the new standard for MSX RPGs?
Realms of Adventure
At the Tilburg fair of 1999, there was already a preview of this game and it looked very cool. Now, a year later, the game is finally finished and everybody can start a new Umax adventure on his MSX. If you enjoyed games like Dragon Slayer 6, Pumpkin Adventure III and The Lost World this new Umax game will not disappoint you.
What you get
A funny detail: the box has just room for two disks and the manual. There will be more parts — see below — but where do we have to put all these disks then?
The manual is very detailed, it is divided in several parts telling all about the game and its many options. The first part tells the story, which is more detailed than the intro story in the game itself.
After this you can find lots of explanation about the options of the game, about all the menus and a list of weapons and potions which you can find in the game. All this info seems very useful because of the many options and the complexity of the game. In the end there is a small walktrough so you can get started easily.
Umax RPG style
The game screen is separated in two parts. Most of the screen is occupied by the playing field. On the right side of the screen there is information about your party — the people who you are with and their status — and the amount of money you have. The playing field does not scroll like in e.g. Xak, but it has ‘rooms’ — like in Metal Gear — which are changed if you walk through the ‘edges’ of the screen.
As in every other RPG, the player can walk through many lands, villages, caves and forests. When walking around you will face monsters and demons which you can fight to gain money and experience. In RoA you will face monsters randomly: most of them you can’t see in the playing field; you just suddenly go into the battle screen where you can fight. In caves, dungeons and castles you can see the monsters. I’ll tell you more about fighting later. With a push on the button you will get into the menu. Here are many options accessible. Most, like Spells, Object Scroll and Status are about the same as in other RPGs. However, there are many extra options in this particular game! Think about mixing herbs e.g., at the sorcerer’s. Compared to other games like Pumpkin Adventure III, the status of a character is more detailed. In this game there is also information about the character’s sex, alignment (good or bad) class and mental status. The latter features very nice details; you can be drunk or in love, for example.
One other difference in RoA compared to the other Umax RPGs is that you don’t have to walk for hours to get somewhere. Near the most important locations in the game are roadsigns. Just bump into them and you can choose to what other roadsign you want to travel. Very comfortable, just as the fact that you don’t have to slay a zillion monsters to get money: in this game you can sell your weapons and other items. New is also that there is a difference between group and party. The party consists of the people walking with you — like in PA3 and The Lost World, or even Dragon Slayer 6 — and the group is the total amount of people working with you. You can only take four extra characters with you on your journeys, but the group can be much larger. Group members not going with you will stay behind in the Inn. You have to decide for yourself if you want to add characters to your group when they ask you to. And of course you also have to assemble the party yourself, making it the most suitable one for your current quest.
The game consists of many different main quests, only after finishing such a quest you go to the next part of the game. But within these quests there are many different subquests; these can vary from saving a man’s daughter or finding an object to saving a village from evil creatures. These subquests don’t have to be done, but you can often gain money, reputation (!), objects, weapons, information or something else useful by finishing them. Sometimes someone asks you to do such a quest and sometimes you can do one because you did something special. On the first game disk there is one main quest — part one — and I have discovered about seven subquests.
Not in the least because of the quests system, it is possible to make a very large game: as far as I heard there will be at least 15 more parts. It’s also possible to let Umax know your ideas for quests which they can fit into the game. If you have some, mail Peter Meulendijks: PeterMilldyke@hetnet.nl.
Too bad the monsters are not very big and detailed, I always liked that, but the animations are very cool and original. By the way, Peter wrote that future parts will contain larger monsters. A shame that no one wanted to make new musics for this game, especially for all who have played other Umax RPGs. When writing this the second disk is still not ready. I hope that it will not take too much time between each new part, because it’s very irritating when you have finished a part and you can’t continue because you don’t have the disk.
RoA has lots of good things from RPGs like Pumpkin Adventure, Dragon Slayer 6 and Xak combined and that makes it a perfect game for everyone who likes RPGs like I mentioned before. Absolutely a game you should buy if you are a lover of RPGs.
A last remark: Peter wrote on the MSX mailinglist that the first disk was actually only the master disk and they added some gameplay to get people interested. He said the actual game will start at part 2, continuing where part 1 ended. In part 2 they want to cover the whole first world, which will be about 5 or 6 disks in size. There will also be a new master disk then, because they made some improvements that cannot be patched.