Arcanum - Box

Ages Mature

Arcanum - ,def. Mysterious knowledge known only to the initiate. And so begins a role playing game that perversely combines new technology with old magick. Your dirigible crashes on Arcanum leaving only your character - for a multiplayer game there can be up to eight survivors. You can choose a predefined character, or with the character generator modify the many stats, spells and disciplines available. I chose the female elvin character who didn't look anything like the one on the front of the box - except for the ears. I think we need a little more of ‘truth in advertising' in box art.

Conversation between characters is initiated by clicking on phrases on the screen. Travel can be expedited by plotting a destination on the world map once you have passed the first level. The dichotomy between technology and magick, new and old creates an unusual setting for a game and makes for some interesting encounters. The manual reads like a novel but would have been much more helpful if it had an index.

Editor Review 11/01

Arcanum is a game based on many great RPGs and movies. The RPG that I see the game based most prominently on is Baldur's Gate. In that game you are the son of a god and in Arcanum you are supposedly the reincarnation of an Elvin god. There is a cave in one of the towns with bones all scattered in it. A rabbit is hopping around the bones. I believe this is based on the movie Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail. In this movie the most powerful monster is a rabbit that flies around and has bones all strewn around in its cave. Arcanum is different from other RPGs because it has technology as well as magick. Other than that it is pretty much the same.

In Arcanum the combination of technology and magick allows technology to counteract magick and vice versa. A well-trained technologist has a hard time being hit by any spells and the same is true a mage: they are difficult for a technologist to shoot. There are different classes of magick as well as technologies. Magick has healing, good necromantic, and evil necromantic, to name a few classes. Technology has electricity, explosives, smithy, gun smithy, medicine, chemistry, therapeutics, and mechanical classes. High level technologists aren't allowed to go into places that sell magical items and high mages aren't allowed to go into to places that sell technology.

When you begin the game, you can either create your own character or pick a pre-made character. I don't think there are enough choices in the pre-made characters so I always make my own. You begin the game by picking your name, race, gender and picture. You can also choose a background if you want to. Unlike other RPGs you don't have to choose a specific class. Your class can evolve with you during the game. Some races have modification to specific abilities. For example, halflings start out with high dexterity and half ogres start out with high strength but half ogres are also very, very dumb. Next you can improve your abilities, increase your hit points and fatigue points, choose whether you will be proficient in technology or magick or specific fields. Then you buy your equipment and begin your quest.

Arcanum has pretty good graphics and the movie graphics are great. The only bad thing is the incredible load time at the start. The game play is good because you can customize it to your playing style. The Elvin lady on the box is supposedly at the Isle of Despair but I think that she is one of the NPCs or even someone0x92s player character. I think anyone who likes RPGs would like Arcanum because you can be a male or a female character.

The game is rated mature for strong sexual content. There is supposedly a brothel in the city of Tarant but I have never encountered any one from it.

Reviewed by Review by MSR

  • Arcanum
  • © Sierra $44.99
  • Windows 95/98/2000/Me
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