A potential hit that never were, Entomorph: The Plague of Darkfall is a fast-paced, action-style RPG with very interesting twists that proves that SSI did not have to rely on TSR's AD&D licenses to make a great game. The game is set in the fascinating world of Aden, a realm that seems to be inspired by Jules Verne and H.P. Lovecraft, mixed with a dash of medieval sorcery. Aden was first introduced in Thunderscape, but wasn't fully portrayed due to the claustrophobic, dungeon-romp nature of that game. |
The plot is a fascinating mix of RPG and sci-fi 'B' movies: your nation, Kyan, is under the evil cloud of a pestilent insect plague. As Cedric, a wandering squire, you must battle the invading monster-insects, find your lost sister, and deal with your own metamorphosis. You'll need all the power you can get to fight your way through this gauntlet of over-sized, monstrous insects.
The combination of action and unique story make Entomorph a very different RPG. It is reminiscent of SSI's earlier action RPG Al-Qadim, but the engine has been vastly improved to allow more detailed statistics, inventory, and graphics. The game's best feature is your ability to metamorphose: in order to combat the spread of the transformation plague, you can ingest various poisons which give you strength to combat the deadly denizens of the island. The downside, of course, is that doing so will accelerate your transformation into a giant bug. In the end, you must race the clock in order to undo the horrible transformations as well as save your own humanity.
In another welcome innovation that is rarely seen in RPGs, Entomorph features multiple paths to the game's ending, as well as optional subquests. You can decide whether to become a bug or not, but not trying out the transformation does limit your alternatives and make the game more difficult to finish. The non-player characters are well-written, and you will enjoy gaining anecdotal insight into the activities of the autocratic Nobles and their experimenting with transforming the life in Aden into what they think will be a better society. Overall, Entomorph is a great action-style RPG that should please all casual RPGers and adventure gamers due to emphasis on puzzles over combat. Die-hard RPGers may frown at the simplistic gameplay, but the fascinating gameworld and plot will appeal to them nonetheless. Thumbs up!Reviewed by: Underdogs