Oh No!!! Not another Combat!!!!
Shannara is a graphic adventure
based on the Terry Brooks #1 best- selling novel "Sword of Shannara". It takes
place in a world where magic, wit, and combat are essential to survival. It
opens with a beautifully rendered gnome chanting with an arcane tome in hand.
Suddenly the book glows and Brona, the dark wizard, rises. After morphing the
poor gnome into several creatures, the game begins. You play Jak Ohmsford, a
young boy who must find a way to overcome the ancestral hatred that divides
the Four Lands.
begin your quest at a stream and must solve a myriad of puzzles by using the available
clues. Soon after you begin to travel, you come upon an old friend, an
archer, Shella. The two of you venture into the unknown fighting hordes of
unearthly beasts. You must find the Sword of Shannara and wield its powers
against Brona to save your homeland. As you travel, you uncover the secrets
of magic and gain powerful allies. These are your tools for survival and
The books that this game is based
upon are extremely well written and a treat to any fantasy reader. However,
the game doesn't seem to match up. The opening scenes were exquisite. The comic-like
characters were drawn very well. Even the monsters in the combat window were
impressive. These days, most of us have had our share of graphic adventures,
so we know what to look for when puzzle solving. Shannara works extremely well
with the player; giving the clues and ingredients necessary to get through the
game. You use a mouse for the entire game, and it was nice not having to switch
back and forth between mouse and keyboard. Even the newcomer will fare well
knowing that Shannara is simple and easy to control. The sound effects
are good, the music is perfect, and character voices are phenomenal! The problem
with the game is the interaction. Every time a character has something to say,
no matter how unimportant, the screen changes to a comic-like face while they
talk. If you try to cross a river that's too deep, the screen changes to a character
making a dopey comment. Then you go back to the map; accidentally touch the
river again and whammo... there's that same character with the same stupid line!
Another problem is the combat.
I found myself wondering why they wasted the time to draw out decent-looking
monsters for such a boring turn-based fight scene which is exactly the same
thing every time with different enemies. Your party attacks. The enemies attack.
Your party attacks. The enemies attack. Over and over with no thrilling changes.
As for turn-based combat, I've had much more fun playing The Bard's Tale in
the 80's. And the graphics in Shannara are ten times better! Finally, I was
a little shocked that a game with combat didn't have any character stats or
levels. It's hard to gauge how you'll do against six enemies without having
a comparison point. You're given a green health bar for all your allies. But
no matter how hurt you are, by the next battle, you're at full health with no
chance of improvement. Kind of a big omission for this type of game.
All in all, I'd not suggest this game to the hard core Doom/Quake fan.
Nor would I reccomend it to Roleplayers or Action fans. And if you loved
games like Full Throttle or Space Quest, this isn't for you. It is, however,
a good game for fans of the novel who have lots of patience and for
younger/beginner graphic adventure fans. My suggestion to the rest of you is to pass this one
up! You're not missing much!