Secret of the Silver Blades
|Secret of the Silver Blades|
|Developer(s)||Strategic Simulations, Inc.|
|Publisher(s)||Strategic Simulations, Inc., WizardWorks Software|
|Genre(s)||Role-playing game, Tactical RPG|
|Distribution||5¼" and 3½" floppy disk|
The story is a continuation of the events after Curse of the Azure Bonds.
375 years ago, twin brothers Oswulf and Eldamar built a castle in a large valley in the Dragonspine Mountains and the town of Verdigris was founded below the castle. The town prospered under the guidance of the brothers. Oswulf was a paladin and Eldamar was a mage. As Eldamar became older, his obsession for immortality grew and he began studying how to become a lich. Oswulf tried to stop his brother, but failed. Eldamar became a lich known as the Dreadlord.
A horrified Oswulf could not bear to kill his own brother. He sought the help of a band of adventurers known as the Silver Blades to help contain the Dreadlord. The Dreadlord was certain that these adventurers were called upon to slay him and he began gathering armies of evil creatures to aid him. The town was overrun by monsters and the inhabitants abandoned it. With the help of the Silver Blades, they succeeded in driving the monsters out of the town and back to the castle. Oswulf was still determined not to kill his own brother, however. The Silver Blades set out to research a spell and when cast, it encased the entire valley in a glacier. Everything inside became frozen, but was still alive. Oswulf sacrificed himself so his spirit could guard the castle.
A few of the Dreadlord's followers were beyond the glacier's effects and began attempts to get through the ice, but failed. 15 years ago, they formed a group known as the Black Circle and succeeded in breaking the spell. The glacier began to melt. As the ice melted, many miners noticed the old mines of Verdigris were once again accessible and founded the town of New Verdigris. The mines contained vast amounts of gems. As the miners descended to the lower levels, monsters that had been frozen for over 300 years began to emerge and once again took over the mines.
In desperation, the miners took all their gems to the Well of Knowledge, which is said to grant wishes and provide information for those who dropped treasure into it. The party was then summoned to the town of New Verdigris by the Well of Knowledge at the wish of the townspeople. They need the party to protect them from the monsters and so begins the story of the Secret of the Silver Blades.
The party's objective is to adventure through the mountain region near Verdigris, entering areas such as the ruins of Old Verdigris, the Well of Knowledge, the mines, the crevasses, and eventually to the Dreadlord's castle. The party will face off against an evil group of humans called the Black Circle, many kinds of monsters in the mines and crevasses, and finally against the lich the Dreadlord himself.
There is no overworld in the game, so all action takes place in the first person maps. The Well of Knowledge offers some teleporters so the party can reach various points in the maps. Nearly all the teleporters must be opened from their destination away from the well, however.
The Well of Knowledge can give the party hints if it pays a certain amount of gems.
To play Secret of the Silver Blades, one simply needs to create characters and form a party. The gameplay basics are identical to all games in the series. Characters can also be imported from Pool of Radiance and Curse of the Azure Bonds.
Secret of the Silver Blades does bear similarities to its two predecessors in gameplay and graphics. There is no overworld in this game, however. It takes place entirely in the first person maps. Graphics did improve slightly, though everything was still drawn in 16 colors.
Mages have the ability to use spells up to level 7, while clerics can reach level 6 spells.
The arrow keys are conveniently usable to select menu options as opposed to using hotkeys, which was the only way in earlier titles, though the hotkey option is still available.
There are only two known versions for MS-DOS:
|MS-DOS||V1.00||Turbo Pascal 5.5 (exepacked)|
|MS-DOS||V1.30||Turbo Pascal 5.5 (exepacked)|
Computer Gaming World wrote that "Secret of the Silver Blades could easily have been sub-titled 'Hackmania'" because of the game's emphasis of combat, and stated that it was the most linear of the Gold Box series. The magazine liked the game's story, and concluded that it was "a typical product in the Forgotten Realms series", most appealing to fans of Gold Box or hack and slash games. The game was reviewed in 1990 in Dragon #163 by Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser in "The Role of Computers" column. The reviewers gave the game 4 out of 5 stars.
According to GameSpy, "Secret of the Silver Blades would never reach the "classic" status of much of SSI's previous work".
- Barton, Matt (2007-02-23). "Part 2: The Golden Age (1985-1993)". The History of Computer Role-Playing Games. Gamasutra. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
- Scorpia (1990-10). "Scorpion's View". Computer Gaming World. p. 27. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
- Lesser, Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk (November 1990). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (163): 47–50.
- Rausch, Allen (August 15, 2004). "A History of D&D Video Games". GameSpy. Retrieved November 17, 2012.