In The Adventures of Maddog Williams in the Dungeons of Duridian the player takes the role of Maddog Williams who wants to rescue the beautiful Princess Leoria and free her father King Thaylor. He also needs to vanquish the Evil Serak and restore peace to the lands of Duridian.
The game is a mix between adventure and RPG. Similar to early Sierra adventures the player directly controls the movements of Maddog and types in text commands to perform an action. As usual he explores his surroundings, collects items and uses them to solve puzzles. If the player meets an enemy the game switches to the fighting view. The combat is in real time and the player controls Maddog's basic movements: side steps, blocking and attacking in two different heights. There are three difficulty levels which mostly influence the combat but the lowest one also results in easier puzzles.
The Adventures of Maddog Williams in the Dungeons of Duridian by Game Crafters - or to save time and space, Maddog Williams - is an adventure-style game which includes action and puzzle-solving elements. In many ways the game is similar to the early King's Quest games from Sierra, although it does have one extra feature not in the Sierra games: a fighting mechanic which involves having your character wield a sword against some evil foes.
Maddog Williams uses a text parser for the player to interact with the game world. Writing a command into the parser does not pause the game, though, forcing the player to be a fast typist at times, or to reload their game and type out commands that they will need in a rush during the upcoming scene. When this game was released Sierra was already using a point-and-click interface, leading to this game seeming to be older than it really is by comparison. Like most adventure games, saving often and in different slots is recommended as this game can be difficult.
The backstory for the game is rather long, but not too complicated. In summary: King Serak of Duridian was known to be a good king, bringing peace to the land. Unfortunately, the high priest of the evil god Malthazar used evil magic to corrupt Serak's mind. Serak became an evil and bloodthirsty king, causing Sir Robert Thaylor to rebel and form an army. As Thaylor's army marched towards Serak's, the White Wizards joined Thaylor and together they defeated Serak's army. After capturing Serak, the White Wizards locked him into an enchanted cell for all eternity. Thaylor was declared king and after a while married and had a child, Princess Leoria. Many years have passed and now rumours spread of Serak's escape from his cell and the kidnapping of Thaylor and Leoria. This is where the player takes over in what the game calls a guide position: your job is to guide Maddog Williams on his quest to remove the evil of Serak from the land.
The sound for the game is okay and does the job on the Adlib/SoundBlaster option. It sounds much better, though, on the Roland MT32 option, but it seems to hang after a while with a very annoying high pitched tone. I would recommend trying the game out on Roland MT32 first, then switching to the Adlib/SoundBlaster option if you get hanging sound.
The graphics were nothing to write home about at the time this game was released (King's Quest VI came out in the same year) but they're highly suited to this type of game. Compared to the earlier Quest games the graphics are good, so whether you like them or not I shall leave entirely up to you.
The fighting element of the game may annoy hardcore adventure fans, as will some of the action scenes; however, the fighting aspect has a training option - after you have collected your weapon, pressing F1 will bring up a training screen. The controls are simple: Maddog strikes in whatever direction he is moving, and if he is standing still he will strike in the same direction he was just moving. This allows you to turn around by walking backwards then swinging your weapon. You can also strike upwards and downwards while standing still. When starting the game you have the option of setting the game difficulty, and this affects the intricacy and speed of combat. For a first time player I recommend playing on Easy. When not in combat mode, the shift key will make Maddog jump - another feature more suited to action rather than adventure game controls.
This game was once protected by a manual question. However, as it has now been released as Freeware this has been turned off. Even though the Wizard at the beginning of the game will still ask the question, and if you get it wrong he will tell you that you will not be able to play the full game, you will be able to. So do not fear the Wizard and his threats.
I consider this to be a fairly good game and would give it a four out of five; its faults are minor compared to its fun and uniqueness. If you are an adventure game fan and haven't played this one give it a go - you may find a game that blows your mind.
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