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Reviewed: Wheel of Time
Author: Chris Kim       Date: December 23rd 1999
Page: 2

Wheel of Time is based on the hugely popular novel series written by author Robert Jordan. I'll get this first thing off the bat, I've never read a single Wheel of Time book, so I will not be able to comment on whether this game follows up or does anything in relation to how the books were written. So this review will be written purely on just how the game plays. With the Wheel of Time license, the game revolves around Elayna, one who is unable to channel the One Power. However, she has a very strong magic base in the use of Ter'Angreal. These Ter'Angreal serve as the weapons in Wheel of Time.

Opening the game, starts out with a nearly ten minute FMV video that gives a very in-depth backdrop of knowledge and information on the player with a preliminary description of the land and descriptions of the magical forces in the land. The story focuses on Elayna, who is a white cloak, trying to recapture the assassin and thief of the seals that belong to the white tower. The whole story telling takes place during FMV cutscenes through a narrative point of view. All of the story telling and the FMV cutscenes are very well done, they might not be the best looking, but the story is quite gripping and should be appreciated by most folk.

Death to Me
I'll Huff and Puff...
Nice Ol' Waggon

How can Wheel of Time, set in a fantasy realm without high technology and fancy doohickeys do well as a first person shooter? The answer is simple, Wheel of Time's emphasis is on search and discovery. However, despite what the game's original intentions of providing a world of fantasy and exploration, turns into a lot of frustration and disbelief. The main reason for the game being so difficult and frustrating is not because any one of the game elements, but rather the extremely unbalanced and unfair AI used for enemy movements. This will be discussed later on.

Adventuring takes place over a course of several different, exotic, and unique environments. Some of the environments recreated in this game are the most impressive looking seen in any game before. Battles can rage from torn apart castles, devastated ruins, sewer systems, terrible forests, invaded cities, and other places. The design of each of these locations is fairly straightforward and simple. Players will find themselves simply following where the path takes them, the linear design is very easy to follow and where the player is expected to go is pretty obvious. On the way, however, there are tons of hazards and many items that will hamper the player's ability to advance and move on. All over the place, there are traps and monsters.

Rain Sucks
Hazard Jump
Litte Demon Dude

While Elayna is in pursuit of the thief, she will cross over several landscape, see many places, and encounter many dangers. Exploding and trapped floors will crash right beneath her feet, wind breezes that seem like steam will follow her around and will attack her. There are so many different hazards around the world that are causes of worry. One thing that Wheel of Time really makes use of, is the extremely dimly lit and dark rooms around the places. Enemies and baddies will be hidden in nearly every dark corner, but fortunately, the game was fair enough to include a pair of red glowing eyes to signal to the player that an enemy is in the corner. Unfortunately, one thing that seemed to be a bit unfair were the extreme amounts of enemies and bad guys in the game, many of the enemies are severely over powering and hard to defeat. This does seem intimidating at first, but it just takes a little practice and working around with the several different Ter'Angreal to figure out what is more effective against certain enemies.

Majority of the enemies have a similar look and feel, but all of them accomplish the one goal they were set out to do, to scare. The enemies range from little goblins to hulking half donkey, half Godzila monsters. For the most part, the enemies are standard stuff, but some of the enemies can genuinely be creepy.

Missing an Eye Socket?
Don't Jump Down!
Another Rain Place

Puzzles are a very important element in most adventure games, Wheel of Time provides a good dose of puzzles in combination with enough action. The puzzles for the most part are not too complex and are very simple and easy to understand. A lot of the puzzles include figuring out what Ter'Angreal to use at what time in conjunction with which action, and some other puzzles involve being able to time a jump right. Luckily, there isn't a whole lot of jumping puzzles in the game, but there are a few. Most of these jumping puzzles aren't too confusing or complex. One example of these puzzles was simply required the player to use a teleport Ter'Angreal and then shoot an exploding fireball at a weak fixture to bring down a platform.

What game is complete without cool weapons? Wheel of Time is loaded with great weapons, there are a total of forty different Ter'Angreal which Elayna can use. All of the Ter'Angreal are pooled into one of ten categories, which are then in turn selected by repeated key strokes of the 0-9 keypad numbers. Most of the Ter'Angreal are used as weapons or have a direct combat relation, such as a shield or protection from something, but there are also some Ter'Angreal that simply search for an enemy target or seal. The appropriate required Ter'Angreal are provided in the locations, most of these teleporting and searching Ter'Angreal will regenerate in their appropriate locations once used. Some of the cooler Ter'Angreal include land mine type traps and guided plasma balls. One word of caution, Elayna's default air blast weapon is one of the weakest and crappiest lamest excuses for a weapon, ever.

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Added:  Thursday, December 23, 1999
Reviewer:  Chris Kim
Page: 2/5

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