Games Convention Special
Tale of Hero
Developer: Future Games
Release date: 1Q2007
a preview by MaryScots 28th August 2006
Martin Malík und Marcel peta of Future Games have been kind enough to provide me with a pre alpha demo and some screenshots from their fantasy-fairy tale adventure game Tale of a Hero, which is currently in production. Although they have not yet contracted the game to a German publisher I wouldnt want to keep my first-hand impressions from you any longer. As the part I was able to play is taken from somewhere in the middle of the game and is therefore rather out of context, I will let the text from the info flyer tell you about the story:
"In a small village on the lakes shore lives our young fisher Olaf. His father was the greatest hero of the Green Kingdom, but he was exiled together with his family after refusing to lead a meaningless war for the sake of his kings pride. He raised his son all alone after his wife had died and taught him not only the art of protecting people from various dangerous creatures, such as dragons, giants or cave monsters, but also to become a respected hero and a good man.
When Olaf had turned 20, his father died. For the next five years he was living a peaceful life as a fisher, spiced by small adventures here and there. He fell in love with a daughter of the innkeeper and became engaged to her. Days were full of hard work and happiness, until the witch from the nearby swamps, a friend of Olafs father, came with a message from the court wizard of the Green Kingdom.
An old enemy, the snow giant Krugell, woke up from his 30 years sleep. One of his favourite brothers, the fire dragon, had been killed by Olafs father upon kings order and for this act Krugell now seeks revenge. He kidnapped princess Erea and is looking for Olafs family members to kill them all. It is up to Olaf to run and hide or to strike first, defeat the evil giant and rescue the princess, the only person who raised her voice to defend Olafs fathers honour.
The crown and people need their hero. When such a hero is dead, can the blood of his blood replace him? Will Olaf find the strength to defeat the mighty opponent, before he finds and kills him? And most importantly how will Olaf explain to his love, that he cant go to the annual festival with her, for he rushes into an adventure which involves another woman?"
Tale of a Hero is a 3rd person point & click adventure. Its being developed with Future Games own AGDS engine and the demo won me over by presenting a beautiful underwater world, into which our hero can descend and stay there without losing his breath thanks to a spell he was taught by his father. That would be dreadful anyway, as he is on a mission to find a magical artefact named Gods Breath said to have sunken to the ground onboard a ship.
Knowing The Black Mirror and NiBiRu I have no doubts that the world above water level will be just as rich in detail and animation. Underwater, however, colourful sea plants glow, shoals of tiny fishes are swimming by and our hero moves through the cool floods with strong but lithe strokes. Exits from the scene as well as not yet examined hotspots will be indicated by a question mark added to the cursor until we explore the location or the object afterwards the respective description will appear. By double clicking we can instantly move on to the next screen, by left click we examine hotspots and also pick up/use items and by clicking the right mouse button we will get comments. On top of the screen the inventory appears on mouse over, while the bottom part is reserved for dialog topics being shown as small pictures.
All the puzzles I encountered in this already rather extensive underwater area consisted in finding and the correct manipulation and combination of objects. For example, in one location my progress was stopped by the souls of drowned sailors, whom I had to help find eternal peace by means of a magical talisman in order to proceed. The soul of the Captain, on the other hand, was bound to its place by a stronger power and as he didnt really interfere with my exploration and was also rather lonely I stayed for a long chat and learned some very interesting things. The dialogues arent final yet but some of them were quite funny nonetheless. I especially had to laugh about a big clam, which opened its mouth so wide laughing that it got a cramp, couldnt open it anymore and only uttered hmph-sounds. Of course, its the task of our hero to cure the clam. Then, there was a whale taking a rest on the bottom of the sea and when I addressed him his irritated reply was: Gimme a break, boy, this is just demo we can talk in the full version! Ok, thats not the final dialogue and everybody only spoke in text form like I said, its an early demo version but I got an impression of the quality and the humour, which surely wont be missing.
The games 2D-backgrounds have a resolution of 1024*768 in true colour with 3D character animation and realistic visual effects, which for example show by the rays of sunlight piercing through the water surface and small bubbles spiralling from the ground. During four chapters we will visit 70 locations with 25 NPCs, all this accompanied by atmospheric music already playing softly and harmonically in the demo; and I also got a slight impression of the matching sound effects on top of that. Last but not least, professional voice-acting is planned. Martin Malík explained that the current state of development would allow a release within the first quarter of 2007 in Germany if a publisher would be found.
Tale of a Hero stands out from the majority of available and announced adventure games in a refreshing way. I for one had a lot of fun with the short demo and it whet my appetite for more. It would be great to once again play a fantasy-fairy tale adventure game, which has not been designed for children in the first place but also appeals to adults.