3D frolics in the dungeon

Legend logo

MINDSCAPE * £25.99 * 1/2 meg * Mouse * Out now

"Hey, it's Dungeons and Dragons ride". SO began that stupid cartoon where five American brats and a poncey unicorn wandered around a vast land filled with dragons and monsters, and somehow never got killed. And every episode they almost went home, but couldn't because they didn't want to leave the unicorn behind. Soft fools. And did you know that the voice of that one with the shield with Ralph from Happy Days? Bizarre but true. He really went up in the world, didn't he?

I mean, trust the Americans to do a spin-off cartoon from a board game, of all things. Snakes and Ladders - The Movie, anyone?
In fact, they didn't just do a cartoon spin-off. No, we also got Dungeons and Dragons action figures (I know, I had one), D&D lunch boxes, and if you looked hard enough, you could probably find D&D yoghurt. And we also got the official D&D computer games. And by jiminy, they were boring.
No wonder everyone and their dog began to write a decent RPG for the home computer. And just our luck - they succeeded. Now we get a new one every month. In fact, this very issue contains no less than four games with a distinct RPG tang. And this is one of them.

Legend shies away from the traditional first-person perspective, and plumps for the isometric 3D approach, not unlike Shadowlands. Oops, that's given the game away a bit. Legend is, it must be said, very similar to Shadowlands. But it's also better in some ways, and worse in others. Let me explain.

The plot is the usual dribble about four adventurers ridding the land of evil, so we'll skip that and go straight to the game itself. You start by defining your characters, as per normal, by changing their names and hem hem, their sex if you wish.
Then it's onto a map where you move your party, as an icon, to different towns. Enter buildings, chat to locals, get cues and buy weapons. Simple. Eventually, the clues should lead you to an adventurers' guild where you must prove your worth in the cellar.

And thus we go into the RPG bit. Simply get your team through the cellar, and find a permit that will prove that you're a bunch of well 'ard warriors.
Along the way you'll have to master the art of reading and casting runes, pulling levers to open doors and, of course, killing loads of monsters. So, what set this game apart from the several million other RPGs on the market? Well, the spell casting is pretty in-depth. Rather than just finding spells and using them, you've got to use your magician to find scrolls, mix ingredients and read runes.

And it ain't easy. The manual helps you out plenty, but the whole magic bit is too daunting really and will put all but the most dedicated off. At least it's got spells in it, though.

The only really original option is the special powers that each adventurer has. Pressing F10 while selecting the appropriate bod will make them start doing whatever their particular forte is.
So for the magician it brings up the magic menu, while for the bard it brings up a list of magical tunes to play which will affect your team's attributes. The assassin becomes invisible and - this is my favourite - the warrior goes into a Beserker rage.

Which brings us quite nicely to the battles. Rather than just fighting one foe at a time, combat occurs when you stumble across a roving band, and all you have to do is press Enter and your team will get stuck in. With all the special powers going it turns into a right big scrap and is really quite entertaining to watch. Just put your feet up and chuckle as the warrior goes bonkers and squashes the enemy with a single blow. Arf arf arf.

The only trouble with Legend is that it constantly reminds you of other games. The map section is identical to the outdoors section of Abandoned Places, the indoors bit is Shadowlands, the AutoMapping appears in Black Crypt and the spell mixing also appeared in the first Elvira game.

It's not quite as good as any of those games, but an enjoyable little chestnut for all its shortcomings. If you want a slightly more accessible RPG than Shadowlands, then this could be the one for you.

Legend logo

The old saying is: bright lights, big city; if Shadowlands is great, then is Legend as good? Both games mix new views and giant dungeons, and they both show the future of role-playing style. But which is best?

In March we were all stunned by Shadowlands, a dungeoneering game which, for the first time, allowed players control over individual characters in their party and presented the dungeon from an isometric, 3D perspective. Now it seems that everyone is going to be cashing in on this excellent concept, if this second isometric dungeon-romp is anything to go by.

Mindscape's new offering, Legend, is based on a familiar scenario: Trazere, a land of peace and prosperity, is plunged into chaos as a new evil is spawned within its borders, and the honest inhabitants suddenly begin to turn into nasties (etc, etc). Your quest is to purge the land of evil and find out what's wrong with the king, who has locked himself up in his own castle. OK, you've heard it all before, but Legend manages to breathe a bit of life into what is essentially a hackneyed old plot.

Similar again to Shadowlands, Legend's character generation system requires you to have four members in your party, each of a different character class. The classes are, however, slightly different. They are The Berserker (whose special ability is, er, going berserk), The Runecaster (your party magician), The Troubadour (a kind of minstrel -come-fighter) and The Assassin (a shifty looking guy who can turn himself invisible at will). All members can be either sex (there's no inequality between sexes here).

Trazere transport
The textured map that you use to get from place to place (which looks suspiciously like a Vista landscape) displays the position of friendly and hostile armies, cities, towns and your own party. It's all very pretty, but trying to move across it can get a little boring when you have a long way to travel, and there's little incentive to leave the first dungeon if you can't find another 3D section beyond.

The dungeon at Treihadwyl (where you begin your adventure), will keep you occupied for a long while nonetheless. Also disappointing is that when you're travelling in the wilderness there are no wandering monsters to be encountered. The 3D section is outstanding, not just because it's well animated and designed, but also because it is incredibly colourful, and, while not being as atmospheric as Shadowlands, has a character all of its own.

An excellent game which deserves to do well. A colourful, interesting alternative to Shadowlands.

The screen used to control your party in the isometric environment is excellently layed out and works well, containing not only magic and good options but also icons like Elliott, the map-drawing dragon and a chicken (of no apparent name), two characters who monitor your route and your cowardice respectively.

The individual character-control system, though, has an annoying feature; a separate menu bar must be called up for each character when they are required to act alone. This slows things down considerably, especially during combat, and is not as effective as the system in Shadowlands which gave the player complete control over any character whenever it was needed.

The game 's magic system is very similar in style to Ultima's, in that you mix runes and reagents together to create a spell. In Legend, you are able to take the place of your wizard and mix the spells yourself (great fun!). To do this you access a spell-mixing screen where the mortar and pestle become all yours, here you must decide upon the correct recipe to use for the spell you want.

A game overshadowed
Despite a few minor irritations the 3D sections actually work very well indeed. They are fast, interesting and challenging, and contain a lot of puzzles which make you stop to think hard. All in all, there is an excellent game which deserves to do well.

It is colourful and interesting and provides a worthy alternative to Shadowlands (to which a comparison must be drawn). It's the sort of game that will have you coming back out of curiosity time and time again, but it will also have you returning to it out of determination to complete some of the more difficult puzzles. In the battle for the all new isometric, role playing title, Shadowlands wins by a nose, but only just.

Legend logo Amiga Joker Hit

Der englische Programmierer Tag hat bereits mit "Bloodwych" gezeigt, dass er der Rollenspielwelt einiges zu bieten hat. Auch sein neues Werk ist wieder ausgefeilt, komplex und stimmig geworden - kommt aber ohne Split-Screen aus...

Langweilig und banal ist hier lediglich die Hintergrundstory: Das Land Trazere versinkt allmählich im Chaos, weil sich schreckliche Monster aus grauer Vorzeit, durch seinen üppig blühenden Landschaften meucheln. Die Rettung naht in Form von vier Abenteuern, bei denen es sich jeweils um Spezialisten ihres Fachgebiets handelt: Der Berserker ist natürlich eine wandelnde Mordmaschine, der Runenmeister erreicht dasselbe Ziel durch dumme Sprüche; dito der Troubadour, der dafür magische Lieder anstimmt. Und schließlich noch der Attentäter, quasi der Ninja im Verein - er kann als einziger völlig unbemerkt (im Schatten) an seine Opfer heranschleichen.

Diese edle Truppe muß man fast unverändert übernehmen, die Einflußmöglichkeiten beschränken sich auf Gimmicks wie andere Namen und Hosenfarben, die Auswahl des Geschlechts sowie eine dezente Punkte-Umverteilung bei den insgesamt zehn Charakterwerten.

Zum Spazierengehen dient eine dreidimensionale Fraktalgrafik-Landkarte, auf der sowohl die eigene Party als auch fremde Armeen und Truppenteile als wandernde Fähnchen zu sehen sind. Natürlich befinden sich darauf auch die diversen Städte und sonstigen Locations, die es hier in rauhen Massen gibt, z.B. den Schwarzen Turm, Einsiedlerhäuschen, alle möglichen Tempel und noch etliches mehr.

Normalerweise werden alle Örtlichkeiten (also auch die Apotheken, Waffenshops, Kneipen und die Gilde in den Städten) durch hübsch animierte 2D-Zwischenbilder dargestellt. Eine Ausnahme bilden die Dungeons, die sich in Iso-3D a la "Cadaver" oder "The Immortal" präsentieren.

Die auseinandersetzungen mit den Orks, bösen Magiern, Augenmonstern ("Beholder") usw. werden in den Bunkern gleich an Ort und Stelle in Echtzeit erledigt, in der Oberwelt muß dazu erst auf einen Kampfscreen umgeschaltet werden, der sich von der Dungeon-Grafik aber nur durch ein paar Büsche unterscheidet.

Eine kleine Revolution hat bei der Zauberei stattgefunden: Neben den üblichen Schriftrollen, magischen Tränken und Zauberstäben gibt es acht verschieden Zutaten (Drachenzähne, Schwefel...), die sich zu fast beliebig vielen verschiedenen Spells kombinieren lassen.

Legend hat von Automapping über Helden-Wiederbelebung in den Tempeln bis zu einem feinem Inventory und völlig neuen Icons (z.B. "Panische Flucht") wirklich eine Menge zu bieten. Die Maus/Icon-Steuerung ist sehr durchdacht, auch das Spielkonzept mit seiner abgewogenen Mischung aus Action und (Schalter-) Rätseln kann überzeugen - nicht zu vergessen der erst moderate, später aber deutlich ansteigende Schwierigkeitsgrad.

Die Grafik ist für Isometric-Verhältnisse recht detailliert und hübsch, desgleichen der stimmungsvolle Begleitsound, der allerdings überwiegend aus Effekten besteht. Aus dieser Legende könnte also tatsächlich mal eine Legende werden! (mm)

Legend logo

It's here! By presenting a huge and complex role-playing game as a cartoon, Legend turns fantasy into reality.

Coming to this iso-dungeon fantasy romp fresh from a couple of siilar swords and sorcery soirees in the shape of Celtic Legends and Eye Of The Beholder 2, I was quite prepared for this to be a fairly standard puzzle-and bosh bash through the usual AD&D-inspired scenario.

Not so! Legends is something different. Indeed, Legends is something for which I can happily throw away the review rulebook and state, right here, right now, that it's a must, must buy. Why? Because it's such an utterly fabulous thing, that's why. There are few games that instantly grab my attention and keep me riveted to the screen, spending hours of otherwise profitable time just to see what happens next. And there are even fewer that feature a sheer open-endedness that inspires you to simply forget the plot and go off in your own direction (only returning when necessary to what the designer intended), just to enjoy the immense vista of adventure waiting there in the game world.

If I've not already done away with the need for the rest of this review - and the more discerning, who'll want to know exactly what the hell it is I'm raving about, should still be reading - here is, as precisely and concisely as I can, why you've got to buy this game.

Let's start, and it's a very good place to start, with the plot. Evil and chaotic forces are out and about in the land of Trazere, doing their usual evil thang, and the entire population is typically witless in terms of dealing with it. The task of vanquishing the outbreak of malevolence is down to four heroic adventurers drawn from far and wide - essentially, you and your mouse. So what's new?

Well, for starters, there's the swings and roundabouts of character generation. Four elements - earth, air, fire and water - can be manipulated to equip members of the four strong team of adventurers with appropriate attributes. There's a selection of berserker, assassin and troubadour, each of whom needs different combinations of strength, dexterity, intelligence and the rest with which to clobber the Adversar.y You can even choose the sex of each member - let's see more of this in computer games. (Indeed it's something I immediately took advantage of).

Right, so it's time for my four-girlie party to descend into the catacombs of Treihadwyl (the first part of the game), in which to battle foul monsters, solve tortuous puzzles and gain the means to progress to the next part of the adventure.

Each room of the cavern below Treihadwyl is isometrically rendered in impressive detail, the party members included. There are a few puzzles to work out before you can move on, but let's look first at a particularly impressive feature: auto-mapping. As you move through each corridor and room, a map is automatically sketched and can be called up at any time. Damn useful and much more fun than plotting on graph paper.

And there's the character movement. Far be it from me to call it 'intelligent' - computers are still pretty thick - but the party members move around in a co-ordinated way, shifting out of the way of each other, in superbly, animated routines. Then, when monsters come piling in, the whole thing goes into uproar as each figure on-screen runs about beating hell out of anything that looks unfriendly. It really is a hoot to watch.

Super, smashing, lovely

In battle, there are various character specialties that can be switched on from icon or keyboard. The berserker will go into rage if provoked and run around mightily smiting; the assassin will hide in shadows, becoming a faint outline image and that much harder for monsters to hit; the troubadour will not only fight, but play a song (pretty versatile stuff). This isn't just for everybody's entertainment either. Songs, bought from a minstrel who roams the wider world, have different properties - party strength can be increased by a suitable ditty, or hit points are regenerated more rapidly to the strains of another.

However, it's the runemaster who is the most fun. He or she can mix and cast spells possessed of an incredible variety of functions. Damage missiles, spells of enslavement, healing spells, protection from magic spells, they're all available. The main thing here is that you are not limited to a set roster of enchantments. The superb magic system (see the separate box) means that hundreds of spells, most of which you must invent yourself, are possible just by combing the ingredients available.
This is a first for a fantasy game, a wizard unrestricted by hard and fast rules on what magical powers can be exercised. You're not even limited by the runemaster's level of ability - so lng as you have the ingredients and appropriate runes, which can be bought from a wizened character called The Ancient, the most complex and destructive spells can be wrought.

There's also a fair few magic items, to be collected in the dungeon. Wands, potions, rings, scrolls and bits of magic armour are littered about in abundance, many of which have pretty spectacular effects, but which must be sussed out either through trial and error or explained by the aforementioned Ancient. Any oddments picked up are stored and accessed via an inventory screen, which also gives statistics on how each character is faring. It's best to keep a close eye on whatever booty you've got as some items are needed to complete other dungeons, while armour and weaponry can be sold for a fair old whack to town-based traders.

Character control is a doddle. Click on the character icon, click on where you want it to go and off it trots. Shunting individual members around is important for some of the puzzles and traps, as they often require a character to stand on a particular stab of stone while another operates a lever to open a door. Or to stop spikes from nobbling the party's progress. More often than not, the puzzles are real swines to solve - level two of Treidhawyl had me cursing for hours as I tried to gain access to a room containing a vital ornate key for use in another part of the dungeon. As usual, the runemaster played the vital role, but the spell needed to resolve the situation is not all obvious.

And that's not all. Throughout all the dungeon-trawling, monster-bashing, puzzle-solving, treasure-grabbing hoo-ha, there's still the opportunity to zip out into the overworld and do a bit of trade. Having trashed a few monsters and nicked their gold, it can be exchanged for better armour at the blacksmith, magic items at the artificer, spell ingredients at the apothecary or a prater for better luck.

Better resistance to otherwise lethal blows is available at the temple and, for the terminally luckless, resurrection of dead party members is free. Tramping from village to town to village can also lead the party into conflict with enemy armies - best avoided in the early stages of the game as they're pretty tough to overcome.

In all, Legend offers an immense and complex game which looks good, is easy to play at whatever level you fancy tackling it, and is hugely absorbing. There's a great action, boggling brain-teasers and a versatile plot, all of which make it perhaps the most playable RPG yet. As I said before, definitely make it one to add to your collection.


Life in the great outdoors is a thing to be wary of. You'll find it's essential to go trooping off to various locations between quests, if only to buy some particularly necessary nightshade for the runemaster, but beware - there is great peril afoot.

For a start, marauding armies roam the landscape, with banners indicating their whereabouts. If you cross the path of one, you can try to hide or you can attack. And what did bolshy old me do? You guessed it - up and at 'em, ladies!

If this sounds foolhardy, well, yes it was, but maybe not quite as much as you think. You see, each banner insignia represents a different strength of army, from the weedy Kestrel to the eminently avoidable Skull - before attacking I'd checked out their strength and knew if I had at least a fighting chance.

In combat, the view switches from the world map to an isometric outdoors tactical screen, similar in layout to the dungeon screen. This is when the fun starts. Enemy monsters come rushing in in droves and each character is hard-pressed to stave the critters off. It's the runemaster who needs the most attention, accessing the spell menu frequently to blast shades out of the opposition while casting healing spells on his or her beleaguered compatriots. If you beat them, your army will leave gold and magic items behind it which can make life a lot easier in further dungeon encounters. But reckon on losing at least two party members per encounter - and if one is the runemaster, it's unlikely you'll get very much further in the game.


The main strength of Legend is, for me, the slick and versatile magic system. It's the runemaster who wields the wand and can quickly become the most powerful character in any party, not by slogging sequentially through experience levels, but by good old-fashioned capitalism.

Gold is used to buy runes and arcane ingredients, which must be combined ingredients, which must be combined to create spells - aside from the state of your finances, there is no other restriction on the type of spells that can be brewed. Nor is the runemaster limited by the quantity of runes or ingredients that can be carried.

It's the combinations possible that really make this magic system, well, magic. Simple spells - such as a director and damage rune, plus the appropriate ingredients for a damage missile - can be mixed with other concoctions to create hugely complex effects. As an experiment, I tried mixing a surround spell with damage and missile spells - and wished I hadn't when it all went off! The battlefield exploded and fireballs whooshed out in all directions, totalling the opposition. It's just a pity the rest of my party was standing in the way while runey-babes did her smart-bomb routine, but, hey. I'll know better next time. Sorry girls.

Alternatively, and a little less upsetting for the rest of the adventurers, you could try mixing something along the lines of a heal-antimage-surround-enslavement-continuous spell. This heals the runemaster, protects him or her from magic, makes all the creatures around fight for you and is re-cast continuously until dispelled or the party leaves the room. And this isn't the most complicated thing you can come up with either - the possibilities go on and on.

Add to this the magic items that can be found or bough - an amber wand fires a damage missile, a serpent ring heals, a cloud potion gives teleport abilities - and, quite simply, you're looking at the best, most comprehensive, most versatile magic system ever seen in an Amiga RPG.

Legend logo

Hardened adventurer, Tony Gill, wonders if Legend will live up to its name...

Legend uses an isometric perspective, giving the player an overall picture of the surroundings and the chance to independently control each of the four-man team.

Initially, the player is given four heroic characters: a Wizard, a Bard, a Fighter and an Assassin. In the beginning, there are very few options available to the party, but their names, gender and abilities can be altered at this stage - albeit at a very simplistic level.

Open the door to an adjoining room and you'll just have time to take a peek at the bad guys within before the rumble begins. The magical bolts hurled by the combatants are shown fizzing their way across the screen to explode in a ball of flame - unlike the boring alternative offered by the likes of HeroQuest.

Combat is played in real-time with the player given control over each of your men. Fighters tend to look after themselves, but your wizard will require precise moves when aiming and casting spells.

As with other games of this ilk, you will find many magical items and weapons left scattered around the many dungeons, including mystical spells. The manual which comes with the game is deliberately vague when it comes to listing all possible spell combinations, and instead encourages you to experiment with the magical ingredients.

Legend's action takes place across a number of areas, both above and below ground. A map of the play area can be displayed at any time, and it is over this that your merry band travel between strongholds using conveniently-located horses.

A constant battle is running across this map between the forces of Good and Evil and you must be careful in the initial stages not to bump into the forces of darkness or it will be lights out for you.

Upon the arrival at each stronghold you can visit the usual array of Taverns, Guilds, Shops and Temples to buy health and goodies with money made killing monsters. In addition, the dungeons are littered with old chests stuffed with scrolls, keys and potions.

Your team is nicely animated, and the dungeons are similarly well illustrated. Initially, I must admit that I wasn't a fan of Legend's arcade-style adventuring. However, brilliant additional touches, such as the spell mixing and the realistic combat sequences soon won me over.

Legend logo Zero Mutt's Nuts

LEGEND out now from Mindscape on Amiga, ST and PC at £30.99

Thor, Apollo, Xerxes, John Leslie... all these people are legends. Patrick McCarthy, on the other hand, is a git. Unfortunately, we couldn't get hold of John Leslie, so guess who landed the prime job of reviewing Mindscape's Legend.

AmigaThere's this land called Trazere, right? And it's in chaos, right? Why? Because (and I quote) "A strange and powerful entity as old as the world is stirring in its sleep." It's the usual stuff - peoples of the ancient realm being transmuted into hideous beasts that roam the land, slaying and despoiling all in their paths - just like David Batty, really. (And all the other adventure games you've ever read about or played, come to think of it).

But this one's different. In this one you don't have to do anything. You just load the game up and make up four characters. Then they all decide not to bother about the problems afflicting the land and go home for a bloody good fish and chip supper. And that's the game over. (Stop lying and get on with it. Ed.)

Oh alright. They don't go home at all. They form a party and set about righting a few wrong. You control these four people, who all come from different parts of the country and have different abilities and professions. Like in Abandoned Places, they schlep about on horses - at first they're crap old nags on their last legs, but you can save up and buy better ones. The better the horses, the quicker they move about the land. Your party have numerous skills, including the ability to sing magical songs, throw magical fireballs, use magical swords and wear magical underpants.

I suppose you want to know more about the people you'll be using, don't you? Well cast your eyes downwards at 'THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE PUCKERED LIPS' and all will be revealed...

So it's a bit of a bloody good game, really. I'm a confirmed non-adventurey type and even I loved it - it's engrossing and very playable. You soon get used to the control system, thanks to the nicely-written idiot's guide cum tutorial in the quick-start booklet.

The character-movement and main playing area are well-implemented and I particularly liked the spell-casting effects during a scrap. Decent horses are fairly cheap and easy to get hold of and once you've got them it doesn't take too long to travel between towns and get on with the important stuff.

It's a good, deep game that's easy to get into and should appeal to RPG newcomers and old hands alike. I'm trying to think of any minor gripes, but I can't. Well worth buying.Z

Oliver Reed introduces the bevy of levelies who are competing for this year's Miss Trazere award.

Miss Berserker Warrior enjoys hacking up monsters and sunbathing. When she isn't sunbathing she (hic!) likes to chew meat. She'd like to be an air hostessh and (burp!) she thinksh it's clever to lose her temper. The person she most admires is... er... oh, sod it.

Miss Assassin enjoys using her powers of invisibility (parp!) and lists her favourite hobby as 'stabbing people in the back'. Sounds like a career in personnel management beckons. Still, if she's prepared to 'put out', who knows what the judges will decide.

Miss Rune-(hic)-mashter enjoys casting spellsh, reading books and mixing potions. Frankly, her skin's a bloody pale and she's a bit clever... and you know what clever birds re like (braap!) - there's just no pleasing 'em. I don't think she's going to be the new miss Trazere.

Miss Troubadour is one of those ugly units who believes all that crap about the compo "not jusht being about looks any more". It's big ganzongas that count - we all know that. She enjoys playing the banjo in the middle of a scrap and... oh dear. I think I'm going to... huuaeergh!!

The isometric playing area in the dungeons is surrounded by icons that help you whizz your way through the game.
  1. Shows dungeon map, er... that's about it.
  2. Backpack. Brings up the inventory screen.
  3. Your party. The skulls show the health of each person, while the colour shows the amount of luck each has remaining.
  4. Main message area. Displays messages. (Bizarre. Ed.)
  5. Selected character's left hand. Equipped items appear here.
  6. Selected character's weapon hand, showing currently-selected weapon.
  7. Magical items appear here if they are items that can be worn. You know - helms, shields, Laurel and Hardy underpants, etc.
  8. Rally icon. Instructs your party to rally around a particular person who's coming off worst in a fight. Stops your party running away in blind panic.
  9. North. This is where north is. (Amazing. Ed.)
  10. Chicken. The 'Run away in blind panic, we're having the crap beaten out of us,' button.

When travelling around the landscape, your party is symbolised by a banner with five little crosses on it. Occasionally you'll see other banners - some are good, but at midnight every night fresh evil walks the land (contestants of Studs out on their dates). It's best to avoid them in the early stages of the game, or they'll almost certainly slaughter you. You can choose either to hide or fight these people. It's best to hide (if you can), but it's not guaranteed that you'll succeed.


Each Runemaster comes complete with a large carrier bag full of essential equipment. You know the sort of stuff: wing of bat, head or gerbil, winkle of goat... (it's a pretty smelly bag). These ingredients are combined to make potions which, when combined with the appropriate rune, have different effects. For example, the Missile rune fires the spell at the monster of your choice, the Surround rune means the spell takes effect on the eight squares immediately surrounding the runemaster, and so on. It's interesting and innovative, easy to use, and good fun to boot.

The eye on the left tells you which ingredients combine to make each rune in your possession. You can buy extra runes from the Ancient in the mountains (you start with just a Missile rune). This ingredients for the spells can be bought all over the place (or you can mix your own).


Character creation is relatively simple, compared with some RPG's. You must have one character from each of the four classes, and you can launch straight in with the default characters if you want. Of course, you feel more involved if you customise them, and thanks to the naming conventions, in which everyone is called 'Zzygorith Zzub of Thothff', you can have all sorts of fun. Like 'Curiously Bereft of Taste', or 'Suspiciously Short of Breath', ho, ho. (Morse. Ed.) Your characters don't automatically lose strength rating if you make them female- hurrah!

The main way to customise your characters after you've renamed them, and before you've re-clothed them, is to utilise the elements. The elements of legend and fable, that is, rather than these of the periodic table. It's not a case of 'Let's see... a dash of aluminum... oops, but intelligence has dropped by 56 points and she's got cancer'. No, it's simple earth, fire, air and water. There's a handy table in the manual that shows which elements affect which categories.)