Fans Choice for Adventure

Runescape

93% runescape adventure game category feature
Enter a world of wizards, monsters & magic!

Glory Kings

77% glory kings adventure game category feature
The Future of Iskarain lies in your hands!

Arenas of Glory

72% arenas of glory game category feature
Fight to the death as a bold gladiator!

When I think of role playing games the cliches "patience is a virtue" and "the best things come to those who wait" spring to mind. Role Playing Games require a little more input than your standard skill or action games, but with the right amount of time and effort they often become the most gratifying of games to play. Often adventure is blended in with role play to create role playing adventure games and both genres are closely intertwined.

When I first embark on a new role playing adventure game I almost always have to go through an induction period where I feel like a fish out of water. I am unsure where to go, what to do and a great deal of experimenting is needed before I feel comfortable with the game. Yes other games require time and effort but not to the extent a role playing game does. Perhaps only strategy games are equal in terms of time required and often strategy is found mixed in with role play.

The more you play role playing games the less significant this period becomes. It's much like changing jobs, you get stuck in your old ways with the same company for years, and all of a sudden you find yourself in a new working environment. Different procedures, rules and politics come into play, so you keep your head down until you get a feel of how to play things.

Spell Binder

spell binder game

The first role playing game I ever came across was Spellbinder on the BBC Micro. I was only seven at the time and was too young to play the game so I'd invite my cousin round and watch him play it. You controlled a mage lord named Eldon the Spell Binder and your ultimate goal was to find and defeat an evil mage lord named outcast Zorn (I can't help but think this was a dig at one of the team who developed the game). To defeat outcast Zorn you had to use "the ultimate spell" (the equivalent of the death touch in martial arts I guess).

What really got me hooked on spell binder was how open ended the game was for its time, and how creepy the looping background music was. These two features along with the ability to create your own spells offered something that little bit more interesting in a time when platform, shooter and puzzle games were the norm; indeed Spell Binder was quite the adventure game at the time.

I have always found role playing/adventure games easy to watch especially those with strong storytelling, they can easily suck you in, and it doesn't even matter if someone else is in control of the game such is your desire to see where the story leads. This is not so with skill and action games they're difficult to stay interested in if you are not the one playing, they offer repetition and quick thrills but the journey is certainly the game players alone.

Over the years role playing games have progressed graphically and have become more complicated and time consuming but good strategy games have always had a few things in common - strong storytelling, detailed characters and an open ended immersive world.

Resident Evil

resident evil game

One such role playing classic that offers all of the above and more is Resident Evil (released as Biohazard in Japan). Luckily I was one of the privileged ones to get hold of the Japanese version which was released way before its U.S counterpart. The game's subtitles were written in Japanese which didn't help when trying to solve puzzles; however the dialog was dubbed in English which made for rather amusing cut sequences!

This adventure game opens on July 24 2008 where a number of gruesome attacks and murders have taken place in Racoon City a Midwestern town. The local police send in a Special Tactics and Rescue Service (STARS) named Bravo team to investigate. When contact is lost with Bravo team Alpha team is sent in to see what has happened.

In Resident Evil you play one of two characters depending on the difficulty setting selected at the beginning of the game. If you set the game to easy you play Jill Valentine, set the game to hard and you play Chris Redfield. Both characters belong to Alpha team.

Bravo team's missing helicopter is soon found along with a severed hand belonging to one of the missing crew members. Several hungry dogs with zombie like characteristics are lurking nearby and chase the team into a nearby mansion. Trapped in the mansion the team decides to split up and find clues that will help them understand what is going on.

The majority of the game takes place in the mansion which offers an excellent backdrop to the game. The mansion is extensive in size and is a fairly old antiquity building which gives the game a very eerie atmosphere. Upon entering each room an in game sequence is shown of a door opening in darkness and no indication is given as to what lies on the other side! This often spooked me out when an array of monsters would suddenly appear in the next room.

The mansion offers a myriad of role playing rooms, puzzles and monsters including zombies, dogs, snakes and demons to name a few. The puzzles aren't too difficult to solve but enough to keep you going. There are several locked doors in the mansion where you have to find keys to unlock them. As you gradually work your way through the game you hook up with members of both Bravo team and Alpha team and realise their fate. You also encounter several bosses that usually follow a short in game sequence. There are a lot of surprises thrown into the mix and the story line is excellent, with all sorts of twists as it progresses.

I watched the majority of Resident Evil take place through another player but it never bothered me because I became hooked on the excellent story line. This adventure game had me and my cousin coming up with conspiracy theories about the in game characters. I remember one incident where an argument broke out where my cousin had accused Barry Burton of rigging the helicopter engine at the beginning of the game. This was the beauty of Resident Evil it drew you in that much that sometimes you'd forget it wasn't real!

System Shock 2

system shock 2 game

Another classic that ranks amongst the best role playing adventure games is System Shock 2. Although not hugely popular in terms of sales it was critically applauded upon release with many critics at the time and to this day calling it highly influential in terms of role playing first person shooters.

The game offers a mix of role playing elements and first person shooter action. It takes place in the year 2114 on a star ship. You are a lone player attempting to stem the outbreak of a genetic infection that has trashed the ship.

In beginning the game you chose from three branches (each with its own strengths and weaknesses) of the United National Nominate a fictional military organisation. You have the choice of the Marines (augment marksmanship and weapon proficiency), the Navy (repairing and hacking) and the Paranormal (psionic powers). After undergoing a character development stage you begin to collect cyber modules by completing mission objectives. Cyber modules can be spent at special devices called cyber upgrade units which allow you to create your character's different abilities.

System shock for me offered a mix of Diablo type upgrades to skills and a Resident Evil type atmosphere, instead of being trapped in a mansion, you are trapped on a starship, and you have zombies flying at you left, right and centre, well they look like zombies anyway and all sorts of other infected entities. For me System Shock 2 is a lonely game as you don't meet any team mates along the way, the only thing you encounter are apparitions from the past and freaks that want to kill you.

I played System Shock 2 right through on my own unlike the other two roles playing games I have mentioned and I have to admit it was a more personal experience. For a change I was able to see what it's like to be involved alone in a role playing game and it does give a role playing game a lonelier and perhaps more spooky feeling!

The flash adventure games and role playing games found above are extremely well designed and scripted considering they are completely free to play, examples include Fancy Pants Adventure 2 and Sonny 2.