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JadeDragon's reviews and playing tips: Pocket PC games

EverQuest Pocket PC Episode One, by Sony Online Entertainment $19.99
Reviewed January 2003

By now, almost every gamer knows what EverQuest is and many have played it online. Now Pocket PC owners can take the game with them wherever they may go. Ported from the most popular online game ever by Emodiv and published by Sony Online Entertainment, the Pocket PC version of EverQuest gives you the access to those infamous cities and your favorite dungeons in the palm of your hand. Of course, you will pay a price for portability: not only have the online chats and trades disappeared, but also many features, weapons, characters as well as treasures did not make it into this shrunk-down version.

The basic RPG game play remains the same in EverQuest for Pocket PC, including hacking monsters, completing quests, upgrading your character. You’ll be given 10 quests in the game; many are not long journeys or hard tasks. The game advances in a very linear fashion. You will almost have to follow the quest line tightly without wandering around the dungeon just to kill and upgrade your character. I got my Warrior and Wizard in trouble twice because I killed all the monsters in some areas and couldn’t find any to kill for the quests I picked up later.

Just as with the online version, you start the game in Freeport, and your quests will take you to Commonlands, Nektulos Forest, Neriak, Desert Ro, Oasis of Marr, Temple of the Spectres, Nordok Ruin, and more. There are a good number of enemies, though none too tough for you if you have reasonable level upgrades. The interactions with NPCs (non-playable characters) are very small compare to the online version- the NPCs are there only to help you advance in the main string of quests. You can walk around the towns and dungeons, but you won’t be able to go into shops or inns.

EverQuest for Pocket PC offers four classes of character: Warrior, Magician, Wizard and Druid. Each character class has their own special talent as you have seen in the online version, Warriors with their strength, Magicians with their elements, Wizards with their spells and Druids with their summons, though the number of weapons, spells and summons is very limited. You will only see very small glimpse of the vast untold amount of treasures, hundreds of weapons, spells, armors and jewelry that are featured in the online version. That’s not to say you will run low on money. Your journey to the new territory is often littered with monsters who will drop plenty of goodies for you to pick up. But the trouble is you won’t have a lot of carrying power unless you are a Warrior. So always locate the merchants in the area when you first enter it. I did end up with large sum of gold every game I played since no merchant offered anything better than what I picked up in the dungeon saving for one or two weapons early on in the game. The only jewelry I could find were the rings.

The graphics are sweet but not ground breaking. EverQuest for Pocket PC kept the graphic style of the original version. The game looks very much like a shrunk-down version of the original EverQuest, which is good enough by Pocket PC standards. For the EQ vets who have conditioned their eyes to the jaw-dropping graphics in the latest EQ online, this game won’t look stunning. The movements of the character are controlled by stylus and the quick action bar is at the bottom of the game window. You have four slots on the quick action bar, which can be anything from attacking spells to heeling potion as well as summoning. You will not be able to use the d-pad for moving characters.

There is no music in EQ for Pocket PC other than the title music. The sound effects are plenty and in good quality. The shriek of fire beetles, the moan of Orc warriors, the chilling laughter of the skeletons, all create a convincing environment of the evil crypts and dangerous dungeons. There is no multi-play mode, just yet. So don’t expect to have allies or trade goods. Even though the current version of EQ only lists support ARM, we tested on both ARM and XScale devices and both worked fine.

Without the sense of community created by the online version, EverQuest is still an outstanding RPG for the Pocket PC. The Episode One in its title hints that you will see more and more of your favorite locations and features in the future. Four class heroes and a good number of locations give great depth to this Pocket PC title. Good graphics and sound effects will attract both casual gamers and EQ vets. I can’t wait for the day when I can sync my Pocket PC characters to my online inventory and grab those beautiful treasures and trace my steps back to the old dungeons. Until then, sharpen your sword in this highly portable world of Norrath.

Playing Hints and Tips

1) Getting ahead of your quests isn’t always a good idea. You might run out of monsters to kill when you need to get things from them.
2) When you play as Druid and you like to summon the wolf, don’t let him get stuck at corners. I’ve lost the wolf a few times when I wasn’t keeping a close eye on him.
3) Make sure you talk to everyone you see. If you are not ready for that NPC yet, they will say things that are irrelevant. You will have to come back later.

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For ARM & XSscale
Chapter I

Chapter II: Attack On Qeynos

Chapter III: War on Faydwer

 

Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics It’s not drop dead gorgeous graphics, but pretty good for a Pocket PC RPG.
Sound Sound effects are plenty and in good quality.
Fun Meter RPG fan or not, this game has captured millions of gamers. The portable version of it is bound to captivate gamers as well. And we know we haven’t seen the last of it yet.
Addictivity Good number of quests and large locations give depth to the game. Four classes of characters will guarantee some replay value.


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