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Publisher: GraphSim Entertainment    Genre: Adventure & RPG
Min OS X: Not Supported    CPU: G3 @ 300 MHz    RAM: 64 MB    Hard Disk: 800 MB    8x CD-ROM

July 1, 2001 | Chris Barylick

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When a person puts time and effort into their work, it shows. The same logic applies to video games. Volition, Inc. has ported over nothing less than an outstanding Mac version of Summoner.

Summoner, a role-playing fantasy game based in the land of Medeva, follows the life of Joseph, a poor farmer born with the mark of the Summoner. At the age of 9 while trying to protect his village from raiders, Joseph summoned a demon that was too powerful for him to control. The demon then destroyed everything in its path, including Joseph's friends and loved ones. When all settles, the surviving townsfolk banish Joseph to Masad, where he vows never to summon again and hopes to live as a simple farmer.

These hopes are dashed when outside forces push Joseph to fulfill his destiny. The evil emperor Murod has discovered a prophecy that a Summoner will overthrow him and bring peace to the land. As the village of Masad is razed by Murod's agents, Joseph flees to Lenele City in hopes of finding his former master and friend, Yago.

Vast, detailed, and amazing, Summoner is unlike any role playing game ever released for the Macintosh, creating nothing less than an entire world for the player to explore.

From the very beginning, Summoner draws the player in and never lets go. The first moments of the game are incredible, players find themselves in the middle of a burning village with nothing more than a short sword with which to defend against several advancing mercenaries. This experience is nothing short of complete immersion. Summoner uses an adjustable camera angle that's somewhere between a first-person and third-person experience (similar to a floating camera placed about 20 feet behind the person's back and above their shoulder). The overall effect is amazing. Players are able to zoom the camera in and out of the action as well as move it left or right. This innovative new camera angle gives you tons of new information as to what tactics to use in battle.

Summoner's graphics team has gone above and beyond the call of duty. Summoner features entire cities, towns, and levels to explore and hundreds of non-player characters to interact with. The characters, animation, textures, and effects in Summoner are beyond compare. Objects such as water and smoke have realistic physics and reflections while animations are smooth and fluid. The final effect is nothing short of jaw-dropping.

Combat and gameplay are a bit unfamiliar, but something that can be warmed up to very quickly. When Joseph starts out on his quest, he's a bit more realistic than one might expect. This is simply a poor farmer with a short sword and a simple Heal spell with which to defend himself. There is no real fighting ability or giant weapon of mass destruction to destroy every enemy on the screen with (this comes later, and when you see it, you're going to love it). Players must gradually build their character's fighting abilities, killing low-level enemies to earn experience points as well as skill points that players can use to strengthen individual attributes for Joseph or whoever ends up fighting with him in his party. Your character begins weak and must become stronger, which makes for a terrific bit of reality in a fantasy video game.


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