- Albion (video game)
title = Albion
Blue Byte Software
Blue Byte Software
released = 1995
In the year
2227, the gigantic, interstellar space ship Torontoreaches a distant planetary system. The ship's owners, the huge corporationDoimlr-Daihatsu-Thompson, believe that there are rich deposits of raw materials on the third planet of the system, and the Toronto is to mine the whole planet's resources at once. The data that describes the planet as a desert, however, turns out to be false. Albion is a world full of life, secrets, surprises, and magic. When Tom Driscoll, the pilot of the reconnaissance team, discovers this, he swears to save Albion from Toronto's tentacles.
"Albion" is a fantasy role playing game. The gameplay has the basic statistic and level system most RPGs of its time had. To level up, you defeat monsters in battle and gain experience. The non-battle portions of this game are mainly puzzle and conversation based, so there are very few "Give X to get Y" puzzles. You can have up to six characters in your party, led by Tom Driscoll, the only character who stays with you through the entire game.
The Battle System in "Albion" is turn-based and takes place on a six-by-six grid similar to a board game. You choose, at the start of each turn, an action for each character to perform: Attack, Move, Cast magic, Use Item, or Flee. There is also an 'Advance Party' option to move all enemies towards you one square. The area in which your characters can move is limited to the bottom two rows. If you have a weapon (or two, in the case of the Iskai) equipped, you can attack. If not, you cannot attack unarmed, unless you are choosing Siobhan.
"Albion" is one of the few role playing games of its time to use a hybrid system for the navigation of the maps and dungeons. In most parts of the game, the maps are depicted in 2D overhead mode, with full mouse and keyboard control. You can move the party 'train' around with the keyboard and select items to interact with the mouse (so long as you are in fair reach of them). When there are mazes, corridors or even some dungeons, the map is represented in real-time 3D, akin to "
Wolfenstein 3D", though with much less smooth player movement as the mode isn't used for real-time combat. You can still move around with the mouse and/or the keyboard and select items to interact with using the mouse.
Conversations in "Albion" are handled in two ways: Set Topics and Keywords. The Topics usually signify something you can specifically ask that person, for example the leader of a tribe about an object that only he knows about, or a shopkeeper to show you his or her wares. Keywords are more dynamic and may yield different results to different people. Besides being able to type them freely, you learn keywords for a particular town by speaking to people about common topics, and gradually you will learn all there is to know in the game just by speaking to people. For example, you can learn some of the native language and culture, some superfluous knowledge about who likes whom, and what kind of drink is preferable.
pecies and characters
There are nine playable characters in "Albion", all but two of whom must join your party at some point as the plot progresses. In spite of the game's giving the initial impression that Albion is a planet of the Iskai, most of these characters are human. A further division exists between Terran and Albion's Celtic humans.
These are humans from outer space that originated from Earth. Terran humans have no magical ability whatsoever, speak primarily Terran (English or German, most likely German because of the country this game originated from) and have a somewhat extensive knowledge of technology. There are three Terran human characters available to play as in "Albion" throughout the game: Tom Driscoll, Rainer Hofstedt, and Joe Bernard.
The protagonist of the game is Tom Driscoll, a Terran pilot who soon after the game's beginning finds himself stranded on a planet that against all expectations is teeming with life. Much of the game's plot revolves around Tom's attempts to locate the landing site of the Toronto. Tom remains in the party at all times; even if he is separated from everyone else, it is him the player will continue to follow. He has no particular special abilities, aside from the ability to use most human-made equipment in the game, whether it be made by Albion's Celts or Terrans, but he has and develops a decent overall combat skill.
One of the two government officials supervising the Toronto, and eventually the only one after the mysterious death of Inspector Beagle, Rainer is a physicist and xenobiologist with an ecological bent. He ends up joining Tom on his exploratory flight on Albion and gets stranded along with him. He reacts to the Iskai and Albion's ecology in general with the wonder of a scientist who not only finds himself with a whole new world to study, but also finds some of his old beliefs and attitudes shaken. Rainer is the most intelligent playable character in the game, often offering insightful and even valuable comments, and has good lock-picking skills, but is also the weakest fighter, a flaw that it seems almost impossible to negate.
Joe is a technician aboard the Toronto and Tom's old friend. Though he can be met early in the game, he only becomes a playable character after the rediscovery of the spaceship. His strengths mainly reflect his profession; he can offer invaluable advice during adventures that take place within the Toronto, at one point helping the party avoid some of the hardest battles in the game, but his combat ability is essentially limited to his ability to use superior Terran weapons, such as firearms.
These humans originate from Albion itself (though their mythology speaks of travelling there from Earth, apparently magically) and are quite different from the humans you see at the start of the game. Unlike Terran Humans, Celtic Humans are sometimes quite apt at different types of magic – Druidic, the art of magic used by Kenget Kamulos, and a rare art used only by the Enlightened Ones. They speak Celtic, and some Iskai. There are four Celtic Humans you can play throughout the game: Mellthas, Khunag, Harriet, and Siobhan.
Mellthas is a young druid living on the traditionally Celtic island of Gratogel. He is deaf and dumb but communicates via written notes; it's still not possible to initiate conversations with NPCs with him as the leader, except in some cases to gain training. He first joins the party to help them find his missing foster father, but soon falls in love with Sira almost in an instant after discovering that he has the more or less unheard-of ability to communicate with her by touching her Trii. Mellthas has a relatively short list of possible spells, most of which are moderately powerful combat spells. They notably include the Banish Demon spells, which when successful will destroy demons at once. His fighting skills are less good.
Siobhan is a human warrior from Beloveno, a large city on Maini. She will join the group if asked to, but has no bearing on the plot and is purely optional. Once arriving at Beloveno, the player essentially has the choice between recruiting Siobhan or Khunag. Siobhan is the strongest of all the characters and the only one capable of using the most powerful non-magical (and non-Terran) human weapons.
A former high-ranking member of the militant Druidic sect Kenget Kamulos, Khunag is a dark, brooding wizard (an Oqulo Kamulos) currently living in Beloveno. He has been exiled from Khamulon, the city of the Kenget, but will join the party either when they need a guide to said city late in the game, or at any earlier point after he has been first encountered. He is physically weak but has the most powerful array of combat-related spells in the game, though many of these cannot be obtained very soon. Almost all of his spells concentrate on dealing damage. Khunag comes across as somewhat amoral but not entirely disloyal.
Harriet is a young member of the Dji Cantos, or Enlightened Ones, dispatched by said group to help Tom's party in their quest. She does this mainly by allowing them to travel instantly from one island or continent to another with the help of a magic item she carries. She has the shortest spell list of all the characters who have any, mainly consisting of the most effective healing spells in the game but also including the most difficult and powerful combat spell available, which if successful destroys every opponent instantly.
Iskai resemble humanoid cats in design and are tall, slender beasts. Though called
mammalsin spite of living on another planet, they have a few physiological features that differ noticeably from all species of Earth mammals, such as an emphatic/telepathic forehead organ called a Trii and bony "claws" between their toes rather than at the end of them. Their main home seen in the game is Nakiridaani (a jungle island) and the city of Jirinaar, and they also inhabit Srimalinar, a smaller town on Maini. Unlike Celtic or Terran humans, they have their own created culture and history, which is quite rich and explored within the first part of Albion. Iskai have two forms of magic: Dji-Fadh (Architecture and Building), and Dji-Kas (Nature Controlling). The Dji-Fadh guild is much older than the Dji-Kas guild. There is also a rank of Iskai warriors called the Stiriik. There are two Iskai characters you can play as: Sira and Drirr.
Drirr is an Iskai warrior originally from the continent called Maini, but first encountered working as a Stiriik in Jirinaar. He joins Tom and Rainer initially to help them in solving a murder in which they are implicated simply because the act was carried out by a human, but continues to travel with them afterwards. He is very fast and stronger than most humans (Iskai tend to be faster but weaker than humans), and arguably the best fighter in the game, though it's somewhat difficult to find him good equipment since he is limited to using Iskai weapons and armour. He is shown as somewhat curious and impulsive, once to the point of it being detrimental to the party.
A young, red-headed female Iskai, Sira is the daughter of Akiir, the head of the Dji-Fadh guild. Against her father's wishes, she has chosen to study the rival Dji-Kas branch of magic. After an unpleasant incident related to this old tension, she chooses to travel with Tom's party to get away from it all for the time being. Sira has the most varied list of spells that she can learn of anyone in the game, including some that freeze enemies immobile, thus potentially temporarily removing dangerous opponents from the battle, making them some of the most effective spells in the game. As a Dji-Kas mage, she must use a seed of the Triifalai plant every time she casts a spell, but these are found by the hundreds in several places so this is unlikely to be a problem. She also becomes a decent hand-to-hand fighter with experience, though it's even more difficult to find good equipment for her than to Drirr. Sira's personality seems to be kind, caring and thoughtful. Early on, she develops a special bond with Mellthas.
The accessible parts of the world of Albion consist of three islands and two continents, plus the spaceship Toronto which to begin with is not "on" the planet. Each of these areas contains numerous sub-areas such as towns and dungeons.
Nakiridaani is an island inhabited by the
Iskai. They don't have much dealings with human beings living elsewhere and regard visiting humans as oddities. The island consists mainly of untamed jungle, but it does contain Jirinaar, the greatest city of the Iskai.
;Jirinaar:The city of the Iskai has been constructed by the means of the Dji-Fadh (Former) school of magic; most of its features have been created by manipulating vegetable mass into growing into predetermined shapes. These include the thick walls that encompass the city. At the centre of the city lies the large building of the council that governs the place. This council is led by the Sebainah; the current one is called Janiis. Other buildings in the city include the houses of the guilds (the Dji-Fadh and Dji-Kas, or the Formers and the Magicians), as well as of the clans, and a few shops and a tavern.
;The jungle:The jungles around Jirinaar are full of exotic Albionian life, from strange tree-like plants and Triifalai bushes to predatorous animals. Some of the local animals are completely harmless, but beasts called krondirs, skrinns and warniaks make travel dangerous. Krondirs and warniaks are also hunted in turn by the Iskai for their valuable body parts. Also found are swarms of little, stinging insects that can prove a nuisance. The vegetation itself is often dense enough to present an obstacle.
;The old Former building:The only Iskai structure on the island outside of Jirinaar, the old guildhouse of the Dji-Fadh has become a deserted and shunned place, inhabited by krondirs and worse. It's also rumoured to be haunted.
The island of the
Celts. Humans there seem to have remained very close to their (Terran?) Celtic roots, and live in three small villages of round huts, each ruled by a tribal king or queen. They also have with them some other Earth organisms, such as pigs and a sacred oaktree. The climate seems to be more temperate than on Nakiridaani. Gratogel is divided by a mountain range, access through which can only be gained through a narrow, bandit-haunted pass. The inhabitants of Gratogel also tend to keep to themselves, and they rarely even see any Iskai.
;Klouta:Klouta is the name of a fishing village on the west coast of Gratogel, and also of the nearby river, which flows northwards from the mountains. Passage overseas can be obtained from the village.
;Vanello:Vanello is another village, to the east of Klouta and near the druid school Arjano. It boasts a good shop selling a number of magic items as well as a blacksmith.
;Aballon:The third village on Gratogel is situated on the south of the mountain range, unlike the other two. It is known for its orchards, and indeed food can be bought there extremely cheaply.
;Arjano:Arjano is the school of the druids. It is situated to the north of Vanello, and is mostly underground. Access can be gained through a small hut on the surface. There is also a sacred grove consisting of a single oak nearby.
A majority of Arjano's underground complex is in fact unused. Levels below the first are known as Drinno, and stand as a testament to the "civil war" of the druids in the past, when the group to be known as the Kenget Kamulos separated from the rest. Drinno is now filled with traps, beasts and demons left behind after the war.
Called Trenkiriidan by the Iskai, Maini is a "large land mass" to the north-east of Nakiridaani. It's treated as a continent, although it can be explored in its entirety and is strictly speaking only a few times larger than the islands. It does contain more points of interest than any other area, including two villages and two cities. Maini is inhabited by both Iskai and humans, but the latter predominate. Similarly to Gratogel, it is bisected by a mountain range, and this one can also only be got past at one point, this time by climbing over it. This Mountain Pass has fallen into disuse, however, suggesting that some of the settlements are in relative isolation from one another.
;Beloveno:A large human harbour city on the south-eastern shores of Maini, surrounded by stone walls from all direction except from the sea. The humans here are Mahinos, more civilized descendants of the Celts. A very few Iskai also live among them. The city offers all services that the party might need. It is ruled by a small council. The inhabitants of Beloveno are aware of the villages Kounos and Srimalinar to the north, but people seldom travel all the way there these days.
;Kounos:A small Celtic village in the style of Gratogel, situated along the Mountain Pass right on the highest peaks of the mountains. Ruled by a druid called Kontos.
;Srimalinar:This small Iskai town lies near the northern shores of the continent, on the other side of the Mountain Pass from Beloveno. It's almost identical to Jirinaar on a smaller scale. There is also a shrine to the Iskai Goddess nearby.
;Khamulon:Khamulon is the extensive underground city of the Kenget Kamulos, who started out as a sect of rogue druids but eventually left Arjano and Gratogel to form their own city. The Kenget are dedicated to the worship of their war-god Kamulos, and their entire society reflects this. Warriors are respected above all, and those who can fight with magic (the Oqulo Kamulos) are ranked higher than those who need the use of weapons (the Kledo Kamulos). The leader of the Kenget is the Cuain, who acts as the earthly
Khamulon can be accessed through a cave to the north-east of Maini, but the Kenget will not let anyone in without sufficient reason.
;The Mountain Pass:There is only one way across the great mountain range, and that way is by using the large "climbing plants" that grow or have been grown across the sheer cliff faces in several places. The roads leading to this Mountain Pass have long since fallen into disuse and been neglegted, but the way is still relatively easy to find.
;The kritah caves:Under and within the mountains, near the Mountain Pass, can be found a confusing labyrinth of interlinking caves on several levels. Explorers are advised to be careful about entering these caves, but they do contain some riches to be found. They are, however, populated by kritahs. These small animals are regarded as only a nuisance by the Mahinos and are quick to flee if they don't have overwhelming numbers on their side, but in the caves they get aggressive and can be quite dangerous, especially as they tend to attack in groups.
The Dji Cantos Island of Peace
This beautiful, secret island is the home of the Enlightened Ones, also known as the Dji Cantos. They are a secretive sect consisting of both humans and Iskai that holds knowledge unknown to most of the residents of Albion. They have on the island a single large building surrounded by gardens and nature.In the gardens can be found patches of plants that increase your main character's stats if you stand on them for a while. After some time these patches recover but only for so many times.
The land of the Umajo
The seemingly largest continent on Albion consists mainly of barren desert, but it is also home to the Umajo, technologically (relatively) advanced descendants of the Celts, known for their metalwork. The Umajo live in a single city at the coast, surrounded by endless desert.
;Umajo-Kenta:The city of the Metal Makers, or the Umajo. It lies on the shores of the sea, but it's still so dry there that water is valuable. The Umajo here sell the best of all sorts of artificial goods, including exceptionally powerful non-magical weapons.
;The desert:The deserts surrounding Umajo-Kenta are the single largest terrain feature anywhere in the game. They cannot be exhaustively explored, and even what the player can access seems larger than all of Maini. The heat in the desert is so intensive that to survive there for long without getting dangerously exhausted, people need to use a special liquid called "porenoil" that can be obtained from Umajo-Kenta. Another hazard are the sand divers, strange animals shaped like some kind of
insect larvae, which emerge from the sand and attack by throwing rocks. It's also quite possible and potentially dangerous to simply get lost.
The desert contains mainly sand, but at places it is also littered with strange rock formations. A secret way between these leads to an underground passage that can be used to reach yet another large area of desert.
;The prison:The Umajo have built their prison far in the desert, though they recommend it as a place for visitors to see for some reason. A guard goes there regularly every day and can act as a guide.
The game begins on the Terran spaceship Toronto, which is heading towards Albion. The player can explore quite a large part of the ship at once, but other parts will only become accessible later.
* Operating system: DOS, compatible with Windows 95/98
* Minimum RAM: 8 MB
* Minimum CPU: 486/33
* Minimum CD Speed: 2×
* Minimum Video Mode: VGA, 360x240
* Minimum Disk Space: 20 MB
* [http://www.bluebyte.net/eng/products/albion/index.htm "Albion"] Official website
* [http://amberworld.sourceforge.net Amberworld] an unfinished effort of interpreter for the Amiga classic Ambermoon and games with a similar engine like Dragonflight, Amberstar and Albion
* [http://www.gp32x.com/board/index.php?showtopic=39437 " Albion GP2x Recompilation"] A Project to statically recompile Albion for the GP2x. Currently in alpha stage.
*de icon [http://albionweb.gratogel.de Albion fan page]
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