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Icewind Dale is pretty cool...
By Dan Huling | May 15, 2002

Many have overlooked Icewind Dale for the 'other' RPG that was released the same day, if you bought that (Diablo II) and didn't get Icewind Dale, you're missing out on a great classic style AD&D CRPG!

What's in the Box?
Opened up the box, and was greeted with a really nice Cloth map of Icewind Dale, the Two CD's and a very detailed 100+ page manual! (The CD's are in a normal 2-CD Jewel case as opposed to the Cardboard holders.
Score
Star Star Star Star
Genre
   Roleplaying

Developer
   Black Isle

Publisher
    Interplay
System
   Windows
 
Screenshots

See our Icewind Dale
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We got Icewind Dale the day it came out, installed it (the 800MB choice) and started up the game....

The Intro movie wasn't that impressive, its just a book that opens and there's some static pictures and a voice-over explaining the story leading up to your adventure, the voice acting in the cut scenes was great, but I kinda wished for a larger scene of Icewind Dale, like maybe a nice camera fly-by of all of the ten-towns.. Anyway, After the intro, I got busy with creating my characters, you can create up to SIX of your own characters, and you will NOT meet any NPC's that will join your party in IWD, but I rather enjoyed creating my entire party, it brought back the good old Goldbox days.

Creating a Party
So what kind of party did everyone create? I did mine as close to the Characters IN Icewind Dale Books as possible.

Human/Fighter - Ziroc (Me), Dwarf/Fighter - Bruenor Battlehammer Elf/Mage - Drizzt (Should be a ranger, but he needs to cast spells) Halfling/Thief - Regis (High CHR), Female Human/Cleric - Catti-brie (I know, she's no Cleric, but I needed one), Male Human/Ranger - Wulfgar (No Barbarians).. This party turned out to be a really great combo.

The Beginning of the game started out well, we talked to all the people in East haven, the town you start off in, and bought weapons and armor to get ready for an adventure to the south - that's when things get hairy...

Game Performance
The games graphics are in 640x480 and are on par with Baldurs Gates graphics, but there are a few tweaks to this game engine that make it a lot more interesting, the one major change is the allotment for MUCH larger sprites on the screen, and you'll run into many Giants, so be prepared.
There is an OpenGL option in the setup, which is will make the fog of war non dithered (Which worked) and spell effects better, but I had problems with the cut-scenes when the OpenGL was on, so I turned it off.
One thing that Baldurs Gate players will remember hating is the path finding.. yes, its just as bad in IWD, but you can increase the AI if you have a P2/400+ and 64+ megs of ram.

The Engines saved game feature is a normal 'save anywhere' version, and sleeping will heal lost hit points.  The game will take you through many different Caverns, Dungeons, Castles/Keeps and we finally get to see Drow again, yes.. Drow are in the game - you can't BE one, but you'll see a lot of them, and fight most too! You can import your own portraits, as I did, and even the portraits that we've scanned for Baldurs Gate work with IWD.
Icewind Dale has six Chapters, and each one will take you further into the story, visiting Elven Ruins, Living Forests, Icy Tundra and the Underdark (in a way), with the cut-scenes showing the book again, with voice-overs.. 
The voices that were available to choose for your party were very bland, but Black Isle said that because of the Actors Guild strike, they couldn't get as many voice actors as they needed.

What really got me a bit peeved was how monty-hallish (i.e. Tons of +3 and +4 weapons everywhere from chapter 3 on up), but you'll need these weapons because many of the "Bosses" are huge, and can't be hit without either a +3 or better weapon, or magic.


After Beating Icewind Dale
When I finished IWD, (Which took about 11 days on and off), all of my characters were level 11 and 12 (IWD allows leveling up to 18!), with TONS of great Cleric and Mage spells to go around, most of the game was linear, but it wasn't a bad thing, they only thing I didn't like was after the final battle, you get the end cut-scene and credits, and are taken to the main menu, and your characters are all exported (Which is cool), but I wanted to continue, and walk around and stuff... I just created a new game, and imported all my people, and started a new game.

- Try and kill me easy NOW goblins!

Overall, despite the few flaws, Icewind Dales is very much a worthy CRPG, and if you like a lot of dungeon hack 'n Slashing, and good story, you'll indeed love Icewind Dale!

 

Larger Sprites, Setting is in Icewind Dale, Great Story and interesting. Lots of great Monsters and lots of powerful magical Items to horde!

 

Still 640x480, Game is Sprite based. Party AI is as bad as Baldurs Gate. Voice acting a bit weak.


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