Return Of The Ring
By Wintersoft
Dragon 32

Published in Computer & Video Games #39

Return Of The Ring

The Dragon is dead. Long live the Dragon!

At almost the same time as Dragon Data has disappeared from the scene, the quality of new Dragon adventures has suddenly risen, like a phoenix from the ashes. Scott Adams is releasing his series for the machine and one of the original producers of Dragon software, Wintersoft, has come back with a vengeance after a year's absence, with a game fighting to be recognised as one of the classics of all time: Return Of The Ring.

This game is the sequel to Ring Of Darkness and, for once, a sequel has proved to be better than the original.

Return Of The Ring

What is the objective? "Guardian of Shedir is defeated. The hordes of the evil sage lie at bay. Now, Ringbearer, wielder of the four rings, must face the greatest challenge - to return the Ring of Darkness to its creators in Ringworld."

As in Ring Of Darkness, this game starts off in Dungeons and Dragons style, with character creation. There is a slight difference here, with a new attribute called Regeneration. You have 50 points to distribute amongst the attribute fields and each field must have at least ten. A small hint now - make the Regenerations about 15 if you want to get anywhere in this game!

Having designed your character, you must load the main game in from the tape. I called my character Pink Fairy and he was a Dwarf Technician with 15 points per field. So persona intacta, the game started and I was suddenly thrown into the world of Shedir.

Return Of The Ring

Once out of the regeneration room, I found myself in a 3D maze complex. Hunting around, I found various things, including mutants who could be either friendly or, more to be expected, very unfriendly. Amongst all this were to be found portals to different worlds. By using one of these, you can be transported into almsot another adventure, but because of memory limitations some worlds have to be loaded in from tape.

Theone world that you must visit and I urge you to visit first is the Krell village - but watch your pockets as the locals are a bunch of thieves! The village is drawn in hi-res, as are most locations. In one of the buildings is King Cebar who gives you a mission to obtain the Hamless sack. Steal it!

The game is full of these little tasks (little, he says - didn't seem like it at the time!). Once the tasks have all been completed and the Ring of Time constructed, you are transported to Ringworld. Ringworld is a text-only adventure and this too must be loaded in from the tape. If my calculations are correct, you have over 90K of game for £10.

Return Of The Ring

The interactive characters are very useful to you, for you cannot solve the game without their help. As in The Hobbit, however, some of their movements seem a bit random. Unlikely as it may seem for a Pink Fairy, the Princess Xandra is my favourite. She certainly seems to be the most useful character but, had I played the game in a different way, then maybe someone else would have been more important to me.

If you enjoy your sleep, then don't buy Return Of The Ring. If you are an insoniac, like me, then buy it and rejoice in the thought that you are playing the best ever game for the Dragon.

Return Of The Ring is for the Dragon from Wintersoft, priced £10.

Keith Campbell

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