The day is June 5th, 2003 (just go with it, okay?). World peace has just been declared. But wait - there seems to be some evil afoot in the middle east! Yes, it seems as if an evil dictator named "Hatler" has just launched nuclear missiles around the world, rendering all but two cities utterly destroyed. And one of the two cities - Scabsboro - was close enough to one of the missiles that anybody who happened to be outside during the explosion is now skinless (aka zombies or skin-impaired). So now, it's up to Jimmy - a normal resident of Scabsboro - to stop Hatler from firing another missile at Scabsboro and Utopiaville.
AfterShocked! is a real gem. It takes serious and sensitive issues, such as racism, homosexuality, prejudices, nuclear holocausts, abusive dictators, death, homelessness, and substance abuse - and makes fun of them all. If you're a fan of the satirical show "South Park," you'll likely appreciate the humor in AS; on the other hand, if you're one of those people who are apalled by South Park (and I'm talking about the humor; not the sex references or swearing) and are concerned with politcal correctness, you'll probably dislike the humor in AS. But even if you do dislike that sort of humor, and especially if you're a fan of point-and-click adventures, AfterShocked! may still be worth playing.
The first thing you'll notice when playing AS for the first time is the unique, hand-drawn backgrounds. At first, I was turned off by them, but once you realize how ridiculous the story and puzzles are, you'll understand why the graphics fit perfectly. Unfortunately, the animation doesn't flow quite as smoothly as one might hope. The legs just seem to alternate rapidly as the character walks. The music is annoying, and there are no effects or voice-overs, but who needs sound, anyway?
AfterShocked! is a point-and-click adventure, so the gameplay consists of completing puzzles, communicating with the various townspeople, and progressing through the story. Along the way,
you'll see cutscenes of Hatler and his servant, Igor, conversing. There's really nothing very innovative about AS's approach to the proven point-and-click adventure formula.
The Bottom Line: If you've got broadband (the file is over 46 MB), AfterShocked! is worth the download and will leave you laughing for nearly the entire game.
Warning (Taken from the readme): "Despite its cartoony look, AfterShocked! isn't a children's game, so you might want to think twice before letting little Billy get his hands on it. If you're under 13, stay away, or be scarred for life."
Ahriman's Prophecy (v2)
This review is of v2 of Ahriman�s Prophecy, the first version (a great little RPG in its own right) was made with RPG Maker 2000 and is still available on the developer�s website. This version was made with RPG Maker 2003 but is a stand-alone package which does not need the RTP (Run Time Package) that most RPG Maker 2003 games need in order to run.
Well, thankfully all of the elements that made the game good in the first place have been retained and augmented � the game map is the same but you no longer have a map screen, so everything is done on the more local level. Strangely the game world actually felt smaller to me as a result, though it�s not much of a problem. The graphics have been greatly improved, especially the main character graphics, resulting in one of the best looking freeware RPGs to have been made so far.
The major difference in v.2 is the battle system � no longer are you taken to a separate screen for battles, and you can actually see the monsters etc and thus avoid them � or simply run away from the battle if you are taking a pounding. This is better in many ways � the first game had sections where you encountered a new enemy every couple of steps, which was extremely frustrating � and makes it easier to explore new areas. Of course, just because you can walk away from enemies doesn�t mean they won�t follow you� though there doesn�t seem to be a very high level of AI programmed into them, so some just leave you alone. (You might take a hit from them if you�re close enough, even if you�re avoiding them.) The version of the game I�m playing has a slightly buggy battle system that often makes it difficult to use magic in the battles, but the game is being constantly updated (either through updated versions or patches), and if you encounter a technical problem with the game and leave a message in the forum, you can bet a solution will be available within a few days. (If only certain other software houses� technical support was as good�!). Although it�s not perfect, on the whole this new battle system works well and is certainly a nice change from the normal RPGMaker2000 system. It runs in real-time as opposed to the old turn-based system, though it still falls into the trap of basically being a case of hitting the space bar repeatedly!
I mentioned the storyline earlier � it involves a young girl (Talia), who starts out journeying to the old woman in the forrest to be told what she will become, as is the custom in the village she lives in. However, all she is told is that the future is unclear, and she must travel to another town for more information�. In the end, she and whoever her companions are (you can have a team of up to four merry travellers, out of six characters that become available at different stages of the game) become involved in the unravelling of an ancient prophecy, and of course have to save the world. :-O The nice thing about it is that many of the side-quests are completely unessesary as far as completing the game is concerned, so you actually have a choice of whether to accept / complete them or not. (If you�re like me, you�ll end up trying to do all of them anyway!)
It�s hard for me to be utterly objective about this game as I can�t help comparing the two versions � and I did really enjoy version one. It�s a close call, but on balance I feel this new version is better � it�s got better graphics, more side-quests (up to around 50 hours of playing time to complete it, depending on how straight-forward a path you take), the battle system is better in some ways, and all of the elements that made it so good in the first place. If you like freeware RPGs, you really should do yourself a favour and download this one.
Graphics: - 9/10 - this game is quite impressive graphically (particularly good GUI), probably the best I�ve seen in a freeware RPG.
Sound: - 7/10 - nice enough MIDIs (though they get a bit annoying eventually), good but not outstanding SFX.
Playability: - 7/10 - it did take me a little while to properly get used to the interface, but it works very well once you have. Some small bugs but I know they�ve already been sorted out in updates / patches, I just haven�t had time to download and install them yet.
Longevity: - 7/10 - 50 hours for a free game? It has to be 10/10!
Replay Value: - 6/10 � you�ll might come back to it after a while as it�s a lot better than most freeware RPGs. These games never really have particularly high replay values, so the low rating is not a bad reflection on this particular game.
Overall Rating: - 8/10 � a very good game overall that�ll keep you playing for a long time. Definitely in the top 5 freeware RPGs I�ve played so far, probably in the top 3. If you like this sort of game, you won�t be disappointed by Ahriman�s Prophecy.
This is an edited version of a review published at: http://www.epinions.com/content_3916275844
More top freeware RPGs can be found at: http://www.epinions.com/content_4219641988
PC REQUIREMENTS: CPU: P2 RAM: 256Mb Win 95+ DircetX 5.0+
Ancient Domains of Mystery
Ancient Domains of Mystery, ADOM for short, is a roguelike game with a vast outside world and dozens of different dungeons. The Drakalor Chain is being threatened by the forces of chaos. The player must venture into the depths of the dungeons and close the chaos gate. On his way, chaos slowly start corrupting him, giving him various mutations, which can be both beneficial, harmful or both.
With 10 races, ranging from humans to dark elves to drakelings, and 20 professions, ranging from fighters to weaponsmiths to elementalists to mindcrafters, ADOM is easily one of the roguelikes with the most variety in player character choices. Each of the races and classes have their own unique features.
Where ADOM really shines is replayability: all of the dungeons are completely randomly generated, making every game unique.
However, as most roguelike games, ADOM is definitely not for everyone. First of all, the whole interface is based on ASCII characters. This is a mixed blessing: it means you won't get any pretty graphics, but you'll be able to identify what's on the screen quickly and easily. Secondly, the large amount of possible commands may seem overwhelming at first, but of these dozens of commands, only a few are used constantly, so learning them should be not too hard. Also, ADOM can be very difficult in the beginning, until you've managed to learn a few basic tactics. Don't let that discourage you, the game is very enjoyable once you are comfortable with the interface and learned to survive in the beginning.
Version 1.1.1 adds a wealth of new features, including a feat system which allows you to choose some small benefits for your character every second level. Those benefits range from combat boni when using a certain class of weapons to finding more gold in the dungeons or regenerating faster. This adds enough depth to warrant an increased rating for the game.
The download link leads to the DOS version of ADOM. It should run fine on most Windows systems, too. However, if you feel adventurous, you can try a native Windows version (currently in beta) available at adom.de.
This game was made by several students of Digipen, a college for people who wish to make computer games. In this game, you can control one of any six characters. Your goal is to defeat the Necromancer by using whatever weapons and items you find. This game has a unique weapons system in that each weapon depends on skills in either magic, technology, melee, or ranged weapons. Different characters have different capabilities in different types of weapons. For example, Hiro has the capability to develop strong skills in ranged and melee combat but can never learn to use magic or technology. This game also contains shops, configureable controls, quests, and various townspeople to talk with. It is kind of like a serious version of Dink Smallwood but it has several bells and whistles. A level editor is available on the download page.
Download links to download page.
A manual and a strategy guide are on the download page.
Important: On many computers, this game will run poorly (especially the mouse) if the patch is not downloaded and installed. In order to install the patch, arkoss.exe must be deleted from the directory the game was installed to (usually "C:\Program Files\Arkoss") and the patch file must be copied to that directory and then renamed arkoss.exe. If you do not know how to do this, Do not download this game.