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Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor
By Dan Huling | Feb 8, 2002

I don't know if you could call what I bought a complete game. Yes, I am talking about the final version of the shrink-wrapped version of the game that was bought at the local software store. I bought the awesome looking 'Special Edition' that includes dice, a dice bag, a PnP PoR Module (Which is really nice), a huge poster, the novel
that's based on the game (which I have read, and is pretty good) and the Official Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor Soundtrack--which all cost a whopping $75.

I got it home, opened it up, went through all the goodies, and was impressed with the larger-than-normal manual that came with the game.
Star Star

   Stormfront Studios





I go to install it, and we always install ALL games under C:\games\nameofgame, but did it install to my directory I chose? Nope. It decided to go ahead and install it to the 'default' directory. Although, it did create the directory I chose--it was just empty. The patches that are out are supposed to correct this, and other issues.

I load the game up, spend a good half hour choosing what 4 types of characters I wanted (You are able to create 4) and 2 NPC's are able to join you later in-game. So I finish with my glorious party, which doesn't allow you to choose your own kits, they are pre-chosen per race/profession. So after all that, I went to start the game. At first, It took some time to learn the interface, and get used to it. the text menu system is just a complete failure. They could have learned something from Bioware and Black Isle--The Infinity engine that Baldurs Gate used was perfectly simplistic, and great!

The first thing that really set me off was the mouse response--Many people have reported this, and have said change to 16 bit color, load new drivers, change resolution to 640x480 or 800x600 but NONE of that worked at all, and when you are in combat, my 'combat time' runs out BEFORE I EVEN CHOOSE AN ATTACK! So I had to set it too unlimited time JUST to take the time to attack. It felt like I was moving my mouse in mud or something...

So I go looking for a little help, and visit the official PoR forums, and wow, what I found was worse looking than the Descent to Undermountain or Ultima 9 aftermath response from fans--are they still fans now? Depends...

It looks like the Quality Assurance team at Stormfront Studios didn't do their jobs, or did them poorly. There is a rare bug that will even DELETE your Windows directory files if you uninstall it under certain circumstances! This also was corrected by a Patch.  If you save the game while your characters are invisible, your saved game (or game files)  will become corrupted, and you won't be able to save ANY FURTHER--you will have to restart over from scratch. Many people have put 10 plus hours into the game only to run into this game ending/stopping bug--terribly frustrating. Also, be careful not to close doors that you unlock, because if you close them, they will become locked again, and since you have already used your key, you're screwed. All this was patched as well.

Overlooking MUCH of this, the game play IS fun, but there are so many things that get in the way.. I've spent about 15 hours on PoR2, and a few things I don't like are the following:  When you click on something, and text comes up, everything stops until you click ON the text--not a big deal, but just a bit annoying. Also, I was trying to take my thief  (separate from the party) and I get less than 2 screens away, and the games tells me that I am too far from the party, and in a few instances, when encountering enemies, the game will pause as usual, but the monsters are OFF the screen, and I can't move them to the monsters.  Also, another major annoyance is the way the turn-based play was implemented. It's so very SLOW to fight even a few monsters, never mind a whole group of them. It's no as fast as the old Gold Box games turn based play, which is sad.

The Graphics are actually quite nice though, the only thing is that it doesn't have Anti-Aliasing, which leaves the outline of your characters (and the monsters) very pixilated. The Spell casting effects ARE amazing--some of the best I have ever seen in a RPG!

Now on to the story. It's your basic 'kill everything until you reach the bad guy boss' type plot, but with some puzzles thrown in. These puzzles are pretty easy, and some are fun, but they are few and far in between. The atmosphere feels really 'dead'. as in, you feel like you're the only one in the entire area. Now, you do meet NPC players, and many can join you, but there isn't that much interaction in the game. Over all, It was a pretty good story, but it's mainly your typical dungeon hack.

Over all, I would recommend this game only if you like turn-based play and Diablo style game play (Enjoy a Dungeon Hack) merged together. But for the hard-core AD&D player, you may just buy this to 'own' it, and you may enjoy it, if you can over look the implementation of the 3rd Edition rule set. But if you're a Old school RPG gamer, you may not enjoy this at all. It's mainly a dungeon hack, and has very few NPC encounters.

Now after the patches were released, they corrected the numerous bugs that plagued Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor, and it was refreshing that UBISoft stepped up and admitted that POR:RoMD was rushed, and that they would make things 'right'. But this seems to be a new trend in games lately, they are released, with tons of bugs, and we end up being the beta testers--this needs to stop.

Just remember: If you do decide to buy this game, to make sure you apply all the patches before you play it.

The Good
Nice Spell effects, and some animated cut scenes are nice.

The Bad
The Install program. The large amount of bugs as well. The Story is weak, and fighting is slow and boring. Most fights take MUCH more time than is really needed.

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