Legends of Valour

Title           Legends of Valour
Game Type       RPG
Players         1
Company		US Gold/Synthetic Dimensions
Compatability   All?
Submission      William Payne

Although Wing Commander had already been released, Legends of Valour was
the first Amiga game I had seen to use texture-mapping for the main
in-game graphics. I'd recently played Ultima Underworld on a friend's PC,
and was very happy when It looked like us Amiga users were going to get a
game that made that look like 3D Monster Maze on the ZX81. Unfortunately
when the game arrived I realized that to get any acceptable kind of
performance out of it on my coughing and spluttering A500, I was going to
have to play with the smallest display size, but that seemed okay in
exchange for full, real-time 3d texture-mapped gameplay.

The game was certainly ambitious. Set in the medieval, Germanic sounding
town of Mittledorf, you were cast as a wet-behind-the-ears newbie
adventurer, freshly arrived from the country after receiving a letter from
your cousin telling of the fantastic time he was having in the city.
However, he fails to turn up to meet you when you arrive leaving you all
alone in the big city.

The most impressive aspect of the game is the freedom it allows you. To
start with, you must find somewhere to sleep as nighttime comes around
quickly in Mittledorf, and you don't really want to be wandering the
streets after dark, atleast not until you've got some decent weapons and
skills. This means renting a room in a hostel, which will require regular
rent payments, so just like in real life you have to find a job. There are
several guilds you can join, as well as becoming a priest of one of
several religions, and all of these will pay you a small wage that will
help you get started on your career as a swashbuckling adventurer. It soon
becomes apparent that in fact these guilds are the keys to completing the

Although it was presented at the time as entirely free-flowing, without
definite objectives, there is infact an overall mission to the game which
involves rescuing the king of the city, who has been kidnapped. Underneath
the city there are literally miles upon miles of corridors and caverns,
inhabited by a varied and fairly imaginative selection of monsters and
animals which can all be fought and killed for experience and money.
Unfortunately, the game failed to live up to its promise. Probably purely
because the design was simply too ambitious, there are a number of
technical flaws that ruin what could have been a fantastic game. For
example, there is no point engaging any of the creatures or citizens in
swordplay because any foe can be killed instantly just by throwing any
item at them. Law-abiding citizens walk up to you and attack for no real
reason, which is something that isn't supposed to happen unless they're
provoked, according to the games documentation. There are a whole load of
the game's features, such as various character statistics, and an initial
choice of character race (dwarf, human, elf etc) that don't seem to
actually have any effect on the game at all, as if the game was released
before the features the designers had envisaged could be fully

Legends of valour could be a superb game if it was released now, on
today's spec machines and developed by a team of today's size. In terms
of ambition and scope it certainly wouldn't look out of place on the
shelves alongside many of today's PC role-playing extravaganzas. However
at the time the technology required to generate such a convincing and huge
game world just wasn't available.

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