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GF! Archival Version Copyright 1995-2004

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by Interplay
What it's all about:
In Stonekeep you are Drake, a castle boy who was saved by a magician when Stonekeep was destroyed by the evil Shadowking. You return ten years later to defeat the Shadowking and raise Stonekeep back up from the depths of the earth were it has been buried.

The Review:
Stonekeep is a typical fantasy single character role playing game in many senses. While you can find others to join, you play mainly a single character, Drake. I personally prefer playing multiple characters for this type of game, but if you like just one main character (similar to the style of Arena: Elder Scrolls) you will enjoy Stonekeep. You start off with almost nothing and have to work your way up from there.

Stonekeep had some interesting innovations in game play that set it apart from others. The fighting is nice; you have two hands and can control each independently with the left and right mouse buttons. For equipping your characters(s), there is a mirror you activate which shows you an actual reflection of your character(s) as he/she stands there. Hence, you get not just some generic outline of Drake, but the real thing with background and all, depending on where he is standing. This brings up another good point: the characters and monster seem to be scanned in so you are fighting or controlling "live" looking figures rather than "cartoon" ones.

Despite some of the better features, the game still had its share of flaws. The spell casting seemed to be cumbersome. Not nearly as bad as it was in Ultima, but not as natural as Dungeons & Dragons, or Wizardry. You have no spell casting ability to begin with, and have to locate "runecasters" which are like guns for casting magic. Once you do that, you also need to find "runes" which are like the scroll that needed to be inscribed onto the runecasters. Then you may use magic, but when you do, it drains some mana from the runecaster. When all the mana is drained, you need to find a new runecaster or recharge the old one. Yea, seems a bit tedious to me too. Secondly, there was no rest option or anything like it. If you get hurt, you had better find some healing potions or health roots fast or you will die off in short order.

--Brent Hegarty