I recently moved out and left behind my D&D books and a large collection of Magic The Gathering cards. So for several weeks I was looking for an interesting computer RPG. Ideally, set in the D&D world and one in which battles would be played in a mode similar to Final Fantasy Tactics. The obvious prerequisite for this was that it was an eight or 16 bit era game so that I could run it on my retro gaming gear.
Curse of the Azure Bonds turned out to be exactly what I was looking for. Set in the world of Forgotten Realms, the game was released by SSI in 1989 for the Apple II and C64, and later also released for the Amiga, Atari ST, PC and Mac, t was the sequel to Pool of Radiance - the first computer adaptation of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. However, PoR was not released for my favourite 16-bit platform - Atari ST. Curse of the Azure Bonds is also the sequel to the novel Azure Bonds by Kate Novak and Jeff Grubb.
The plot is simple. We wake up with mysterious tattoos, we have been marked with magical symbols through which we act against our will. The goal of the game is to find those who are trying to take control of us and stop them. This, however, was enough for me to get involved in the game as if it were a classic fantasy story.
Moving around, we see the world with first-person perspective, when we meet opponents, the view switches to tactical mode. It is possible to choose automatic combat. Indeed, the combat mode has a similar feel to one from Final Fantasy Tactics, although of course the graphics are simple. Map-view helps with longer trips. The graphics are not ambitious, just correct. No animation or very basic, although some enemy sprites are very nice. For retro-rpg fans, this might be enough. Curse of the Azure Bonds has a high level of difficulty, even compared to Pool of Radiance. I played this game on an emulator, using the benefits of this software to save my progress. I don’t know if I could play on the original computer.
On Amiga and Atari computers, the gameplay is made more pleasant by quite good music, which cannot be said about the MS-DOS version.
|CURSE OF THE AZURE BONDS||Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Apple II, DOS, Mac|