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Eschalon - Unbeliever's Land
...The continuing chronicles...
While I'm dithering over bits to buy for the next uberbeast, I've discovered a perfectly wonderful D&D-type game that runs just fine on my old PC.

That game is Eschalon Book I.

I'm around 80% done with the game at this point, and I've only been playing a couple of weeks. And THIS is playing as I usually do: slow-and-methodical. If you don't bother with side quests, or explore every map and fight every monster, it could go alot faster.

[The fastest time anyone's posted finishing the game is... right around one hour. Though to do that, you have to have played through the game once already, and know *ALL* the tricks and secrets.]

Still, while it's not the longest game ever, I regard it as a great $28 investment. This game is VERY fun, and has LOTS of replay potential.

It's not "straight" D&D (like Baldur's Gate and it's sequels and clones) -- it's more like the Ultima games, in that it's invented its own rules for character development and gameplay.

You can develop your character however you want. If you want to start off as a Fighter, but build up some magic skills along the way (like I did), there's nothing stopping you. Any time you level up, you can build up whatever attributes and skills you like. No limits, no penalties.

Apart from (rare) random encounters, though, once you kill all the monsters on a map, they stay dead. No respawning. And THAT means there's only so much experience points OUT there. If you spread yourself too thin, you might not be strong enough to beat the final bad guys.

Or so I hear. I haven't gotten that far, yet.

Basilisk Games prides itself on making "old-school" style games -- games that look and feel like the ones people my age "grew up on". The graphics are Just Fine... but they aren't the whole point of the game.

Eschalon has a fixed overhead camera. There's no party -- it's just your one character against the world. There's no limits -- if you really *WANT* to go on a rampage and kill everyone in town, have at it. But you might have trouble buying and selling at the store later...

One of my blogs, Twenty Sided, wrote four detailed entries, reviewing aspects of the game (that's how I discovered it). The four Eschalon entries are linked here, in chronological order:
First Impressions
Text, Economy, and Random Numbers
Character Progression
So give the game a whirl. The demo is free (the only restriction is that you can only travel to a handful of places). But if you're like me, once you've covered those first few maps and advanced your character a few levels, you're gonna be reaching into your wallet so you can finish the game... :)

Current Emotional State: enthralled enthralled

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