Note: This article was written by Eric Bennett
The Temple of Elemental Evil is based on the PnP module by the same name written by Gary Gygax. A lot of the reviews that I have read have criticized this game for its lack of plot and story, as well as some “game ending” bugs.
First I would like to address the plot and story issue. Since this is based off ONE module that can be an issue (if you have never played a PnP module). In the PnP world a lot of the modules are meant to be linked together to create the full story, and in a world like Greyhawk, a log of the module flow together to create the world. With this in mind I personally don’t feel that there was a lack of plot or story for the amount that the original module covered. I really believe that Troika stuck to the module and did a great job porting it over to a PC based game.
As for the “bug” issues, I didn’t really encounter any “game ending” bugs. I don’t know if it was my style of playing or if I got a possessed CD :-). I know that Atari cut the production time and cut some items out at the last minute (even items that were already in). This can cause a lot of issues in the way that if something is there and then you cut it out you are bound to leave holes for things to fall through and break.
Now on to the game.
One of the features that I enjoyed in this game was the character creation screen. It was well thought out and executed. The random rolls and the point assignment methods allowed for people from both camps to create their character in their way (I parterre the rolling method). The only issue that I had with this area was the lack of complete description of feats, skills and spells.
The party alignment was an interesting idea with the different opening scenes for the different alignments. Even though they were little more than “cut scenes”, I thoroughly enjoyed them. Most of the RPGs that I play have the same characters. With this system I was enticed to play different alignments, just to see what was motivating the other side of the coin.
I am the type of player that will load up the CD and toss the manual. I do this to see if the game is easy to understand and play. With this game I was impressed with the way the controls were easy to pick up on (though it did take me a while to figure out how to memorize spells). The radial menu system was quite easy to pick up on and well thought out and implemented.
The graphics were quite refreshing and well done. I would have to say that this game has some of the best graphics that I have seen in a long time.
Most of the quests were well planed, and drew me more into the story. Even though a lot of the quests were little more than “FedEx” quests (which I am not opposed to), I enjoyed them and had fun figuring them out.
One of the main issues that I had was the path finding. I got quite frustrated more than once when I would tell my party to go somewhere and only two would make it. I would constantly be rounding up my party and redirecting them using “baby steps” to get them there. Another issue that I had was the map. I like to explore and fully immerse myself in the game (that is why I play them, to leave the real world for a while). Other than these issues I loved this game.
Troika did an excellent job on this game. I give this game an 8 out of 10.