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- Pool of radiance -

FREE NEW PHLAN! The New Phlan council is leading the fight to free their captive city. Heroes are retaking the city block by block from the evil hordes.
This is an excerpt from the first page of the manual and the premise of the start of your adventures in pool of radiance.

Pool of radiance is the first RPG (role playing game) in a long series from SSI.
You begin the game by creating up to six player characters from a vareity of races like human, elf and dwarf. Each race has different abilities as regard to the classes in the game for instance halflings are small and have higer max dexterity than other races.
Some races can also have multiple classes as well so you get the most use from one character but they will take more experience to gain levels. When you gain levels you will gain hitpoints (health) and your thac0 modifier will increase making it easier to hit an opponent.
(note: I'm not entirely sure about thac0, in the 3rd edition its called to-hit modifier)

The main game is played from a screen divided in three different frames, the top-left shows a 3D depiction of the surroundings, the top-right shows all the characters in your party and the lower portion shows text messages. At the bottommost part of the screen you can usually select things like casting and resting. Navigation is done with the arrow-keys and home/end to select different characters and options.
The graphics are fairly simply with almost no animation and also very little sound and music effects. The later AD&D games from SSI are improved over this version but since this is the first one it seems a bit crude compared to them but the main engine remained in this form for several years.
When you battle with enemies the view switches to an 3D overhead view which fairly accurately mimics the pen & paper style of tin characters placed on a grid.

You start the game arriving in New Phlan and you are welcomed by man named Rolf.
He gives you a quick tour of the city and shows you some of the important buildings like city hall and the training guild. Finally he shows you the entrance to the slums and says goodbye after which you are on your own. From here you can do and go where you want.
Since you have no weapons and equipment its advisable that you go and buy some from a local shop. You can then stop by the training guild to hire some extra hands or you can go straight to city hall and find out what kind of jobs they have for adventurers. Most of these jobs consist of clearing an area of monsters which is usually done by beating several enemy parties in random encounters and/or defeating a specific group.
Sometimes you can get other missions like a rescue or gathering information. Each mission is posted as a number which you will have to look up in the journal so without it the game is pretty much unplayable.
Also contained in the journal are journal entries referred to in the game by number which shows maps, conversations and other interesting things you come across your jouneys. If you read them in advance you can spoil the plot so I suggest you read only the ones the game tells you about, some are even fake to mislead you!
As you go along with the missions you will find out more about the plot and the reason why all those monsters are there in the first place.

This game is not for beginners because the difficulty level is very high, it's quite easy for all your party members to die in the first fight. Some weapons can do enough damage with one blow to kill a level one character.
This can be attributed to the AD&D rules which at the first levels can be very unforgiving.
You also have to do lots of micromanagement because you have to keep track of getting better weapons and armor for your entire party while keeping them alive. Temples are of very little use because they charge enormous amounts of money for simple healing tasks so it's best to stick to your own Clerics (healers).
If you don't have a lot of knowledge of AD&D rules I suggest you read the manual first because it contains a lot of information about the different classes and races and the limitations that they impose.
For the more seasoned AD&D and/or RPG fan this game can be a great challenge and fun to play.

Overal rating: 6.5/10

Erde Kaiser

This game was released for many different systems here are some notes:
Apple Released in 1989.
Game has been tested but not completed with Basilisk II v0.8, macos 7.5.5.
Uses mostly black and white graphics (see screenshots) some of which are quite detailed like the monster portraits. Also it uses the mac window system instead of the interface used by the other systems.
Amiga Released in 1990.
Game has been tested but not completed with winUAE v0.9.91.
Probably the best version of the game despite there being not too many differences.
Included is an empty save/character disk. The game is also harddisk installable on an Amiga.
Atari ST Released in 1988.
I was unable to obtain this game, if you do have it and would like to see it added then please contact me.
C64 Released in 1988.
Game has been tested but not completed with CCS64 V2.0 win.
This game came on 4 doublesided disks which means you have to swap 9 different disks including the save/character disk which can become rather tedious.
This version is actually very close to the others but the diskswapping means I can't recommend it unless you really have nostalgic feelings about the c64 version.
DOS Released in 1988.
Game has been tested but not completed on a slowed down pentium 1 PC.
On faster than about 50 Mhz systems some of the things in the game move way too fast, it does actually work on windows systems despite this but it's a bit unplayable.
NES Released in 1990.
Game has been tested but not completed with FCE ultra 0.98.12.
The view is a bit different from the others, the main screen shows the 3D view and underneath that all of your characters. If there is any text then the screen scrolls up.
You can only have 5 player characters instead of 6 like the others.

Date added Nov-24-2004 13:23
Name Pool of radiance
Developer SSI
Publisher SSI
First released 1988
Genre RPG
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Download Apple, filesize: 1478 Kb
Commodore 64, filesize: 851 Kb
Commodore Amiga, filesize: 1165 Kb
MS-DOS, filesize: 865 Kb
Nintendo Entertainment System, filesize: 278 Kb
Manual Download manual , filesize: 8284 Kb
This file contains the manual, journal and codewheel in PDF format.
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