Available: Q1 2003

Spells of Gold © Buka
Preview by Serge -Kala- G.

Buka Entertainment has announced they will release Spells of Gold, a fantasy and trading RPG, in the first quarter of 2003. Learn more with the exclusive preview of this forthcoming fantasy title.

Spells of Gold is a "role-playing game with strong trade influence" state the publisher. I can see sparks in the eyes of some of our readers, wondering if they will have the chance to play with an extended concept of the original, yet limited, Europa 1400, a simplified simulation of what life could have been at that time. Read on to know if Spells of Gold add the exotic twist of a fantasy setting to a good game with this exclusive alpha preview.

The game is set in the world of Lokatrienn, inhabited by humans, beasts and undead. The universe of the game consists of a number of interconnected worlds, composed of several cities, which represent isolated economic and political systems. As the Hero is able to transit from one city to another easily thanks to a map, accessible from outposts situated in the dangerous vicinity of towns, he needs to find magical Portals to reach other worlds. Cities are not the only areas our Hero can visit in a world, they are other dangerous destinations where less civilized life forms will make its day more difficult. In town, life is sweet and there is little to worry about except for profitable trading and inquisitive questing, but crossing its borders can be dangerous: creatures and robbers are waiting for the Hero to approach to begin attacking. Combats are quite similar to Diablo as your timely mouse-driven hack or slash will decide of your victory or death. The dead of a contender allows you to grab a few coins, proportionate to the difficulty of the fight.

The Hero may choose what he would like to be: he can develop and master his fighting habits and become a Warrior, or acquire some magic skills and become a Mage, or specialize in both arts. Gaining levels will allow you to raise your precious abilities (constitution, strength, dexterity, intellect, willpower and charisma) and, consequently, augment the derived characteristics such as weight, armor or attack. Each combat (and successful quest) will increase your student points, the money for skills and magic training, key to smoother travel, negotiating and combat.

Trading, which translates in Spells of Gold in an act of buying goods in one town and selling or exchanging them in another for, hopefully, a profit, remains a key component of the game. I like the emphasis of the publisher on the magical item that facilitates the whole process: the Magic Sack of Monroke, which can carry a vast amount of goods. That's the first time I see an inventory receiving a name!
Commerce between cities, thanks to variable prices, will lead our Hero to travel from one to another in search for a few coins but combat seems to be a sound alternative as the combined monetary loot and content of treasure chests will benefit more to the purse.

Despite promising but still improvable graphics, Spells and Gold is a refreshing mix between Diablo and a more traditional RPG, with its 2D isometric view, large characters click & hit combat system. The addition of a trading component and open quests allowing you to travel back and forth cities and worlds, without being forced to move to the next level or scenario, will appeal to many gamers.

Key features:

1. Role-playing combined with elements of trade simulation games;
2. Non-linear story allows players to replay the game with an entirely new perspective;
3. A great number of non-story missions;
4. Huge game world inhabited by fantasy creatures;
5. Your Hero can choose various ways to earn money for a fairly new piece of armor or a school course;
6. Five Gods to worship and five guilds to join;
7. Over a hundred cities to visit and trade with;
8. Plenty of magic and fighting schools where you can learn as many skills and abilities as you wish;
9.Choose your weapon and armor out of 2000 different types;
10. Nine schools of magic with a variety of spells.