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Avadon: The Black Fortress Demo (2011) (Mac) (Spiderweb Software)

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Uploaded on Mar 3, 2011

Jeff Vogel has just released his latest old school RPG "Avadon: The Black Fortress" and interestingly enough, this is the first game he's released for years which does not belong to either of the long-running Avernum or Geneforge series. For now the demo and full game is only available for Mac OS - Macintosh being the "lead platform" for all Spiderweb Software's games - but rest assured that a PC release is coming later this year as well.

No one who has played a Jeff Vogel RPG before will be surprised to hear that Avadon continues to refine, polish and visually upgrade the basic isometric turn-based gameplay without changing the fundamentals drastically. That being said, there are some pretty noticeable changes this time around - starting with the character creation, which instead of letting the player build a party from scratch starts out with a single character chosen from one of four classes. It seems that Vogel has opted for a Baldur's Gate-like system by which the player meets pre-defined NPCs in the game which can then join his or her party. While this takes away some of the customization commonly associated with retro RPGs like this, it should presumably allow for a more interesting integration of the player-controlled characters into the game's narrative than would have been possible if they were created by the player him- or herself.

Also new is the skill tree, which apparently replaces the more traditional stats allocations of earlier Spiderweb Software games. I could see this in particular being something that long-time fans might get a bit upset about, but at this point it's too early to tell whether there's less depth here or just a very different presentation of the available character development options.

A seemingly minor change is the removal of keyboard controls for movement across the screen. Interesingly enough, this seems to have been done for two reasons; partly because Avadon - unlike Avernum or Geneforge - plays out in a "gridless" realtime mode inbetween the turn-based fights, and partly because Vogel plans on porting this new game to a platform without a keyboard. Yes, in case you hadn't heard it Avadon is actually supposed to to come out for the iPad as well as the PC/Mac. Personally I don't own an iPad, but the idea of an old school Ultima-esque turn-based RPG climbing the charts on the Itunes Store makes me all warm and fuzzy inside...

Buy the full game or download demo here:
http://www.spiderwebsoftware.com


Note: I apologize for the white keyboard symbols at the bottom of the screen, which are the result of a mistake I made in setting up the video recording software used to capture this footage (it's the first time I've actually recorded a game in Mac OS). Also, the game can be played in significantly higher resolutions than this but the capture program couldn't handle that so I had to switch to 1024*768 for the purpose of recording this video.

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