Psygnosis claim "Obitus is a gripping combination of RPG and arcade action." For once they're being too modest. This is an excellent game, the best thing since sliced Bard! In fact, it makes Bard's Tale look positively primitive. Artwork is outstanding, among the best games graphics I've seen. Forward and Parallax scrolling is smooth and realistic, and gameplay is imaginative and fun.
I never studied Latin, but surely the name Obitus must mean "death", as in "Obituary". That's appropriate, since Wil Mason, your game alter-ego, is going to die many times before you find the solution to this epic adventure! Wil, a medieval history lecturer, arrives in ancient Middlemere after crashing his Volvo (typical!) into a ditch one dark and stormy night. Sheltering in a ruined tower, he wakes to find it no longer a ruin. All four doors arc locked. The tower now stands in the middle of Falconwood, a dark, brooding maze of trees, like Mirkwood, from Tolkien's Middle Earth. It is April 1st, 1190 AD.
The recent history of Middlemere, before Wil's arrival, involved a gullible king, an evil wizard, and a civil war between the king's four sons. One day. "a strange contraption" (presumably Wil's hapless Volvo) appeared in Middlemere. After initial dread, the four brothers each took parts of it. They now found ruling easier as their subjects were afraid of the contraption. Warring ceased and a truce was signed. The remains of the machine were securely stored and the lords divided Middlemere equally into four shires. They were suddenly and strangely content to rule one quarter of the land each, although the shires remained heavily patrolled... just in case."
That's the scenario. Wil Mason encounters this "heavy patrolling" as he stumbles through the woods, mines, catacombs, castles, churches and abbeys of Middlemere's four shires, trying find where he is and how to get home. He will meet knights, wizards, archers, mages, slaves, soldiers, partisans, wolves, trolls, and others. By observation, combat and trading, he'll find items useful to his quest, including weapons, treasures, amulets, scrolls, keys, torches, food, and potions, all depicted graphically. Wil must eat when his strength is low, and sleep when fatigued. A chronometer records date and time. A minute of game time is 10 seconds real time. Sleeping advances the clock 8 hours.
There are three types of scenario in Obitus: Maze, Parallax, and Interior sections. The booklet says: "maze sections utilise incredibly smooth forward-scrolling techniques to portray your first-person-perspective movement." In English, that means you see things as if you were there. Exactly like walking through Skara Brae in Bard's Tale, but with better artwork, smoother scrolling, and twice as many movement directions. Movement is by joystick or mouse. Character/object interaction by mouse and icons. A direction indicator shows which way you're walking, and inventory items can be displayed and used. The "Info" icon provides full descriptions of items and characters.
Mazes I've encountered include two woods, a mine, catacombs, and dungeon. Mapping is essential. In the catacombs alone. I've mapped more than 200 chambers (including a whole tunnel system behind a secret door)! Underground, light dims as torches die, and increases near an entrance. I've also visited part of two Interiors (both were castles), and mapped more than forty rooms. The view is third-person like parallax sections, but in 3D like maze sections. Wil runs between foreground and background as well as left and right.
Graphics are stunning! Explore tapestry-hung rooms lit by chandeliers, log fires, and windows. Open doors with keys obtained elsewhere. Meet nice people and kill them. But beware of traps, some of which are real D&D material!
Obitus is D&D, Bard's Tale, Jinxter, Golden Path, and Dark Castle rolled into one. A whole imaginary land on disk. The scale and attention to detail are impressive. Possibly the best interactive adventure epic yet. Recommended unreservedly!
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