Back to Adventure-Archiv starting page
Diese Seite auf deutsch
A review by slydos 3rd March 2002
"Talisman" is a German point&click adventure from the year 1995. Similar to "Höhlenwelt-Saga" there were unfortunately no more language versions. It was re-released together with "Fable" in the 2in1-series and is at present available at budget price. "Talisman" is a DOS-game, can however be installed and played problem-free under WIN95. It didn't work with ME however.
After the starting picture, accompanied by the beautiful title song, you can watch a comic slide-show, which tells us the prehistory. Full of expression are however not only the comics but also the voice of the storyteller, by the way also all other voices, which we can enjoy in the later process.
Somewhere in space and time there is the fantasy world Thurania. Thurania is inhabited by elves, dwarves and animal people. Magic is one of the decisive forces of this world, which is used both by white and black sorcerers. Black magic already produces in the dim and distant past some beings and new races, which serve dark powers: Rat people, ghosts, vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghuls and other creatures, who partly have magic abilities too.
Thurania was never an idyllic dreamland. There were power-thursty kings, powerful trade towns and trade guilds, that all strove for supremacy. But actually there was enough place in Thurangia for all, as long as the forces remained in balance. But from another dimension demons penetrated, probably with the assistance of black magicians. They have superior magic forces and nobody seems to be a match for them.
For 20 years the demons are now subjugating the world of Thurangia. We meet Alex, the hero of our game, as little child. He lives together with his grandfather, the last white magician of Thurangia, in the medieval looking city of Amria. When the demon hordes attack the city, he knows he has not much time left, to initiate the boy into the secret of the magic stone, which is called "Talisman". Alex must watch, how his grandfather is killed and he himself is kidnapped by the Golans, which follow the demons looting and robbing.
10 years later Alex awakes like so often from always the same nightmare in his room in the cave world of the Golans. Although the now 18 year old Alex was well treated by the Golans, he does not trust them and the Despot Shakaan. Alex wants to leave the cave world, find the talisman and fight the demons. Big tasks lie in front of him and the player, who now takes over the control.
The game is totally mouse-controlled and offers much other comfort. Hotspots are marked not only by screen texts (above the actual game area), but are also spoken at the same time. Of course one can turn speech off, but in some places it can be helpful. Likewise spoken are the actions, which can be applied to an object, so that finally complete spoken sentences are formed, if you want to use e.g. an inventory item with an object at the screen.
The inventory is - depending upon main menu selection - always visible at the bottom of the screen or only if you click in the lower display area. It gets scrollable as soon as one takes up too many objects to display. If you click on an inventory- or screen-object with the left mouse button, a four-part object menu opens in shape of a parchment, in which the executable actions are represented as icons. It's usually about verbs like "look", "use", "open" or "take", sometimes also different verbs are added, e.g. "ignite". If icons are pale they cannot be selected.
But we don't need the context menu, to talk to characters. A simple click will do. We meet e.g. dwarves and demons, sea-snake-drivers and a jinee, a zombie, businesspeople and werewolves... It can happen during conversations that you get or give an object.
Our hero cannot simply walk to another spot, that is not a hotspot. This restriction of the freedom of movement prevents e.g. that our hero (3D-character on 2D background) runs into items or walls and the graphics could become incorrect and unattractive.
One simply reaches the main menu, by leaving the action screen upward with the mouse and clicking on the now visible word "Hauptmenü". The following text menu covers the screen like a transparent teletext. Unfortunately the developers selected here a very much squiggle, illegible font, which is also used for the text-input of savegames. Here the gamers must take a closer look, to be able to recognize the text.
Main menu options: Here one can save or load up to five savegames. Unfortunately the savegames don't store the game settings, like "sound off" or "let hero run faster", so that these settings must always be accomplished again when restarting. In addition one can switch off/on the music and decide, whether one wants the inventory shown constantly or not. With the option "no animated mouse-pointer" one can switch off the animated hand-cursor. If one deselects "show windows", the roll out of the text windows and function menus is prevented, likewise one can switch on/off the acoustic output of the text messages in the info line. line. Finally one can let run Alex faster or more slowly.
The background graphics of the many, most different scenes of the fantasy kingdom are designed really imaginative and highly detailed. Be it the underground cave world, in which our hero is kept imprisoned at the beginning, the desert world Toofh, the devastated hometown Amria, the ports or also the dwarf world among others.
"Talisman" is one of the first adventures in Super VGA with real time animated 3D-characters. However the facial features of the otherwise well proportioned characters are missing They are only an indication of. From some distance that is surely not bad, but in some close-ups mimic and expression are missing. There are also no speech animations, i.e. our hero neither twists the face nor moves the mouth and there are also no supporting body movements. On the other hand I often had to smile, when he approaches an object, in order to e. g. look at it. He then turns his head and torso towards the object (similar to Grim Fandango), sometimes however he passes the object a bit, then turns around to look at it, which sometimes works quite matching, sometimes quite funny. Animations are almost exclusively limited to our hero. Other characters remain usually motionless at the spot, at which we saw them first. We should still consider that the game is already 8 years old and can really compete with comparable products of today.
The partial serious, usually however funny texts, are always expressionful spoken and please from the first second. Likewise the two songs composed particularly for the game and the pieces of background music, which can be played independently from CD in an audio device.
You have to find objects, combine and use them in the correct place. In addition you have to speek to a lot of people. Sometimes you can only get on when you've already lead a certain branch of the conversation. During the course of the game new dialogue branches can appear with the same interlocutors, so one must pay attention here, to speak with the participants more often. The same with objects. It can also happen in this linear game, that a certain action, e.g. the opening of a chest, can only be executed if you've made something else before or you can take up an object only if you have spoken a certain dialogue line.
The difficulty level is ascending, however there are no unsolvable passages. If you however rely on pure try and error, then you'll have something to do, because as game time goes by, a huge number of inventory objects will be gathered. In addition not all inventory objects have a use and not each interesting hotspot can actually be interacted with.
There is no labyrinth to cope with - excluded... - well, there was a kind of labyrinth, which has to be defeated however in a complete different manner. Surprisingsly for me the fact that one cannot die at all in this adventure game, since there are some risky situations and the bad opponents threaten with all possible means. But it stays with threats, one is imprisoned or goes astray here and there, but that belongs to the game and cannot be avoided. There are thus no "punishments" for wrong questions or wrong acting. So you come along with the 6 save slots. There are no action or arcade sequences - "Talisman" is a 100% adventure game.
Altogether a fantasy adventure, which captures you for a long time. If you compare the gaming length with the recently released "Verschollen auf Lost Island" it's surely 3 times as long. The graphics of the 8 years old game are to be proud of and just as great are speech, music and sound and also the handling satisfied. In a word, little money for a large quantity of adventure with a sophisticated background story: about this story you can read a lot in the 30 page, colored manual. You can feel, how much heart and soul the developer team puts in story and puzzles and the result is a really totally entertaining adventure game. There are only little things to criticize, e.g. the graphics of the hero or the illegible texts in the menu and savegames.
- 80% - 100% excellent game, very recommendable
- 70% - 79% good game, recommendable
- 60% - 69% satisfactory, restricted recommendable
- 50% - 59% sufficient (not very recommendable)
- 40% - 49% rather deficient (not to be recommended - for Hardcore-Adventure-Freaks and collectors only)
- 0% - 39% worst (don't put your fingers on it)
Minimal system requirements:
- 486/33 Mhz
- MS-DOS 5.0 or higher
- 8 MB
- SVGA graphic card (VESA compatible)
- supports Soundblaster and compatible sound cards
- 2x CDROM-drive
- min. 4 MB on hard disk
- Windows 95
- PII 233 MHz
- 64 MB RAM
- 4 MB graphic card
- 16bit sound card
- 24x CDROM-drive
Last conversation with grandpa
An object menu window
Talking in the men's restroom
Lava falls in the world of the dwarves
Beautiful animation sequences after each chapter
The fortress of the demons
Can Alex pass?
Flight from ghostship
A tricky maze?
Alex just has to stop and think
The world of the elves on a flying island
Zombies and other undead
What do the ruins hide?
A caravan in the desert
Will Alex be able to leave for Amria?