(Originally published in the national edition of Computer Currents magazine. Reprinted here with permission of the author.)

by Joe DeRouen

Legend Entertainment has made a habit of turning great fantasy novels into engaging, entertaining graphic adventure games. They did it first with Companions of Xanth (based on the best-selling fantasy novels by Piers Anthony) and they've done it again with Shannara, based on the classic novels by Terry Brooks. Shannara is set in the time period between the first two Shannara books: The Sword of Shannara (which is included in the box with the CD ROM) and The Elfstones of Shannara. A lot of characters from the first book appear in the game, but the game is self-contained enough so that new fans should be able to enjoy it just as much as veterans of Brooks' work will.

You play the role of Jak Ohmsford, a half-elf who must wage battle against the evil spirit of the long-dead warlock king Brona. You must find a way to unite the four lands against Brona and learn to wield the magic that can defeat him. In your travels, you'll meet all sorts of fantastic folk that can either help or hinder your quest - names like Lessa the elven guard, Brendal the outcast dwarf, and Telsek, a troll who values personal honor above all else. How you interact with these characters can be the difference between saving your homeland or suffering an early death.

Shannara features beautifully drawn SVGA graphics, an easy-to-use combat interface, lots of 3-D animated sequences, over 30 speaking characters, and an original music score by George "Fat Man" Sanger. One really nice innovation is an "adventurer's journal" which automatically records events of interest that happen to you during the game. You can also add your own notes to your journal, a bonus that proves to be invaluable for remembering clues and solutions to quests and puzzles. Shannara brings with it all of the emotion and excitement of the books, but adds that level of interaction that only an adventure game can to create a thoroughly enjoyable multimedia experience.

MS-DOS/Windows 95. List price: $59.95. Legend Entertainment, 800/658-8891.

Copyright (c) 1996, Joe DeRouen. All rights reserved.

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File last modified on September 19th, 1996