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"Stonekeep" graphics are quite beautiful. The texture of both the pavement you are walking on and the walls, are very well done and look realistic. The light sources throughout the corridors faithfully reproduce what can be seen in such a situation, with shadows and torches. The gamma correction that is available with the 'F11' key is useful when you cross poorly lit corridors.
The handling of Drake is very simple. The right mouse button controls the right arm and the left mouse button does the same for the left arm. There is a wide range of weapons from throwing knives to little arson bombs (that replace the all time favorite fire ball) to fight your way through the castle. In "Stonekeep", you will have to aim at some part of the body on the monsters during fights. The cursor is in a little star shape and you must place it over the weak part of the armor of your opponents to expect a victory. Beware, your adversaries are quick and so is Death.
I found some adversaries to be too quick and sometimes even too hard to kill. Contrary to "Doom" like games, "Stonekeep" doesn't offer a complete freedom of movement. You can't go back just by pressing the 'Down arrow' key for example, you must face the direction in which you want to move. Thus, the game doesn't offer tactical retreats or quick escapes. The doors will be opened when you face them and they will always close after you entered the room, which will often cause inevitable confrontations. Fortunately, you can save your games, but I often had to try several times before I could enter a room without being killed. Sadly, there is no possibility to change the level of difficulty in the game.
The movements of Drake are fluid, even though you travel from square to square with only 90 degrees turns. When you hold down the forward key, you don't stop at each square that you cross but you seem to run along like a continuous and very fluid move. However, there is no possibility to slide sideways which could have been a good bonus during combats to avoid direct hits. Throughout the game, your character will gain experience, making you more efficient with the weapons you frequently use.
To carry all the things you find throughout the different levels, a magical scroll will turn everything into a picture. There are no limitations regarding the amount or weight of your belongings. A magical book contains your maps with their notes, clues that you have found and a good description of your findings (this is a life saver when it comes to blue or red flask).
A great feature of "Stonekeep" is the full screen game play. You are not looking at the action through half a screen bordered with pictures and statistics of all kinds, but you are plunged into the action with a full screen. This gives you a greater view of what is going on in front of you, and also allows more precision for aiming. If you really want to, you can ask for the basic statistics such as health, discretely displayed on the screen.
The soundtrack of "Stonekeep" perfectly sets the mood of the game. A voice will sometimes tell you in which room you are entering or give further explanations for some of the things you see around you. The game's introduction is splendid with real actors incorporated in 3D rendered backgrounds that look very authentic. The movie-like introduction will show you the Shadowking attack and how you were saved in extremis from a certain death.
486 DX2-66 MHz or higher,
Min 8Mb memory,
MS-DOS 5.0 or later,
Hard drive required,
Double speed CD-ROM drive or faster,
VGA video graphic card with 1Mb (VLB or PCI recommended),
Microsoft mouse and 100% compatibles,
Most popular sound cards supported.
Technical Support: 714-553-6655
Web site: www.interplay.com
Interplay Productions Ltd.,
71 Milton Park,
Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4RR.
Technical Support: +44-(0)1235-321-666
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