Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Nerdicus NES Review #10 : Advanced D&D : Hillsfar


Title : Advanced D&D : Hillsfar

Publisher : FCI

Release Date : 1993

Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $25-$50

LET'S SUCK VIDEO : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNvm5XFQlng

It's beginning to look like there is no saving the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons games for the NES. Just when I thought it couldn't get much worse with Heroes of the Lance, in comes Hillsfar. At least with Heroes of the Lance, I had some sense of what I was meant to do. With Hillsfar, you're thrown into a giant city and just left to your own devices. Get ready for some epic D&D adventuring!

Sarcasm folks. Sarcasm.

Looks can be deceiving....this city is a trap of boredom

This game tries its best to act like a pen and paper RPG, but it falls way short. For the most part this game consists of you either breaking into a house trying to steal treasures, wandering around a maze or dungeon, or riding on your horse to a dull location that's even worse than Hillsfar. It's basically find a task for your guild, find a clue for the task, go break into some houses or dungeons, finish the task, rinse and repeat. And none of the tasks are really that adventurous.

Reminds me of Baldurs Gate...just..worse..

You're given the option to create your own customized character at the start, but it really doesn't matter what your stats are or what your class is. I found that if you just get choose any class and re-roll until you get str and dexterity at 18 you can beat this game in its entirety pretty easily. No reason to re-play with another class unless you're absolutely curious about the other quests that are class-dependent. But trust me, you don't want to suffer through this more than once.

Reminds me of Robin Hood : Prince of Thieves horseback riding...
The game starts off with a little bit of horseback riding (pictured above). After all what D&D adventure is without a bit of travelling. Unfortunately, horseback riding is like a bad mini game. And there's plenty of bad mini games in Hillsfar from the above monstrosity to archery and arena battles. With your trusty steed you ride to Hillsfar where your adventure begins. This is where you will do most of your "quest-gathering" and "clue-hunting".

What an ugly looking town map.
So depending on what your class is, your first goal is to find your guild. This is where you'll get your quests for the duration of the game. Have fun finding your guild, though. You'll have to pretty much guess which one of these buildings is it. But even if you can find it, you can break into most of the houses anyway and steal from the townsfolk before the guards arrive. Most, if not all of the game is like this. Traversing a maze (whether it's the dungeon you're in, or the house you're in), finding treasure under a time limit, and getting out. You would think you would be able to fight your way out, but not really. Combat is so limited in this game it's a joke.

It's a really bad version of the lock picking in Elder Scrolls

No I just want to leave it here. OPEN IT!
Now as I said before, if traversing mazes, or riding horses do other areas of the map outside Hillsfar aren't your thing, you can always battle in the arena. Which is probably equally as bad. You just have a few attack options as it's just another lame mini game. Swing high, swing low, block, or dodge. Spamming attacks usually equals a quick victory. The enemies are dumb as bricks in the arena.
The orcs name is Lefty......oooookayy
Hillsfar is ambitious, I'll give it that. But it's waaaaay too ambitious for the NES. I can sense the early design stages of the Baldurs Gate series in here, but thankfully Baldurs Gate is nothing like this. If you have patience though, and you don't mind the monotony of the quest design, you'd be surprised to find an interesting story lies hidden beneath the horrible mechanics. I had played through this game as a youngin, but I don't even remember if I knew what I was doing back then. If you're a fan of D&D, give it a shot, but keep your expectations low.

There's one more Advanced D&D game left, so let's hope it's at least a tad better than the last two.

Until next time. Keep on Gaming.



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