Ever get the feeling you've seen something before? The Legend Of Blacksilver by Epyx, bears a remarkable resemblance to something called Legacy Of The Ancients released by Electronic Arts in October 1987.
The names and places have changed, only the gameplay, castles towns, dungeons and temples remain. Now Legacy Of The Ancients wasn't such a bad game so it follows that Blacksilver isn't so bad either. All the same, if you've already got Ancients and you buy this expecting something different you might be a bit cheesed off.
The plot goes something like this. Baron Taragas has found Blacksilver (the power to raise mountains and drain the very seas) in his mines, and people are getting worried. Princess Aylea is more worried than most. Her dad, the King, raised an army, but got himself kidnapped before he could use it. Careless that.
Anyway, the Princess being bestowed of more mental material than her old man has worked out that someone who can raise mountains isn't going to be that impressed by the raising of an army. So, in an uncharacteristic fit of stupidly she asks this humble serf (i.e. you) to do the job. But don't worry, she doesn't send you off to do the job empty handed. She gives you a white feather (is she trying to tell you something?).
I have to say something about all the stuff you get with the game 'cos it's really quite good. As well as a thick booklet with all the story guff, instructions, hints, descriptions and so on you get a big map and a load of stickers with town names, temples, castles, dungeons and other landmarks that you can place on the map as and when you find them.
Travelling from town to town, city to city and so on can be accomplished on foot or in a boat if you can find one. It's a pretty treacherous business because every now and then you get attacked by wretched beasties like Brian Spate, sorry that should be Brain Spate, screaming numbs, mind trills and so on.
When this happens you can stand and fight or run away. In the early stages when you are in short supply of hit points, food and gold, it pays to be cowardly. Run far enough and sooner or later you will run into a town. Towns are fun places, just like the real thing with people, shops banks, and casinos. Send your little man into one of the buildings and select speak from the menu and you will be greeted with an appropriate response like 'fancy a game of blackjack?' or 'wanna buy some really vicious weapons with which to beat people around the head?', depending on whether you're in the barbers or the church. A short spell in the magic shop won't do you any harm.
So you go from town to town, from castle to dungeon to labyrinth; fighting evil thingies, gambling, stealing, talking, spelling and generally adventuring. The Temples are worth a visit, you can brush up your combat skills by playing arcade games. You might also find yourself spending some time in the dungeons. Here the format changes from a birds-eye view of a stick man on a landscape to a 3D labyrinth. Dungeons vary from four to twelve layers deep and contain goodies for you to discover as well as some pretty wicked wildlife.
What else can I say? It's as good as it was last time I played it. To be honest, I don't think changing the names and sticking a picture of David Essex's head on Arnold Schwarzenegger's body on the pack makes a new game of it. But if you didn't catch it last time...