Monday, 17 December 2012

Specvent Calendar Day 16 - Chaos

Chaos (Games Workshop, 1985)

First admission - I remembered a game which wasn't originally in my calendar, but for personal reasons absolutely must be included, so against my original intentions this will end up being one of those modern-day revisionist calendars that includes a day 25...

Second admission - I didn't have  Chaos on release; despite the overwhelmingly positive reviews (as usual, YS excepted) I took one look at the screenshots, then another at the £8 price tag, and waited for Firebird to put it out at £1.99 a year or so later... then played it non-stop for the next few months (not literally, that would be both silly and make my A-level grades a minor miracle.) Up to 8 players, any or all of which can be AI, and the absolute guarantee that no two games would be the same - there are a plethora of spells, but you only have 10 to choose from for the whole game, unless you have a spell that lets you gain more.

You can kit yourself out with knives and shields, mount a horse or manticore for greater protection and mobility, create woods, castles, fires or spreading gooey blobs, and of course cast creatures to attack your opponents. The more powerful the creature, the less the chance of successfully casting it, but you can always cast it as an illusion - this is guaranteed to succeed, but try it with a dragon and watch it very quickly become the subject of a Disillusion spell, especially later in the game when, as the only spell that doesn't vanish after use, it's all some wizards have left to cast.

Being a D&D game, most spells are also aligned to good or evil, and as the game goes on the type of spells cast will affect how easy each type is to cast, though there are also spells which do nothing but change this effect as well. Then there are the special effects of undead creatures to consider... in the years since release, Chaos appears to have been the subject of more recreation projects than almost any other Spectrum game (except possibly JSW) and still remains just as playable today - XBox Live Indie release, anyone?

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