Rings of Medusa
|a game by||Starbyte Software|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 1 vote|
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The packaging for Rings of Medusa does a distinctly inadequate job of communicating the nature of the product inside. A look at the back of the box would give most gamers the impression of a lightweight adventure containing a few imbedded arcade games and a gambling module for acquiring filthy lucre. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Rings of Medusa is, in fact, one of the most detailed multilevel simulations ever published; too detailed, perhaps, for the majority of adventure fans. If, on the other hand, intricately modeled adventure simulations containing everything from complex war-gaming to an ongoing search for raw materials is your cup of mead, Medusa will keep you enthralled for months.
The player is cast as Prince Cirion, whose kingdom of Morenor has been tainted by the evil goddess Medusa, striking out from her residence in the Underworld. The once storybook realm is suddenly torn by revolution as Medusa imposes her malign will upon Morenor's populace. The only way to retake the kingdom is to locate five powerful rings, which can then be used to summon up the goddess and face her down.
Alas, Morenor is a pretty poor place and, in the tradition of adventure games, the player-character starts out with all but empty pockets. In order to find the rings, it is necessary for the Prince to raise an army. Raising an army, of course, requires money, and this can be acquired by establishing trade routes, attacking caravans, conquering towns and looting them, exploiting raw materials, uncovering treasure and, of course, visiting the kingdom's gambling casino.
The five rings, in addition to their collective ability to invoke Medusa from her underworld sanctum, each grant the Prince some special ability. The first produces a display of both armies' strength; the second reveals to the player which goods are produced in each town; the third gives the Prince the ability to scout all towns, no matter how far away; the fourth increases the strength of the Prince's army by 50%; and the fifth allows him to summon Medusa.
Rings of Medusa employs several visual presentations, including a two-thirds overview of Morenor, a first-person perspective for sea battles and the traditional top-down view during gambling sequences. The game is played largely through a series of icons and commands that appear at the base of the screen. Unfortunately, the game's interface is its weakest element. Non-experts will spend much of their time learning how to operate the system. The documentation does not clearly present the information, and many gamers will be discouraged and frustrated by the difficulties involved in getting started.
Nonetheless, adventure and war-gaming fans, in addition to those who measure