for PC (DOS)

Company: Florian Born
Year: 2000
Genre: Adventure, Action
Theme: Horror / Sword & Sorcery
Language: Deutsch
Licence: Freeware
Views: 31564
Review by Tapuak (2002-05-13)

As Kiarthan, a medieval lad with an almost finished schooling in magic, you creep into a wizard's castle in order to find a mysterious crystal which is supposed to heal your lady's disease.

The abilities you make use of at first are of rather profane origin indeed. From a classic “ego-perspective”, you steer Kiarthan through execrated gardens, dark vaults, and finally the wizard's castle. The hunt for the crystal, being the first chapter of the game, is divided into seven segments, focusing on solving riddles. You collect objects, arrange them in your inventory, and use them at the right place to get on. Frequently, switches and levers you can open doors and activate machines with, play an important part. In most cases, the puzzles are self-explanatory and not too hard, as you carry few objects mostly, and only a strictly limited number of places is available simultaneously. Therefore, I consider the difficulty as outmost agreeable exactly for this reason – you won't get stuck at a certain situation for too long.

Even if the first part stresses puzzle elements, some skill is necessary as well. The permanently shown energy bar suffers from traps, beasts, and fire that you have to runaround sometimes. In spite of these chicanery, there's no need to kill one of these strange beings. Mostly you couldn't do that anyway because weapons are rarely found here.

The second part, directly connected to the story of the first one, is clearly more orientated to action elements. You find yourself in the quest for the magician Grant, who is kept imprisoned by an evil power, and proceed through numerous levels mainly by fighting. Those take place in diversified settings that each have their high density of sanguinary creatures in common, who can be defeated by means of several weapons (sword, crossbow, dagger, trap etc). A slight disadvantage is that you can possibly finish a level without finding the weapon hidden there, and then you have to play with worse equipment in the following ones. Fortunately, you can save and load your position anytime.

The difficulty slightly increases during the game, but it always remains fair. Just people with certain kinds of phobia have to be careful from time to time, because everytime you think you have killed the most rancid monster, an even more detestable one comes around the corner. Besides the large number of fights, however, there are still some riddles to solve.

Desperabis deserves a special accolade because of his outstanding atmosphere. The gloomy corridors and vaults are depicted very neat, supported by appropriate sound effects. From grating doors, spitting torches, and nastily screaming monsters to thunderous tempests you will hear anything you have expected from a sinister, medieval game. The music surely fits, too, but I'm not a fan of ancient lute and choral sounds, to be honest. In constrast to that, the 3D perspective contributes to the intensive atmosphere with nice effects of light and shadow. Concerning the inhospitable mood, the game sometimes reminded me of classics like “Thief: Dark Project” or “Alone in the Dark”. Altogether, it's an impressing game that is extra fun to play because it's freeware. A huge praise to the programmer who managed to do all the game by himself!

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