Excalibur 2555 A.D.
Let's say Lara Croft from Tomb Raider got together and made a... um...game with King Arthur from medieval folklore. What gamers would get is probably something close to Excalibur 2555 A.D.
Players control Merlin's assistant against a band of futuristic thieves who have stolen Excalibur from its rightful owners. Gamers will have to travel through dungeon after dungeon, fighting enemies and talking to friends to get it back.
The graphics in the game are similar to Tomb Raider in that gamers can roam around in a fully 3-D environment, with realtime lighting effects. The differences come in when gamers see that Excalibur has plenty of action and over 50 characters to run into-both friends and foes.
So is this adventure title from Sir Tech the PlayStation's answer to the long-awaited Zelda 64? That may not be what Sir Tech is setting out to do, but the game certainly seems to be going in the Zelda-esque direction-at least in looks.
As mentioned, gamers control a young woman (who does resemble Link a little, by the way) but the cast list hardly stops there. Players can run into thugs ranging from sword-wielding warriors to plasma-gun toting cyborg guys (hence the 2555 A.D. date).
Are gamers too lazy to read? Excalibur provides a way for players to just sit there and enjoy the sweet sounds of full-speech. There's a slight load time for each of the voices, but there's an option for voice with text for those who want to read ahead. Each of the game's 50+ characters has his or her own unique voice. Since the game isn't complete, however, some of this could change.
Excalibur not only gives players a large broadsword to hack off enemies' limbs, but also the ability to cast powerful spells. Some damage the enemy while others give the main character more armor for a period of time.
Another feature of Excalibur is the ability to "choose your own adventure," so to speak. By talking to certain inhabitants of the towns' dungeons, vital information can be obtained. Some info like which path would prove most safe might come up in conversation, or where to find an item.
The game's inventory system is like Tomb Raider too. Items can be saved up for later use (whether to be eaten for more energy or to use for trade with a character in the game). By hitting the Select button, an Inventory and Map Screen pops up-highlight an item and then gamers can use it.
Not only will gamers be finding items and fighting their way past all kinds of enemies, they'll also be solving puzzles. Some may seem simple at first (like hitting buttons marked 1, 2 and 3) but further snooping uncovers a far more intricate puzzle.
- MANUFACTURER - Telstar
- THEME - Adventure
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1
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I had high hopes for Excalibur, but the finished product falls short. It's just a decent action/adventure game in a genre that's just blossoming (which started with Tomb Raider more or less). But that's no surprise. Look at all the Super Mario clones that came out after that was released--and how many of those were even worth the push of the power switch. That's not to say Excalibur is a horribly bad game, it stands only a little above average. Average because Sir Tech (or Telestar maybe) went and changed their character to make her more Croftish. Originally, she didn't have a ponytail or super-short outfit, but now she does. They would never say they changed her because of that, but you have to wonder. The combat seemed mindless most of the time, but then all of a sudden you'd encounter an enemy that seemed impossible. I didn't care for the voice-overs too much, mostly because of the load time, and the character graphics were blocky, making them look and animate unrealistically. On the flip side of that, some of the graphic effects looked awesome (like lighting effects, weapon blasts, etc.), and the inventory, map screen, etc. worked well. The idea behind the game is pretty cool also, with all the time travel and British themes. But I'm afraid neither of those things are enough to float this one through.
Obviously template from the Tomb Raider engine, Excalibur doesn't quite measure up. It's a great game though, with a large land to explore, and interesting combat scenarios to overcome. Despite the huge exploration, I wonder why I can't jump, climb or look around. These simple functions, when missing, make an extremely flat game, something a 3-D title should never be. it's a good play, but could have been better.
This game comes off as a poor man's Tomb Raider. Heavy on exploration, Excalibur's gameplay is made up of running around a lot to find objects, and then giving them to someone who will trade those for what you really need. Needless to say, this process gets boring quickly. The 3-D graphics are good, especially where the light sourcing is concerned. But above average graphics are not enough to make this game fun to play.
Excalibur isn't a very complicated game. Its puzzles are mostly of the use-the-right-object-at-the-right-time type, and you don't get much in terms of special moves. So, no, this ain't exactly Tomb Raider or Zelda 64. Still, it can be pretty addicting once you start figuring out the puzzles and get on a roll. The graphics are pretty sharp--if not overly colorful--and the voice acting ain't bad either. Its 13 maze-like levels will hold your interest.
In Excalibur 2555 A.D., you play as Merlin's assistant who's sent to the future to recover the fabled sword from evil raiders. The game has a novel idea, but its execution is an expansive catalog of video-game blunders--an experience one spends the rest of the day trying to forget. The visuals aren't too bad, but once you pick up the controller, they don't help'ypu get over the fact that this is a really awful game.
The puzzle elements are bland and cliched, while the/battle system is complete trash: You stand toe-to-toe with your foes (which range from giant spiders to elves), trading blows at a ridiculously slow pace, while awful techno tunes try to keep your blood pumping. It fails miserably, and so does Excalibur 2555 A.D.
Do we have a new female video game star in the making? After the tremendous success of Tomb Raider, plenty of companies are following the lead and are featuring female lead characters. I know Excalibur 2555 A.D. has been released overseas for some time now, so it could have arguably already been in production before the success of Tomb Raider. But I would bet the farm that the lead of Excalibur 2555 A.D., in certain aspects of her anatomical proportions, was modeled after Ms. Croft's.
Excalibur 2555 is an action adventure game in which you explore vast levels and interact with dozens of characters. There are plenty of bad guys that are willing to step in your way -- but they're nothing a few whacks from your sword aren't able to take care of. Your goal is to locate the stolen sword Excalibur and save the world. Lace up your knee-high boots, flash some cleavage, and then kick some butt!
Excalibur 2555 A.D. is an action adventure game in which interaction with other creatures or people is a huge part of the gameplay. There are obstacles, puzzles, hidden rooms, and surprises aplenty. Also, you will acquire certain spells that will help you progress through areas that would otherwise be impossible to access. All of this adds up to a game that will eat up more time than you would expect, although there are a few shortcomings that keep it from gaming greatness.
One of the best parts of Excalibur 2555 A.D. is the massive level design. You will spend hours on some of the levels only to start another massive level. There are 13 total floors you will explore, but they are not backwards available. In other words, once you finish a level, it is on to the next one.
Since the levels are so long, that brings me to my first complaint. This game does not support the memory card. When you pass a level, you are awarded with a password for the next level. The thing that sucks about this is that you could play for a full hour and get killed. Guess what? You're out of luck because you must start the level from the beginning. I really get annoyed when I have to fight my way through the same things again. Even if I already know where to go and where everything is, it still takes forever because I am constantly backtracking. I am all for large levels, but give me the ability to either save in the middle or at least give a continue in case I do something stupid and die.
Another big part of the game is your interaction with other people. You are constantly running into people that want something. So it is your job to find the item in question, bring it back to the person, and they will usually give you something else in return. That something else may be traded to another person, or it may unlock a door, or perform some other action. This is why you will find yourself backtracking quite often during the game. Luckily, the game has an excellent map that draws in the areas you have visited, and it is actually easy to read and understand.
Your character, the bulging Beth, has a limited number of actions she can perform during the game. She is basically limited to walking, running, using her sword, and occasionally casting spells. I think the developers really could have opened up a whole new area of gaming if they had just given her the ability to jump or climb over objects. I mean, it was a bit ridiculous that a knee-high wooden box could impede your path and keep you from going on. All she had to do was climb over the damn thing and everything would have been fine. My point is that the trend in games today is to make them as realistic as possible, and this lack of motion kept it from feeling realistic.
As with any good adventure game, you will face your share of bad guys. These meanies range from skeletons to gun-toting pirates to magicians. This makes for some interesting battles since you are armed only with a sword. The enemies were all creative but they were overused. In the earlier levels, you seemed to fight only the scavengers. This also brings me to my third complaint. The enemies were too courteous. They would just stand by and wait for you to finish your fight with the guy you were fighting, and then attack. I mean it was real nice of him to wait his turn, but come on. You are a bad guy. Attack me! Don't just stand there and wait.
This game is fairly easy most of the way through, but you will encounter some enemies that are damn near impossible to kill (and there are even some that I don't think are possible to kill). The fighting technique is your standard slash and move, fighting where you swing your sword, then back up while the enemy attacks, then move back in and slash again. Repeat until enemy is dead. One thing that was challenging was that there were secret doors hidden throughout the levels, and some were real tough to find. You did have some easy-to-find secret rooms, but there are others that are pure luck. This did add some challenge to the game.
Graphics & Audio
I liked the graphics in this game. You were in a 3D environment and Beth was sporting some perfectly placed polygons. Occasionally, the camera angles would tweak out and you would be facing sideways, but it did not really hurt the game because you were never scaling ledges or anything. The level designs were good and the game did have some awesome looking lighting effects.
This is the second review in a row where I need to talk about the sound. On the positive side, the music was game-related: it would change if you entered a room that had an enemy. In addition, Excalibur 2555 A.D. had some pretty creepy music that set up the environments. On the other side of the coin, I was really annoyed with the voice segments. The voices were not the problem. It was the background music. Whenever someone would talk, you could not understand them because the background music was too loud. Even after changing the music volume setting, it didn't make much of a difference.
I thought this game was pretty fun. Aside from the above mentioned shortcomings, there are still some good hours that will be spent playing this game. The levels are huge, and it takes some time to make it through to the end. You will need some patience and staying power, especially since you can't save in the middle. I'm looking forward to Sirtech putting out more PSX games. I like the direction they are heading.
Warriors from the future travel back in time, overpower King Arthur's court, and steal Excalibur. Merlin the Magician finds out about this and sends his niece forward in time to retrieve the lost sword. You play as the niece through puzzles, mazes, and relations with other characters, trying to complete the task at hand. You'll pick up items along the way to give to people and make friends who can help you later. Of course, you'll interact with others to find useful information, and battle the baddies!
A clone of Tomb Raider. In a third-person POV during gameplay, you run around with your super-broadsword, fighting guys. The fighting itself is not all that great. You have to wait until the enemy is close to you, blocking his shots (if he's got a projectile weapon) as he approaches, or (if you don't want to wait) run at the enemy while getting pummeled by hits. During close combat you are both swinging whatever weapons you have at each other. The problem I had with this is that your enemy has a constant rhythm of swings he takes at you, so all you have to do is get the timing right and strike at that time ... it's too easy!
As for getting the different weapons your enemies may drop, forget it. I worked hard to get the timing right (yeah, right!) in killing a baddie so I could get his gun. I was disappointed when I couldn't pick it up, nor could I get the baseball bat he had. You have your inventory of things you pick up along the way, which may include food, keys and items that you must give to other characters for their help. This is similar to the King's Quest series I (and many other people) grew up with.
Oh my! A very simple interface: Begin/Level #/Options/Exit. That's all! In the options menu you can change the music and sound effects volumes like in any other game. There is a catch, though: your music volume is about as useful as those big black steering wheels installed on playground equipment. Nothing happens! I found that the sound effects volume had only a slight change as well. The best way to change the volume is to go into the Windows volume control dialog and set them yourself, using the CD Audio and Wave sliders.
In terms of your character's appearance, can we say Tomb Raider? Similar skimpy clothing, but different hair color (blonde instead of brown). Not to sound prudish, but you can practically see up her skirt from your point-of-view, from behind and slightly above! Overall, the graphics are pretty good, although there is a small bit of texture deformation as you move through hallways.
The music is just plain annoying! It's this weird high-pitched stuff that makes your brain feel like it's going to explode. The voices are difficult to hear over the music. If you want to hear them, you've got to turn the CD Audio almost all the way down and your Wave setting almost all the way up. The voices are done well, but seem a little "British."
A small booklet that explains a few items and movement as well as short descriptions of the levels and enemies.
Required: Pentium 100, 16 MB RAM, 2X CD-ROM drive, SVGA Card with DirectX, NO HARD DRIVE SPACE NEEDED
Reviewed on: Pentium 133, 32 MB RAM, Matrox Mystique, 6X CD-ROM drive
This game was decent overall. The controls were a bit simple for your average computer gamer, and this game would have been much better on a console system like the Sony PlayStation. But Excalibur has a good story to it and deserves some merit for originality. The best thing this game has going for it is its absence of required hard drive space, which allows gamers to play even if they've filled their hard drive (like a growing number of people I know). Excalibur 2555 A.D. scores a 71.
Snapshots and Media
- Dungeon Siege
- Harvest Moon 64
- Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine
- Syphon Filter
- Tomb Raider
- Tomb Raider 2
- Tomb Raider 3
- Viking Child
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- Crypt Killer
- Die Hard Trilogy
- Dynamite Cop
- Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
- Time Crisis
- Time Crisis: Project titan
- Tomb Raider The Last Revelation
- Virtua Cop 2