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Hail fellow, well met! Our Guild seeks
to catalog genres Fantasy, Strategy,
& Role-Playing. From swordplay to
tactics, the Guild shall be your
mighty castlegrounds. Stay awhile.

SSI * Lion Entertainment * 3DO * Now Available


SSI delivers their latest games based off the Dungeons & Dragons property with Deathkeep, a fine mix of Doom-esque action with traditional role-playing elements. Playing as one of three classes - either a dwarf fighter, elven mage, or a half-elf warrior - explore a huge fortress to discover the keys needed to bring down a powerful necromancer. Class differences chiefly boil down to physical versus magical attack types, though due to the intense difficulty of early areas, we found playing as the dwarf character is the best choice for novices. Navigating through the 25 dungeons is great fun due to the full 360-degree motion in rendered levels. Not as smooth as some first-person games, but solid, nonetheless.

Other than the high level of lethality players will surely encounter in the initial dungeons, a major hurdle in Deathkeep is undeniably game control. Imprecise movement and reaction time make it all but impossible to stop your character when in motion, leading to running head-first into an enemy spell attack or other obstacle. That aside, the gameplay is fast-moving, filled with creatively designed monsters, well-done stage layouts, and countless spells to learn. Be careful walking around those close corridors! All is accompanied by a spooky soundtrack which fits the atmosphere of the game nicely. A step above Slayer in all regards, 3DO owners should certainly consider adding this disc to their library.

Printed in Issue #36, April 1996
Tales of Phantasia
Wolf Team * Namco * SNES * Now Available JPN


Namco's massive RPG Tales of Phantasia is finally up for grabs in Japan for the Super Famicom console. Set in a western medieval fantasy world called Aselia, the story follows a young lad named Cress who seeks revenge after his entire village is slaughtered. Once the villains steal our hero's amulet and free a demonic entity, Cress must seek to travel to the distant past to destroy the evil being for good! Your adventure unfolds in a gorgeous environment flush with spellbinding locales and stunning variety of special effects and ten-layer parallax backgrounds. Intriguing "widescreen" battle scenes play out with a scrolling camera that pans between your party and their foes. In combat, only Cress is directly controlled.

Along with stellar graphics that appear to push the 16-bit machine close to its technological limitations, Tales incorporates new sound drivers (a custom system called Flexible Voice Drive) allowing for voice clips during battles and at special story moments, in addition to a complete opening theme song sequence. These technological leaps necessitated Namco's choice to use a mind-blowing, high-capacity 48-meg cartridge. 48! The only true shortcoming with this cart is its insistence on random battles every eight steps, making the intricate and puzzle-filled dungeon areas truly exhausting to explore. Otherwise, this role-player ranks among the best alongside FF III and Chrono Trigger. Let's hope for a US release soon!

Printed in Issue #36, April 1996