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I have to give it an 8 because it's still alpha. When it goes beta, it will probably hit 9, and then when it is officially released as final, I'll probably make it a 10! For the type of game it is and the area it is covering, I think this game really is excellent. I expect it to only get better when it reaches beta and then when it reaches final or official release, it will probably be even greater.
I'm really enjoying this game. I love fantasy battle games such as this. CRPGs will always be my favorite, but a game that gets to the action while retaining some of the popular CRPG type elements is a winner in my opinion. It has nice upgrades, tactics and challenges for those of us who like a more tactical combat mechanism over a wild hack and slash mayhem type game. :)
First Words: This one is a lot of fun and definitely worth the small price. $3.99 is a great deal for this game.
Graphics & Display: The view angle in Dwarf Quest reminds me of a few old games I played back in the day on the Commodore 64 or such. Knight Lore was one that comes to mind. I never liked that view angle back then, but that might have been due to the graphics quality of the day because Dwarf Quest is beautiful and I simply love the way the game is displayed. The graphics are sharp and relay the feeling of being in a dwarven stronghold like Moria from the Lord of the Rings. But, don't say "Oh, this is just another dungeon delve!" because there are also some outdoor (wintery) environments to visit and explore. Overall I love the games graphics, visual layout, it just fits the atmosphere that the game is trying to portray.
Music & Sound Effects: The music is very atmospheric and gives you that deep, dark foreboding feeling as one explores the seemingly endless halls while on thy quest. It can keep your heart racing slightly as it combines that eerie music with some nice sound effects such as the sounds of your footsteps on the stone floor, to bashing open barrels and fighting the dark denizens of the deeps.
Gameplay: So, with all that how is the actual gameplay????
The answer is... "EXTREMELY FUN!" It is very easy to pick up the game and how it works. No need for reading an instruction manual. Everything operates (point & click) from the mouse. The game has that ability to keep you itching for more. You want to take a break, but just HAVE to see what lies beyond the next area. The game does a nice job of mixing a computer and boardgame with the neat inclusion of cards. When you discover treasure you may find coins or a weapon, armor, healing, attack, defense cards, and more. You will certainly use them on your quest and they do come in handy.
Combat is turn based and allows you to use effect cards during the battles.
Out of characters,
This is a great classic fantasy game reinvented on the computer by a great programmer. :)
As it stands now I give "Dark Gates" a 7 out of 10, but remember this is still in alpha and the author is working hard on the project. There are features that will eventually be added that will really make this game shine. I've spoken to the author on numerous occasions (Have I mentioned he is extremely friendly and responsive to questions and ideas one may send him via email? :) Anyhow... He has mentioned to me the plans he has and where the game will go as it nears its final release. If all that he mentioned or even some of it happens by the time this game goes final, I'll immediately change my ranking to a 9 or even 10 out of 10.
Once this game is closer to final, I'll submit a real review about the game, its features and playability. Reviewing it now would be incomplete because the game is not finished yet, even though it is very playable. Hell, I've been playing Dark Gates for quite some time and even though it is in an alpha state, it is quite fun and very playable.
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