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Gorasul: The Legacy of the Dragon

Score: 70%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: JoWooD Productions
Developer: Silver Style Entertainment
Media: CD/4
Players: 1
Genre: RPG

Graphics & Sound:

Gorasul features beautiful hand drawn graphics, with richly detailed backgrounds, which include colorful towns, wooded areas, and indoor environments. Although characters look good when still, the accompanying animation is not up to par with similar RPG games like Icewind Dale or Baldur's Gate II. There are too few frames of animation for each person and creature in the game, so their movements seem somewhat jerky.

Gorasul's main competition, Baldur's Gate II, not only has superior animation, but almost every aspect of its visual presentation is better. Gorasul's user interface, while attractive, does not have the style and simplicity of BG2's, and this makes the game seem somewhat like a cheap knockoff.

Music is varied and well done, and offers a wide range of styles and moods. Sound effects, including environmental, are okay, but there is no spoken dialogue, and overall the sound presentation is disappointing. In addition, on this reviewer's test system, the sound and music sometimes cut out or sounded like it was constantly changing in pitch.


Much like Baldur's Gate II and the other Bioware Infinity Engine based games (the original Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment, and Icewind Dale), Gorasul offers real-time exploring and combat, and allows you to pause the game and still make tactical decisions. If you have played those games, playing this one won't feel much different in terms of basic game play.

But unlike the Bioware Infinity Engine based games, Gorasul offers other modes of play, including little mini-games, where you might attempt to hit a target with your bow, or manage troops by moving them around a map with your mouse. This varied game play does make Gorasul interesting, but in the end it seems like the developer would have better spent the time tuning the main game instead.

Combat is not as rewarding as in other RPGs, as often times it's difficult to tell where characters are concentrating their efforts, or how combat is fairing. Even though you have indicators telling you how much health and mana each of your characters has, and the text window shows how many hit points each blow takes, you still don't feel like you have tactical control of the situation like you do in a game like Baldur's Gate II.

Puzzles, which many quests offer, are sometimes hard to unravel since the translation of the story and dialog is poorly done. When you speak to NPCs (non-player characters), they will often make comments or ask questions that you have no idea how to react to. It is clear that the developer should have put more effort into translating Gorasul to English.


Gorasul offers multiple difficulty levels, and numerous options that can make the game more or less difficult. Overall, battles can seem very difficult until you find the sort of tactics that ease the burden. Unfortunately, some of those tactics, like moving out of the range of enemies, or to the edge of the screen, can basically disable the horrid AI (artificial intelligence) they use.

Solving the puzzles the game offers is greatly eased by just repeating them over and over again until they are solved. Many of them don't require a reload like most RPGs would require. These sorts of problems don't necessarily make Gorasul any easier, though, as the translation issues, as well as the somewhat clunky user interface, will in the end prove frustrating.

Game Mechanics:

Whereas the Bioware Infinity Engine games offer clear feedback concerning where a particular character is headed, or who they are attacking, Gorasul provides bits and pieces in various places, but doesn't clearly inform the user. If you care to find out who Roszondas, the main character, is attacking, you first have to click on his portrait. Between the marker indicating where he is headed, and reading the comments in the text window, you can pretty much figure it out.

Much of the user interface is overly complex, or just plain frustrating to work with. The map and inventory, as well as one or two others, display as popup windows, with no clear way to dismiss them. With some, you just press the ESCAPE key and they go away, but for others, you have to click on their icon again in order to hide them.

Other windows, such as the character's, or those used to set options, take up the full screen, have duplicated items, and are difficult to decipher. It would help greatly if the manual was thorough, but it's not. Two different books comes with the game, but they both provide only basic information, as well as a list of the spells the game offers.

Gorasul does offer some nice features, like popup information windows, so before you enter a building or cast a spell, you can get detailed information in a scrolling window. The screens used to buy and sell items also offer lots of useful information, and are generally easy to use.

Saving games is a major sore point, as the process is confusing and convoluted. To load or save a game, you have to scroll through a screen that presents the dates, times, and screen shots, but doesn't allow you to scroll very quickly. Saved game names have to be very short, which means you cannot be very descriptive when naming.

Overall Gorasul is a major disappointment. Maybe if it had been properly translated to English then its shortcomings wouldn't seem so severe. Maybe its story would be easier to understand, and it would make more sense. If the manual included more and better information, then maybe the user interface would be easier to get used to. And maybe if the developer had spent more time tweaking the UI, and had left out the mini-games, then the game play would feel more fleshed out, and the game could compete more squarely with the established players. Unfortunately, that's a whole lot of maybes, and in the end, those maybes just don't matter. Gorasul just doesn't have what it takes to compete with those other games.

-Gordy, GameVortex Communications
AKA Gary Lucero

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 98/2000, Pentium III 350, 64MB RAM, 8MB graphics card, 4X CD-ROM

Test System:

Windows 98 SE, 400Mhz Celeron, 256MB RAM, Riva TNT, Creative AWE-64, 32x CD-ROM.

Windows Freedom Force Windows Harbinger

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated