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Publisher: Ambrosia Software    Genre: Adventure & RPG
Min OS X: Any Version    CPU: 601    RAM: 110 MB    Hard Disk: 120 MB    Graphics: 800x600 @ 16-bit

Pillars of Garendall
November 15, 2001 | Chris Barylick

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a brave warrior in medieval times (the treasure, the groupies, the profit sharing...) Yes, I’d pull my strong yet flexible armor over my rippling muscles, don my fearsome weaponry and go slay hideous dragons to rescue beautiful maidens in varying degrees of distress.

Unfortunately, this hasn’t panned out as well as I hoped it would. “Heroic Warrior” positions tend to run a bit thin in the classifieds (they’re right under the ads for “daredevil”) and grad school applications have gotten in the way of my true calling. Luckily, Ambrosia Software and Beenox, Inc. have stepped forward to fill this particular void in my life with a single, well-executed role-playing game.

Pillars of Garendall is the product of more than a year’s cooperation between Ambrosia Software and Beenox. Inc. The first complete role-playing game developed with Beenox’s Coldstone Game Engine, Pillars of Garendall demonstrates the potential of the Coldstone program once it becomes available to the public for both the Macintosh and Windows platforms.

The premise of Pillars of Garendall, while not original in and of itself, is complete enough to hold its own. Gidolan Keep has fallen prey to the attacks of giants and monsters that seem to have arisen from nowhere. The invading force seems unstoppable, Gidolan Keep’s walls and towers crumbling as if they were nothing more than toys. The decision is made to draw everyone into the Keep itself as a last resort. As the enemy thrashes at the final defenses, the queen assigns you, the kingdom’s riding master, the task of finding the king’s brother and summoning reinforcements. Armed with only a mysterious blue dragon’s tooth, a small dagger and a few gold pieces, you awaken only to collapse in front of the gates of a small town called Fantrima.

Not a bad start. And it gets better. There are a dozens of missions, quests and tasks your character must complete throughout the game, which rapidly expands as you talk with surrounding characters and discover problems that need to be resolved. Additionally, there’s no set order as to how things need to be done to achieve your final goal. Players are allowed to solve the game’s tasks at their own pace.

When a player first launches Pillars of Garendall, it might not be what they expect. The look and feel isn’t typical of the new styles present in the top selling role-playing games on the shelves these days (the Baldur’s Gate and Diablo series), nor is it representative of the Mac shareware RPG classics many players grew up with in the early 90’s (Exile). This is a mix of the two. Well-textured 2-D sprites have been inserted onto a 3-D tile environment with graphics that lean toward the style found in the higher-end shareware RPG titles.


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