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Title: Betrayal in Antara
Author:Sierra
Rom Player: PC
Reviewer: Flynn

Synopsis: Back in the early 90ís, Sierra Online, in collaboration with the fantasy author Raymond Feist, produced a masterpiece: Betrayal at Krondor. The game was perfect on so many levels, with an engaging story and a top-notch game engine. Soon after its release, it was hailed as one of the best RPGs ever made. Sierra knew it had something, and had to make a sequel. Unfortunately for Sierra, a bidding war started over the license for Feistís world of Midkemia, and Ken Williamís company lost the rights to a company by the name of 7th Level Interactive. (Sierra would later regain the licensing rights to make Return to Krondor.) The company then had a dilemma: how could it make a sequel to a game that took place in a world that Sierra no longer had the rights to? It was decided to go forward with a pseudo sequel, a game that used the same engine as Betrayal at Krondor, but took place in a brand new universe created by Peter Sarrett. That game was Betrayal in Antara.

Betrayal in Antara takes place in the world of Ramar, a land full of political intrigue and danger. The story centers on William Escobar, a young nobleman and Aren Cordelaine, a young mage who discovered his magical power by accident in the gameís introduction. Later the two pick up Kaelyn Usher, a female archer, and Raal, a Wookie type thing that the game calls a Grrrlf. Together they must work against evil to diffuse a horrible plot against the Antaran Empire. This story is broken up into 9 chapters in a fashion similar to that of Betrayal at Krondor.

Having been a tremendous fan of Betrayal at Krondor, I immediately bought Betrayal in Antara with the highest expectations. I must say, I was very disappointed. I did not miss Feistís Midkemian universe; Sarrett did a very nice job creating a new world and wrote an excellent new story. The way, however, the player was forced to wade through that story was horrible. If you play this game, prepare to be bored. The game takes 100 hours+ to beat, but it is lengthened artificially through endless combats and UPS style fetch quests that will suck away so much time you will eventually want to kill yourself for wasting your life on such a shitty game.

In Betrayal at Krondor, there was combat, but the sites of ambushes made sense and the fights were not so frequent as to irritate the player. In Betrayal in Antara, on the other hand, you will be fighting all the time. Were it not for the constant fighting, the first chapter of the game would have taken 10 minutes. Instead, it took hours. You can be sure that every road you travel down will be guarded by an endless series of fights with either pirates or monkey men the game calls Montari. Cities and towns also provide little rest, and you should expect to come under attack there as well. Each of these fights takes approximately 5 to 10 minutes, leading to hours of unnecessary tedium.

To further lengthen the game, players are forced to go on an endless series of pointless errands, most often for mundane and stupid items. The greatest example of this that I can think of occurs in Chapter 2. William Escobar and Aren Cordelaine must travel to see a Wizard named Finch so Aren can be properly trained as a magician. Finch works for Williamís father, and William has been sent to see the Wizard on his fatherís orders. Being aware of these facts, I was extremely irritated to find that Finch would not instruct Aren if I did not fetch a certain brand of tea for him. Angry, I went to the store to buy him some. Once there, the store owner said he did not have any, but that he would have some in one weekís time. I relayed this information to Finch, who did not care. The son of a bitch had to have his tea, so I waited a week. I returned to the store to hear the shop keep whine and bitch because all the tea he had was stolen because of a debt he had failed to pay. I then had to go through a monthís game time and hours of real time to settle the manís debts so I could get the tea. Itís tea for Christ sakes! Anyways, expect to spend hours traveling back and forth on the game map to fetch some dumbass item often. In fact, running pointless errands that relate little to the main plot will take up at least 50% of the game. The above mentioned endless waves of violent monkeys will take up the other half.

A hardcore RPGer like me might have been able to reconcile these flaws if the wide world of Antara was open and free for me to explore to my heartís content. The freedom to explore was one of the things that made Betrayal at Krondor great. No such luck in Betrayal in Antara though. The story is 100% linear, limiting you to one section of the game map at a time, with only one solution to each quest. If you try to go somewhere on the map the game doesnít want you to, your party of sissies will cry like little girls. This makes what could have been a good game play like a Final Fantasy game if all the fun had been sucked out of it.

With all of these flaws, youíd think they could throw in some decent graphics to try to salvage the game. They did the exact opposite. Instead of using a new, more modern game engine, they used the exact same engine they used in Betrayal at Krondor three years earlier. The end result is a world composed of square houses and 2-D trees, where everything you see is a shade of green and brown. This is what Sierra designer Peter Sarrett calls ďAntara's rich visual look.Ē

All things considered, Betrayal in Antara is one of the most painful gaming experiences I have ever subjected myself to. Playing the game to the end is self-torture. Unless you are the kind of person who enjoys painful activities like feeding fire ants up your urethra, avoid this shit pile like the plague.

Best Cheats: Press CTRL+SHIFT+Z for cheat menu. Type in phrase, then press ENTER.

ask a glass of water = teleports party to where they were at beginning of chapter.

some call me tim = during combat will kill all combattants.

gotta have magic = gives Aren all spells.

why am I so dull = maximize all the party skills.

man does my leg hurt = will heal the party.

supermarket for the rich = allow you access to a cache of good items.

Game Play: 1
Graphics: 1
Music/Sound: 5
Originality: 5
Overall Rating: 1



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