Chronicles Of The Sword
It's Time To Go All Introspective for a moment. I miss the good old days. I miss the days when adventure games were written by people whose only concern was to tell a story and tell it well. I miss the days when people weren't afraid of text on the screen, when Infocom games were held in high regard, and the term 'point-and-click' existed solely in interactive dictionaries. I miss typing "Go North".
Adventure games hit a kind of peak towards the end of this period, when LucasFilm (as was) were right on top of the world and challenge wasn't equated with boredom. But then the general attitude shifted: CGI machines were invented, rendered graphics came along and gave everyone their business cards, and the world of adventures died. Yup, right then and there, with the very first 3D-animated intro sequence. And now they all have them. Filling the cds with rendered this and rendered thats so that you can no longer enter a screen without waiting 30 seconds and missing all the subtlety. And graphic artists are in charge of the games - it's like putting Damien Hirst in charge of a sheep farm. Chronicles Of The Sword should have been great. It's set in the time of King Arthur, it focuses on a knight who has been given very little airtime throughout history, and it doesn't have any fmv in it. It should have been great - but it isn't. Here's why...
Research, every little helps
The story is so trivial when you consider the potential of the subject matter, you would think it had just walked out of nursery school. Camelot is being threatened by Arthur's sister Morgana le Fay (who's also an evil sorceress), and it falls on you to stop her. You, by the way, are Gawain, a newcomer to the castle of Camelot and you're eager to prove your worthiness to sit at the Round Table. Stopping her involves just about every fantasy cliche in the book, including fighting a skeleton, conquering a dragon, a magic ring, saving a maiden, dealing with fairies and so on. There are some nicely crafted puzzles to negotiate in a few of these separate areas, but they don't tend to meld into the game world too well. It's as if they're good puzzles in themselves but the subject matter surrounding them is irrelevant.
About four years ago Sierra released a game based on the Arthurian legends. I forget its name but it was based around Arthur's search for the Holy Grail. Okay, so COTS is about Gawain and not Arthur, but the point I'm trying to make is that Sierra's title was written by Christy Marx, an Arthurian enthusiast with a passion for her subject - and this came across in the game. Things seemed real and authentic, and you felt as though you were actually learning about Arthur as you went along; consequently you became more and more drawn into the action. I remember a great feeling of satisfaction when I finally finished it (which is no mean feat in itself). COTS, on the other hand, is dull, consisting of some medieval stereotypes presented in a fancily-rendered environment.
But don't get me wrong. I've nothing against graphics. I'll be the first to say. "Wow! Look at the polygons on that!" when something flashy whizzes by. and COTS certainly has more than its fair share of "Wow!" moments - but come on. they aren't the be-all and end-all of an interactive experience. Having said that, they're nice, although there is a slight problem in that they move a bit too slowly around the screen. There are a fair amount of redundant areas to trawl through when wandering around the game world, and an updating map with some sort of "Go straight to..." button wouldn't have gone amiss.
Its but an end
So. basically, if you want a couple of nice puzzles and some lovely graphics - but little else - buy Chronicles Of The Sword. If you want a decent, gripping and well-told story about the legends of King Arthur, go to your local video shop and rent a copy of k'xcalibur (it's a brilliant film, made even more so by the fact that Cheri Lunghi gets her kit off). Or if you want a laugh, there's always that Monty Python thing...
Download Chronicles Of The Sword
Adventure games have been around since the dawn of time, or the dawn of video games, at least.They always seemed like the perfect vehicle for adventure fans to explore the magical worlds they read about. Infocom (the people who brought you Zork) was among the first companies to fully exploit the adventuring potential of a video game. In those days, you got to say things like, "Take Bottle" to which the computer invariably responded, "I do not understand that request". Oh what fun it was. Nowadays though, the adventure game has come on a lot, with 3-D graphics, stereo soundtracks and more depth than ever before.
Chronicles Of The Sword is a fine example of the genre. It's produced by Psygnosis, now known as Sony Interactive, and takes place in the time of Arthurian legend. You get to play the part of Gawain, the Green Knight.
Gawain, while King Arthur was fighting for England, tended to get in a lot of trouble on his own. Demons, holy grails, that kind of stuff. In the Sony PlayStation game, Gawain has perhaps bitten off a little more than he can chew. Why? Because he's got himself tangled up with some dame. Dames is always trouble, see? Even in Arthurian lore. Morgana, the dame in question, is perhaps a little more trouble than most. Believed to be in league with the devil, she's trying to thwart Gawain's attempts to create peace in the land.
Why? Who knows? What we do know is that Chronicles of the Sword is a beautiful point-and-click adventure, kind of like Monkey Island, but with wonderful, 3-D rendered graphics.
All the good guys, bad guys and incidental guys are animated cleanly and smoothly, thanks to the wonderful advances made in polygon technology. Gawain especially looks very nice as he wanders around the screen.
There are over 100 exquisitely detailed locations, taking you from the green fields of England, to the moribund darkness of Morgana's lair. The backgrounds are often just as well animated as the character sprites and the overall feeling of quality is very high.
Music is good, with a nice mix of medieval tunes and startlingly accurate sound effects.The fact that the adventuring and puzzling is sometimes broken up by action-packed battle scenes also helps and, all in all, this is a nifty game.
Psygnosis has an action/RPG in the works that looks awesome. Set in the first-perspective (like King's Field), battle hordes of evil creatures using weapons and magic. The graphics look really cool, but as to how it actually plays is unknown. If you are into fantasy-type games, Chronicles of the Sword should be on your list.
Set in King Arthur's Britain at the time of Camelot, Chronicles of the Sword places you in the role of Sir Gawain, a recently knighted hero who is attempting to stop an evil plot against King Arthur. During the course of the adventure, the player will discover that Morgana. King Arthur's evil half sister is at the root of all the conspiracy with the overall goal to undermine Gawain's aspirations for a politically united kingdom.
Chronicles of the Sword is a third-person roaming perspective title that is interacted with a point-and-click interface. It has the same traditional features of most point-and-click graphic adventures.
These features integrate mystery-solving clues derived from the characters' conversations as well as comprehensive inventory of objects and tools that provide the player with a way to finish the various puzzles. The game also incorporates technology that utilizes movie techniques which in turn create greater ambiance and realism.
Players can expect over TOO different environments to explore. In these places, players will be forced to use their sword against human and non-human beings alike while attempting to ruin the emerging plot. These locations draw on actual archeological information about the ancient life in Britain to bring the player a world that is as close to authentic as can possibly be.
Visually, the graphics work well with the tone and the time period the title tries to convey. The design of the chambers and the elements found within the castle as well as the outside lands look really clean. Game speed is another consideration however. Although our hero moves fluidly, the waiting time for him to walk from point A to point B will be considered by many to be a lengthy and drawn-out process. Loading time is another problem with games like this. However, players have grown to expect this as a minimum from any FMV-based game. But keep in mind as with all the titles, there is still room for efficiency tweaking of the title before final release.
The musical tracks are also enjoyable and fits the game. Ambient environmental sounds and effects also help keep the players attention by not knowing what to expect around every corner. Clean graphics and fitting minstrel music give the player conveyance of the perfect scenario for exploration.
Players will most likely compare the action and play style of Chronicles of the Sword to the now old title of Lost Eden. Although the two focus on two totally different stories, players will notice the play similarities. Point-and-click adventures remain popular for players who enjoy the unusual play style. And being compared to other titles of similar type, Chronicles of the Sword ranks highly.
Conversing with NPCs in Chronicles of the Sword is as easy as walking your hero right up to them and pressing the proper button. This brings up the Conversation Menu that is customized directly for that NPC. The choices you can then select from are displayed on the bottom of the screen. You pick the question or response you wish to say and wait for the character to respond. This in turn will sometimes open up more questions you may ask the person being conversed with. In most cases if there are multiple selections you can pick from, you can start at the top and go right down the list with no trouble of making that person angry by asking a question that hits a nerve of the players.
A great deal of information can be gained by this process that will open later doors in the level as well as unlock mysteries in your own mind. But also keep in mind that many of the NPCs aren't there to help you in your search but rather to send you off of their true path.
- MANUFACTURER - Psygnosis
- THEME - Adventure
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1
Chronicles continues the Arthurian legend in the graphic adventure realm. From first-and third-person perspectives, you explore areas to uncover secrets and match wits and weapons with enemies.
Enter ye into the fabled world of Arthur, the King of All Ages. As Sir Gawain, you must battle nefarious Morgana and save the kingdom. Along the way you get to hobnob with the likes of Guinevere, Lancelot, and Merlin. The magic ot Camelot comes to life in this graphic adventure romp that boasts Arthurian knights, evil black magic, and hours of sword-clashing play.
Developed by Synthetic Dimensions in England, the game utilizes movie techniques to create detailed, realistic graphics. As you try to save Camelot, you'll explore over 60 different areas while you evade Morgana's traps and solve her wicked puzzles! Chronicles of the Sword awaits a new king!
Chronicles of the Sword is a point-and-dick game that's so slow it should have been a simple animated movie.
Chronicles of the Bored
As young Cawain of the Round Table, you are sent by the wizard Merlin to dispose of Morgana, King Arthur's evil half-sister. It's a long, tough mission that takes you to over 100 locations.
Unfortunately, Cawain's movements are so slow that you'll lose interest long before the plot thickens. Furthermore, the controls are so bad that you need to be accurate down to the pixel to execute commands. You get little help along the way, leaving you stranded with unanswered questions.
Chronicles has above-average graphics. The cinematics are clean, but slow, and build suspense when they kick into gear. Even better is the audio, which uses great vocal talents to play the characters.
Gawain All the Way
Chronicles of the Sword is Psygnosis's attempt to expand into the arena of medieval RPGs. Until it gets a better understanding of what makes an RPG interesting and playable, however, it should stick to its more famous racing games for now. This Sword is dull.
- To get rid of the port at Morgana's chamber door, dee him with some ale from blacksmith's private reserve.
- Grab the lantern In the Throne room. Gawain won't go Into dark places without It.
- Anytime you're stuck, ask Will the stable boy for help.