Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura (2001)

Video Game  |  Adventure, Fantasy  |  24 August 2001 (USA)
9.0
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Ratings: 9.0/10 from 290 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 1 critic

It's time for some technology in the magic world of Arcanum. You are the sole survivor of IFS Zephyr crash. Well, you were not alone, but the noble gnome have just passed away before your ... See full summary »

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(as Marcus Skyler)
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Title: Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura (Video Game 2001)

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Cast

Cast overview:
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Kerghan (voice)
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Loghaire Thunder Stone (voice)
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Franklin Payne (voice)
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Gilbert Bates (voice)
Mark Klastorin ...
Torian Kel (voice)
Kay E. Kuter ...
Kan Hua / Narrator (voice)
Giselle Loren ...
M'in Gorad (voice)
Diane Pershing ...
Silver Lady (voice)
Rino Romano ...
Virgil (voice)
Philece Sampler ...
Z'an Al'urin (voice)
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Simeon Tor (voice)
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Geoffrey Tarellond-Ashe (voice)
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Raven (voice)
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Arronax / Garfield 'Gar' Thelonius Remington III / Elder Joachim / Nasrudin (voice)
Julian West ...
Magnus (voice)
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Storyline

It's time for some technology in the magic world of Arcanum. You are the sole survivor of IFS Zephyr crash. Well, you were not alone, but the noble gnome have just passed away before your eyes after giving you strange ring and asking to deliver it to "the boy". On the crash site you meet strange man, who acts like you were some very important person. Here you can choose to leave him or to let him accompany you. As the plot progresses, you will face many such choices. You will meet people and monsters, travel across continents, islands and - of course! - sewers and dungeons. Written by Aliaksei Hayeu <alex_de_guy@tut.by>

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Genres:

Adventure | Fantasy

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Release Date:

24 August 2001 (USA)  »

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Quotes

Magnus: Have you heard about the Eyeless Five? Eight years ago, there were five ruby pendants sold at auction through P. Schuyler and Sons... all the ladies who wore them were murdered, their eyes plucked from their heads!
Player: It could very well have been a strange coincidence, Magnus.
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Connections

References Master of the Flying Guillotine (1976) See more »

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User Reviews

 
It's unique setting makes for satisfying roleplay.
24 March 2002 | by (Penang, Malaysia) – See all my reviews

Arcanum's charm lies in its unique 1885 setting. In comparison with RPGs such as Baldur's Gate, Planescape : Torment, Icewind Dale, or even Fallout, it offers sense of realism in its portrayal of a colourful people of humans, elves, dwarves, orcs and ogres co-existing in the very beginning of a modern era. Steam engines and newfangled revovlers are the craze, phasing out old-school magicks.

The depiction of magick, swords and shields as old-fashioned and unpredictable, in contrast with modern steamworks and guns as the heralders of a new era, is attractive and makes for immersive role-playing that is believable and fantastic at the same time.

As far as your character is concerned, he/she can be anything he wants - a madcap inventor, femme fatale, wise mage, sharpshooting rogue, even a dumb brute whose entire vocabulary consists of monosyllabic words. And the NPCs (non-player characters) you'll meet are not your typical bewildering array of nymphs, giants, stone monsters, annoying insects, bugs and monsters of every shape and size. The bulk of them will be just like you, with distinct personalities - shopkeepers, aristocrats, factory workers, politicians, gangsters, and the like.

The story starts of with a bang as your chracter meets a mysterious ally who seems to think of you as an elven god reincarnated. As it goes on the element of suspense is tastefullly executed as you gradually uncover more and more of the mysterious happenings in Arcanum. However, the story is anything but linear, and players will be given every oppurtunity to interact with the world around them. They can rob unsespecting shopkeepers, pick fights with the local Mafia, visit the library, or simply explore the country for some adventure.

Arcanum's Achilles' Heel lies in the fact that experience is only gained either by completing quests or by the amount of damage done to an enemy. This makes playing a dumb, unintelligent, sword-wielding, all-out-melee, ogre the easiest way by far to finish the game. Coupled with the fact that weapon combat in Arcanum is decidedly unattractively animated, most casual gamers will be put off by this.

Other weak aspects to the game would include a case of too-many-spells-spoil-the-broth, as some spell schools simply don't cut it compared to the others; the lack of powerful spellcasting foes; the ease with which thieves can rob stores, and mid-level graphics.

For role-playing fans, however, the unique setting and non-linear gameplay will more than make up for its drawbacks.


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