Around the Christmas holidays, it seems most fitting to
think of Christmas in years past, those special memories that are
priceless and we store away to remember when we are older. I can see them
so clearly, as if they were yesterday – throwing that silver tinsel in
great gobs on the tree, and hoping my mother wouldn’t notice I hadn’t
placed each strand individually as instructed; hiding with my brother
behind the tree to make faces at each other about the shiny polyester
shirt he had received from some well-meaning relative; and oh, so many
little magical moments that stay with me these many years.
Just as dear are the memories of games I played long ago when gaming
was new to me, and a vast universe was opened up for my playing pleasure.
Those games didn’t have the explosive graphics and game play like the
games of today, but they were innovative for their time, and in any case,
thoroughly enjoyed by me. I cherish those moments when I first found the
Quest for Glory series, and embarked on a magical journey into the realm
of fantasy Role Playing Games (RPGs).
If you scoff at the games of yesteryear, then read no further my
friend, for I am going to tell you about another trip into nostalgia. I’m
going to tell you about a little charmer called Morning’s Wrath.
It’s definitely a bleak day for Princess Morning. Her parents have been
killed by an evil invading force, her fiancé has betrayed her, this long
gown just does not lend itself to fighting and the fate of these good and
gentle people of her kingdom now rests solidly on her shoulders.
Morning is a plucky lass, and hesitates not a minute. She dons the
armor of a long dead ancestor, dispatches the fiancé by sword, and
discovers a hidden magical well that promises untold power that will save
her kingdom. The well lies in wait as if alive. It has been a long time
since its magical powers were accessed, and its goodness has been tainted
by evil. Morning must seek out artifacts to sacrifice to the well to
remove the evil taint, and to imbue her with awesome power. There’s a
puzzle that must be solved before each artifact can be obtained, and there
are artifacts aplenty scattered throughout the now invaded castle, and in
the realm of the spirit world. As each artifact is obtained and dropped
into the gaping maw of the well, a magical scroll is produced, enabling
Morning to mix and match some tough spells to foist on her opponents.
Morning grows stronger, and so too does the power of the well.
There’s no pretense at making this a game of today with all the bells
and whistles. As I’ve said before, this is a trip into nostalgia, and the
looks of the game are reminiscent of Quest for Glory. It’s simple, third
person point and click. You click on your opponent with a left click to
battle him with a sword, and you right click on him to cast a spell. As
you defeat your opponents, you are given points to divide into various
statistics as you see fit to build your character, Princess Morning. You
have an emblem to click on to display your inventory, and another to click
which displays various spell components that you can choose to make up
your casting spell. You can save from any point in the game. A minor
suggestion here would be to either have a good memory or number your
games, as they are saved alphabetically rather than sequentially.
As you begin the game, your character is very weak, and you may need to
do some back and forthing between the besieged castle and the spirit realm
to find some weak characters to kill, but the experience points come
quickly. As you make your way through opponents, you will encounter
puzzles to solve in order to obtain the artifacts you need. There are
twenty-two of these puzzles, although it is not necessary to solve all of
them to complete the game. The puzzles are logic or inventory based, and
most will seem familiar to adventure game players, but may be a new
experience for those who do not play that genre. As such, the game appears
to fit the mostly vacant sub-genre of the adventure RPG.
The game is on one disc, and it is not necessary for it to be in the
computer drive once the game is installed.
The more I played the game, the more I liked it. It isn’t a long game,
lasting perhaps 12 hours, but it was an enjoyable time. The graphics are
basic, but the colors and lines are sharp and clean-cut. The only gripe I
have graphics wise were the mazes, not because of any difficulty in
knowing where you should go, but because it was difficult to move the
character with the collapsing walls as you moved. I couldn’t see which
direction she was facing, and would have to click, click, click until I
could bring her to the end of a passage way. On the other hand, the
graphics were amusing when a strong spell was cast on weaker opponents
that marched at you in a bunch – unleash a powerful spell, and they fell
back with their legs upward as they were vanquished.
The musical score is outstanding and memorable, and far above what you
usually encounter in an independent game such as this one. The orchestral
sounds change as you enter various locations, heightening the mood most
deliciously. The ambient sounds were clever as well, especially the death
cries from the defeated – I especially enjoyed those!
Other minor aggravations were that you cannot make your character run,
and that I felt the prologue was a bit too long and tedious. But once
you’re into game play, the opponents are varied and interesting, and there
is loot to be discovered around every corner. I enjoyed the helpful
spirits and their strange riddles. A map might have been a nice addition,
for I found it easy to become turned around in the spirit realm when first
beginning, as quite a few buildings look alike.
The ending is satisfying and perhaps leaves the door open for a sequel.
Does absolute power corrupt absolutely?
Three years in the making, this group of developers has made an
exciting beginning. Their love for the genre shines through the game with
sparkle and great charm. It is no easy feat to make an RPG, but they have
made a game that RPGers should have. It’s not without flaws, but it is
astonishingly good for a first effort, and certainly fills that void when
you want to take a trip into nostalgia. In addition they man a website
www.morningswrath.com that is very gracious in answering any questions or
concerns. Death by chocolate I say – and you’ll have to play this game to
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