The Summoning is a single-character fantasy role-playing adventure, set inside a huge labyrinth with 40 different levels and hordes of mean monsters. Use steel, magic and wit to fight, cast and puzzle your way through the evil that lies within.
Struggle to survive and grow strong enough to fight and defeat Shadow Weaver, the villain responsible for the evil spreading across the land.
A continuation of the story line of DarkSpyre, the game interface of The Summoning should be very familiar to those who have played Veil of Darkness or Dusk of the Gods. The game starts with choosing or creating your character, the distant descendant of the Champion of DarkSpyre - the hero who fought and stopped the god of magic, the god of war, and the god of intellect from conquering the world of men. You are summoned through a magical ritual by the Council, the last bastion of hope against the hordes of the Shadow Weaver, to their hidden fortress. After a too short training session the Council's keep is attacked, and you barely escape by being transported into the depths of the Shadow Weaver's island maze.
It is here the hybrid action-adventure puzzle RPG begins. The Summoning is presented in 3D isometric view with a very unique gesture based magic system. To cast spells you have to combine learned gestures to prepare magic then release it when you need it. Also interesting is the ability to liquify gems to make different potions. Combat is mainly hacking and slashing your way through hordes of monsters, some of them which can only be damaged by certain weapons or spells. Puzzles use different keys, teleporters, and pressure plates and are relatively easy to figure out in most cases.
There are many sub-quests and NPCs to meet during your quest to stop the Shadow Weaver that both advance the plot and provide you with information to advance through the maze. There is even a few alternate routes you can take to make your way through the different areas to your ultimate goal.
The game itself is long and can be frustrating at times, though the interesting story that develops and pacing will carry you through to the end. I bought the Summoning when it originally came out in 1992 and still remember the long hours sitting in front of my computer printing out NPC conversations and taking notes in my manual on different spells. I give the game a happy 4 out of 5.
Just a note, make sure to grab the maps as the teleporter maze near the end of the game is almost impossible without them.
The Summoningis one of Event Horizon's best games and among the most neglected RPGs ever. Excellent VGA graphics in 3D isometric view (similar to the later Ultimas), great spellcasting system, devious puzzles & traps (although most are of the "find-a-key-to-unlock-this-door" and "step-on-the-right-pressure-plate" variety). This is *not* for hardcore RPGers, as it uses only the most basic statistics, and has a strong action-oriented combat. Still, it's one of the best RPGs that deserve to be on every RPGer's shelf.
The summoning is an older SSI offering. The most surprising thing about the Summoning is the really huge amount of game play. There is more play in one set summoning levels then in the entire Menzoberranzan. A brief outline of the plot sees you having to enter the domain ruled over by the evil Shadow Weaver. Yet within the corridors of this domain are lots of creatures and characters.
Your task is to make your way through the levels, fight off the creatures, guards and other nastiness, find and confront Shadow Weaver. There are several essential stages you have to complete to progress. One such is finding several wizards skulls, these skulls will each teach you part of a spell needed to teleport to another world and retrieve one half of the staff of summoning. Shadow Weaver has the other half and you don't have to be Einstein to work out what you have to do.
There is at least 30 levels in the game, which is amazing for a game like this one. The levels are grouped into larger sets, for example 3 beginner's levels, 5 knight's levels, etc. Each set of levels has its own unique puzzles that need to solved before entering a new set. The graphics are an overhead view, SSI calls it 3D, but its not, its the similar sort of view as Origin's Black Gate or Pagan, but naturally the graphics are very much simpler.
A nifty idea that has not been used in any SSI game since is that the character stats and inventory are on a sliding window that you can click and drag up or down at will. Music and sound wise its a very poor show, a few creature noises would not of went astray, but all is silent, except for your characters footsteps. Combat is real time and fills up much of the gameplay.
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