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Based on the work of Terry Pratchett's, a best-seller British fantasy novel
writer, Discworld will take you on a flat world carried in space by four
elephants supported by a giant turtle named Great A'Tuin. This uncommon
universe has inspired millions of fans throughout the world, but I must
admit that until I read the first press releases, I was not aware of its
existence nor of its author. Fortunately, as I'm not British, it partially
removes the shame that would have surely covered my existence if I was,
because in the country of Shakespeare, Terry Pratchett is quite considered
as one of the best living British authors! So it is with a delight curiosity
that I discovered his unique universe.
Humor is the first element you will encounter in Discworld. From the beginning to the end, be prepared to experience the most eccentric situations you have ever been confronted with in your entire life. The game has profusions of jokes and although I enjoyed them myself, some might think that too much is too much but once more, it is only a matter of personal taste.
The graphics of Discworld are very pretty and colorful. If people thought the standard 320x200 graphic mode was obsolete, Discworld is here to demonstrate the contrary. Personally, I prefer hand-painted backgrounds over computer rendered scenes, because the calculated images miss the human touch that makes all the difference. That is maybe why the game had so much effect on me with over 100 painted backgrounds, each one more beautiful than the other. As they are presented in full-screen with a possible scrolling in multiple directions, you easily understand you will have a lot to discover.
In Discworld, you play the role of Rincewind, a young sorcerer apprentice
with as much experience in magic as I, which is definitively not enough to
be considered by anyone as a potential threat. However, during this adventure,
he will have to accomplish tasks that even powerful wizards may not risk at all.
The story of the game is divided in several acts that each consists as
a quest inspired by Discworld's stories and mythology. In the first act, you
will have to deliver the city of Ankh-Morpok from an evil dragon. In this
chapter for example, you will learn what wizards are truly made for and
why dragons exist. In your quest, you will need special items you must find
in the city outside the walls of the Unseen University, but first, you will
have to find a way to open the doors. The overall difficulty of the game is
average, and usually, items can be found easily all over the game. Sometimes,
and this is a hint, you must think that twice is always better than once.
The interface is of a dramatic simplicity: if you want to look at something
just right click on it. Want to get something? Just left click on it.
The dialogues are driven with the same facility: if you wish to speak to somebody, left click on the character. A menu will appear with several icons that represent the style of your questions or remarks. If you select the joker for example, you will talk to people on an ironical way while choosing the lightning means your speech will be tinted by anger. In Discworld, you will never have to choose the subject of the conversation. Once you select your mood, you are in for a while. I mean, the dialogue will continue until both parties have finished what they had to say. Then, if you didn't get or hear anything useful for the rest of your adventure, you are free to try the other approaches. Contrary to most other adventure games, where you have the choice of different sentences or topics when you talk to a character, Discworld removes one degree of freedom that hardcore gamers might not wish to give away. In a way, it is easier for beginners (although this remains to be proven because when you meet one character, you do not know at all which mood will be the most appropriate) and as you have a limited number of icons to select, you don't get stuck every five minutes. However, if you remember classic adventure games like "Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade" from LucasArts, you will certainly recall that you didn't have to try all the choices during talks to get what you wanted. Sentences were consistent with the context and therefore, it was easy after one or two tries to get through the dialogues and obtain objects or the needed information. In Discworld, the only thing that is left to choose during the dialogues is the mood but dice would suffice. It is fun in the beginning, but you can get easily tired after a while.
Discworld's soundtrack is pleasant and changes during the adventure so that it is not always the same tune you have to listen to during the game. The CD-ROM version features voices from Eric Idle (one of the Monthy Python) for Rincewind and from other personalities well-known in Great-Britain.
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