Ishar 1-3 Overview

Title		Ishar 1-3 Overview
Game Type	RPG
Players		1
Compatibility	ECS and AGA versions
Submission	James Perry Courtesy of Sean Caszatt

THE ISHAR TRILOGY.  If you're like me, you missed the D&D dice throwing
games of the 80s and got your first taste of role playing on your Amiga
with Bard's Tale or the ground-breaking Dungeon Master and Chaos Strikes
Back.  The makers of DM handed you a sword and armour and gave you a world
where "things" come AT YOU, sneak up behind you, and make noises in the
distance.  Even with Eye Of The Beholder and Black Crypt I don't think
DM's eery atmospheric gameplay has been bettered.  However, several recent
Amiga releases have come awfully close.

First, there's Hired Guns, a super duper blast fest in the same vein as
IBM's DOOM; although without the textured scrolling. Next, the ISHAR
series which has just become a trilogy with the release of ISHAR III:  The
Seven Gates Of Infinity.  All three have standard and AGA versions with
the only difference being cosmetic.  All, however, share the same
strengths and weaknesses.

The biggest strength is the large view window and the striking graphics
emanating from it.  In Eye Of The Beholder II the forests looked like
walls with trees painted on them.  ISHAR, however, has forests that look
like forests.  Trees and underbrush of all types pass by in perspective.
In ISHAR I you can actually tell where you are on the island by the types
of trees nearby.  In ISHAR III, the first city is designed with the slum
areas on the outside, encircling "rich town" in the middle.  In my opinion
the ISHAR TRILOGY are the best looking adventure games on the Amiga
(although you could make a case for SIMON THE SORCERER).  ISHAR II
introduced a lot of variety in the different areas to explore - the
mountains look great!

The sound effects on all three are OK; although the tune that plays in
ISHAR II is a stand out.  The character graphics are good in all three
with ISHAR III being the standout because some are digitized people in
costumes (one lady, however, wears a pant suit and red shirt that look
right out of a catalog).

The animation is simple but this has become a standard in RPGs in the
interest of speed.  Perhaps this will be the area to improve on when the
next generation Amigas show up.

The puzzles in ISHAR I are difficult to solve because it's hard to know
just what to do next.  It's easier in ISHAR II, and ISHAR III starts you
off with a guy standing several squares ahead ready to direct you to your
first encounter.

Combat is surprisingly uneventful.  You'd think a more interesting combat
system would have been developed since DM.  Perhaps the worst problem is
that your opponent is able to stand between you and a wall.  This makes it
difficult to fight in a hit-and-move manner.  You end up fighting
"toe-to-toe" and the strongest almost always wins.  At least in DM you
could block them in and they could block you in.  It was fun to attempt
brushing off the baddies.  Also, you had a variety of blows to choose from
(slash, pary, bash, etc.).

All three games are plagued with programming problems and will lock up at
the drop of a hat.  Some advance preparation will usually combat the
problem.  The island with the tree platforms in ISHAR II AGA is especially
prone to lockups.  ISHAR III AGA has a peculiar problem when you try to
enter or leave "rich town".  If the proper disk is not in the drive then
it will lock up.  I make sure that DISK C is in one drive and DISK D is in
the other.  This seems to work even though all three seem to have a
problem with dual-drive systems.  Possibly a hard drive could be the
answer to this problem (I don't have one yet so I'm not sure.
Anybody?). I wish SILMARILS would update the game system and give them
proper playtesting - indeed, SILMARILS could be another PSYGNOSIS.  I
haven't bought their latest release ROBINSON'S REQUEIUM yet.  I'd be
interested in an opinion besides the EURO-MAGS.  They tend to be overly

Problems aside, the ISHAR TRILOGY is a worthy addition to the adventurer's
library.  However, patience is a must or you'll run off cursing.




                      OPINION, BUT IT LOOKS BETTER THAN "II")

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