Ravenloft: Stone Prophet is very similar to it's predecessor, Ravenloft: Strahd's Possession, in almost every way except for a few enhancements and the storyline. This is the second computer role-playing game released revolving around the world of Ravenloft and the last to use this particular DreamForge first-person engine.
Although the interface offers nothing really new (other than smoother and steadier operation), the game engine has been fine- tuned to the best the series can offer. A fair question, then, is why doesn't this game get higher marks than it's predecessor? The biggest disappointment is the thin storyline. Instead of being a horror fest that takes place in a world of vampires, ghouls and creepy environments, Ravenloft: Stone Prophet opts for the more mundane by dealing with ancient Egyptian-like mummy themes and a less threatening pervasive atmosphere. That's not to say this is terrible, it's just more fantasy-like than horror based and thus less compelling. Nevertheless, the adventure contains enough subplots and mini-quests to satisfy most role-playing fans.
The enhancements are well thought out and welcome. A big improvement allows a nearly turn-based function when casting magic spells in combat. In the previous game the user had to mix spell casting and melee combat at a frenetic pace to fend off the bad guys. This time around there's a built in hesitation that allows you to select your spell, then continue on with the battle. Another improvement deals with the ability to use function keys to manipulate inventory items. Simply pressing a function key (1-4) deposits an item or object into the respective character slot, a maneuver that helps in managing missile weapons as well.
You start the game with two main characters, again generating them from scratch or with the generous but somewhat cumbersome option to import your characters from Ravenloft: Strahd's Possession. As in the previous title, you add two non-player character's (NPC) to your party as the game progresses and these are interchangeable as the quest continues. In one shortcoming of the manual, it's not made clear that in order to complete the game, having a mage in your party is nearly mandatory. Unfortunately, you won't find many, if any, while hiring NPCs.
Character generation still uses the 666 combination from the previous Ravenloft game -- that's the option to choose from six races, six classes and six philosophic alignments with multiple class combinations available. The same six major abilities are tracked that were last seen in Ravenloft: Strahd's Possession and the spell selection has been greatly increased with the addition of about 30 new mage and priest spells.
The interface is basically the same with multiple movement options (arrow, on-screen arrows, freeform mouse or step-by-step movement) and the combat sequence is still a matter of point and click. Most 3-D first-person control glitches have been corrected and the interface runs smoothly. Game completion is unnecessarily difficult due to some restrictive and artificial plot requirements (such as gathering karma points) and unfortunately small mistakes or omissions can thwart your quest.
Still, it's a time-consuming adventure and fans of the series and Ravenloft world will likely be satisified. Just don't look for the intensity of story found in Strahd's Possession.
Graphics: Well done 3-D graphic environment with appropriate mummy-like motif. Animations are smooth and colorful.
Sound: Music is an improvement over the previous title in the series but sound effects are still a highlight of the game.
Enjoyment: A less compelling story than it's predecessor Strahd's Possession but still interesting. No enhanced puzzle solving and limited combat functionality drains some of the life from the adventure as does the addition of an under developed karma point acquisition scheme. A plus is the improvement of the non-linear aspect.
Replay Value: Replay value is assured because of multiple options for character generation but like most role-playing games, once the plot is played out and the conclusion attained, interest wanes.
People who downloaded Ravenloft: Stone Prophet have also downloaded:
Ravenloft: Strahd's Possession, Menzoberranzan, Dark Sun 2: Wake of the Ravager, Dark Sun: Shattered Lands, Pool of Radiance, Eye of The Beholder 3, Eye of The Beholder 1, Eye of The Beholder 2
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