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Default About Citadel: Adventure of the Crystal Keep

October 12th, 2008, 01:09
Just to complete the post I put about Citadel in the topic "Interesting links for gamers", some comments about this game:

It's an old game from 1989, I think it's been released only on Mac even if there was publicities about other versions on the box.

What amazing with this game is it's general design, let see a list of its features:
  • A game interface RPG that allows (if you want) to use only the mouse in the 80's (well ok it wasn't the first but much more deep and polished than in a game like Dungeon Master),
  • voices for dialogs, lol for a game of the 80's! Ok through macintalk but still. :-)
  • bags with pockets but also clothes and armors could have pockets,
  • you can personalize any item graphic,
  • personalized characters graphics,
  • party split and you can let some characters anywhere (dead or alive) and take them back later,
  • a contextual in-game help,
  • the world interaction is better than for RPG of its time,
  • light managements is quite important and detailed and better there's no way to cheat by increasing the brightness,
  • few NPC joining your party will fight and behave on their own,
  • some PC have a farsight skill that could allow anticipate what's further in the dungeon or see distant details through a grate or an energy wall,
  • a real time fight system quite original and with some depth that allows controls each members and have all of them take part of the fight,
  • the placement of each PC of the party is exactly what you want instead of few defined formations,
  • an automap even if it will be available only later after you have found the right stuff,
  • a real elevator really moving between the levels, no fake through slow teleporting,
  • a bank system that allows to borrow some money for the first training years,

It's initial design was for the Mac Plus. So In its full Black and White Glory. Yes but in 518*365 instead of 320*200 or 320*240 like was most games. It's surprising what can be done in Black and White so here a slideshow of some snapshots: http://photos.gafana.com/citadel

This isn't a review of this game, overall despite its black and white graphic it is much more modern than CRPG of its time. It's stength are:
  • An excellent system like with points listed above plus some other like a good class system.
  • A very good user interface except on few points.
  • A great mood quite mysterious.
  • Magical items are rare that makes each of them precious.
  • Drops are limited and that's quite good because it avoids too intensive inventory manipulation.
  • There are many cool tricks to find.
  • A nice difficulty of fights and exploration.
  • A good detail polishing.

It's main weakness are:
  • Some puzzles/problems to solve/riddles are probably too hard (it's tough to be sure before to have seen/find the solution of each).
  • It's nice to have find yourself how automap and find yourself magic books or cleric spells instead of an easy found in shop. But all of that should be available sooner.
  • There's only few NPC interaction but few are quite good and to compensate there's many messages to find in the Maze and some (most? all?) have a story explanation.
  • The economic system isn't very well balanced, overall too tough for the player. But to compensate the game let open some easy and obvious little cheating about this.
  • It's only a dungeon with some levels and a symbolic town with some buildings but the mood and the challenge build a quite good game.
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