Brona, the evil Warlock Lord, was slain long ago by a young man called Shea Ohmsford, and his friends. Peace has reigned the land since then. Everyone should live happily ever after, right? WRONG! Brona's spirit has been summoned back from the dead, and now he seeks revenge on those who destroyed him all those years ago.
Far away, in a land called Shady Vale, Jak Ohmsford (son of Shea) is upset after an argument with his father. Jak yearns for excitement and adventure, while his father expects him to stay in Shady Vale to become an innkeeper. Jak is trying to relax in his favourite spot by the stream, little knowing the adventure that awaits him.
After a confrontation with a fearsome monster, Jak meets a mysterious druid called Allanon, who informs him of Brona's return. War and destruction is inevitable if Brona is not stopped. So Jak is given the task of travelling to the neighbouring town of Leah to warn them of the impending danger. From there, he learns of the Sword of Shannara - the only weapon that can defeat the evil Brona. Jak, as heir to the Sword, must be the one to wield it. And so begins Jak's adventure - he must face his destiny to become the Swordbearer, and destroy Brona once again. Jak, and his friend Shella (from Leah) set out to retrieve the Sword from Tyrsis. However, the Sword is broken, and must be re-forged. If that's not bad enough, Jak needs magic from the Four Lands in order to re-forge the Sword. He must re-unite the races of elves, trolls, dwarfs, and gnomes, and restore peace amongst them. Only then can the Sword of Shannara be re-forged, and the evil Warlock Lord Brona destroyed.
I should mention that the version of Shannara we have here on Abandonia is a rip - but it's a fully working rip. The intro and speech have been removed, but cut scenes are safely intact.
Shannara uses a mouse point and click system, which makes it very easy to play. The large window shows the game world, and that's where most of the action takes place. Click on an item or person in this window, and a list of available actions is then shown on the right. Similarly, you can click on an inventory item, and a list of available actions for that item is shown on the right. Your inventory is shown at bottom of the screen, and you can scroll through it by clicking Up & Down arrows. As you go about your travels, you frequently gain or lose companions. Any companions you currently have with you are shown at bottom left, and you can gain access to their inventory simply by clicking on the sack icon next to their thumbnail. Navigation is performed in one of two ways. You can either click on an exit shown in game world window (usually shown as a pathway or a door). Or you can look at compass on the right. Available exits are shown in red, so you can just click on a compass direction. However, when you are in the Wilderness, action is shown from overhead, so click on an area of the screen to make your party move there. Character interaction is wonderful. You sometimes have to make moral decisions, which affects these characters, and whichever decision you make can come back to haunt you later on in the game. It makes you really care about the characters, and you want to do your best for them. I recommend you Save your game often, so you can come back later, and choose another decision.
While in the Wilderness, you frequently come across monsters that attack you. You are given the choice if you want to Retreat, give Orders to your companions, Attack the monster, or Defend yourself. The fighting scenes are the only negative thing I can say about Shannara. There was no point to it, and it interrupted the flow of the story slightly. However, I did like the 'Undo' feature you are presented with if monsters got the better of you. This takes you back to before you were killed, so you can try a different tactic.
The graphics in Shannara are wonderfully rich and detailed. Right from the start, water in the stream flows beautifully. Lighting and shadows are awesome to see. Even things like the way your journal flips over pages, or designs in the steins, or fire flickering are a visual treat. The morphing effect as elves\dwarves\trolls transform into monsters deserves special mention. But Brona has to be my favourite - he's one scary guy (hehe). When talking to someone, you see a close-up of their face, and dialogue options are shown underneath. Some characters even blink as they talk, which makes them seem more real. Inventory items are shown as icons, so it's very easy to see exactly what you are carrying with you. Each of your companions carries their own inventory, which you can access by clicking on the sack next to their thumbnail. As well as gorgeous images to admire, a lot of dialogue text is also used to make the story progress forward. One thing I found slightly confusing is Shella's inventory shows her to be carrying a 'Kerchief', but Shella herself refers to it as a 'Scarf'. Possible a slight mistake overlooked by the developers?
Music provides a wonderful atmosphere for the game - sometimes tense, sometimes spooky, sometimes plain sad. The music changes every so often, giving you a good variety. Since this is a rip, the speech has been removed, but that really doesn't affect the game. Heavy drumbeats give you a real sense of danger. Organs are also used to great effect, and it's amazing the range of emotions that can be created.
Shannara is a wonderful adventure game that I highly recommend. The game is based on Terry Brooks books of the same name, and Legend Entertainment have done a fantastic job of bringing it to life on the computer. The story of Shannara is obviously inspired by Lord Of The Rings, and that's no bad thing! It's all about the fight between good and evil. One man must face his destiny, and his world is turned upside down. He must defeat an incredible evil, against unbelievable odds. Only he can bear the weapon to destroy this evil, although his friends (which consists of elves, trolls, dwarves, and gnomes) travel with him. A mysterious magic-user appears every so often to offer guidance. You will even find a giant evil spider to defeat. The game does a fantastic job of drawing you in, and really making you care about these characters. Graphics are wonderfully detailed, and the music is beautiful to listen to. The only negative point is the fighting scenes, which I didn't see the point to. What more is there to say, except, download it and play it now!
The game runs beautifully in DosBox, just use Shannara.exe to start the game.
The speech is ripped from this download, so the configuration is purposedly set to no "digitized audio", because otherwise the game would crash when looking for the missing files. Don't change this configuration or the game won't run. There is music, though.
Unlike most other versions found on the web, this is a fully working rip. We've stripped off the speech and intro, but everything else is included.
IMPORTANT: Do not change sound setup, as you'll receive a memory allocation error.
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