Ambermoon is an action RPG made in 1993 by Thalion. Back at the time, it was one of the first role playing games with 3D graphics moving freely in a 360° surrounding. These elements are mixed with a 2D overhead map view. Other games like the Eye of the Beholder trilogy also had a 3D engine, but only in 45° tracker style. What all these games had in common was the unique story. Challenging, motivating and very well told.
In Ambermoon, you play as a grandson who starts the game standing next to his grandfather's bed. He is dying and you receive first instructions to introduce you into the game world. The first interactions with items and chests follow, afterwards you step into the cellar. This is where the 3D engine shines for the first time. The beginning of a long, exciting journey.
The controls are very well implemented, logical and intuitive. You begin your quest alone, but in the course of the game, you can hire up to 5 additional party members. For example, these could be healers, warriors, mystics, thieves or mages. The protagonists can be prepared tactically, so that they are all good to start a fight and maybe jump into it with an advantage.
To use the party members at maximum efficiency, you also need to perform extensive inventory management. Each party member can only carry a certain amount of items and gold according to his/her constitution. If this limit is exceeded, the party cannot move anymore. Items can be sold at the merchant in Spannenberg, for example. In return, you can of course also buy better things. Also, there is the possibility to store items and gold in various chests and retrieve them when necessary.
Fighting in Ambermoon is always fairly hard, because you always meet new characters and the level increases subsequently with each new quest. Saving often is recommended, because even just opening a chest can mean death for the whole party. In the later game, dead characters can be resurrected, but getting there is a long, bumpy road.
All things considered, to me Ambermoon is a cornerstone in the history of computer games, which even after 23 years has lost none of its charm. The game challenges right from the beginning and it knows no mercy. Some mistakes, you will only recognize after progressing more further into the game, which made me restart repeatedly for many hours. However, the game manages to enthrall me time and time again with its charm and in each “second try”, something new will happen. After all, you want to learn how it turns out and a hard-fought victory is – as we all know – all the sweeter.
Translated by Mr Creosote
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