While they are best known for the Command and Conquer and Eye of the Beholder series, Westwood studios released a gem of an RPG in 1994. Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos was a fun, light mix of role-playing and adventure. |
The 1997 sequel, Lands of Lore: Guardians of Destiny, is an exciting mix of dungeon hacking and adventuring. Luther, our hero, has a strange curse that was passed onto him from his mother. Luther's quest is to find the source of the curse and destroy it. Along the way, Luther meets a band of feline-like humans and battles a vast array of enemies, both monsters and humans.
Much of the story is told through FMV cutscenes. While it may seem that FMV and RPG are an odd couple, it is a well done match. The cutscenes, although somewhat poorly acted, move the plot along well. Thankfully, the acting isn't nearly as bad as A Fork in the Tale or DEVO: Smart Patrol.
The gameplay is similar to Interplay's Stonekeep. There are plenty of traps, hidden exits and entrances, and hidden weaponry and items with plenty of good dungeon hacking action. Spellcasting, fighting, and the inventory are all controlled through a well-thought-out, intuitive interface. Unlike Stonekeep, Guardians doesn't have a bottomless inventory. This is only a nuisance if you get your hands on too many goodies ;)
Level advancement and combat are simple enough to not intimidate the average gamer but challenging enough to make any hardcore RPG fan sweat. While there isn't a class system, per se, Luther has the ability to morph between three different forms: a human (the best balanced), lizard (strong in magic but poor in combat), and the Beast (slow-moving but a powerful fighter). Depending on your character's actions, Luther can either follow the path of good or evil.
Spanning across four CD's, Lands of Lore: Guardians of Destiny isn't the innovative game that its predecessor was, but it is still able to blend the old and the new into an exhilarating experience.
Reviewed by: doowopman