Title		Moonstone
Game Type	RPG
Compatibility	All?
Company		Mindscape
HD Installable	No
Players		1-4
Submission	Nev Kaye (

Maybe I'm not the most qualified person in the world to review an Amiga
game. For a start I never actually owned an Amiga. Firstly I had a
Commodore 64 and was constantly ridiculed by others who owned Commodore's
'better' machine. Secondly I was never any good at this game and would
constantly leave my friend's house after a hefty games session wondering
why they always managed to kill me and to add insult to injury, cut my
head off after I was dead.

OK, so here's what happens in the game. You and up to 3 other players take
control of a knight who's task is (I believe) to find the Moonstone. How
this will benefit the knight is a mystery still unknown to me. You start
off with a 'top down view' map screen with you safely at your village. The
map is divided into four corners - farmland, a forest, a desert and a
swamp. You take it in turns to guide your knight to points of interest on
the 2 dimensional map that can range from monster's lairs, cities, henges
and towers. There are always 4 knights so any that are not human
controlled are computer controlled. When you arrive at your destination
you can enter it and perform certain tasks. In the city you can spend your
hard earned gold, in the tower you get to build up your knight's
statistics and in the monsters lairs you get to fight monsters...

There are several different kinds of monsters in moonstone, ranging from
nasty weapon wielding ratmen, warthogs, evil monkey things, mudmen, weird
tall alien things and baloks (whatever one of those is). When you enter
the lair the game loads up a pretty scene depending on where in the map
you are. Your knight wanders onto the screen and what's this - a treasure
chest! But it's not that easy. For you are then subjected to an attack
from whatever lives in the lair.

This is the game's best feature - the battle screen. This is set in a
non-scrolling, side viewed, 3 dimensional screen. The knight is controlled
in a fairly simple manor. You wander round using the direction on the
joystick and attack/defend with your sword using the fire button and a
direction. The different creatures you encounter require different tactics
and skill levels to defeat. Some are easily pulverised while others are
quite problematic. Some attack on their own and some in waves. What for me
is the best thing is the gore level and accompanying sound effects. You
can stab a rat man in the heart and watch him fall to the floor and see
the blood pumping out of his chest with the corresponding sounds. The more
baddies that are slain, the more blood and guts that fill up the floor
space. But it was not just the naughties whose blood was spilt. There are
plenty of opportunities for your knight to meet his demise in gory
fashion. You can be hung, impaled, suffocated in mud, torched, eaten and
splattered across the screen in an instant.

If you are killed you loose a life. If you win you get the treasure. Which
sometimes is non existent. The treasure can be magical items, new
weaponry and armour or cash. Or what you are really looking for - the key
to the realm. There are 4 of these and they must all be collected to enter
the central ruins on the map.

There is also the added hazard of a dragon that flies across the screen
picking you off. He can be killed, and carries a very good supply of
treasure, but lets face it, he always either burns or eats me.

Lives can be regained at a few places in the game - for visiting your home
village or relinquishing magical items at the henge you are granted
prolonged mortality.

The computer controlled knights seem to wander aimlessly and never enter
lairs. But they carry better items and money and this must be exploited.
You have the ability to thieve from other knights - either by using
magical items or murdering them and stealing their precious items. The
knights meet, and hack and slash each other until one sinks to his knees
dying. This was the moment that caused so many pained memories, for I knew
that my friend would be in for the kill and lop the head from my dying
body for good measure.

I never got to the ruins because I never got all the keys. The difficulty
of the game was (for me) quite high. This is made easier by using all 4
knights to search the land, but even with this little aid, I have still
not finished it. The game was on 3 discs and I think I only ever used 2 so
this review is probably quite incomplete.

The graphics and sound are of a high standard and the fighting system is
spot on. Different items give you better attack, defence and hit points,
so even though it's not in great depth it is still an RPG (that plays like
an arcade style game). I have very fond memories of this game and it was
one of our favourites to include in the gaming session - along with
Speedball 2, Kick Off 2 and Zany Golf (my brother liked it). When I got
hold of an Amiga emulator my main task was to get hold of this game again.

For me it's a classic and out of 100 I'll give it 92.

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