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Published by:
Westwood Studios

Game Genre:
Role-Playing Game

Game Cheats:
Not Available

Requirements:
Pentium 166, 32 Megs RAM, 4X CD-ROM
16-bit Sound Board, Mouse, & DirectX

Retail Price:
$44.95
Our Ratings:
Features

Graphics

Sound FX

Gameplay

Overall

Screenshots:
Lands Of Lore III


Game Review - by StormDaemon
The classic role-playing games that were defined by Ultima Underworld I and II have returned with a vengeance in Lands Of Lore III. Combining a first person view with both 2D sprites and 3D architecture, this game looks and feels a lot more up to date than its predecessors. Though the use of sprites is disappointing, the game makes up for it with a strong story and several detailed worlds which have numerous graphical special effects.

Storyline:
The game begins as you play a young half breed man name Copper, whose father, the King of the land, and two brothers were killed on a hunting trip by nasty monsters known as Rift Hounds. You narrowly managed to escape the Rift Hounds, but not the accusations that you killed your father in order to get closer to the crown. In order to find out what truly happened and to gain back your soul, which was ripped out of you by the Rift Hounds, you set off on a quest with the advice of a mystic lady named Dawn.

Along the way you'll travel through six different worlds, meet friendly people and kill evil monsters. You'll also discover events that could spell the end of the world unless you stop them. The quest is difficult, but you are given many different weapons and magics to aid in your adventures.

Features:
Lands Of Lore III offers lots of magic, weapons, monsters, and sprite graphics just to name a few features. Also available is a number of ways to go in your character's development such as 4 different guilds, the Fighter's, Cleric's, Mage's, and Thieves' guilds.

While the story and worlds may be complex, the graphics are a bit lacking in certain areas such as people and objects. On the other hand, the game has a lot of special effects that accompany just about everything, which makes up for a lot in the end.

The worlds are big so you have to be careful or you'll miss something. With over 60 different weapons and 100 magic items, there won't be a lack of toys to play with. Another feature worth mentioning is the automatic magical journal. The journal keeps track of items, monsters, quests, conversations, maps, and notes found along the adventure, and it is an indispensable tool to use in the game.

Gameplay:
The gameplay is incredibly similar to such classics as Ultima Underworld I and II with a load of noticeable improvements over that style of play. The foremost one is the graphical interface. Not only does the view take up most of the screen, but there are several ways to get around all of the menus. New mouse movement adds to the traditional click and drag movement allowing for a more first person shooter feel. Everything can also done with the keyboard, so using both the mouse and the keyboard does have its advantages.

As for the menus, they all have special effects and flashes that symbolize the gaining of new items or other events, and they are laid out in an easy-to-understand manner that allows for quick searching and use of items. Another good point is that the view doesn't go away when the backpack or journal is accessed, it just decreases in size and moves up to the corner, allow for more of a realistic scenario.

The offense and defense of the game is typical of RPG computer games. You equip whatever weapon or item you can use and you hit a button to attack. If you don't have an item already in a slot, the computer will nicely equip it for you so you are ready for battle.

As for everything else, it can be put into a quick use slot that can be accessed by numbers on the keyboard or in the general inventory in your backpack. The majority of information gained during adventures is put into the journal, which records descriptions of monsters, items, conversations, notes, quests, and maps. The journal is a very useful tool indeed.

The adventures themselves are also typical of any RPG game, but have a good story behind them to make them strong. You are given several quests to complete, and you may or may not finished some of them. Other quests have to be done otherwise you will be going nowhere in the game for a long time. The paths you can take as a character are numerous with all the guilds available, and once you get into a guild, you can gain a familiar which will help you in your quest by doing things your character is not able to do.

One of the more fun aspects of the game is your familiar. If you choose, you can get a familiar from any of the four guilds, and that creature will help you in any way they can. Most of the time they will float in front of you and follow you around, but if you tell them to, they can attack, do magic, and find stuff.

Graphics:
Lands Of Lore III has graphics that are both interesting and disappointing. The use of 3D in a game is a very touchy thing because if they are not up to par, the game truly pays for it. Such is the case with this game, while the architecture and worlds look incredible, while the sprites look just the opposite.

The special effects that accompany many events in the game are combined with 3D architecture and tend to even out the badly drawn sprites. The monsters don't look too bad most of the time, but they are still sprites. Though the sprites may look bad, they are detailed and do have such things as shadows and such, and its looks like a genuine effort was made to improve the quality of 2D people and monsters, which fails sometimes and succeeds sometimes.

Sound FX:
The best part of the sound effects is the characters' individual own voices and the ability to speak whenever you get into a conversation. You don't even have to click on them to talk because approaching them and getting close enough is certainly good enough for the game and good enough for a player because it makes their life much easier. The rest of the sounds effects are decent, with nothing too special or disappointing and all being fantasy game sounds that fit right into the feel of the game.

Overall:
Lands Of Lore III is an overall good game, but because of the graphics and sounds, it is rather average. If not for the impressive effects, menu system, and 3D architecture, the rating would be lower. The game itself was fun and intriguing and is one that a person could play for hours on end. A true role-playing fanatic would love this and be completely enthralled while the casual person may not like the game. The bottom line is that while some things bring the game down, it certainly isn't bad, and if given half a chance is fun.


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