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First of all, The Legacy: Realms of Terror is a tough game. It's so hard you might want to give up on it after playing for a while. In fact, if you're looking for some quick hack 'n slash fun, skip this game! Shoo, be gone with you! However, if you give it a chance, Legacy turns out to be a challenging game with a decent plot and lots of tension.
It starts out rather cheesy: you have inherited a huge mansion, the previous owner of which died in very mysterious circumstances. Moments after entering the house, the front door is locked behind you. A cynical laughter sends shivers down your spine.
During the game, this flimsy story develops into a gripping horror-mystery with some interesting plot developments. You don't meet many other (human) characters, but throughout the house torn diary-pages shed some light on what happened before you arrived. You'll soon come to realize that something is rotten in the house of The Legacy!
While investigating the huge number of rooms you'll come across, you'll discover strange items and quite a few weapons. For Pete's sake, take time to experiment with these, because you'll soon find out that the hallways are infested with all sorts of unnatural beings ready to tear you apart. Dave Ellis who is author of the Player's Guide and part of MicroProse Quality Assurance Team assures us: "The Legacy is not a game of combat. It is a game of wits and puzzle-solving".
You start the game by choosing one of eight characters with which you'll play the game. There are a lot of different skills and abilities, so check these out before you choose. You'll also notice that some of these people have magic abilities. My advice is to choose one of these characters for your first game! Most of the skills can be improved in the standard RPG-way by killing stuff!
The interface to the game is a bit awkward and certainly not it's best feature. But you do become use to it after a while. Your main screen is divided into four windows (or five if your character knows magic):
1. The character view port, on which your health, inventory and skills/spells screens can be displayed.
2. The map view port is below the character view port and shows the many rooms you've visited.
3. The message window is nex to the map view port and shows object descriptions and combat messages and has the opportunity to scroll back a while.
4. The window through which you view the game. Unfortunately with all other windows on your screen this is rather small, you can however resize and move all these windows and even save your favorite configuration.
Despite the clunky interface, the game is very playable and the combat is pretty straightforward. You have two hands, so grab a weapon (a bottle, poke-iron or Smith&Wesson) and blast these zombie-scum to hell! You can take a few seconds to take a good aim at your foe but your enemies won't wait until you're finished and start chewing on your legs right away. If your character is able to do magic, you have to keep one hand free to hold your spell book. Once you do this your spells appear as buttons in yet another little window. There?s a fair share of spells, ranging from offensive fireballs to stealth, healing and even teleportation. You have to 'recharge' your magic powers once in a while using special rune-stones that are available on many places in the house. New spells can be learned in the game by reading books you find lying around.
There are many, many, many creatures you'll come across and they're no easy kill! This makes the game very hard indeed. You really don't have to kill everything that crosses your path. Most of the time there are ways to avoid combat. For instance: when you hold the Magic JuJu, the zombies on the first floor will not attack you! Once you figure some of these things out, the game will become much more enjoyable. The puzzles in the game are medium to hard and almost unsolvable if you don't read every scrap of paper and every plaque on the walls. In order to get you going: there's a room adjacent to the one you start in which contains a briefcase. Get this to increase your inventory. You can also use the briefcase to slap monster with :)
The graphics of The Legacy are nice enough, although sometimes a lot of rooms look too much alike. Another con is that your viewing window is relatively small due to all the other windows, but since you can resize them to your need, you can improve this somewhat. The little in-game animations are nice and add to the atmosphere. The background-music is nothing special but nice enough and the sound-effects are bearable.
All-in-all, this game will bring you a lot of fun after a few practice rounds, and it will take a very, very long time to finish (I still haven't by the way) as the house is so vast. However there are many interesting locations for you to visit.
Score: 4 out of 5
I've managed to get the game running using VDMSound (with Adlib-music and SoundBlaster-sound-effects) as well as in DosBOX (in which my mouse was way too slow). When you use VDMSound, set both XMS and EMS to 16mb on the compatibility tab and leave all other options there unselected.