Winter!: Prepare for holiday gaming!
Role-playing/Isometric Action RPG
TEEN, Animated Blood, Mild Language, Use of Tobacco and/or Use of Alcohol
ALSO AVAILABLE ON
Macintosh, http://www.gamerdna.com/game/icewind-dale-ibm-pc-compatible-1-2-3, http://www.gamerdna.com/game/icewind-dale-ibm-pc-compatible-1-2, http://www.gamerdna.com/game/icewind-dale-ibm-pc-compatible-1
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The fate of the Forgotten Realms is once again in your hands as you make your way through the northern region of Faerûn, known as Icewind Dale. The environment is a harsh wasteland where "nature, first and foremost, rules." The inhabitants are those who, for their own myriad reasons, seek to settle and explore the rugged frontier.
Your adventure begins in the town of Easthaven which is nestled in the foothills of the Spine of the World, an imposing range of jagged peaks. You and your party must travel from Easthaven, through the mountains, to reach Kuldahar which has been troubled by a recent influx of disturbances. In Kuldahar, you discover that these disturbances are more than mere happenstance and it becomes your mission to root out the evil that threatens the North, Faerûn and world of Abeir-Toril itself.
Icewind Dale offers two modes of play: solo (you create and control your own party) or multiplayer (each player controls one or more characters). Your first step is to create your party of up to six adventurers. In a detailed, multi-step process, you control the selection of each party member's gender, portrait, race, class, ability scores, alignment, proficiencies, appearance, biography and name.
While some steps are quick and easy (gender, portrait, appearance), others require more thought and time to ensure that each party member complements the team and offers unique skills that could prove essential to your survival. Race (human, elf, half-elf, dwarf, gnome or halfling) attributes can affect proficiency in certain classes (warrior, priests, rogues, wizards).
For example, a halfling thief comes with a natural +15 Stealth modifier while dwarves have none. Dwarves, on the other hand, have a +15 Detect Traps modifier and halflings have only +5. So, the race you select can have direct consequences on your character's abilities.
Icewind Dale's characters and calendar are based on Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules and measures. The manual contains detailed explanations that are useful to those who are completely new to this type of gameplay or to anyone who just need a quick refresher.
Multiplayer mode differs from solo play mainly in the number of characters (out of six) you control. It also offers chat options that let you type messages to your companions as you play. The game creator decides what levels of control (view options, area transitions, money, dialogue triggers, party leadership, pause control, player removal, character modification) other players have when they join the game.
In either solo or multiplayer modes, you control the characters you created through the user-friendly mouse, window, button and menu interface. The left menu buttons let you access the Game Screen, Maps, Journal, Inventory, Character Records, Mage Spell Book, Priest Spell Scroll, Options and Party Formation/Character Arbitration screens. The bottom menu buttons control character actions (Defend, Talk, Fight, Use Items/Special Abilities) as well as the Clock and Rest controls.
The right menu buttons offer the AI On/Off and Select All switches and the character portraits, which, through hit points and color, reflect the character's individual health states. Certain frequently used screens and functions such as Inventory, Quick Save/Load and so on are also assigned hotkeys on the keyboard.
Holding the mouse over items triggers Action Cursors which help identify how the selected area or item can be used, whether it be accessibility (e.g., locations open or closed to characters) or actions (e.g., unlock or attack).
Moving through the world is as simple as selecting one or more of your party members, then clicking on the screen with your mouse. By scrolling the screen, you can select a path for your party to follow. You can also click on a location on another screen area (by scanning a map of explored territory) and direct your characters to make their own way using AI path finding.
Combat takes place in real time and closely follows the AD&D rule system. This means each character and monster is on an independent, seven-second personal initiative round. Factors such as weapon speed, spell-casting time and character attack bonuses determine exactly when the character will attack or be attacked within the round.
Ability modifiers, armor and magical items can enhance or detract from your characters' or enemies' abilities. Similarly, these rules use character attributes to determine all aspects of the game such as damage taken, spells learned and level-ups. When your character learns or accomplishes something, they gain experience that lets them progress to the next experience level that comes with increased hit points and occasional enhanced abilities.
Icewind Dale is a role-playing game that follows a story composed of seven chapter levels replete with numerous quests and adventures. The tale, within the AD&D timeline, predates the Baldur's Gate adventure which takes place in regions far to the south of the Spine of the World. The characters, weapons and monsters are familiar ones taken from the AD&D world: rangers and wizards, crossbows and two-handed swords, trolls and giants and so forth.
Pausing the game clock not only lets you stop and strategize during battles but also stops the passing of time within the game world. ~ Michael L. House, All Game Guide