Tom Proudfoot's follow-up to his excellent RPG Nahlakh goes by the name of Natuk. It's a tile-based RPG that is heavy on combat, but with an interesting twist. This time you are not playing as the usual party of heroes in shining armor, but a band of orcs and trolls out to get revenge. Again the graphics and sound are not the strongest point here (but they are much better than those in Nahlakh), but the great game system makes this an excellent choice for die-hard role-players. |
The character generation is guick, but still allows creating a diverse lot of characters. You select a race (orc, ogre or half-troll) and a profession (warrior, scout, assassin, shaman and witch-doctor) before selecting some skills your character has earlier training in, as well as some new skills. There is a diverse collection of skills, from weapon use to alchemy and bullying, and as your characters gain experience, you can allocate the experience points to the skills you want. This is not as good a system as the one in Nahlakh where you advanced only in those skills that you actually used, but still much better than the ordinary level-based experience system.
The tactical combat mode will get really familiar to you during the game. Luckily it's really good one. You have a lot of options to choose from during the combat. In addition the basic moving and attacking, your characters can aim to specific body parts, choose their method of attack (from an all-out berzerker attack to a feint), hide and try for a backstab and use some skills like Command that allows you to control your NPC allies and Chanting that has the chance of boosting your morale and skills. Not to mention that the orcish chants sound really funny too. ;)
The spell system is identical to Nahlakh, and pretty much resembles the one from Ultima games. Each spell consists of three magical syllables. And because the spells are quite logical, it is not hard to deduct new spells once you figure out what each does. A welcome addition is the list of those spells you have already cast, so you don't have to type the same old magical syllables again and again.
The game is quite hard, but not too hard for someone who has played role-playing games before. There are two different ways of finishing the game, with the other being a really, really difficult one. So there should be enough challenge to even the most experienced veterans of the genre. Very much recommended indeed.
Reviewed by: Obi