Better off Deadalus...
After a quick glance, one might mistake Icarus for a Diablo clone. (The words "Diablo fans will love this game" on the box are an unmistakable giveaway). In reality, Icarus, an RPG from a little-known company called JC Research, is much more than "just a clone". It's an enjoyable, turn-based RPG and while it may not look the best visually, it does deliver commendable gameplay, not to mention a kick-ass soundtrack.
Like a majority of other RPGs, Icarus takes place during Medieval times. You play as Dreus, a warrior and leader of the Coshark Mercenaies. Throughout the game, you must build up allies, magic, levels etc. (the usual RPG deal) and eventually make your way to fight the dark lord Ercanet, the god of evil, who is responsible for the evil demons and necromancers roaming the lands and causing havoc.
While Icarus' story may not be as intricate or intriguing as other PC RPG titles like Fallout or Final Fantasy VII, it does set the mood for play. Icarus' gameplay has its unique style, but it is reminiscent of other RPGs on the market (Final Fantasy comes to mind). All movement and control are done by clicking the mouse.
Bascially, there are two modes of play throughout the game: the real-time standard story mode (where you walk around, talk to townspeople, pick up on the story, etc.), and the turn-based battle mode. Those familiar with other turn-based strategy and/or RPGs should recognize the style immediately. Basically, the player has the option to move a certain number of steps before fighting or using magic; and after all the characters in the party have finished, it is the enemies turn.
One nuisance in Icarus' turn-based system is that in order to cast a spell, the player's character must be perfectly lined up with the enemy or character be casted upon (there is a grid over the ground showing the character's movement and spell range). Other than that, Icarus is fairly original and provides ease of play.
One area where Icarus just can't compete is its graphics. After seeing the recently ported Final Fantasy VII running on an accelerated PC, anybody would be let down by Icarus' 2D world. Characters consist of 2D sprites, roaming around over a tiled background. All characters seem to have a hint of anime-style in their appearance.
Spells and magic (simple bitmaps) often appear basic and with relatively little detail. If you're looking for kick-ass graphics, you'd be better off someplace else.
While sound may be overlooked by some, credit must be given where credit is due. The soundtrack kicks ass. Included with the game is a separate CD with the 14 music tracks. Everything from the remorseful melody played when progressing through the tragic story to the upbeat battle composition. Icarus does an awesome job setting atmosphere through music.
For die-hard RPG fans who either don't own a PlayStation (there are tons of excellent PSX RPGs on the market) or are dying to play on a PC, Icarus is a safe bet. Anyone who can look past the simple graphics will enjoy Icarus' gameplay and depth. While it doesn't offer the same depth, play time or graphics as Fallout or Diablo, it does provide a solid, turn-based RPG experience. A good choice to keep you busy while you wait for Diablo II.