Avanor:Reviews:Ben Power

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This Review was based off Avanor 0.4.x. (sorry I can't remember the exact version but it was around last march).

It was tested under Windows XP (perfect) and DOS on a 486DX (reasonably playable).

This rogue-like was the first one I actually really played after reading post after post on the original but was unable to find it. Actually I stumbled upon ADOM but at the time was a bit scared by its lack of 'controlling' plot (I had only recently sold Baldur's Gate for Final Fantasy VII for that very reason, although I have played ADOM since and really appreciated it). This seemed at the time a 'lesser' roguelike project and thought it would not be as good but I was wrong... It was a great experience! The main world map which includes monsters as well as friendly towns totally made me feel like a real hero parading around with all my weapons and items as opposed to in ADOM (or in ToME which I have played since), where I felt on the contrary over-whelmed. The attention to small details like having randomly placed walls, non geometrical pattern for caves for example was helped to immerse the player. Also the quests were simple but effective and the best moment I had was when I finally felt strong enough to attack the orc encampment to the South: I started firing arrows and hacking away when I realised it was 5.20 AM and had to get up at 6 for work! So I decided to flee (uummm tactically re-deploy) to a safer place to save and quit... but the remaining 20 orks were on my tail with that 'no-you-don't' look in their eyes. I thought I would run to a town and lock myself in a house and take them out one by one later. As I was moving to the center of the village, some town guards saw what was happening and they all came out, swords at the ready to face the orks. What happened next in the little village was BRILLIANT! A giant battle with little me in the middle... Now that's player immersion! I really felt like a hero leading a charge! (This subtle change from when I felt king of the world to crying for help is, I think, very typical of a RL but Avanor really points it out and gets you ready for 'bigger' adventures like say ADOM.) Needless to say I called in sick and stayed up the following day (and night) to 'finish' it (since there are multiple endings). It is short but sweet and has great replay value... um although I really have not played it since and I saw the other review showed a new version (which I think I will go and grab).

Summary: !!Remember I have not played the newest version out there so I apologise if it is not relevent anymore (I was just shocked by Jeff's review that made it feel like a different RL, although no critisism is implied as his review is probably better than mine)!!

  • +: Best introductory (fantasy) RL I have found!
  • +: Feels like an adventure (not a random race down one dungeon)
  • +: The 'town level' is the world map itself (helps to get a proper feel for the world and feels like the action is going vertically into the dungeons and not a 'horizontal' travel across the land like ToME). No map transition between fighting and 'resting/exploring' (buying, selling...) phases is a good change to running back to a 'safe' area.
  • +: Clear good vs evil paths to choose from.
  • +: Simple and effective plots
  • +: My first RL experience and that lucky AI vs AI battle, wow!
  • -: Negative points are probably the inverse of the above but I cannot really critise any RLs as I admire the ones that are released to the public (especially open source) since I have always wanted to code one but have no programming knowledge and don't know where to start.

In my opinion, if you are new to the RL scene and what a good fantasy setting, get it!

Ben

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