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Words of Power

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:Stark Springs

GAME DEVELOPER:Freeware

GAME PUBLISHER:Freeware

Copyright 2002, Stark Springs

Words of Power is a fun introductory-level fantasy adventure that sports a nifty magic system, engaging plot, and easy puzzles. The game casts you as a modern-day physics student called Thea Armstrong who has been transported into a strange fantasy land not unlike Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Accompanied by a talking cat, your initial goal is to find a fellow Earthman and return home. But like any good mystery story, you will gradually accumulate more objectives as you explore the world and learn about its inhabitants.

The best feature in Words of Power is the magic system. Like Infocom’s Enchanter series, you are able to cast spells in this game. But unlike Infocom’s difficult trilogy, the magic system in Words of Power is both easy and fun to use. Casting a spell requires you to combine at most three basic components: the action word (i.e. the spell itself), the target word, and the ‘modifying words’ (to cast a strong version of the spell, for instance). You can type all this like in a normal text adventure, or click on buttons at the bottom of the screen. One of the funnest things to do in the game is to find new spells to use. This is a bit similar to the interface in Legend Entertainment’s Death Gate, except it is not nearly as elegant. Naturally, the more words you know, the more combinations of actions, targets, and modifiers you can create.

While the writing is not up to the standard of Infocom’s or Magnetic Scrolls’ games (or, more appropriately, modern classics like Curses), it is more than adequate to evoke the depth of the gameworld and move the plot along. The game comes with a stylishly-made PDF file (purportedly dropped by the Earthman you are trying to find) that gives you some background to the world as well as some important hints.

Most puzzles are easy and straightforward, mostly because you are faced with only a few at any given time, and most of them can be solved by casting the newest spells you have acquired. There is a few trickier puzzles, some of which have alternate solutions, but by and large anyone new to the genre should have no trouble finishing the game. Although the plot is more or less linear, you are free to explore the world at your own pace and tackle most puzzles in any order – a nice touch. The game even offers alternate endings, so you are well advised to save regularly in case you want to backtrack to find a new path.

Overall, Words of Power is a refreshing, fun, and user-friendly adventure that should appeal particularly to IF fans who prefer the story to tough puzzles, or anyone new to IF who is looking for a pleasant game that can be finished in a few hours. Recommended.



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