Dusk of the Gods is an isometric real-time role-playing game.
The time of Ragnarok draws near. In the final battle between Gods and Giants, the dead will rise from Hela's realm of torture and rally under the banner of Loke, the God of Mischief, who shall turn all of Midgard into a battlefield against his brother Odin, the one-eyed, father of the Gods of Asgard. As Thor drops Mjollnir, his hammer of lightning, as Freya falls from her Golden Cart and Heimdal is pierced by the horns of Loke, the fire giant Surt shall wield his ensorcelled sword and purge the land in flames, so that eons later, a new dynasty of man can arise. Thus the sage Mimer has seen it in the Well of Wisdom. It is the dusk of the gods.
Can fate be turned? Odin summons a champion, who has died on the fields of battle and is guided to Asgard by the Valkyries. This champion must find the six elements needed to forge a chain that can bind the hell hound Fenris, the Giant's best ally in the upcoming pandemonium. In addition, the champion must stop the quarrels of the Gods. Thor has lost the head of his hammer. Vidar, a son of Odin, strives to slay Hodur, who is said to have killed Baldur. Freya, the goddess of love and beauty, desires a necklace held by four dwarves. Frey is madly in love with the giantess Gerd, daughter of Surt, who demands the all-powerful Sword of Victory in exchange for the hand of Gerd. As you plunge into the whirl of intrigue, deceit and greed in the realm of the Viking gods, you travel the lands of the living and the dead, visit Aesir's underwater realm and cross the oceans in a magical pocket ship, and have a hand in all the legends from King Beowulf's fight with the dragon to the slaying of the Lady of the Hill.
With a focus on storytelling and dialogue, Dusk of the Gods is an exploration of the Viking legends more than a full-fledged role-playing game - not deep, but broad. Only two basic statistics (Warrior and Sage abilities), few fights in simple "Click 'em dead"-fashion and a rather puzzling system of rune magic are balanced by a score of objects, quests and places in one huge, seamless game world (complete with a day-night cycle).
Dusk of the Gods is an action/adventure/RPG by Event Horizon Software which is set in Norse mythology. Those of you familiar with the latter will know about Ragnarok, the great battle at the end of time between the Aesir and Vanir gods, in which many of the most powerful gods of the good Aesir will be defeated at the hands of the evil Vanir, followed by the dawn of a new age of peace. The Ragnarok Prophecy was destined to be inevitable, but the Aesir gods will choose to try and prolong Ragnarok as long as possible and fight the Vanir right down to the last soldier, no matter how bleak the outlook.
The story of Dusk of the Gods places you in the role of one of the Einherjar, fallen mortals from the human world of Midgard sent to Valhalla, the capital of the Aesir gods. You were chosen by Odin the All-Father himself to find a way not to delay the start of Ragnarok, but instead to find the advantage needed to change fate and allow the Aesir gods to win the war. Of course, changing the future is no easy task, especially when the outcome has been foretold by prophets many times over, but the Aesir gods cling to any last hope of survival.
Dusk of the Gods allows you to choose a character or create your own. If you choose to make your own character, you decide how he or she would act at major points in their life by entering buildings placed on a map; choose to spend time worshipping a god and curry favor with him, fight in battle and expand your combat capabilities, or study magic to improve your knowledge of arcane lore. Each choice takes time in your character's life, and sitting back deciding what to do and trying to find a specific location on the world map to train your character wastes years of his life.
As you arrive in Valhalla, you have the opportunity to meet and speak with many of its inhabitants, including many of the better-known gods. Nearly every character you meet in the game has unique text; by speaking with gods, mortals, and other beings, you can learn more about Norse mythology and what troubles the gods. Much of what you are told relates to the game at hand, but often you can hear tales of the gods and their exploits. The tales are clearly gathered from many different sources of Norse mythology and other Scandinavian stories, thus eliminating accounts strictly based on one source, which often makes for a boring interpretation. Dusk of the Gods does not subject you to a fixed dialogue; instead, you can select underlined words that appear in conversations to find out more about that subject, and you can even type in your own responses, which is often necessary to continue the game.
Much of the game naturally involves fighting monsters, animals, and the Vanir and their allies. Dusk of the Gods has you move your character right up to an enemy to attack it with melee weapons; if you are not facing the enemy, you cannot hit it. When you attack with a weapon, you have to wait some time before attacking with it again (cool-down time depends on the weapon you use), so it can be frustrating not to be properly aligned and forced to wait and realign before attacking again while your enemies hack you to pieces. Of course, the enemies do not seem to have this problem when fighting you. Using missile weapons, such as bows, is even harder, as you have to judge where your enemy will move in addition to making sure you are properly aligned. Magic, which exists in the form of runes which are given to you by the gods or found elsewhere, has the same problems depending on the spell you use.
Your character's primary quest is to find a way to guarantee victory for the Aesir gods at Ragnarok, however you may meet people who are in need of a stout warrior to help them out. There are many quests you can learn about by speaking to various people, and while some help you with your main quest, you may win items that will aid you in the future. Unfortunately, Dusk of the Gods does not provide a list of quests you have been assigned or asked to complete, so you should write down quest information when it becomes available.
When you are slain, you are returned to Valhalla Palace. The only other penalty for dying is that you lose any quest items you may have been carrying, thus making easy escapes impossible; items like equipment, runes, and health items stay with you. The lack of an in-game map often makes finding your way back to where you died quite difficult, however.
Dusk of the Gods' graphics are heavily pixelated, yet the graphics illustrating various scenes in the game are really well done. The music ranges from really good to cutting-your-own-ears-off bad, and some tunes aren't very memorable.
All in all, the difficulty of combat may turn people away from the game, but it can be worth pushing on to continue the story, which is excellently presented and written in such a way that no prior knowledge of Norse mythology is needed.
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Dungeons & Dragons: Warriors of the Eternal Sun, Dungeons of Death, Dragon Wars, Dungeon Master 2: The Legend of the Skullkeep, Dungeon Master, Darkspyre, Exile 1: Escape from the Pit, Exile 3: Ruined World
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