Company line: It's here! The talented team that brought you the multi-award winning Star Trail has done it again! The most innovative and realistic role-playing/adventure ever written. Shadows over Riva is the stunning climax of the popular Realms of Arkania triology you've been waiting for. Full 360 degree 3D technology, combined with fully digitized music, speech and soundtrack. This is it, the adventure that goes beyond your wildest expectations. This is . . . "the final chapter." Handle it all like a true dungeon master, or let that rippin machine of yours figure it out.
History: Shadows Over Riva, next in the German role playing adventure RPG Das Schwarze Auge (The Black Eye) Realms of Arkania series, has the same detail, depth of plot, rounded overhead oblique perspective tactical combat, and other classical role playing features that set it apart from the competition. No Doom clone here. Riva is the third installment of a successful series of games.
The Plot: An evil guy, named in this installment Holberker, has gotten the Orcs to attack the humans again. You must stop the Orcs and Holberker. Something sinister is happening in the seaside town of Riva. Outside its protective walls, thousands of Orcs threaten the people's existence. Within the city center, brave and honored warriors lay down their swords and refuse to fight for the city's good. What preys upon them will consume the city mind, body, and soul . . . unless you find the answer that looms in the Shadows over Riva.
Game play: This is a true roleplaying game with character attributes and skills that improve with experience gained through adventuring, exploring, communicating, fighting, training, and going on quests. There are six player characters that adventure together as a team, but this is not a multi-player game. This is a game in the tradition of Wizardry, Might and Magic, Gold Box Games, Bard's Tale, Ultima and a myriad of other die hard role playing games that extend back to the late 1970's and early 1980's, which formed the backbone of game sales in those days.
Character creation is an integral part of most role playing games, where the player "rolls" up characters. In paper and pencil role playing games, the player rolls special dragon dice to determine the attributes and skills of the player characters. These attributes include strength, agility or speed, constitution, luck, piety or wisdom, and intelligence. Skills include the skill with certain weapons such as swords and other skills such as stealth, lockpicking, and others.
Communication with non player characters or NPCs also is a way to gain knowledge of the lay of the land, clues to help with the puzzles, locations of quests or important artifacts, and a host of other important information. Riva promises hundreds of computer controlled NPC friends to talk to and adventure with or against.
Exploration is another integral part of any adventure game. Riva will have twisting alleys, rugged terrain, and underwater regions, winding streets, dungeons and deep of its crystal cool pools and caverns. Exploring exotic locals and cultures is always a hoot, and Riva promisses some new twists with a two class society. The plot has you entering the city as an unknown forging a reputation.
Difficulty settings: Three different levels of play, from hardcore role-playing to pure adventure increase accessability to the grognard and novice alike.
Combat: Isometric, phased combat system with different play levels. Riva will have more than 50 fully animated monsters, and over 400 weapons, magic items, and spells. The aspects of combat involved melee weapons, such as swords, maces, and axes, and ranged weapons, such as bows and spells. Spells include combat and warding spells that are active while adventuring and in combat.
Graphics: There a beautifully rendered cut scenes, a party of up to six adventurers: 360 degree 3D technology, digitized speech, music, and sound effects. The world that looks like 3D but is really 2D.
Animation: Full 360-degree engine keeps the action in your face. The first person perspective was first tried in games like Wizardry. The pseudo three dimensional environment was added in games like Eye of the Beholder. Today role playing games have true 3D environs and resemble Doom with real time combat. Riva returns to the tactical turn based combat, which is more like chess.
Voice actors: Fully digitized speech, music, and soundtrack.
Utilities: Automap and completely customizable diary follow you in your travels. Print option for character and diary information, too!
Multiplayer: This is a single player game with no modem, network or internet play. You adventure with six characters but they are controlled by one human player character, you.
Links and References:
Johnny Wilson, Computer Gaming World, number 144, July, 1996, pg. 43.