I wasn’t familiar with this neat little game and came across it by chance while browsing an issue of the old C64 mag Zzap. Though the staff didn’t give it a glowing review, nonetheless it looked interesting to me so I decided to give it a whirl.
Doriath is an arcade adventure – basically there is a huge sprawling map with platforms, ropes and ladders, problems to overcome like locked doors and assorted nasties that stand between you and the items you need to complete the quest.
You play the part of a wizard Elidaan, so naturally spell casting is the order of the day. To begin with you only know one spell but can accumulate more in the form of collectible Amulets hidden away in chests found throughout the cavernous depths of the game world – the spells are in essence weapons for destroying specific types of monsters that throw a wedge between you and the goodies you seek.
The way spells are cast is by holding down the fire button and navigating the elemental-magic to the final destination, it is a neat touch that your magic can be blocked by obstructions like waterfalls for instance. The way that spells are guided about reminded me very much of Blizzard’s underrated Gem – Blackthorne, how in that game remote bombs were navigated around the level-scape in much the same way.
What appealed to me most about this game I think is the basic pull of any adventure game and that is the exploration element and the prospect of some new tantalizing item that sits just out of reach. Among the things I specifically liked about Doriath was instead of fighting the guardian creatures, rather special potions need to be used at the right time and place to grant you defense from the big nasties.
While I think the basic movement controls & collision detection of this game are pretty much spot on, it must be said it does take a bit of time to adjust because it makes use of the keyboard, Space changes spells and F1 selects items and F4 uses items…playing on an emulator you can map the keys to a gamepad with a prog like Xpadder.
A game like Doriath is not strictly about skilled reflexes, though having them certainly can’t hurt. The style of play leans more towards forward thinking, economising items and planning your route carefully in order to fulfill the numerous goals.
I can definitely dig a game like Doriath, with a little help from my friends emulator save states and Topher’s great & hugely helpful map of the game…thanks Topher! In closing, I think this one is well worth checking out!