Dragon Lore: PIB PC Game Review

Dragon Lore

From Mindscape

Brief Description

You are Werner Von Wallenrod. You have just turned 18 and must face your destiny. You find that today you will be judged by the dragon-riders to see if you become one of their number. You learn quickly that most riders prefer either the use of power or that of wisdom. As you play, you will be judged whether your actions tend to violence or pity or you can try to keep a balance between the two. You need the votes of at least half the current riders to become a dragon rider.

A 3-D role-playing game. Box blurbs include info like "Myst, the second generation" but this is not a game that can be recommended to Myst fans. Real-time combat, for one thing, is not something that appeals to everyone. I tend to prefer turn-based combat, but at least this game gives one a reasonable amount of time to strike and recover from the strike. Also, you only have one character in the combat, which is much less frustrating then games like Lands of Lore.

The game walks the path between an adventure game and a role-playing game. There are fights, hit points and spell points (typical of the role-playing game), but there are also a number of puzzles that solved with using a particular item at the right time.

Game play and hints

Left-click the mouse to go forward or turn. Right-click the mouse to talk to other characters, use your weapon (if you have one) or to activate certain items on the screen. I found this left-click right-click interface a bit confusing at times. Frequently in the inventory, I'd be clicking the wrong button.

When fighting, don't bother clicking the mouse too fast. You can't swing a second time until the current strike is over. Nor are clicks stored, so you may as well wait for your next opportunity. It may be important, where you click on the screen determines how you strike. If you don't seem to be hitting the monster (a bit of blood flies) then try clicking somewhere else.

Character interactions

They talk, you listen. Typical but not exciting, especially given that you have to keep using the mouse to advance the conversation. You must be careful, the only thing you can have in hand when you want to talk to someone is your staff. Otherwise, you may well start a fight with someone you really shouldn't. Click too fast and you will miss the rest of the sentence. Irritating to say the least.

Gripes about the game

The biggest gripe, and the one that will keep me from any sequel unless I know it has improved, is when the cursor changes. I hate the fact that the dragon will change to the "do something" or the "look" mode when, in fact, you need a special tool or item in hand to do the operation. Perhaps a new cursor that suggests you should pay special attention to this item, but it isn't known what yet. That would give you a better clue on what is going on.

For the adventure game elements, there frequently don't seem to be enough in the way of clues about what you need to do. At one point, you can pick some flowers (if you are careful). All Werner can tell you is their colour. How you learn more on using them, without finding your local friendly walk through, is beyond me. I do hate games that degrade into trying to use every inventory item on every other item.

If you miss the initial instruction, "Werner, go and do xxx", frequently there will be no other opportunity to find out what you are to do. "Do what I told you Werner," does not help you if you don't remember what you were told. You had best not stop playing for too long or you will forget what clues you are given. Actually the CD version may have a bug, I've done one thing and I'm still getting told, "Do what I told you."

Why you have to right-click on a character to keep the conversation going is beyond me. Their mouths keep moving too, so you have to wait to be sure that the current sentence/phrase is finished. Sometimes it takes a lot of persistence on your part to keep talking to the character until you have all the information you need.


Dragon Lore is different. The graphics and voices are well done. The game style and elements are interesting, but frustrating. The conclusion to the game is a bit odd, you get through the last major confrontation, go through the election, then suddenly you are allowed to roam the world again? This is as odd as the Myst end.

The ultimate verdict, unless I know it is better, I will not buy a sequel to this game. Generally speaking, it is interesting to play but not something that I can recommend much.

Some final thoughts on the game.

This game shows why hair should never be generated using a 3-D program. The faces are bad enough but the hair is so strange and stiff.