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Adventures In Computer Gaming Pt II

There are many genres of gameplay available for the computer gamer – Puzzle, Hidden Object, Time Management, Adventure, to name just a few.

But designers have blended all these over time to create unique hybrids such as the Adventure/Platformer, Adventure/Hidden Object/Puzzle, Escape The Room/Point and Click/Hidden Object, Adventure/Match 3/Puzzle, and Logic Puzzle RPG. So how does one choose a favourite genre of gaming? Simple: experiment!

Of course, a little help couldn’t hurt. In the first in this introductory series on computer gaming, I picked some of my favourite games in the point-and-click adventure category. For this installment, I’ll be looking at the Logic Puzzle meets RPG genre.

I stumbled upon this genre in my usual quest for the best of Mac gaming, discovering a wonderful home to the genre at Caravel Games.

Their series include Mac-friendly downloadable demos of the serious brain twisters King Dugan’s Dungeon, Journey to Rooted Hold, The City Beneath, and DROD RPG: Tendry’s Tale (translation: Deadly Rooms Of Death, Role Playing Game – the latter being nominated for the 2009 International Gaming Federation awards – which introduces us to the lovable characters Beethro Budkin the Smitemaster, who is accompanied at times by his nephew Halph, and Tendry the Stalwart from Tueno, assisted by his pocket pet dungeon roach.

As indicated by their very genre-specific name, these games won’t let you get some quickie gaming in without the boss noticing – you’ll need to spend time figuring out your next move, as if pondering a chess maneuver. Indeed, the game environments are designed in a manner befitting the chess board, although your moves/strategy will differ vastly, as will your opponent’s. You’ll also definitely run into situations you can’t figure out on your own. aHence, I recommend playing the tutorials included, and visiting the game forums for some friendly and helpful advice to getting yourself out of your quandary. If you want to start gaming today, but you do not have a computer, consider getting one at gaming pc under 600.

Tendry's Tale image courtesy Caravel Games.

Tendry’s Tale image courtesy Caravel Games.

The appeal of these games is immediate, from the appropriately jubilant or fear-invoking soundtracks, to the sound effects of the characters upon encountering objects like cliffs (“aigh AIGH”) or monsters within their environments that prove troublesome (eg. “You haven’t seen the last of me!”). The dialogue is humourous, particularly that of Tendry’s character, who must at times use his tongue instead of his sword for a quick repartee against the enemy.

The logic puzzle games are indeed just that, and sometimes a little too frustrating for my taste, as someone who was unaccustomed to the genre. That said, I do recommend starting out with King Dugan’s Dungeon as an introduction to Beethro Budkin’s escapades slaying roaches and the peskier roach queens. I personally favoured DROD RPG: Tendry’s Tale, as the puzzles were less tricky and the RPG element combined with storyline engaged me from the get-go. The controls were simpler to master also, being less key-driven and more laptop/mouse friendly–a total bonus, and a point this laptop user wishes more designers would consider.

I purchased Tendry’s Tale after completing the demo, which took me through four of the “Rules” or stages of the game, and have found it a joy to replay over again, in hopes of finding better ways to complete the game.

Included in the purchased version is essentially a second game taking place further above ground from the first part, whereby one can go into either of the two worlds from the beginning.  Without wanting to spoil anyone’s enjoyment of the game, I would share these tips:  gather as many of the power-up gems as possible, don’t take on all the enemies encountered per Rule until you’ve found more effective weapons, and prepare to do a lot of backtracking in order to sustain your HP (hit points – collect health potions to keep your HP up), which you will need a LOT of to take on level bosses. And one more thing – don’t forget to look for hidden rooms! They contain the at-times-essential bonuses to continue gameplay, and are quite often hidden behind walls that appear crumbling, or only available upon acquiring certain items in your inventory.

One of the most unique aspects of Tendry’s Tale is the ability to play in-game architect via the full-fledged level editor, collaborating with others or sharing “Holds” (levels ) for those in the forum to try out. I tried out a few of them, finding the feature an extra added bonus. While the demos allow for free access to the forums, I’d suggest the additional cost of becoming a member of Caravel Net if you decide to purchase any of the games, as it will allow continued access to the Caravel community-created holds on a longer-term basis, along with other benefits listed on the order page.

The original Deadly Rooms Of Death was published in 1997 by Erik Hermansen, with the re-produced version available in 2002 as Caravel DROD. I chatted briefly with Caravel’s Mike Rimer, who now heads up the company and has been responsible for the dev team coordination and level design coordination since 2002. He was thrilled to share the news that the next installments in the DROD franchise are over 60 per cent completed, and slated for release in 2010 and/or early 2011.

One will feature a smitemaster relation of Beethro Budkin as one of the game’s protagonists continuing the ongoing storyline of the puzzle/logic series, while the other will be a sequel to Tendry’s Tale RPG. Given my continued adoration of the first installment of their RPG, I am so getting it! Now go give your brain a workout and try these games out–you might be pleasantly surprised by what you discover at Caravel.

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Related posts:

Adventures in Computer Gaming Pt I

 

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