Blaze & Blade: Eternal Quest
Long ago in the ancient land of Foresia, twelve Wisemen doomed their land to disaster by forging a pact with Daemons. They truly believed, in their hubris, that they could control the Daemonic energy and with it create a land that would last forever. Sadly, they were far from correct. Now, centuries later, Foresia is still known as the Forbidden Land, where demons roam and adventurers die.
Into this comes a brave band of adventurers that you control, venturing into the Forbidden Land to quest for magical items, treasure, or the secrets of a long lost civilization. There is an overriding plot inside the game detailing the nefarious plans of the Eternal and its attempt to rule the world. Who is the Eternal? Why do you have to fight it? I’m not going to give it away for you, you’ll just have to discover that for yourself.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
In all respects Blaze & Blade would be as much at home on a console system as on your PC. Built on a very simple interface, the main menu is reminiscent of RPGs of yesteryear, such as Zelda and the early Final Fantasy games. While the interface for the game is relatively simple, with screens for equipment, sorcery, and items, it lacks the versatility and enjoyment that a more complex interface could provide.
Customization is nearly absent from this RPG, as the only instance of occurs when you first generate your character. The game allows you to choose a class, of which there are nearly ten, with male and female versions of each, partially customize a series of statistics, and finally give the your character a name.
Once you finish creating a party of adventurers, anywhere from two to four characters, you’re ready to adventure in Foresia! The meat of the game is a 3D rendered environment which is, to say the least, disappointing. Clipping problems are noticeable nearly everywhere you go and the characters themselves are poorly rendered. Movement and combat are dealt with like any of the old style console based RPGs, meaning movement in the eight cardinal directions with a button for jump and a button to attack.
I’d mention the actual roleplaying part of the game, if it weren’t for the fact that every time you approach within a foot of another person, you begin a conversation with them automatically. That little flaw was irritating enough that it kept me from conversing with most of the NPCs.
The graphics in this game are a blend of 3D graphics and lovely 16-bit 2D textures that are dull and not very pleasing to the eye. To compensate for lack of lighting effect, the designers added glare to the character textures to simulate lighting. While this might have been a convincing trick were it done correctly, in this case it merely adds strange white streaks to the character's hair and faces. One of the models even appeared to have a white halo due to this effect.
As is usual for a game of this genre, there isn’t much in the way of sound. With just a few stock sound effects and a boring and uninteresting midi soundtrack, again Blaze & Blade falls short.
P200, 32MB RAM, W95/98, 50MB hard drive space, 8x CDROM drive, 16 bit Sound, Dx Compatible Video, Mouse, and a Joystick or Gamepad is recommended.
This is the one saving grace of Blaze & Blade, if only for a lack of complex features. The manual that comes with the game is well-detailed and very professional in appearance. Simplistic and to the point, it outlines all the necessary controls and game options within a few pages, provides screenshots and examples of each, and even gives a graphical layout for the suggested gamepad, the Sidewinder Gamepad Pro.
As a game that could have come out a few years ago, Blaze & Blade gets acceptable marks, if not praise. Its relatively stable, has an intelligent layout, and minor innovations. For being a game that came out this year, in this game market, it clearly doesn’t live up to the challenge of being an interesting RPG. Numerous minor flaws and an old, dated interface make this game a clear contender for shelf space.