Curse of the Azure Bonds
for PC (DOS)

nobleEightfold:
Company: SSI
Year: 1989
Genre: RPG
Theme: Sword & Sorcery
Language: English
Licence: Commercial
Views: 4468
Review by nobleEightfold (2019-08-07)

This is the second game in SSI's Gold Box Advanced Dungeons & Dragons epic. If you enjoyed Pool of Radiance, this game scratches much of the same itch – plenty of exploration, monsters to defeat, and treasure to be found. This game continues the concepts the first game brought to the table: solid combat, classic D&D rules (for better and worse), lots of places to get lost in, and a strongly immersive world.

This game continues where the first game left off, though it's an entirely new adventure. You can import your characters from the first game for some personal continuity, but you can start fresh characters, too. Your heroes have been branded with "azure bonds", magical tattoos that seemingly randomly control their every move and action. It's clear from the beginning that your main quest will be to find a way to remove the bonds, but there's much more to be discovered.

One minor gameplay change that will likely be much appreciated for fans of Pool of Radiance is the addition of the "Fix" command in camp, which automates the healing process (memorize cure light wounds, rest, cast cure light wounds, repeat…). This is a time saver and removes a lot of the tedium from the dungeon-crawling experience.

The graphics and sounds do the job to convey what's happening and to tell the story. The graphics and environment design are unique enough to make you feel like you're in a world all its own. The sounds, while beeps from the PC speaker, work well – especially the satisfying sound you hear when killing a monster. I much prefer the PC speakers sounds in this game to the Sound Blaster sound effects added in the later Gold Box games.

Overall, for me, this game is a fantastic continuation of the Gold Box saga and a great game on its own.

Comments (1) [Post comment]

Herr M. (2019-09-12):
Speaking of unique stories: I really liked this one for the unusual setup. No save the princess/kingdom/world scenario… no simply save your skin from that nasty curse. As far as I remember you had a bit of freedom in which order you wanted to break the bonds. Though come to think of it the prequel, Pool of Radiance was kind of generous this way too.
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