Caris Software, £9.95 cass £12.95 disk
This is a right old FRP! And I don’t mean that nastily, no sireee! Because, you see, Tower Of Light is a Fantasy Role Playing Game (FRPG) — and a decent one too.
A long time ago a particularly evil character descended upon a beautiful land and thereby appointed himself The Dark Lord. And just to prove his point he plunged the land into eternal darkness.
After gathering a faithful army of vicious reprobates, he settled down and began ruling over the land in this, the Dark Age.
The High Council, followers of Good, were a mite peeved with the Dark Lord’s carryings on and summoned a small company of heroic characters to overthrow him and restore the land to its once beautiful state.
The only way to defeat the Dark Lord is to find the Tower Of Light, to get the crown of Endil and crown a new king of the land. Luckily, the Tower Of Night is blessed with the powers of Good and evil characters cannot enter.
The heroic company comprises Ristrick, a strong human: Kalbar, a strong dwarf; Marleck, a mystical wizard; and Gimble a tricky elf. You can pick which characters to use, anything from just one to all four (the latter choice can be a bit of a handful!)
If you’re controlling more than one character you can do 15 actions before the computer automatically swaps you to the next character. Sadly, there’s no command to allow you to swap characters at will.
Essentially, Tower Of Light is little different from most graphic adventures — you enter commands in text form at the prompt. But it’s all the interaction with other players and the general feeling of freedom about the game which make it an FRPG.
Tower Of Light is split into two parts — when the first section is completed you save details of the game out to tape or disk, then load in the second section and load your character details into that.
So, there you are — dumped with your companions in a strange land. What now? Well, getting started isn’t that difficult. Wandering around the easily accessible locations often leads to discovering more and more. It’s vitally important to talk to other characters you bump into on your travels. You meet a merchant, a nomad, a wizard... amongst many others. All are willing to indulge in conversation and often sell you useful objects.
Naturally, not all the characters you meet are pleasant — especially within the walls of Herlion Castle where the evil minions of the Dark Lord reside. Getting through there is serious combat. You can fight enemies hand-to-hand, but this uses up your strength quickly. With each hit you or an enemy dishes out the die at the top of the screen ‘rolls’ and the number — from one to ten — it lands on is the amount of injury incurred.
So, equip your character with armour, a shield and a decent weapon if you want to stay alive for any length of time.
Each of your four characters have their own status panels with bars indicating health, maximum points, hit points and spell power. Alongside the status panels is a window displaying the landscapes. Don’t concern yourself with these too much — they’re all minimal and pretty irrelevant. All the information you need is found in the very well written text description.
A description of how Tower Of Light develops would spoil your adventures — but, believe me, the further you get the better it becomes, and the second part is enthralling and cleverly devised. If you haven’t tackled an FRPG and you like a bit of brain work, Tower Of Light is one of the best places to start. Well produced, highly entertaining and completly engrossing.
General rating: An FRPG which plays as simply as a text adventure, offering plenty of scope