rätsel und sonstige Denkanstöße sind nur spärlichst vorhanden, dafür reihenweise Monster und sonstige Unholde. Zum Glück kann man den Computer mit der Schlachtstrategie beauftragen und braucht selbst bloß noch in kniffligen Situationen zur Tat schreiten. Der Schwierigkeitsgrad ist niedrig, so niedrig daß ich das Game in drei Tagen problemlos durchgespielt habe!! Wahnsinnig nervend sind die eeeewig langen Abspeicherzeiten und der gelegentlich vorbeischauende indische Wanderprediger, sprich Guru. Ehrlich gesagt, ich hätte mir von dem Spiel mehr erwartet: So richtig satt essen können sich an diesem Rollenspiel-Kuchen wohl nur Einsteiger, für den Profi ist er bestenfalls ein (etwas teurer) Appetithappen! (wh)

Champions of Krynn logo CU Amiga Screen Star

US Gold £24.99

Champions of Krynn moves away from the arcade feel of the previous two D&D games and takes the more subtle RPG approach of the first in the series, Pools of Radiance is set just after the War of the Lance in which the forces of evil have finally been driven back. But all is not well around the newly established border posts...

The control routines are identical to Pools of Radiance. A 3D perspective is used for dungeons and towns, while a close up view of the immediate area is used for combat. A new and impressive touch is the use of hi-resolution colour pictures to illustrate the story line as the game progresses.

Your first adventure takes place in the abandoned Hobglobin capital of Throt. Once your party reaches it, you realise the place is not as deserted as first thought.

Magic, as ever, plays an important part. The spells are appropriate to the enemy you face. Your initial party can accommodate up to six playing characters with room for two computer-controlled players. More character classes have been added such as Solomanic Knights, different Clerical religions and two different types of mages. Together with the traditional and mixed classes there is more than enough trades to choose from.

Disk swapping is a problem. There are three, not including home made character disks.

Champions of Krynn is, to my mind, the best game in the series. Striking the line between playability and the original rules is difficult, but this time round in works fine. Even the manual is presented in the style of the TSR original, again helping to give D&D feel to the proceedings. A must for D&D enthusiasts, as well as RPG fans. The best yet from SSI.