Tunnels & Trolls: Crusaders of Khazan
|a game by||StarCraft, Inc.|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 1 vote|
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Originally a nonelectronic board game published by Chaosium, one of the most famous role-playing games has finally reached the computer. The box reads: "Ores and trolls hunt the fields of men...as you begin your quest to find the wizard king." This description presents nothing new for fantasy role-playing software. But despite the similarity of title and some overlap of play mechanics, New World Computing's Tunnels & Trolls: Crusaders of Khazan shouldn't be confused with Dungeons & Dragons. The game's ease of play and unique atmosphere more than make up for its superficial similarities to any other game.
The main strength of Tunnels & Trolls: Crusaders of Khazan lies in its menu-driven play. Like everything else in the game, character generation is quick and uncomplicated. Players may be warriors or wizards or rogues, who have limited skills of both. If the initial characters die or prove inferior, the towns of Phoron and the Dragon Continent are brimming with pregenerated personalities ready to take their place. A pleasant touch is the addition of graphics to the character status, showing what armor and equipment is readied.
Combat occurs on a special tactical display complete with quicksand, water, trees and other obstacles. Players act in order of their speed ratings and have the unusual martial option of pushing, which often knocks opponents unconscious. The designers made good use of artificial intelligence in the game. All the computer-controlled foes fight more intelligently than in most games and capitalize on player mistakes.
Some of the creators of the original Tunnels & Trolls worked on the computer version. They managed to give Lerotra'hh's domain and the free city-states a sense of logic and subtlety not found in many other games. Each location reflects the Death Goddess' influence, not only in the availability of goods and services, but also in the citizens' culture and moods. Some act morosely while others have become militant in their paranoia. Encountered individuals do not make forced, elaborate speeches. They talk--that is, when characters understand their languages. Opponents are more often malicious or spiteful than "evil."
Tunnels & Trolls: Crusaders of Khazan does not have an elaborate musical score or an allegory-laden scenario. But it's an extremely playable game with atmospheric detail long missing from the genre.