The Legacy of the Cheap Imitation.
In an alternate world, an epic battle between good and evil rages until a great human champion is fatefully struck down by demon steel. Years later, the champion is resurrected by the Gods to kick demon booty. Now, where have I heard that before?
Gorasul: The Legacy of the Dragon is JoWood's second-rate offering to the North American PC RPG genre. Born of German developer Silver Style, Gorasul is a marginally playable game in the vein of Baldur's Gate. It's got all the basic RPG pieces, but fails to put them together well.
Gorasul chronicles the exploits of a slain and born-again hero named Roszondas. As a sickly infant, Roszondas was discovered by the powerful dragon Crakan. However, instead of devouring the feverish morsel, Crakan gave him dragon CPR, healing baby Roszondas' maladies and imbuing him with super dragon powers. It's kind of like being bitten by a radioactive spider, only better. And so Roszondas grew under the tutelage of a master dragon, beginning a life long quest to fight the forces of evil.
But then one day, a great evil killed Roszondas. Then, he was born again to fight...again. Got that? Whatever.
If you think the plot is hard to get worked up over, you should check out the dialogue. Although lines like "The enemies are slamming from the rear!" are as funny as anything in Zero-Wing, the rest of the dialogue just plain sucks. And since Gorasul's entire plot unravels via dialogue, you'll be in for a lot of broken English. Good translators are sooooo hard to find these days.
You'll start the game by picking a class for Roszondas. Each class is as old as pen and paper D&D, with classic choices such as the archer, warrior, barbarian, wizard, priest, or obscure wizard/priest.
Then, it's time to explore the world and pick up a few quests. Often, these quests are simple affairs like collecting herbs for a healer or ridding a town of hell hounds (fearsome dogs that resemble turds), but some are slightly more inspired, like commanding Kobold forces in an attempt to rout an undead enemy.
Unfortunately, what could have been a cool quest is merely a pointless diversion, as your little Kobold warriors seem invincible, there aren't any civilians for the undead to eat, and units from each side are represented by little stamps instead actual moving units. Since when did Kobolds look like wild Keebler Elves? This is just wrong on so many levels.
At least the magic system is interesting since your spell caster can cast any spell he knows on his own if a combat situation arises. You may only have healing spells in your quick-spell list, but as soon as an enemy comes near, your spell caster will usually let ER rip with a fireball or some other attack magic. Unfortunately, the AI in Gorasul seems to stand for Artificial Incompetence, as your spell caster regularly blows his whole magical load on some pissant enemy like a dog.
Sprinkling in some further frustration is the fact that you can't rest. If there are no potions around to gulp down, you'll have to wait around for your mana and health to slowly regenerate before setting off to do battle again. How boring.
With such high mana costs for spells, melee attacks are the special of the day. Regular weapon-based combat is essentially the same here as in Baldur's Gate; the enemies and heroes square off and try to kill each other with looping attack animations and low-quality screams.
At least you get a really cool 'living' weapon at the very beginning of the game. Not only does this weapon have five attributes like Courage, Accuracy and even Ego, but it will talk to you. While not as spunky or interesting as the talking sword in Baldur's Gate II, the fact that you've got a dynamite weapon with you right from the start of the game is really helpful. I just wish he actually talked, because reading though all of these text messages keeps giving me a headache.
Since Roszondas is imbued with dragon power, whenever he starts to get hurt he'll bust out a dragon technique like 'Dragon Breath' or 'Dragon Fear'. These powers can even level up, along with all his other attributes.
Surprisingly, the music is hip. Even though the actual sound quality bites, the melodies themselves are quirky and give Gorasul some greatly needed personality. However, such personality doesn't carry over to the sound effects themselves, which are weak and squeaky.
Graphically, Gorasul belongs in the mid-'90s. The spell effects look 16-bit at best, the animation is silly and the enemies look like twigs with legs. The forest areas you explore are limited to straight grass and trees and the structures are totally uninteresting, with textures barely as sophisticated as those found in Might and Magic games. This game looks like the result of an evening filled with Spicy Hot Cheetos and warm Pabst Blue Ribbon. Not pretty.
To slam the nail into the coffin, Gorasul is buggy. Characters get stuck, cursors freeze, and the game crashes often (especially when trying to save). While bugs like this may be exterminated by future patches, that doesn't change the fact that this game has more blemishes than the face of your everyday gaming geek.
Overall, Gorasul is Baldur's Gate with an Intelligence of 8 and a Charisma of 9. While all the basic RPG ingredients are here, the sugar, spice and everything nice seem to have been left in the cupboard.