on Jan 17, 2008
This game is more about stats than story, so I don’t have too much to say about the tale this game tells.
Spoilers follow. Click here to skip the spoilers and jump to my wrap-up thoughts.
|Nice map. Remember: The shortest distance between any two points goes right through the friggin’ enemy base.|
The plot centers on a gigantic gem called the “Crux of Ages”. It has magical powers, although its powers are of no direct use to you in the game. Its magic is intended to protect the king from external magical influences. A powerful Goblin wizard nicked it, which left the king open to his powers. The Goblin then proceeded to dominate the mind of the king, compelling him to launch a war with an otherwise harmless third party who live a good distance away.
The main character and his brother stole the Crux from the Goblin, but the Goblin could sort of see “through” the Crux to him. This vision wasn’t perfect. It was a very indirect sort of scrying, but it was impossible to remain hidden forever. His memories linked him to the Crux, and thus the wizard would eventually see where the protagonist had taken the Crux and what he was doing with it. As long as the main character knew where the Crux was, so would the Goblin.
|THREE POUNDS? Well, that certainly limits us in where we can hide it. Ahem.|
You then have to re-trace your steps, and re-claim the Crux. The erased memory created a break in continuity for the Goblin Wizard that he couldn’t follow. The upshot was that you could now safely own the Crux without him spying on you.
It was explained much better in the game. I’ve kind of butchered it by shaving it down to mere synopsis.
Once you reclaim the Crux you have to hammer your way deep into Goblin territory and confront the Goblin Wizard. There are a lot of ways this can play out, as the game gives you a number of choices.
|Piss off, kid. You’re not gettin’ into the castle until you complete your assigned quests.|
I’m probably being unfair. Eschalon is designed to be old-school, and the old games were notoriously sloppy with justifications for doing all sorts of crazy stuff in the world. The classic “Gather up the Seven Magic Keys of Evil-Thwarting, which have been hidden for no good reason” was about par for the course back then, and Eschalon is miles ahead of that sort of thing.
I was a bit wary about the ending, since this is Echalon: Book I. I was worried we were going to get left at some wretched “buy the next game!” cliffhanger. But no, this game is self-contained and wraps things up nicely.
I had fun with the game. I’ll be looking forward to Eschalon: Book II.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.