Huh! Toooo funky, too funky in here! Yow! Review

Duke Ferris
Soulbringer Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 1 - 1

Publisher

  • Interplay

Developer

  • N/A

Release Date

  • 12/31/1969
  • Out Now

Platform

  • PC

rating

Huh! Toooo funky, too funky in here! Yow!

It’s a little known fact (you wouldn’t believe how little known) that I share my birthday with the Godfather of Soul, and this has been a problem for me. You see, James Brown was born before I was, so he got in line first and took all the funk, rhythm and soul that I never got to have. The man has more style in his left wrist than I’ve got in my whole body.

Fortunately

for me, ‘Soul’ is the latest big thing in video games, so perhaps the gaming

world can give me back just a bit of what god saw fit to give Mr. Brown. What

the hell am I talking about? I’m talking about Soul

Blade
, Soul

Reaver
, Soul

Fighter
, Soul

Trap
, Soulblighter,

Omikron:

The Nomad Soul
, and Soul

Calibur
. But mostly I’m talking about Soulbringer. Yahey! Jump back,

kiss myself!

Soulbringer just happens to be the newest RPG from Interplay. This

should be great news, since Interplay has been the king of PC RPGs for several

years now, hands down. Brilliant Interplay games like Baldur’s

Gate
, Icewind

Dale
, and Fallout

2
have caused me to tell vicious lies repeatedly to my girlfriend just so

that I could play for another hour or two. Soulbringer, however, is not

quite so brilliant. And while it is a fairly solid RPG, it has a mixed bag of

problems and it will never seriously jeopardize my romantic relationship.

However, when my girl is not showering me with affection (or just throwing

things at me), it’s not so bad to take on the role of… err… the unnamed adventurer and star of Soulbringer. People just call you ‘Mister’ or ‘Traveler’ or ‘Hey You.’ You can customize your stats pretty well, especially as you go up levels, but you can never give yourself a name.

Anyway, your father (the guy who apparently forgot to name you) has

died, and you must go in search of your uncle Andrus in the hamlet of Madrigal.

Easier said than done. Madrigal is plagued by bandits and, when you finally

find your uncle, he tells you to get a job and bring him 200 gold. So much for

family ties.

After a while of killing bandits and skeletons and being pretty weak, you’ll

suddenly discover that you are the reincarnation of the ‘Warlock’ or ‘Soulbringer’.

Now you can teleport from town to town, people call you ‘Sire,’ you have a magical

castle full of useful servants and all sorts of kick-ass perks. Of course, now

you also have all sorts of diabolical and powerful enemies as well. Your character’s

abrupt status change is pretty strange, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that

it originally was supposed to happen much later in the game. I have no direct

evidence for this, but Soulbringer just seems as if the plot was restructured

at the last minute, leaving the story oddly paced and disjointed.

The graphics are also a strange sort of mix. The landscapes are all 3D, but

the enemies and characters (including your own) are sprites. This is not as

bad as it sounds; these are very clever sprites that change and overlap to make

a pretty good imitation of 3D. It looks a lot like the graphics from the excellent

game Myth: The Fallen

Lords
and allows you to have battles with large numbers of people, demons,

spiders, whatever, all fighting it out at the same time. However, while the

characters all look pretty good from a distance (via the standard above-and-behind

camera angle), they just don’t hold up when you get in close to the action.

The best

part of the graphics are the combat scenes, featuring some of the most realistic

motion-captured fighting moves and best hit detection I’ve ever seen in an RPG.

Plus, it has a unique ‘combo’ system that lets you design your own fighting

combos for each weapon. But although they look nice, it’s still mostly just

a matter of you and the enemy hitting each other until the weaker one goes down.

I’ve read some other reviews that complain about the awful sound, and I was

ready to do the same thing, until, out of sheer desperation, I tried playing

the game with Disc 2 in the CD drive. After playing for 25 hours with crappy

sound, suddenly I had… Music! Voices! All kinds of missing stuff! I can’t

tell you how much it improved the experience.

Now, I wouldn’t normally even mention something like this except that it

doesn’t tell you to do this anywhere in the game or in the manual.
Obviously

some of my fellow reviewers missed it, as well as some of you kind folks out

there in the real world. In fact, it’s a pretty lousy manual altogether, barely

telling you how to do anything and leaving the confusing magic system entirely

up to you.

Another problem with the game is the poor interface. Dealing with your inventory is a major chore. Un-equipping a weapon, drinking a potion or casting a spell can be a real pain. In fact, if you ever forget what a particular spell does (‘firebolt’ is easy enough, but what about ‘holy presence?’), you can’t even read up on it without going back to your magic castle.

All this aside, however, Soulbringer is a pretty good romp. It’s got

decent graphics, lots of depth, a cool combat system and it’s really long.

Really, really long. That’s one of the best things about RPG’s – if you enjoy

the trip, you’ll get plenty of entertainment time for your money. And what could

be more important than money to you, or me, or the “hardest working man in show

business?” How about soul?





REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

3
Rating
Cool combat
Lots of depth
Really long
It actually has sound!
Lousy interface
Some graphical problems
Disjointed plot