Nemesis: The Wizardry Adventure
Review by Al Giovetti
Genre: adventure (first person with optional RPG statistics)
Release: October 25, 1996.
Producer: Linda and Ian Currie
Music score: Eric Heberling
Art: Cyrus Hogg, Craig Daughtrey, and Dimitri Joannides
Media: five (5) CDs
Phone: 315-393-6633, 800-447-1230
Website: http://www.sir-tech.com, Sir-Tech Customer Service
Requirements: IBM or 100% compatible computer, 486/66 or better, 8 MB RAM, 20 - 160 MB free on the hard drive, double speed CD-ROM drive or faster, Mouse, DOS 5.0 or higher.
Summary: Nemesis is a "single character role-playing adventure," according to Sir Tech documentation. The elements of the RPG remain optionally hidden or available for inspection. Voted the "Most Impressive PC Game of the show" at E3 by Online Gaming Review Magazine, the long-awaited Nemesis will continue the legacy that launched a series by which all others would be judged. The first game in the Wizardry role-playing series appeared in 1981, followed by six highly successful sequels. Nemesis marks the beginning of a new line of Wizardry Adventure games which will complement the award-winning role-playing series.
Prologue: We got a look at this game at E3 where we filmed the Sirtech team and it is quite remarkable. With Nemesis, Sirtech's design team have created the first in a new genre combining personality and character with beautifully sculptured graphics, a rich and detailed gaming world, action based combat and bewitching puzzles. Nemesis was voted "Most Impressive PC Game of the Show" at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California by Online Gaming Review Magazine. So you see we were not the only ones impressed.
Company line: Shipping on five CDs, Nemesis is destined to revolutionize the market with its unique combination of elements, including: stunning 3D graphics, responsive, real-time combat, full stereo soundtrack, rich digital speech and an easy to use interface that won't get in the way of your adventure. Leading the way to the next generation of adventure games, Nemesis - The Wizardry Adventure is a blend of fantasy role-playing and adventure...one that Sirtech knows is worthy of its coveted Wizardry name.
History: Wizardry was one of the first computer adaptations of role playing games on the planet, which probably sold more Apple II computers than any other software product. The series started at the dawn of microcomputers, about 1981, and was designed by Robert Woodhead and Andrew Greenberg, the legendary Trebor and Werdna. The forces of good and evil battled over a dungeon and over the schedules of young men and women trapped in front of their computer screens until late in the morning. The game was sold by driving door to door to sell personally, out of the trunk of the car, to the independent computer store owners of the day. Ahh, now that was a time for true computer entrepreneurs.
Sirtech Software, Inc. is a thriving entertainment software publisher celebrating its 16th anniversary in 1996. Sirtech's titles have garnered more than 70 prominent awards and commendations world-wide. Sirtech's products are crafted and designed to provide hundreds of hours of riveting entertainment to gamers throughout the world.
Plot: This is not the next Wizardry, but this first-person perspective, game has elements of Wizardry. This time through the talismans of Nitheria are after your death and that of the entire universe as we know it. You take the role of the main character to find and eliminate the talismanian threat, by defeating the Netherian talismans.
Game play: Underneath the hood of the beast lurks all the statistics that real role-players love. Optionally these Wizardry statistics will remain unknown to the game player unless he lifts the hood to take a look. All the game play will be regulated and controlled by the optionally hidden role playing statistics. It is up to the game player to determine if these statistics remain hidden or an integral part of play strategy.
The game in many ways has the surface feel of Doom or Quake in that it is real time combat in a three dimesional world with the underpinnings of role play in that the characters all have statistics and they develop skills and attributes with experience. However, whether this product is a Doom-Quake clone or whether it is a new type of role playing adventure depends solely on whether Sirtech can perform the balancing act. Faster Than Light (FTL) achieved this balance in a little known product called Dungeon Master for the Atari ST and Amiga products long before Doom and Quake became household words.
The Doom and Quakers can not remember the excitement caused by the Dungeon Master when first released - it was the sensation of the year, something like their game of choice. FTL, later working with Interplay, were unable to recreate the magic in Dungeon Master II for the IBM PC. Most of us would like to think, Sirtech can pull it off. Unfortunately, while Nemesis is worthy to live up to the Wizardry game, it is not the game that many of the Wizardry fans have been waiting for. Many reviewers have criticized the game for a weak plot and awkward combat, especially in the spell casting area.
Intelligent automap and an automatic player logbook that tracks the story. This is an intense story about virtual beings with real lives and real enemies that make your visit real unpleasant. Nemesis marks the beginning of yet another Wizardry Legend. The automap is somewhat limited by the way that the environment works. For example, in the forest east of town, there is a secret passageway through the woods off of the path to avoid a quicksand sink hole. There is no way to effectively mark this treacherous area, which can be fallen into easily. Many will have to save their game before approaching the obstacle. To solve the riddle of the sands, one must turn left the step before the quicksand and click on a branch in the forest, when returning you must reverse the process.
Combat: Real-time combat will rule rather than the old rounded or phased or turn-based kind. The Nemesis engine provides for real interaction as it tracks your combat moves and patterns as you deliver blows and dodge your enemies. Weapons break and take damage as you fight, causing them to disappear once the number of hits allotted is reached. You have no idea when the item will break since the statistics for damaged items is also hidden. I find this illogical since an adventurer would be able to assess the condition of his weapons and get them to a blacksmith for repair in real life.
Magic system: The spells will be just as detailed an numerous as those in other role-playing games, where spell casting is pivotal to the game. Sirtech promises that the new magic system will not be difficult to remember and execute which is the problem in all real time magic systems, either they do not have a sufficiently well developed number of spells or the spell activation system is so clumsy as to interfere with game play. Again, the editors await Sirtech's lead in this area. Simple and flexible magic system. Each spell can be used either to attack or defend. Interface: The interface uses both mouse and keyboard. Your movements are stepwise, as in the early wizardry games, where you move one square at a time.
Puzzles: Mystifying, yet logical puzzles. One simple puzzle is the tree which blocks the entrance to the first dungeon east of town. You put two bugs, one male and one female in a jar, wait long enough and they multiply until when you click them on the tree blocking the entrance, they eat it out of your way. Puzzles are basically the treasure hunt type, where you find the objects and then you must figure out where they can be used. Objects were often hidden in the three dimensional world requiring you to go on a pixel hunt to find them. The plot does not give you many hints as to the locations or use of the objects that you find.
Graphics: Over 10,000 frames of stunning SVGA graphics and 40 detailed three dimensional fully-rendered creatures. Over 2.5 GB on 4 CD ROMs.
Perspectives: Cinematic and varied camera views that can show side view third person and first person perspectives.
Voice actors: Sonja Ball, Tyrone Benskin, Rick Jones, Shaun Lyng, and Terrence Scammell do a workmanlike job representing all the voices in the Game
Music score: Eric Heberling put together a score worthy of a feature film.
Sound effects: Sean McDermott did the sound effects
Utilities: A nice automap with notes is accompanied by an auto-note-taker. Unfortunately, there are only ten save games.
Multi-player: No multiplayer options are available.
Future plans: Sir Tech plans to have a more traditional Wizardry out later in 1997, perhaps they will call this one Wizardy VIII. The Wizardry series, which started in 1981, is based on multiplayer role playing parties with turn based combat, not real time. I hope these elements will be retained in the final game, since most of us are Doomed and Quaked out.
Cindy Yans, Computer Games Strategy Plus, issue 71, October, 1996, pg. 47.
Online Gaming Review Magazine, Most Impressive PC Game of the E3 Show
Kevin J. McCann, Computer Player, volume 1, number 6, January, 1997, pg. 69, 80%.
SIRTECH SOFTWARE, INC. P.O. Box 245 Ogdensburg Business Center, Suite 2E Ogdensburg, New York 13669 http://sir-tech.com/coming/nemesis Contact: Terri A. Curtis, Public Relations Dir., (315) 393-6451, ext. 16 or firstname.lastname@example.org