Genre: Role-playing (RPG)
Perspective: 1st-person, Top-down
Gameplay: Puzzle elements
Published by: Broderbund Software
Developed by: Digital Studios Limited
The main game screen of The Dark Heart of Uukrul is made in a VGA palette of 256 colors and consists of several information panels and a small window through which the player looks into the game world. The battles take place in the form of tactical battles like Betrayal at Krondor. The game is controlled exclusively from the keyboard, all commands available at any time are listed on a special panel. There is no sound in the game.
The plot of the game is extremely simple: the player leads a group of four characters (warrior, paladin, mage and priest - the composition of the group is predetermined) through kilometers of corridors, halls and caves of the piedmont kingdom of Eriosthe, destroying monsters, collecting artifacts, solving puzzles and trying to save the kingdom from the evil tyranny Uukrul. That's just in fact the game is much more interesting than its plot.
First, they are puzzles. There are many, they are complex, and completely logical. For each riddle in the game, you can find a clue, clues are in a variety of places - they just need to be able to find and connect with each other.
Secondly, it's the atmosphere. It's hard to imagine that 256 colors can create an atmosphere of tension, but it's true. Secrets begin to appear in the walls of the corridors, it seems that as soon as you turn a corner, a flock of hungry rats will attack the group, and if a hiss is heard behind a closed door, an immediate desire arises to run to the nearest sanctuary and make a fresh backup. It is worth noting that a large part of the atmosphere is created by text descriptions of what is happening on the review screen: to fully immerse yourself in the atmosphere, you need to know English well, there are no cracks for the game.
Third, it's magic. Many are accustomed to the fact that spells are used at the touch of a button - forget about it, here, in order to cast a spell or prayer, you need to “read” it, enter its name from the keyboard. If the spell is read incorrectly, there will be no chance to repeat it, because precious time has already been spent. It is even more difficult for a priest: it is important not only to “read” the prayer correctly, but also to assess how justified it is in a given situation. After all, the gods are suspicious and may not only not answer if they consider that their intervention is not necessary, but also punish the priest for having disturbed them in vain.
Movement around the kingdom is organized in a friendly way: Sanctuaries are scattered throughout the dungeon, which are combined with an extensive system of teleporters. The automatic map helps a lot to navigate, but you still have to keep the general plan of the city in your head or on paper: a huge number of stairs, hatches and teleporters can easily confuse anyone.
Fans of picking up everything that lies badly will not remain in the loser: there are a lot of things and objects in the game. Almost everything is worth some money in the store, almost everything can be bought, sold ... or broken. It doesn't matter how expensive your weapon is and how many thousands of coins you paid for the shield: everything deteriorates over time, and there one awkward blow - and the thing is broken. The only hope in this case is the blacksmith. But not everything will be able to be repaired ... For example, a broken wooden staff can be safely thrown away - in the forge it can only be used for firewood. But in the same place, for a certain (and, by the way, very considerable) reward, they can easily reforge a sword or fix a damaged shield.
Do not forget about the needs of the group - your characters are people too, and they also want to eat. There is always, there is everywhere, in any condition and in any situation, especially on vacation when recovering from wounds. So it will be useful to buy food "to the eyeballs", even if a long trip is not planned: who knows, what if the next teleporter will only work in one direction?
And finally, death here is not the end at all. The body of a deceased comrade can be brought to the temple before it completely decomposes, and try to breathe life into the body again, but even if this did not work out, there is always a Guild - you can hire another character of the same class as the lost one. Most often, the replacement, of course, is unequal, because the experience gained by the character cannot be bought...
And even if the whole group dies in a battle with an unequal opponent, the bodies will definitely be discovered by a stranger passing by and will take them to the temple, paying, moreover, for the resurrection of one of the group members - the terrible phrase "Game Over" in the game The Dark Heart of Uukrul no. As, in fact, there is no generally accepted saving here - the game automatically saves the progress of the group at certain moments, for example, at the beginning of the tactical phase. The only way to "save" is the ability to make a copy (backup) of the current state of the game in any Sanctuary.
For a comfortable game in The Dark Heart of Uukrul, you definitely need: a notebook and a pen (a lot of information falls out on the player during the journey, both in the form of texts and in the form of map fragments), a game guide, which is detailed and simply explains the opaque moments, and most importantly - contains in the form of applications "The Book of Spells" and "The Book of Prayers", without which the wizard and priest will become almost dead and useless weight for the group. These two books contain the "names" of spells and prayers, as well as a description of their actions ... But the form of the description (especially in the prayer book) is very original.