Synopsis: Following the events of Quest for Glory III: Wages of War, the mighty hero of Corey and Lori Ann Cole's magnificent Quest for Glory series has been transported through sinister means to the Transylvania-esque land of Mordavia. Within this land, a dark plan is in motion to resurrect Avoozl the Dark One, an ancient being of immense evil. Our hero must not only defeat the dark master who seeks to bring about Avoozl's return, but must also survive encounters with old enemies thought gone. Will he succeed, or will Mordavia and the rest of Gloriana be plunged deep into the Shadows of Darkness?
Review: Much like the other entries into the Quest for Glory series, Shadows of Darkness is a fantastic one, offering an exciting mix of storytelling, point-and-click gameplay with RPG elements, and a well done combat mechanic to make the game satisfying to play and watch. Unfortunately this is marred by a bug heavy base install that requires at least 3 patches to correct, though these patches are easy to find online these days I feel I must dock it a few points due to the hassle players can experience.
Once again included in the series is the import feature, a way to load the hero you leveled through the previous games into your new game. While this feature is not necessary, it does relieve the initial difficulty of the game somewhat.
The ability to choose between three classes is also a long standing tradition of this series, and a welcome one. The ability to choose to become a Fighter, a Magic User, or a Thief adds to the replay value of the game, as even though the story is generally the same, there are paths and extra tidbits that are reserved for those three seperate classes and their skill sets.
The storytelling and setting is top notch, the player will laugh at the often ridiculous sets of characters, and cry (or at least get something in their eyes) at some of the surprisingly serious moments as they play through the game. The Transylvanian and old style horror influence are done really well, with interesting mixtures of mad laboratories and gothic castles, to a very creepy H.R. Giger-esque lair containing Avoozl.
The hybrid between standard RPG mechanics, Point-and-Click Adventure, and a fast paced combat system is very well done. The RPG mechanics help make the point-and-click format interesting to play and encourage you to spend your skill points wisely, as some paths will be blocked or fatal to those who do not meet the requirements. The elements also help in the combat portions of the game by giving you more health, or making you quicker. The action portions of the game are also implemented very smoothly, offering a fun break from the standard point-and-click interface and adding a bit of rough and tumble into a standard adventure game.
All in all Shadows of Darkness is a fantastic game, and one I would recommend, not just to fans of Quest for Glory, but to anybody who likes adventure games and RPGs in general.