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GF! Archival Version Copyright 1995-2004

Anvil of Dawn

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by New World Computing, Inc.

Long before the creation of man, there was the Eternal Storm, a void in which nothing existed and everything existed at once. Within this darkness the gods resided, the embodiment of good and evil. In time, the Void endowed the gods with the secret of "making." In the center of the darkness, the Void brought forth a shaft of light. This was the Anvil of Dawn. It became the essence of light, and about it the gods gathered to use the secret of making. Earth, Wind, Fire and Water, these were bound by lightning into the shape of a world known as Tempest. In the early days, the world was writhed in chaos. All of the elements fought each other to claim Tempest as their own. The gods intervened. Working together, they forced a pact. Man himself was this pact. He was the gods; final creation, one forged from a piece of all the others.

So it was in this age. A great lord of battle has arisen, a paragon of ruthless evil. Behind him rally the dark races. Storming out of their traditional lands, they threaten everything. No champion can stand against them, no army can defeat them. The Warlord stands at the head of his armies, absolute and invincible. It is said the dark gods gifted the Warlord with a mysterious magic, one well able to grant him victory against the peaceful inhabitants of Tempest. In Desperation, a last few adventurers have pledged their skills and their lives to defeat the evil of the Warlord. You are among these heroes, light's last hope of destroying the source of the warlords power and defeating the warlord himself. You must succeed.

The Review: I must say I was pretty impressed with this game. It is much like Stonekeep, but it seems to pick up some of the things Stonekeep lacked. You have many regions of the world to travel too including a sunken galley and an underwater maze. You meet several NPC's along the way that you can learn new spells, get information, or buy things from.

The graphics are an animated style rather than the scanned images of Stonekeep, but I thinks it makes for much smoother game flow. You cannot add new party members like Stonekeep, but you can choose from five different characters in the beginning, magician, lizard man, barbarian, warrior woman, and thief, each with varying strengths and weaknesses. Also, the magic was done very well in Anvil of Dawn. Each spell is given an icon and displayed to the side of your screen, so when you need to use it, just point and click! Since Anvil of Dawn is a real time game, this is very nice, no thumbing through spell books like D&D or messing with "runecasters" like Stonekeep. Also, unlike many D&D games, the puzzles are challenging, but do not require a hint book to have a hope of figuring them out. And, if you like particular types of spells or weapons, you can increase your skill in those specific areas when you earn enough experience points.

I am not usually a fan of single player fantasy games, I really prefer having a party of multiple players, but Anvil of Dawn does an extraordinarily good job with it. The graphics, sound, and theme are all good. And when you meet NPC's, you actually ask them questions and have conversations with them. And these NPC's range from demons to water elemental, magical books to dying warriors, and spirits to imps. I found it refreshing to have such a variety of characters to run in to. The monsters are new and different from many other fantasy games to. You will face Blood Spawn, Colossal Baboons, Drowned Sailors, Earthbiles, Lurking Stenches, Packrats, and Quivering Pools of flesh among others. Pretty gruesome huh?

Your character fights with both hands, controlled from your two mouse buttons and spells are within easy reach to make combat smooth and flowing. Overall, New World Computing took a Stonekeep style and made it better. Although I liked Anvil of Dawn, I still prefer multiple character fantasy games. There just seems something too generic about one character who does everything. Also, your skills in the different parts of weapons and magic increase very slow. I got pretty far along in the game and only increased skills in two or three categories a few levels. This was frustrating because your enemies increase in toughness from dungeon to dungeon much faster it seems than you do. And finally, there is a fatigue factor in weapons combat or pushing heavy objects that depends on your stamina attribute. This is very frustrating with your are low on spell points and cannot swing your weapons because your are "too exhausted". That may be realistic, but most of your know that in fantasy games you usually do not have time to be tired.

--Brent Hegarty