Genre: Role-Playing (RPG)
Gameplay: Action RPG
Published by: New World Computing
Developed by: DreamForge Intertainment
Not a bad dungeon crawl RPG. It is worth clarifying that these games are first-person RPGs with one or more characters, the main part of which is spent exploring mazes and fighting monsters. At the time of my passing this game, that is, in 2013, the genre is not very popular, of the new games I remember only Legend of Grimrock, which was released in 2012. Anvil of Dawn was one of the last games of this genre, released in the mid-1990s. years. And it was, as far as I know, the last commercial discrete movement game of this genre. So let's see what it is.
The plot of the game is simple. The action takes place in the world of Tempest, which was once created by the gods from the great Void. Everything was more or less good, but suddenly a dark overlord appeared, calling himself simply Warlord. Using unprecedented strength, he gathered an army of evil creatures and, leaving the Wasteland, began a conquest to the fertile lands, where people lived in goodness and justice. The armies of good are unable to resist the dark magic wielded by Warlord. And so the sage, who serves as an adviser to the queen of the good lands, casts a cry, to which five different heroes respond. Their task is to penetrate far into the lands captured by darkness, and from there into the lands of evil, find the source of Warlord's magic and destroy it.
The game starts with choosing a character. We will play only for one hero, although, unlike many similar games, the rest of the characters will then meet the selected hero as NPCs with whom you can talk. There is no particular difference between the presented 5 heroes, except for their appearance and initial characteristics. These parameters can be edited - not entirely, but in a fairly wide range. The role-playing system is quite simple: the character has Strength, Endurance, Dexterity and Magic. Strength affects the damage done and the carrying capacity of the hero. Stamina is how much he can fight with a weapon before he gets tired. Both of these parameters determine the starting health level. Dexterity depends on the accuracy of the character's strikes and the chance to dodge enemy strikes. Magic determines the initial level of mana, the speed of its recovery and the power of spells. Health and mana are gradually restored by themselves; there is no such parameter as "hunger". To compensate for the latter, you cannot rest to accelerate recovery.
Of the four weapons that a hero can wield, swords are the most useful. Firstly, it is they who turn out to be the most versatile weapon that allows you to fight almost all opponents, while other types of weapons in some cases are weak. Secondly, the two swords that can be found near the end of the game are the damage leaders of all weapons. Thirdly, with the most powerful enemy boss in the final part of the game, you can only fight with a special sword - other weapons simply do not take it, so if you want to defeat him and complete the game, you will have to pump the skill. It is also worth pumping ranged weapons, because in the middle of the game you can find an extremely useful spear that deals phenomenally high damage when thrown (and only when thrown), but all other types of throwing weapons do little damage and are not very useful. The next type of weapon is axes and hammers: they are not bad, and the best damage hammer can be found much earlier than the best swords, but by the end of the game they are not so useful. The last useful type of weapon is spears. They quite accurately hit some types of opponents even without pumping, but they are the weakest weapons in terms of damage. The aforementioned spear, when thrown, uses the skill of a ranged weapon, and in melee it hits as weakly as the most ordinary spear.
The set of spells is poor, and one cannot say that all of them are worthy of using, but they are available to all heroes, regardless of the level of Magic, the main thing is to find a scroll that allows you to learn the spell, and so that there is enough mana to cast. But this is a small problem, since if you explore the dungeons well, there will be drinks that increase the maximum values of mana and health. The most useful are the Orb of Flesh, which contains a healing spell, and Orb of Earth, which contains a basic attack spell and a spell that increases protection against physical damage up to 100%. The Sphere of Water has three useful spells at once: a temporary freeze of the enemy without causing damage, a vampire spell that simultaneously wounds opponents and heals the hero, and a spell that reflects enemy magic. Also noteworthy is the Lightning Orb for the basic offensive spell in it in case of encountering enemies that are resistant to the spell from the Earth Orb. Everything else has either a very narrow application, or costs an unreasonable amount of mana.
When choosing a character, I recommend making him a pure fighter or magician - there is not much point in making balanced heroes. In the case of choosing the magical path, it will be a little difficult in the first two dungeons, until the hero finds scrolls with decent combat magic, but then it becomes easy. The character-fighter will be strong from the very beginning and will still be able to actively pump magic due to the constant use of the healing spell, which is given at the very beginning of the game.
Anvil of Dawn boasts very beautiful graphics for its time. Large, well-animated enemy sprites that fit nicely into pre-rendered 3D dungeons. Traveling around the world between dungeons is also done in this 3D and looks like short cutscenes. All speech in the game is voiced - both the main characters and the NPC. In general, in every dungeon and in some places in the outside world, there is at least one NPC that you can talk to. This enlivens the game quite well, and the benefits of the oncoming people and creatures can be great: some of them teach the hero useful spells or give the necessary items, while others make it clear what needs to be done in this dungeon, advance the plot and just tell interesting things that shed light on what is happening.
There are games and puzzles in the labyrinths. They're not too difficult, except for a couple of cases. At first, it may not be the most obvious point that many pressure plates need not only be activated by walking over them, but left in the pressed position by placing several stones on top or moving a stone block on them. And in some cases, the plates need to be released after pressing or fixing others. Another element that can make you run through the dungeon comes from the fact that a noticeable part of the magical portals takes the hero to another place with each passage through them. Therefore, it is worth going back and going through them again to get to other places, opening your way and finding useful things. An interesting and notable function is that spells, objects, if thrown there, and even stone blocks, if they are pushed into the portal, freely pass through the portals.
In general, the difficulty of the game is low. The number of opponents in each dungeon is limited, new ones do not appear, and you can always run away from them either outside the dungeon, or just a little further, since the enemies are not very actively pursuing the hero. And after running away, you can calmly heal and wait until mana is restored. On the one hand, such lightness does not characterize the game very well, but on the other hand, it makes it pleasant for those who do not like this genre too much or for whom it is new.
In conclusion, I will say that this game is a pleasant and beautiful dungeon run, which I can recommend to the widest layers of fans of the genre and simply to game lovers. Anvil of Dawn is free to play for novice gamers due to its low complexity and ease of learning. Experienced players may find it a simple but enjoyable way to take a break from the more difficult games. This RPG gave me some interesting evenings, which I wish you too.
P.S. Warning - the game is generally stable, but contains one notable bug. The character has a capacity limit, but there is almost no punishment for exceeding it. If the hero has too many items of the same type in the main inventory or in the bags, then the game will give an error when entering a couple of dungeons. Therefore, you should not be greedy and keep a bunch of healing drinks and mana restoring herbs. You can have a stock of 20 pieces each, but no more. With other items this bug can be easily avoided.