The Story & The Features
Remember the name Rick Dyer? Maybe you don't, but I am sure you remember his first major game "Dragons Lair". All those years ago Dragon's Lair became one of the most popular arcade based games around, thanks to its superb cartoon animation and the fact that it was the first CD based arcade game ever. Dragon's Lair certainly wasn't the most advanced game in terms of interaction but it was great fun and with the blend of great graphics and sound it deserved to become a great hit.
Now all these years later Rick Dyer has returned with Shadoan based on the arcade game Thayers Quest (I personally have never heard of it, although I haven't been down to the arcades in a long while). With the advent of DVD technology Rick Dyer's wonderful cartoon animation and sound now have a perfect base to be shown off, but does it offer more interaction than Dragon's Lair and Space Ace did?
Installation & Settings
There is no game that is easier to install than Shadoan, why? Well you don't really need to install it as it runs directly off of the DVD. The game can be played in either a DVD-Video or DVD-ROM player, I personally have chosen my DVD-Video player as I feel that the TV is the best way to show off the cartoon style used in Shadoan.
The idea of the game is to find the five lost pieces of an ancient amulet so that you can discover its many magical powers. The amulet is spread across five different kingdoms. Finally you must defeat the evil wizard Torlock so that Prince Kandor and be reunited with Princess Delight.
As Lathan, the hero, you move through the game using either your mouse or the DVD remote control to select items in the Scrying Glass, the Farsight Window, or the Map of Journey. The adventure is revealed in animated movies which are viewed from the third person perspective. You begin to take part when a movie ends.
There is a lot more interaction in Shadoan compared to both Dragon's Lair and Space Ace. There is a map from which you can choice you destinations, an inventory of items that you have collected up whilst on your quest, such as scrolls which can help you on your quest by revealing travel destinations of allowing you to break free of a trap. There are still a number of the "Against the clock" decisions to be made just like there were in Dragon's Lair and Space Ace, though the whole game isn't based around these thankfully.
You start off the game with three lives, falling in rivers and drowning can easily lose these, failing in battles with dragons and such like, when you die you get the familiar animation of the hero's bones being regenerated just like Dragon's Lair and Space Ace.
Shadoan certainly isn't as advanced as most games when it comes to free flowing gameplay, but it is still fun. When you remember just how popular these types of games were in the arcades then I am sure there are a number of you who can't wait to play it. Shadoan is likely to be more fun for children as it has very little violence and with its cartoon graphics the younger generation are likely to love the chance to take part in this interactive cartoon.
Graphics & Sound
Shadoan features some gorgeous cartoon graphics and animation, something we have come to expect from Rick Dyers creations over the years. DVD is a perfect technology to show off these kinds of interactive cartoons. It has a feel of some of the older cartoons shown on TV and has a good mystical feel throughout.
The music and voice-over cast are all perfectly suited to the feel of the game and if you have a DTS compatible DVD-Video player then you are in for an aural treat as this is one of the few DVD titles that fully supports DTS over Dolby Digital 5.1.
The straightforward puzzles and simplistic gameplay are well suited for the younger generation who would like to take part in their own interactive cartoon. The game is never likely to tax you like other more hardcore adventure titles, but it is entertaining and has some beautiful graphics and sound throughout.
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