STAFF REVIEW of Black Stone: Magic & Steel (Xbox)

Tuesday, March 4, 2003.
by Underdog

Black Stone: Magic & Steel Box art What better way to spend a weekend night with your buddies setting around playing some games, eating pizza and drinking some cold beer (only if your over 21 kiddies, a friendly message from your Uncle Chris.) So to get this night started on the right foot, I recommend for the pizza, anything from Pizza Hut, for the beer, Killians and for game Xicat Interactive?s Blackstone: Magic and Steel .

In Blackstone, Madul (the Dark Lord) has spread darkness through the world of Zedan and with the help of his evil forces of the Underworld, plans to destroy the White Wizards and the Forces of Light. But at last there?s hope, a select few have been summoned by the White Wizards to do find the sacred Black Stones and save the world of Zedan from Maduls dark army. And so your adventure begins.

The gameplay for this game is simple; if you have played Gauntlet then you?ll be hacking and slashing like a true pro. Before you start, you have to pick from five types of characters - archer, warlock, pirate, thief and warrior, all with different strengths, defenses, and intelligences. Also, each class has several different characters to pick from, with pretty much the same skills.

Once you have chosen your character you are transported to an area where you must fight your way through hordes of creature in hopes to find those !&%$@#* generators that these creatures are spawning from and destroy them. Along the way you collect keys to open treasure chests and bust clay pots to find gold, magic scrolls and food. After completing a level you get a continue credit, you may also spend the gold that you found on experience points and other goodies to help complete your task of finding the Blackstone.

The controls are pretty simple too, the A button does your attacks, B spits out magic, X sends out your projectile, and Y does the useful team attack. The white button displays your map; while the black button will help you cycle through your character?s information. Left trigger helps you dodge oncoming attacks and right trigger will charge up your power meter. As you keep playing you?ll come to find out the right trigger is your friend, because every time you shoot a projectile or dodge your power meter will slowly go down. So you need to keep one eye on the action and the other one on you power meter.

Xicat definitely put the replay value in this game. As you play the game you may die a couple of times before completing a level since your character is not up to par. So to do so, you will find yourself playing the same boards over and over again to build your character up and to get some more continues. Which in my opinion got a little tiresome.

Same Guantlet feel with a slight overhead view and some side scrolling action. Blackstone did have a wide range of different monsters to slay. A few flaws that I notice when an enemy was on the other side of the wall he could shot me right through it, when I on the other hand could not and these guys were dead shots. That right there would send my blood pressure rising. This next thing, well I?m just picking, but my ?Warrior? that I chose looked like the Jack, the Pumpkin King from ?Nightmare Before Christmas.? I mean when I think of a warrior I think of a person who is a least 200 pounds or greater, not a 100 pound bag of bones.

Blackstone has your typical sounds that go with this type of game, splats, explosions, moans and groans nothing really different. Some effects sound as if they are in tunnel, while the background music with it?s middle-eastern feel, seemed to be out of place at times. Maybe that?s just the George Bush in me talking. :)

Well you made a better Guantlet for us Xbox owners, thanks so much. :) Just fix the problem with monsters having the ability to shoot though walls and maybe work on some new background music.

Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 6.0 / 10
Visuals: 5.0 / 10
Sound: 4.0 / 10


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