Matt Barton's picture

slog-a-thonslog-a-thonWith the holidays coming up soon and everyone (hopefully) having at least a few days off, I thought it might be fun to start planning a "Slog-a-thon." What I mean is a day or two when anyone interested can dedicate at least six hours to playing a classic CRPG he or she has never played before. Afterward, we meet back up here to post our slogs, which amount to a paragraph or two about our experience playing the game. What did you like, what gave you trouble, how well does the game stand up today, etc. Remember, a slog is not so much about the game itself; it's more about YOUR personal experience with it.

I'm thinking we could do this on Dec. 26th for maximum convenience, but let me know what would work best for you. I'm not really concerned about a particular TIME you do your slog, but it would be nice to have us all doing it on the same day.

So, if you're up for it, choose a game and mention it in the comments below. I'd like to have us all doing different games for maximum variety. Any platform or era is fine, though you'll definitely get brownie points if you choose a particularly esoteric game and platform.


Jake (not verified)
I took a look at Phantasie on

I took a look at Phantasie on YouTube and I definitely see the resemblance. I'm going to have to check those out as well.

Corbiu Geisha (not verified)
Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader

So I remembered that I have played a bit of Darklands before so that doesn't count. And I have heard that Barcelona, the first hub in Lionheart, is quite the classic and I thought "Okay, I'll just let that qualify." So here I am.

11:45 AM - Character creation, my favourite! It will not be unfamiliar to anyone who has played Fallout/2 and maybe Tactics (haven't played it yet) since it uses the same system. The only addition, unique to Lionheart, is the ability to choose your elemental spirit. So my character is a Slyviakin, humans bonded with divine spirits, by the name of Alrice. She's an divine magic wielding intellectual (although from what I hear of the later parts of the game, I should focus more on combat).

12:00 PM - Start it up! Pretty cool cinematic. Oh, so now I'm a slave. Now I'm in prison and I have to escape. What's that? Multiple options? I'm going to con the drunkard guard outside... It works! He left me a sword too. Oh wait, I'm dead now. Time to restart

12:05 PM - Alright, got out of there this time. Now to put in some skill points. Unlike the Fallout games, skills are branched. For example, the skill Diplomacy consist of two subskills: Speech and Barter. To improve them, I add points to Diplomacy and that's it. Oh, and I do love perks.

12:15 PM - So I'm actually a descendant of Richard the Lionheart in an alternate history where demons and spirits are unleashed and both Richard and Saladin joined forces to fight them. My elemental spirit insist that I am only a distant descendant though so no chance of being Queen :( And my elemental spirit is the one who was once bound to the Lionheart.

12:20 PM - I forgot to mention that I was teleported to safety by someone who introduces himself as Signor Leo. Judging from the character portrait, I think he's Leonardo Da Vinci. I think he's my buddy too.

12:30 PM - To Barcelona!

12:31 PM - Yup, it's definitely Da Vinci.

12:32 PM - Barcelona is run by the Inquisition. I wonder if they're Spanish. They should be. This being Barcelona.

12:40 PM - Having expected Fallout's combat system, I got myself killed many times until I realised that it's pause and play. And then it doesn't automatically pause.

12:50 PM - I am annoyed by the random Spanish. I mean, isn't everyone supposed to be speaking Spanish already?

12:52 PM - Aw... The Inqusition doesn't wear red uniforms.

1:05 PM - So far, most of it is exploring and talking to people. Not that I mind though.

1:30 PM - Nicolo Machiavelli hired me as a personal bodyguard :D We will realise the dream of Italy's independence!

1:32 PM - I failed to protect Machiavelli... D:

2:00 PM - Fought a lot of wolves. I don't know if it's because of my build or because of my low level, but I lose health fast. Fortunately, I have a heal spell.

2:15 PM - Giant undead skeleton too hard for my current puny self. Time to hunt down some more wolves and goblins. Health and mana in this game renegerates slowly, at a rate of 1 per minute I think. There are also mana spirits and life energies around, which are basically mana and life orbs. Mana orbs are found everywhere and are dropped by magical enemies. Life orbs are dropped by... Actually, do goblins count as magical enemies? In any case, I am a prude when it comes to resource management so I'm not progressing as fast as I should. Hey, you never know when you might need that extra orb lying around.

2:50 PM - Correction. Mana regenerates every few seconds. Haven't had a chance to observe Health as closely.

3:00 PM - Yup, same rate.

3:20 PM - Starting to be annoyed with the lack of action queuing. I think I may have made a different impression when I said this is real time with pause. It's is more like turn-based pretending to be real-time with a pause of function which isn't really helpful. The whole bloody point of real-time with pause is so that that you can take your time to observe and then queue your action.

3:23 PM - I touched something and now I'm at some ruins.

3:24 PM - Got swarmed by ghouls and then killed. Reload.

3:27 PM - I let frustration get to me when I said the pause was completely useless. It at least let me designate the spell I want to cast.

3:37 PM - Bugs! Why'd it have to be bugs?! Maybe I should just go back to Barcelona and do some quest which doesn't require me to fight critters.

3:40 PM - Still too weak for giant skeleton. Definitely back to Barcelona it is. I actually enjoy this though. Level scaling be damned to the lowest depths.

3:50 PM - I think I now have a bear for a companion... HELL YES!

4:18 PM - Some idiot thug came up to me. I talked him into finding gold in the ocean. I love solving problems peacefully, and it's making my dread post-Barcelona.

4:22 PM - Ah... The obligatory sewer level. This one has strange slimey creatures and... skeletons I think.

4:25 PM - Are those wererats? Classic.

5:00 PM - Can't find the kid in the sewers. So tempted to use walkthrough...

5:10 PM - Gave in to temptation.

5:15 PM - Silly me. Forgot a path.

5:22 PM - Damn you lava troll! Just a little over 20 minutes left and I can't even conclude this quest. Now what should I do?

5:26 PM - I'll just step out of the sewers and get the stink off my clothes.

5:30 PM - Socialising is always good.

5:41 PM - It appears that the NPCs I was talking to may have been speaking English all along. Evidence from a dialogue option when talking to a fake beggar: "What happened to your spanish accent? You seem to have slipped into perfect English." Weird.

5:47 PM - I've just met William Shakespear. So I guess it's off to... Oh wait, it's 6 hours already! Finally, my aching shoulders can rest!

Epilogue: Interesting character creation and the world does react according to your race. In one quest, not being the wrong race allows you to complete it peacefully. The world is interesting enough although I haven't gotten far enough to see where it leads. Combat is still the main focus though and from what I've experienced so far, the nonviolent solutions don't come as often.

Now having mentioned combat, I find it challenging at least from the start. This could be because of my build which is geared towards diplomacy, but there are several battles where I don't think I could have coped as well if I didn't have companions. While the SPECIAL systems seems pretty well adapted, I do have issues with the decision to go real-time with pause, especially when the pause is not as useful as it could have been. So spellcasting and item use decisions have to be made in real-time, which would not be a problem if the hotkeys activated the funciton of the spells or items instead of putting it in a cue to be activated with the right mouse button. Also, the game does not lock on to enemy targets so whenever you use a spell or item, you will have to reacquire the target. The result is a clunky system.

Art and music wise, it is beautiful

So the overall verdict is that combat is not so great, but it is still an enjoyable game with an interesting world and some entertaining writing. I will definitely continue playing it, although I hear that the game after Barcelona is completely combat-focused which to me is bad news.

Corbiu Geisha (not verified)
One more thing

Area-effect spells are irritating to do in real-time!

Joined: 01/21/2009
Corbiu Geisha- I have never

Corbiu Geisha- I have never played Lionheart, nor do i even remeber it.. but your slog has be very interested, so I may just slog throuhg it also (GOG have it?) My fear is your a better story teller and have enouhg skill to make something OK sound better then it is :) as you make it sound quite interesting.

Jake (not verified) - agreed, EOB II is the best of the set, EOB III has some highly annoying dungon design (but otherwise is as almost as good as II).

Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Joined: 01/16/2006
I hadn't heard of Lionheart

I hadn't heard of Lionheart either. I seem to recall hearing the name a few times, but had no idea it was based on SPECIAL and all that. From what I gather, it's rightfully obscure.

That's a real shame, because it sounds like they were actually departing from the usual sci-fi and fantasy settings. It seems they started off strong but then got rushed or something, ending up with a huge chunk of the game being nothing but boring, repetitive combat.

Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Joined: 12/31/1969

I guess this is it: . Certainly the graphics look interesting, sort of like a non-action take on the Black Isle's "Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance" series that my wife and I loved so much. Shame it sounds rather botched.

Joined: 01/21/2009
Bill Loguidice wrote:

I guess this is it: . Certainly the graphics look interesting, sort of like a non-action take on the Black Isle's "Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance" series that my wife and I loved so much. Shame it sounds rather botched.

well from that link i see GOG has it.. and the screen shots look good.. Well if nothing else the SLOGaTon has peeked my interest in this..

Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Joined: 12/31/1969
Decisions, decisions...
clok1966 wrote:
Bill Loguidice wrote:

I guess this is it: . Certainly the graphics look interesting, sort of like a non-action take on the Black Isle's "Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance" series that my wife and I loved so much. Shame it sounds rather botched.

well from that link i see GOG has it.. and the screen shots look good.. Well if nothing else the SLOGaTon has peeked my interest in this..

Yeah, and only $2.99 with the 50%. As much as it intrigues me, I think I'll pass. With that said, I did notice Privateer on there and I seem to be missing a non-original version, so that and a few others may be on the scary list...

Corbiu Geisha (not verified)
I got my copy from a sale on

I got my copy from a sale on GOG months ago. At USD$2.99, it's definitely worth it.

Anonymous (not verified)
What a fun idea- I'm sorry I

What a fun idea- I'm sorry I missed it. I did spend a considerable amount of time playing with a pinball machine in my dad's basement (we spent the holidays with him). He has a lot of video games but the projector screen (where the games are) was tied up with 3-D movies literally the entire time we were there (Final Destination, Avatar, Bad Santa, Etc).

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