Dragonsphere is a graphic adventure with substance. Unlike many games of similar intent, this one delivers a solid punch in terms of player action and decision making. The story is sufficiently evolved to assure meaningful consequences of your characters' impact on the proceedings. It's not enough that he just wanders the countryside conversing with the four distinct races encountered and picking up the odd item here and there. He must become attuned with each race and learn what makes them tick with an eye toward improving relations between them and humans. Without this increased understanding of what motivates them and what lies behind their agendas, completion of the task to thwart the evil Sanwe from escaping the Dragonsphere becomes more difficult.
The depth of Dragonsphere is noticeable through several carefully incorporated details. It uses the old method of language construction where you combine a verb (10 available) with inventory objects to create a command or sentence you direct at the current on-screen entity (being or thing). Enhancing this process is the fact that some of the commands are object-related creating unique results. The mouse driven point and click interface is extremely smooth and the combination of meshing conversation, movement and inventory management flows easily and intuitively thus resulting in your attention being directed toward the on-screen progress of your character rather than game control. All of this and a great environment too, oh my. Locations in Dragonsphere are varied and reflect specific characteristics for each of the four races which adds to the sometimes eerie but always atmospheric surroundings. Travel between the locations is a snap with the icon imbued kingdom map of Callahach but the story is woven tightly enough that unnecessary travel is kept at a minimum. You'll have to learn to speak and understand the unique language of the wise desert-dwelling race Soptus Ecliptus, confer diplomatically with the strange oppressed shapeshifter race, survive the unmerciful teasing of the faeries to gain gobs of meaningful information and eventually confront the hostility of the bird/human race called Shak. Interaction with these races, solving moderately difficult puzzles along the way and an easy to control interface add up to a solid and enjoyable graphic adventure.
The minor quibbles with the game center on the tinny sounding and pervasive weak voice acting although it's more a case of nice-try-no-cigar than lack of trying at all, as some of the non-human voices feature unusual but not always effective special properties. The game contains large amounts of text and relies on extensive conversation as a basis for action to move the plot along. A nice aspect of this is that when you meet on-screen characters, you're not just given a list of conversational gambits to click through until you hit the right one. You choose the response you think is best and a wrong one simply results in the story unfolding more slowly or tasks being harder to complete. Dragonsphere is a well thought out, graphically pleasing entry in the genre.
Graphics: Nice animation, good solid background artwork with engaging colors.
Sound: Nice try but sound effects and voice acting are average at best.
Enjoyment: Extremely enjoyable story filled with challenging puzzle solving and in depth character interaction. Story moves along quickly with very few boring or meaningless interludes. Smooth gameplay and carefully developed races and cultures.
Replay Value: This one can be just plain fun to replay, even knowing the outcome.
A graphic adventure in the classic third-person Lucasarts and Sierra style. The fantasy plot involves a king who learns that an evil sorcerer, magically imprisoned 20 years ago, is about to break free from the spell, and embarks on a quest to destroy the sorcerer before he manages to regain his powers.
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