StoneKeep

Ten years have passed, and you return to the place where a proud castle once stood. You remember the day the blackness came and stole t.he life from every being in the keep. You were protected and spirited away as the darkness closed in. The screams of the dying people echo in your ears as you remember the monstrous figure rising above the very walls of your old home, magick crackling from its finger tips. The keep sank into the depths of the earth, never to be seen again. Now you stand at the edge of a huge chasm. At the bottom of the pit lies your home, and you mourn its loss.
Suddenly, a light emerges from the darkness, and tells you of a way to restore what once was. Shedding your mortal shell, you descend into the pit, seeking the destruction of the one who took all you knew.

So begins StoneKeep, an involving firstperson computer roleplaying game from Interplay. You’ll wander mazes, meet allies, and battle all kinds of fierce monsters. You’ll discover the power of magick and the strength of steel as you make your way through a twenty-two level labyrinth on the way toward a final confrontation with KhullKhuum, the Shadowking. Not only will you need to fight for your very survival, but you’ll have to discover artifacts and solve a multitude of puzzles to reclaim your birthright.

You move through the keep using the arrow keys for direction. The rest of the interface is all mouse- controlled; the left mouse button controls your character’s left hand, and the right button the right hand. So when fighting, clicking the left button will punch with the left hand, or use the weapon in that hand.

To access your inventory, move the cursor to the middle right of the screen; a scroll icon will appear. Clicking on this will open your inventory scroll, as well as show the mirror where you can access the things you’re wearing and the weapons you’re holding. Once you find the journal, you can access it by clicking the upper-left corner of the screen. The journal will let you identify objects you’ve discovered, auto map areas you’ve explored, keep track of any clues you come across, and allow you to make notes of your experiences.

During your explorations. you’ll discover a pouch located close to the beginning of the second level that will let you store your stones. If you hold the pouch with the stones in your hand. clicking with the corresponding mouse button will throw the stones until the pouch is empty. This can be very handy for long-range attacks. Also, if you open a door and see a monster straight ahead of you on the other side, you can throw the stones to kill it without a battle, since it won’t come after you.

These goblins are some of the tougher second-level opponents in StoneKeep and like to gang up on you. The best way to defeat them is to simply concentrate on them one at a time.

When you’re running low on life, try to find this fountain of healing and drink a few scoops of this pink liquid, and you’ll feel good as new.

When you find it, the journal will help you keep track of your progress through StoneKeep.

You can use your reflection in the magic mirror to arm yourself with a variety of weapons.

In the main playing window, the mouse controls several actions. When the cursor is a cross, clicking a mouse button will either punch or strike with the weapon in your hand. Most creatures have a weak spot, and they’ll suffer more damage when you strike them there. Since your blows fall on the spot your cursor covers, you can aim for these tender areas during battle. (Hint: On goblins, the tender area is around their neck.) You can also sift through debris on the floor with this technique, finding all manner of useful items in what may seem like piles of garbage. When the cursor is a grabbing hand, a left click will pick up the item and you can place it in inventory or one of your hands; a right click will put it directly in your inventory. The cursor will also become a pointing finger to push a button, or a pulling hand to operate a lever.

This demo allows you to explore the first two levels of the game. With its seamless interface that takes only seconds to master, and an involving story line full of puzzles and clues that make the experience more than just a maze mapping exercise, StoneKeep has the potential to become one of the most engrossing and entertaining RPGs we’ve seen in quite a while.