|Publisher: GraphSim Entertainment Genre: Adventure & RPG Expansion For: Baldur's Gate|
|Min OS X: Not Supported CPU: 601 @ 200 MHz RAM: 64 MB 4x CD-ROM Graphics: 640x480 @ 16-bit|
Ahhh, finally Mac loving adventurers can once again don their full plate mail and smite new enemies throughout the Forgotten Realms. That’s right, GraphSim has released the much-anticipated Baldur’s Gate expansion pack, Tales of the Sword Coast. So, does it live up to the hype? Is it worth the price of a half elf Enchanter’s blood? Will playing Tales of the Sword Coast (TotSC) help bring about never ending world peace? Yes, yes and MAYBE…
GameplayTales of the Sword Coast features a multitude of gameplay enhancements, as well as four entirely new areas to explore and conquer. These new areas are chalked full of experience points (thanks to a raise in the experience point cap, you’ll even be able to USE the new points ;-) ) and very challenging. These additional areas are as follows: Ulgoth’s Beard (a small town to the East of Baldur’s Gate), an Ice Cavern full of pesky mages, an Uncharted Island in the sea to the West of Candlekeep and the infamous Durlag’s Tower. These new areas may either be accessed by loading the “Final Save” after defeating Sarevok upon which your party will be taken to Ulgoth’s Beard or by making the journey to Ulgoth’s Beard manually. After TotSC’s areas are completed, Sarevok will have to be dispatched once more due to the fact that TotSC takes place before his demise. Anyone who wants to transfer their character from Baldur’s Gate into the upcoming Baldur’s Gate II will find Tales of the Sword Coast to be a must have. TotSC’s innumerable quests and battles will turn any level 6 wimp into a level 12 dynamo.
Of the four new areas in Tales of the Sword Coast, my personal favorite is the Ice Cavern. It’s an interesting little place in the middle of the sea that seems to be an energy magnet. Thus, any mage practicing a particularly powerful spell or teleporting in the area runs the risk of being sucked into the cavern, unable to use their powers to escape. Needless to say, the mages who’ve unexpectedly taken up residence in the cavern are none too pleased. There is just something amusing about a bunch of arrogant, bitter mages trapped by their own power.
Durlag’s Tower, however, will keep players most busy. A skilled thief with an extremely high find/remove traps rating is essential to surviving Durlag’s vile Tower. One wrong step can spawn a fireball or deadly stinking cloud, painfully slaughtering a clumsy party. It’s quite unnerving to hear that clicking sound every trap makes and watching your entire party die in a spray of blood & fire. The Tower’s puzzles involve finding special items to give to certain NPCs or activating the correct combination of switches to unlock pesky doors. None of these puzzles are quite as difficult as Myst or Riven, but fun just the same.
Another cool feature of Durlag’s Tower is the use of scattered corpses to foreshadow danger. Entering a hallway with 50 dead bodies strewn about usually means trouble is afoot. Durlag’s wretched Tower also houses some of the most vicious creatures in the Forgotten Realms including; Doom Guards, Skeleton Warriors, Greater Doppelgangers, Greater Wyverns, the list is endless. Before saving my game, I stumbled into a family of Greater Basilisks who were quite unhappy with my visit and inhospitably turned my party to stone. It was a most unfortunate turn of events.