The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard
|The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard|
|Series||The Elder Scrolls|
Redguard differs from the core The Elder Scrolls games by being a linear action game played entirely in the third-person, whereas other entries in the series feature a free roaming environment from a first-person viewpoint. It also features a protagonist with a set name, race and set of skills, whereas the other games allow the player to customize all of these elements.
The game takes place in Tamriel in the year 864 of the Second Era, some 400 years prior to the events of Arena and the rest of the series. The story is about Cyrus, a young Redguard, who arrives on the island of Stros M'Kai in order to find his missing sister, Iszara, and subsequently finds himself in the middle of political intrigue.
At the time of the storyline beginning, Tiber Septim had begun his conquest of Hammerfell, with the help of the Forebears (Redguards who have sided with the empire) and his Imperial Legion conquered Hammerfell at the Battle of Hunding Bay and installed Admiral Richton as the governor. This began a reign of terror on the people of Hammerfell. Dram, a Dunmer ex-Morag Tong Assassin who wields the Bow of Shadow; N'Gasta, a Sload necromancer who had struck a deal with Clavicus Vile and placed the island under the influence of a Soul Trap; and Nafaalilargus, a dragon who serves Tiber Septim faithfully. All of them were instrumental in the defeat of the Hammerfell isles.
Cyrus was sent by Richton to retrieve N'Gasta's amulet in order to find his sister's whereabouts. There he learnt of his sister's cause of disappearance as she was part of a Redguard resistance movement called the Restless League. Cyrus' curiosity gets him thrown into the Catacombs but he escapes from captivity to the Restless League hideout. There he learns that if they could resurrect Prince A'tor, the people of Hammerfell may still have hope and defeat the Legion occupiers and force them to sign a more equal treaty. Cyrus first travels to the Isle of N'Gasta and uses the Flask of Lillandril to defend against N'Gasta's magic. There he learns that the Daedric Prince Clavicus Vile has his sister's soul. Cyrus outwits the Daedra to reclaim his sister's soul and learn of the Prince's Soul Gem's whereabouts, located at Nafaalilargus's den. There he slays the dragon and retrieves the Soul Gem, and attempts to resurrect the prince only to realize he has failed. However, the soul manifests itself into the Scimitar of Prince A'tor, becoming a self-aware artifact known as the Soul Sword, and Cyrus rallies them into a final attack as Cyrus personally takes on the Governor Richton and Dram, who were planning to flee on a Dwemer airship. As Cyrus defeats them in battle, Richton attempts to feign a surrender. However, the Soul Sword through the Prince's spirit delivers a fatal blow on Dram and Richton. With the Governor's defeat Hammerfell manages to secure more favorable terms with the Empire as Cyrus decides to explore Tamriel again.
Development and release
Redguard was the second of the three titles to be released, on October 31, 1998. With the inspiration of Tomb Raider, Prince of Persia, and the Ultima series, Bethesda was to create a new series of pure action-adventure games under The Elder Scrolls Adventures label. Players would talk to NPCs through keywords, use items to solve puzzles, and follow an "epic" storyline, while moving through dungeons, sword fights and chasms.
With Redguard, the team focused its art time on achieving great detail in one particular area with the XnGine, creating the real-time 3D environments of the island and town of Stros M'Kai. Redguard did not offer the player the chance to create their own character. Instead, players would play the prefabricated "Cyrus the Redguard".
Redguard runs in MS-DOS through the XnGine engine, but the CD-ROM shipped with the Windows-only InstallShield installation program, and features a software renderer as well as a hardware accelerated Glide renderer. The game's manual also included a section called the Pocket Guide to the Empire, in which details were given on all the provinces of the Empire during that Era. This guide is written from the point of view of an Imperial, and has several handwritten notices in it written by an anti-imperial. Lastly, in some distributions of the game, the map that was provided in the box was partially burnt to provide an additional level of verisimilitude.
Early copies of Redguard also shipped with a comic book depicting the events that led up to Cyrus' adventure on Stros M'Kai. The comic is available for free download, via the official website. The main character Cyrus is referenced in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: in a song sung by the first mate of the ship, the Marie Elena.
Redguard was a finalist for Computer Gaming World's 1998 "Best Adventure" award, but lost it to Grim Fandango and Sanitarium (tie). Likewise, GameSpot and PC Gamer US nominated Redguard as the year's best adventure title, but ultimately gave the distinction to Grim Fandango. The editors of PC Gamer US wrote, "While it has a lot of action-style gameplay that may turn off the stodgier adventure fans, Redguard delivers the genre's staples of exploration and puzzle solving in a fresh and entertaining way."
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