For years, people have tried to become heroes
by making their way through the Crypt of the Ancients, which
was supposedly made 5000 years ago for the Ancients, who made
the world. Only two people have made the journey through the
crypt and come back alive: Jetraal the Heroic, and Alaric,
who now controls the crypt. Alaric is offering 50,000 pieces
of gold to anyone who can make their way through the crypt,
which is guarded by powerful spirits. However, Jetraal's spirit
has returned, to tell that the world is doomed unless Alaric
is stopped, but from what? It is up to you to explore the 25
level dungeon and stop the evil!
When you first start playing Ancient
Evil, you will have to create a character. You first name
your character. Then, you will need to choose an appearance.
There are eight appearances, four of them female, and four
of them male. After you choose the appearance of your character,
you will need to choose a career. There are four different
careers: the warrior, who is best at close combat and brute
strength, the spellcaster, who is more powerful with spells
than with weapons, the ranger, who is skilled with projectile
weapons and healing items, and the thief, who is skilled
at sneaking around, avoiding traps, and picking locks. After
you choose the career, you will have to generate their abilities.
The abilities are: strength, toughness, dexterity, intellect,
health, and spell energy. Strength determines how much damage
will be done to enemies, dexterity determines accuracy, toughness
determines how resistant your character is to damage, intellect
affects the power of spells, health is how many health points
your character has that will run down when injured, and spell
energy is used up by spells. As soon as you have selected
everything required for your character, you will be placed
on the first level of the dungeon. You will notice that there
are objects you can interact with, and enemies to fight.
There will also be items on the ground to pick up. To pick
them up, simply tap on the image of them in the top-right
corner of the screen. You can them equip the items (if applicable)
to your character by pressing the button you have assigned
to the character profile or tapping the symbol that looks like
a person, and selecting the item from the bottom of the screen.
To learn a magic spell, you tap on the bottle symbol above
the character profile symbol, select what level of spell, and
then which spell. The bottom of the screen shows how many points
you can use. Each spell has a set amount of points that can
be used on the spell to be used in combat. Once you use the
spell in combat, you will get a point back to use on another
spell. For example, your character has 15 points. The spell "Light
Heal" has a maximum of six points. You fill three of those
six points, leaving you with 12 points. You use the spell in
combat once. Now only two of the six points for that spell
are filled, and you have 13 points to use on spells. It sounds
a little complicated, but it is very easy to get used to. With
this method, you would think you could cast an unlimited number
of spells. However, each spell uses up mana. The amount of
mana you have is shown by the blue meter in the left corner
of the screen. Also, your health is shown by the red meter
next to the mana meter. Your mana will regenerate itself slowly.
You can gain health back by using items such as health potions
and bandages. You can also get mana and health back by sleeping
in a bed. You also have a hunger level. If you are hungry,
you may become too weak to attack or use magic. To solve this
problem, you simply eat, by using food that will show up as
an item in the inventory. As you progress through the crypt,
the monsters will become harder to defeat, and smarter. Ancient
Evil possesses many of the same traits as other adventure games,
but things like sleeping in the bed to heal, and the hunger
system add a whole lot to the game.
When you first start up Ancient Evil, you have the chance
to set up the controls you want to use, from the Key Mapping
option on the main menu. You can set up the buttons on your
Pocket PC to cast a spell, attacking with a weapon, character
portrait, (statistics, weapon selection, etc.) and the in-game
options. To move the character, you can either tap where you
want them to go, or use the D-pad. However, controlling the
character using the D-pad can prove difficult. You have to
turn your character using the left and right buttons, and move
forward and backwards using the up and down buttons. It would
have been a little easier if you could simply point the D-pad
where you wanted the character to go. Also, when you are browsing
any menus, you can use the D-pad to bring up a cursor to move
around the screen. This can be useful if you are playing without
the stylus or don't want to pull it out, and need to browse
the menus. The controls can be a little hard to adapt to, especially
the D-pad, but after playing for a while, you will get the
hang of them.
Ancient Evil is presented in a 3D isometric view,
which is similar to games such as Diablo for the PC. There are tons
of visual effects, including shadows, and 3D objects such as fire
and smoke, among others. All of the characters and enemies are also
3D models, so if they turn around, you will see their backs, sides,
etc. All of these effects are computed in real-time by your Pocket
PC. With all of the effects happening in real-time, there would probably
be a fairly large load on the processor. To test this theory out,
I changed the power settings on my Dell Axim x30h from High Performance
(624 MHz) to Power Saving. (208 MHz) I noticed that all of the effects
were shown fine, and there was only a slight lag when the character
was running. However, most Pocket PCs now have processors with 400
MHz or more, so it should run fine on most Pocket PCs. There are
two versions of the game, one for QVGA devices, and one for VGA devices,
such as the Dell Axim x50v. Keep in mind that the VGA version will
be more work for the processor, but all VGA Pocket PCs should be
able to handle the load fine. The game looks absolutely stunning
in VGA, but also looks great in QVGA. However, in the QVGA version
of the game, the text is a little small, and it can be hard to tap
on letters if you need to, such as when you set your character's
name. Other than that, the graphics are definitely revolutionary
for a Pocket PC game, and the game can still run on basically any
Ancient Evil features both sound effects and music.
The music has an eerie theme to it, which matches perfectly with
the game theme and storyline. There are sound effects for just about
everything, from walking, to attacking, to being attacked, and more.
Both the music and sound effects are high quality, and sound great,
even on the small speaker on a Pocket PC. The sound effects can also
help you during the game, as you will hear if you are being attacked,
etc. The sound really adds to the creepy atmosphere of the game,
and you will probably want to keep it on during gameplay.
There are not many RPG/Adventure games out for
the Pocket PC, and with it's amazing quality of storyline, graphics,
and sound, Ancient Evil is definitely a must-have game. Playing Ancient
Evil is basically like playing Diablo on the PC, and it would not
be surprising if, like Diablo did on the PC, Ancient Evil becomes
a hit on the Pocket PC. Although the controls are a little hard to
get used to, pros of playing Ancient Evil definitely outweigh the
Playing Hints and Tips
* If there are items that look useful, (gold, weaponry,
etc.) be sure to pick them up.
* Make sure to save frequently.
* Use magic every once and a while, as it can be more powerful
to attack with than hand-to-hand combat, and it is safer to be
further away from enemies.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
The graphics are definitely a breakthrough
in quality, especially considering they are rendered in real-time.
All of the visual effects are stunning as well!
The music and sound effects in Ancient
Evil relate perfectly to the theme and atmosphere set by the
story and gameplay. The sound effects all relate to what is
happening around your character at the time.
Ancient Evil is definitely one of a kind,
and it would not be surprising if it becomes a best-seller.
The story and gameplay is excellent, and is very identical
to games such as Diablo for the PC.
Once you try Ancient Evil, it will be
hard for you to put it down. It is very easy to play for hours
on end, and it can be played for short amounts (ex. waiting
for someone) easily as well.