Thursday, 3 December 2009

Sword of Fargoal - iOS

Back in 1982, Jeff McCord created Sword of Fargoal - a beautifully crafted dungeon crawler on Commodore’s Vic-20. It’s been ported to other systems since then, but this iPhone version deserves special mention. 

Fargoal is a Roguelike, a game with its roots deep in the early days of computer adventures. Despite primitive visuals, Rogue and other similar games that followed, offered deep and rewarding experiences and are still popular today. They feature randomly generated dungeons and perma-death. When you die in a Roguelike, there’s no going back to a previous save. Once your dead, the adventure is over and you need to start again from scratch. To today’s modern gamer, such gameplay mechanics are archaic, but recent games such as Shiren the Wanderer on DS and Sword of Fargoal prove this type of game can be immensely enjoyable.

Fargoal has you fighting your way ever deeper through a devious dungeon in the quest for a fabled sword. However every step you take is fraught with danger. Elves armed with bows lurk in the shadows, grotesque gargoyles pounce when you least expect it, monstrous dragons try and roast you alive, while numerous pitfalls and traps hinder your progress.

Even when the sword has been collected - no easy task - the player must make their way back up through the dungeon to escape.

The iPhone’s touch screen has been used well, with finger swipes sending your hero towards his goal. Attacking another creature is simply a case of moving your hero towards the foe. Combat is instantly engaged and while early encounters are easy, care and intelligent use of spells is needed to best creatures deeper into the dungeon.

Gold lies scattered about the levels, which can be traded at temples in exchange for much-needed experience points, while bags can be unearthed which allow you to carry more loot.

Presentation is slick, with lovely lighting effects and a deliciously creepy soundtrack. Special mention goes to the descending stairs animation between levels which is wonderful.

For just £2.99 you’re getting one of the best games on the iPhone and with more updates promised, this is one adventure you should definitely undertake.

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