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Publisher: Virtual Programming    Genre: Adventure & RPG
Min OS X: 10.4    CPU: G4 @ 1500 MHz    RAM: 512 MB    Hard Disk: 2500 MB    Graphics: 64 MB VRAM

Kult: Heretic Kingdoms
February 16, 2007 | Michael Scarpelli

Click to enlarge

Probably my favorite backdrop in the game. No, I don't know why there's a dragon on ice.
Kult: Heretic Kingdoms is, in the quickest summation, a Diablo clone. It’s a little unfair, by and large, to define titles by others in the genre that simply had the good fortune to come first, but in this case the comparison is well deserved.

Developed by 3D People and distributed by Virtual Programming, Kult is an isometric point and click, hack and slash RPG that takes place in a medieval fantasy world (Diablo). The fact that the storyline to the game is interesting doesn’t save the format of the game from being derivative. Where 3D People earns marks, however, is in some of their small innovations. After all, there are dozens of first person shooter titles released every year, and we don’t fault them for all following the same basic gameplay paradigm, but we do praise them for their little extras. With a title like this, the gravy is in the details. So, let’s create a funky metaphor as I ask you to jump in my gravy boat to sail around and see what Kult does to entice gamers into the, by now, tried and true isometric RPG world.

The premise of the world in Kult was instantly intriguing, even for a long time RPG gamer who has pretty much seen and heard all the RPG clichés out there (even Kult can’t escape the “orphaned child who is raised to be something special and turns out to be part of a prophecy” plotline). Alita, the heroine of the title, is an Inquisitor in Kult, responsible for ensuring that the lands remain devoid of religion. In the not too distant past a powerful blade known as the Godslayer Sword was wielded by a member of the Arkor bloodline, who used its power to declare himself theocrat, a king ruling in the name of a god, and to bend the land to his cruel will. After his downfall, the Godslayer was spirited away to be guarded by monks and religion was purged from the land.

The story takes a good deal of twists and turns, some of which are seemingly out of left field, but manages to remain interesting. It can be tough to follow all the names, and gamers in this genre tend to be click-happy, ignoring the story text anyway, but 3D People built a fairly admirable world to stage their game in. There’s an interesting interplay of races and groups, some secret societies and a healthy backstory of wars and conflicts to build the present day upon.

While the tale being told is interesting, the character you play in it somehow rang false to me the entire time I was playing the game. Part of this is the totally lackluster character creation screen, which gives you choices of **GASP** both hair and outfit for your character who, as a female, must of course be totally scantily clad. From there, you can focus on your initial elemental alignment, attunements and assign points to your four modifiable attributes: Melee, Ranged, Magic and Speed. More on this later. For now, though, the Alita that you are introduced to is a very dry and very sarcastic character. Alita clearly has a chip on her shoulder and the backstory explains why. However, in a medieval world where everyone else is at the very least respectful, it’s odd to be playing a character who sounds, for lack of a better way to explain it, so modern. It’s something that never really goes away, either. It left me never really liking the character I was meant to be playing.


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