Here we are with Orcs vs Humans again, a popular scenario for computer games - this time you are helping the king in his efforts, he needs to extract ore to make weapons to defeat the Orcs. Dumped unceremoniously into a giant sphere, the ore-mining prisoners have rebelled and taken over the mines and it is up to you to get a letter (a critical factor in the sacking of the Orcs) to the head honcho.
Surprising after such a rebel uprising there isn't much going on in the first level of Gothic. In the first chapter while learning how to move our hero, (a complicated task involving keyboard and mouse if you really want to move with any deftness,) you get to enjoy the really superb feature of gothic - the fully interactive realistic 3D landscape. This game is pure visual joy, while looking at the sky and views may not feature in any of the early exploratory quests you may want to do it for a bit, to drink in the atmosphere of the game.
You'll need plenty of time to get used to so many controls and I strongly recommend picking up everything you come across (comes in handy for later quests) just to learn how to use everything. After being mauled for the hundredth time and dieing on my back I also must add that like many RPG's, save regularly and learn how to attack before wandering into the eye sight of a Scavenger. Combat controls are simple in comparison to the keys needed to use things in your inventory.
Talk to everyone too, though it may appear daunting from wandering into a camp with characters in every direction, in fact use everything, talk to everyone and slowly work your way through things, the first chapter is yours for the exploring. Soon you get to choose which path to take between Warrior, Mage and Ranger. Levels get increasingly linear and really the game shines in the first chapter.
Gothic took an age to load and most of the two disks seemed to be character voices. The sound on it is good though, NPC voices are a clever feature of the game, but it doesn't seem to matter much who you speak to and when you speak to them, as long as you try and do the quests in the correct order.
Concerned that this is sounding a bit like many other RPG's I need to add that you are looking at a good 48 hours plus of solid game play here. Gothic may not be re-playable in the same way as other titles but there is certainly something about it that makes you spend time just enjoying the ability to wander anywhere and even crash out in a strangers bed as night time approaches.
Whilst tempted by the cheat mode - called Marvin Mode, addiction to the dark and magical world inside the sphere kept me there for endless hours. A high recommendation of this game particularly to those used the controls of the RPG format but drawn by the eye candy of fantastic graphics.Overall score: 8 out of 10
Recommended Price: £29.99
Available: NowBuy Gothic for the PC from Amazon