Review: Rings Of Medusa

Rings Of Medusa

ST Format Review

My Review

For this review I’m running Steem with a 1MB STFM, running TOS 1.04. This is Pompey Pirates #37, quite a simple menu with a cool picture of a knight, some sscrolly text and a graphic equaliser in the border, along with a decent chip tune. It comes with a trainer if you need it – I’m going to try to play without it.

So, long story short, Rings Of Medusa (ROM from here on) is a strategy game. Medusa is turning your people evil and it’s your job to find 5 rings, put the in a temple and thus force a fight with Medusa. To do this I need to earn money to fund an army to find the rings. Money can come from trading, attacking caravans, conquering towns and plundering their treasuries, finding raw materials, finding treasure and gambling in the casino. There’s a 5 and a half page story to wade through (see link to manual below) if you feel the urge, but the objectives are reasonably clear.

So, I click and hold the mouse to drag my icon around, days elapse as I trudge the map. I find myself at a town with a good selection of amenities – I presume that clicking on them will make something happen. Graphics so far are lovely, sound is fairly standard sound-chip warble, nothing exceptional.

My attempts to buy some iron or gold or anything fall apart owing to no icon being available to buy anything – it appears to be greyed out. Ok, let’s try the temple. I find out that there’s a treasure at 14-04 S, 34-39 W. I’ll note that down and see if I can figure out how to use those numbers. A quick trip to the bank and that seems easy enough to manage – presumably putting money in the bank keeps it safe should something happen to me.

I leave the town in search of treasure. Let’s see what I find. Nothing. On to Gloria Springs. Disappointgly the town graphic is identical. I can’t buy anything and I have nothing to sell. So, towns evidently aren’t useful to me yet. Treasures too. Time to attack a caravan. Unfortunately I can’t find one, but I get intercepted and lose everything, which leaves me a bit fucked.

So I go to a town called Falcon and discover the red flag icon on the right, if you’re in a bank, robs the bank. Free money, excellent. I needed that as I had none. It only works once. Time to head to the pub. Let’s bet my ill-gotten gains. I will of course save-scum until I win this game of blackjack. I’m cool like that. This is blackjack with weird rules. Thank god I have the manual. Ace is worth 11, the queen, marked with a D is worth 3, the jack (B) is worth 2, and the king 4. Peculiar. This explains my first few losses – I had no fucking idea what was going on. The letters I suspect are a product of the game being German. Maybe that’s how germans play blackjack.

WOOHOO! I won and got some money! See the nonsensical cards?

So anyway I wander around and manage to buy things in one store and sell in another to make money, all very Elite, in fact one could easily argue that this is Elite in medieval times for most of the gameplay loop.

Eventually I ran out of steam a bit, but I can see myself giving it another shot sometime to see if I can do better in battle (which I suspect I would if I bought enough troops and fed them well). It’s a good solid game which perhaps could do with slightly better documentation (the manual is terrible) and usability – the visuals are nicely done and the concepts are sound. Watching a lets play I found out that if I had scouts I could detect caravans and the likes, which would be very helpful. I had a good time in my couple of hours with it – if I wasn’t looking to get more games played (with Midwinter, Damocles and Sim City lurking in the distance making me get a bit greedy) I’d have gone on longer and I probably will come back to it. I reckon I’d have had some fun with this as a kid. I had good instincts.

Resources
Manual: http://www.atarimania.com/st/files/rings_of_medusa_starbyte_instructions.PDF

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