Orcs & Elves Review
Posted by Phill Sparks
The orcs have overrun the mountain, can you get to the bottom and save the King?
Your father, Eöl, has recently passed away and so you are travelling to meet one of his old friends, a Dwarven King named Brahm. Eöl and Brahm once fought together in a great war aided by magical weapons gifted to them by a powerful wizard. Eöl was given a talking wand named Ellon and Brahm a war hammer named Abraxas. Together they slay many Orcs side by side and helped to win the war. The game starts as you enter Mount Zharrkarag and immediately Ellon knows that something is not right.
The game is an interesting combination of first person shooter and role playing; you will quickly get used to taking turns with the creatures in the game to move, drink potions and attack; it gives you a chance to think about how you want to play the game and plan your next few moves rather than encouraging you to mindlessly hack at your enemies and hope you don't run out of health.
The two screens hold very separate functions in this game; on the top screen is what you can see as you move around the mountain. The bottom screen is as though you are looking down at your waist, you can select your weapons, potions, and assorted other menus here. The game can be played without the stylus although I found it easier to use the tools with the stylus rather than the other controls.
The game reminds me very much of Doom, walking down familiar corridors with your weapon held out prominently in front of you searching along each wall trying to find another secret passage so you can watch the wall slide back revealing all sorts of potions, gold and assorted other loot. You will also find random gallery items lying around, mostly hidden in secret passages, each item a different, interesting picture.
It will not take long before you get to meet Gaya the Dragon, this game's merchant / shop keeper. After talking with her you will be presented with a screen similar to your tool belt. Pick an item you want and you are given the chance to barter with Gaya for a better price, if you catch her in a good mood you may be able to get a significant discount, but try and be too cheeky and you'll upset her. She quite likes rare Gems and will reward you greatly if you bring her any such items that you find.
There are a total of 7 different weapons to get to grips with, each one better at fighting certain enemies. You start out with a simple Sword and your Wand, then you can buy/receive a cross bow, phoenix eggs, Gaya's breath, Medusa scroll, Abraxas the War Hammer. You can upgrade your sword, crossbow and armour when you get enough money. There are also a large number of interesting potions each having a different effect on you, not all good! You'll need to get familiar with these if you want to complete the game!
Each level has a different puzzle that you will need to solve ranging in complexity from finding your way around the maze to speaking with the right dwarves to get door codes, you even get to have a drink or two as you go around! If you manage to find all of the secrets or kill all the enemies you'll get extra experience to help you along the way. At the end of each level you'll get presented with the details of your progress including how many turns it took you to get around the level.
Although I don't think I'll find myself playing this game again for a while I certainly enjoyed following the story of this game, there's enough of a challenge in solving the puzzle of each level to stop it from becoming mindless wandering/killing whilst remaining simple enough that you can play it without your full attention.