Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Sleeping Gods Lie

Sticks and stones

Empire Software released this adventure game in 1989 and it's quite unlike anything I initially expected. I'd seen screenshots and was half-expecting something like Drakkhen with a typical dungeon-crawler storyline. Well, it is similar in some regards and with monsters and apt weapons including stones. I know, I know, stones? Yep, just read on!

We begin on Tessera, a world once rich and prosperous but now suffering famine, disease, and a crime wave that only Robocop could fix. Their god, N'Gnir, strangely seems to be in slumber so it's your mission to find him, wake him up, and put an end to all the madness. It won't be easy because you must battle your way through the numerous different lands and each has eight kingdoms. This game is huge so pack butties because it's unlikely you will be home for tea.

Our adventure starts from the comfort of our castle. From the outside, it's impressive but is rather sparsely decorated within. This is situated in a strange, chaotic world with most of its populace being completely barmy. All early encounters aren't welcoming but instead, a brawl without any provocation. They love to throw pebbles without any reason lol.

Okay, let's take a look at my grand castle and the second screenshot is from a peek inside...

From the outside, your home looks awesome.

But on the inside it's a bit bare, so obviously furnished by a guy!

However, the lands outside are populated by weirdos who seem to hate me?!

A game with character

Thankfully, some people are normal rather than fanatic psychopaths so, take time to talk for information. As the box says, this isn't just an adventure game, it's full to the brim with action and puzzles all set within a curious new world. In fact, there are many puzzles to be completed - such as feeding a giant mouse with mouldy cheese. These aren't brain-blasting puzzles, the information you acquire will soon fall into place for these rather odd-level guardians.

The gameplay uses a smooth first-person engine with simple controls. Use the mouse to guide the pointer: push that upwards and you walk. Push it downwards and you backtrack. As you can imagine, moving it to either side of the screen turns you around. You can use the joystick but I wasn't too keen on that. Also, if walking is too slow and you wanna run about then hit the F3 key. This isn't really "run" but speeds up time a little - not only for you but the entire game.

Exploring is a cinch thus making it very easy to get around and find helpful items, weapons, people, and enjoy a good fight. From the start, you will realise people aren't nice so practice and master your skills at throwing stones! Well, until you find something better like a sling or crossbow! I advise taking time to investigate your surroundings properly because there are many objects that you may think aren't important. Collect pebbles and why not check out those trees for fruit?

Sleeping Gods Lie attempts (very well too, I might add) to be an open-world adventure game. It kinda is with each area having full freedom to roam within each segment. Limited exits make it possible to leave and begin exploring the next area. However, it's worth looking everywhere to find helpful items or better weapons.

As you gain better weapons, you will note that each skirmish is easier but this is compensated for tougher enemies as you wander forth. The biggest tips are: rest regularly, explore thoroughly, and save your game like a paranoid madman!

Okay, it's time for some screenshots from this bizarre, yet enthralling, adventure game...

This ain't a peaceful land and most love to start fights by throwing pebbles at you!!

That pixelated mess is the first guardian. The graphics are better when you get closer!

The second guardian is freakishly cute (and hungry)


Visually, I have mixed feelings. The 3D engine is quite superb and allows full exploration of each landscape. However, sprites are a different matter - unless you get close to something, they are nothing more than a wobbly mess of a few pixels. Walk up and get closer for great scaling - this is something I really admired about this old engine.
Sadly, getting close to a guardian isn't a good idea because they are mean creatures and can slay you with extreme accuracy! So, stay back and use a range weapon - unless you're mad like me and want a better screenshot. I tired my best lol... Scroll on to see an image...
Each landscape features full freedom to roam but is sparsely populated and thus feels quite barren. I'd have liked more to "look at". Having said that, this is a great first-person engine and is very smooth and easy to explore.

The audio isn't as good as it should be simply because there's hardly anything to hear in-game. I'm sure something could have been done, even if it were footsteps! Anything would have been nice - even a delicate background chiptune. Talking of that, the title screen introduction has a fantastic tune which is nothing less than gorgeous!

I later returned to try and get a better screenshot but it's a vicious beast - this is the best I got!

Then it wasn't long before the stone-throw started again lol.

A wise old man restores my faith in humanity.

The CryptO'pinion?

Sleeping Gods Lie has some interesting ideas but it's not perfect. The character integration should have been more inclusive with more depth. This aspect is nothing more than a way to pass on information rather than any kind of interaction. Also, the weird pebble-throwing battles are initially amusing but soon wear thin. Thankfully, progression comes thick and fast therefore very rewarding because the game gets better once you've found better weaponry.

There's no denying that this is an enthralling adventure and I loved exploring the lands wondering what I may find. If you have lots of time to set aside, this is definitely something to dig your heels into over a weekend. A fast-paced adventure that's perfect for explorers who are looking for something different in a weird, new world.

I enjoyed this game a lot so don't forget your pebble stock and prepare yourself for lots of mindless squabbles!

Download HDD and FLOPPY.

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