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Title: Betrayal at Krondor
Rom Player: PC
Reviewer: Flynn

Synopsis: Throughout April and May of 2003, the gaming site IGN released what they believed were the top 100 games of all time. The list contained a number of RPGs, including several (*shudder*) final fantasy games. It did not, however, include one of the greatest of them all: Betrayal at Krondor. How we forget the classics so soon. To think, there are children today who have never even heard of Jimmy the Hand or Prince Arutha. *Sigh*

Based upon the celebrated fantasy author Raymond Feist's world of Midkemia, Betrayal at Krondor is one of the greatest RPGs ever made. It has the perfect blend of role-playing elements: interesting characters, a gripping story, and a huge world that you are free to explore. The world is so large, in fact, you can play for hours without even starting the main story. Whether you tackle the main quest first or explore the countryside, you will never get bored. NPCs talk and act as real people. You will not come upon retarded townspeople whose only contribution to the game is to say, "This is Coneria, the dream city." over and over and over again. The people in this game have real problems and concerns that fit wonderfully into Feist's universe.

The story is, as mentioned earlier, one of the best ever presented in a video game. As it starts, Gorath, of the evil Moredhel, has defected to the Kingdom of the Isles. Two Kingdom agents by the names of Locklear and James must escort the dark elf from his frozen northern home to Krondor. It is here that Prince Arutha, ruler of the Western Realm, must decide what to do with Gorath, and how to prepare for a possible Moredhel invasion. From Krondor, a greater story unfolds, involving swords, sorcerers, and the maniacal plans of Delekhan, King of the Moredhel.

If the plot were not enough to keep you glued to you seat for hours on end, the game play itself is superb. Combat in the game is turn based, using an easy to use system that would later be copied by greatly inferior titles such as Betrayal at Antara. Your character's skill in swordplay is determined by a number of factors, including strength and dexterity. Experience points are not used here and you cannot “level up,” only practice will increase your skill. For example, picking locks frequently will cause your lock pick skill to go up, fighting will make you stronger, ect. Magic in the game is also very cool, but can only be used by a few characters. There are dozens of spells to choose from, each with interesting effects ranging from blinding an enemy to setting him or her on fire.

The graphics and music are excellent when it is taken into consideration that the game was released over ten years ago. Characters in the game are represented by digital captures of real people in costume. This technique may not always work well, but here it was exceptional. The music, particularly the theme, greatly adds to the mood in any particular situation, whether it is one of suspense or jubilation.

There is so much good about this game, it is difficult to discuss its flaws. There are very few, but one sticks out over all the others. Due to its unrealistic need for conventional memory, and its reliance on the DOS operating system, Betrayal at Krondor is almost unplayable on any modern computer. Even back in 1993, the installation of this game was difficult. There are supposedly ways to play the game under Windows XP, but they involve heavy tweaking or the use of a DOS emulator. If you have an old 486 in your basement, this game is certainly worth digging it out of storage. BAK was released as freeware by Sierra years ago to promote Betrayal at Antara, so if you have the means to play it, do so.

Despite its touchiness with most systems, Betrayal at Krondor is one of the greatest games ever made. Its sequel, Return to Krondor, could not compare with this work of digital art. Betrayal at Krondor can be downloaded for free all over the World Wide Web. Even if you have to build a 486 to play it, go get it. Go get it now.

Best Cheats: This will allow you to finish the game quickly, though I do not know why you would want to. Open the overhead map and hold Alt, Right Shift, and ~ for a few seconds. If you wait, a chest will appear with every item you need to complete the level. You do, however, need a code to open the chest. These codes are as follows:

Chapter 1---6478
Chapter 2---9216
Chapter 3---7702
Chapter 4---2132
Chapter 5---5052
Chapter 6---0680
Chapter 7---0194
Chapter 8---4743
Chapter 9---9995

Game Play: 10
Graphics: 10
Music/Sound: 10
Originality: 10
Overall Rating: 10


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