Discworld (video game)
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The game's cover features work by Discworld novel cover artist Josh Kirby.
Discworld is a 1995 adventure game developed by Teeny Weeny Games and Perfect 10 Productions. It stars Rincewind the Wizard (voiced by Eric Idle) and is set on Terry Pratchett's Discworld. The game's plot is based roughly around the events in the book Guards! Guards!, but also borrows elements from numerous other Discworld novels. Discworld has been praised for its humour, voice-acting and graphics, though some criticized its gameplay and difficult puzzles.
There are four other Discworld games: a direct sequel to Discworld, titled Discworld II: Missing Presumed...!?, Discworld Noir (a stand-alone story starring an original character), a text adventure called The Colour of Magic which strictly adheres to the events of the first Discworld novel and another game based on The Colour of Magic released on mobile phones titled Discworld: The Colour of Magic.
Discworld is a third-person point-and-click graphic adventure game. Rincewind, the player character, moves across a scrolling background, with an overhead map that appears when leaving a city that allows the player to go straight to a location. Items can either be examined or used, and can either be stored in Rincewind's pockets or in the Luggage. In order to progress in the game, Rincewind must collect items, talk to people and solve puzzles.
The PlayStation version is compatible with the PlayStation Mouse, as well as the standard PlayStation controller. However, the Saturn version is not compatible with the Saturn Mouse.
A secret brotherhood summons a dragon from its native dimension, so as to cause destruction and mayhem across the city of Ankh-Morpork. The following day, rumours of the dragon's rampage across the city reaches Unseen University. Since the Archchancellor wishes the involvement of at least one wizard in the matter (so that people don't question their usefulness), Rincewind is summoned to handle the problem. After acquiring a book to learn what is needed to track the dragon to its lair, Rincewind searches the city for the various components needed to assemble a dragon detector and brings them back to the Archchancellor. After the Archancellor lets slip that the dragon's lair is stocked with gold, Rincewind snatches the dragon detector from the Archchancellor, searches the city, finds the lair, and takes all the gold within it. Just before he leaves, the dragon stops him and requests his aid in removing the brotherhood's hold upon her, claiming they are using her for evil and are planning to make her go on a major rampage.
To do this, Rincewind is told to discover who they are, and recover a golden item from each, since these items are what they use to control the dragon. Learning that a book about summoning dragons had been stolen from the library at Unseen University the night before, Rincewind gains access to L-Space, allowing him to journey into the past, witness the theft, and follow the thief back to the brotherhood's hideout. After gaining entry in disguise, Rincewind learns that each member holds a role in the city — Chucky the Fool, the Thief, the Mason, the Chimney Sweep, the Fishmonger, and the Dunny King — and seeks to change the city so they can have a better future for themselves. Acquiring their golden items, Rincewind brings them to the dragon, only to learn it will not return to its dimension but seek revenge on the brotherhood before coming after him. Wishing to stop this, Rincewind decides to prevent the summoning book from being stolen, by switching it for one that makes love custard. In his efforts to be recognised for stopping the dragon, Rincewind gets into an argument with the Patrician over the existence of dragons, summoning the very same one back to Discworld. An annoyed Patrician tasks Rincewind to deal with it.
Learning that a hero with a million-to-one chance can stop it, Rincewind searches for the right components to be that hero, journeying across the city, the Disc, and even over the edge, to find the necessary items, including a sword that goes "ting", a birthmark, and a magic spell. With the components acquired, he returns to the city's square, where Lady Ramkin, the owner of a local dragon sanctuary, is tied to a rock to be sacrificed to the dragon. Despite having what is needed to combat the dragon, Rincewind fails to stop it, and so seeks out an alternative method. Taking a swamp dragon called Mambo the 16th, and feeding him hot coals and a lit firecracker, Rincewind tries again, but Mambo stops working when he becomes infatuated with the dragon. Rincewind then throws a love custard tart at the dragon. The dragon falls in love with Mambo, and the two fly off to perform mating dances. Rincewind heads to the pub for a pint to celebrate the end of his adventure.
Terry Pratchett, himself an avid gamer, had previously licensed the Discworld property to Delta 4 for their development of The Colour of Magic game. While pleased with the game itself, the title's poor marketing and sales had left him somewhat wary of further game development. It took Teeny Weeny Games roughly six months to persuade Pratchett to give them the go ahead for development on Discworld, ultimately winning him over with a demonstration of Rincewind using a broom to get the Luggage off the top of a wardrobe. The game was officially announced around September 1993, and was slated for release around Christmas the following year.
The game was originally released on both floppy disk and CD-ROM, with the CD version featuring a fully voiced cast of characters. For the Japanese PlayStation and Saturn releases, all voice acting was redone by a prominent Japanese comedian, a major selling point for the game in Japan.[not in citation given] A port had been under way for the Philips CD-i in 1996, and had entered its final stages of development, but was never released.
The game was reviewed in 1995 in Dragon #223 by David "Zeb" Cook in the final "Eye of the Monitor" column. Cook's summary of the game is as follows: "Give Discworld an "A" for content and an "F" for mechanics. Great tongue-in-cheek script. Delightful parody of heroic fantasy and computer adventure games. Faithful, even inspired translation of Pratchett's world and comic voice into a computer game. Great voice performances. Exceptional art and animation. Crappy testing, quality control, and tech support." Entertainment Weekly praised the voice-acting of Eric Idle, but criticised the PlayStation version of the game, saying that it was difficult to navigate without the PlayStation Mouse and that the text was too small. In their review of the PlayStation version, Electronic Gaming Monthly similarly commented that the PlayStation mouse is required for full enjoyment, but highly praised the voice acting, humor, and graphics, with all four of the reviewers scoring the game 8.5/10. IGN gave the game a 7.0 out of 10, calling it challenging and long, but criticising the long loading times. Sega Saturn Magazine gave the Saturn version a 72%, citing overlong dialogues, poor graphics, and "largely non-existent" animation.
Computer and Video Games gave the game a 5.0 out of 10, complimenting the backdrops and saying that the voice-acting and plot give "a feature film feel to the whole affair". However, they criticised the gameplay, and said that Discworld was "an entertaining yarn, with a gameplay vehicle attached to it". Adventure Gamers praised the voice acting, graphics, humour and story, calling it "a wonderful game", but noted that "it stops short of being a classic simply due to its sheer difficulty and the unwieldy nature of the game". Adventure Gamers also called the music "serviceable at best, and fairly forgettable". In 2009 Eurogamer's Will Porter reviewed the game retrospectively, praising the game's cartoonish graphics and voice-acting, but criticising its puzzles and noting that "Discworld commits every point-and-click crime you'd care to mention".
- Will Porter (26 June 2009). "Retrospective: Discworld". Eurogamer. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
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