A Battle for Camelot
Runes of Camelot is a game that belongs to the Match-3 genre. It is set, as its title indicates, in the land of Camelot. In this game you have the choice of taking on the role of Arthur or Merlin’s apprentice Amelia. This is one of the two choices you get when playing this game. The other choice involves whether you opt to play the game with the sometimes rather loud audio turned on or off. If you opt to turn off audio then you will need to reset this feature every time you start the game. With regards to the game difficulty, this just tend to get harder the more you advance in the game.
Once the initial decisions have been made, you enter a situation where Morgana, the King’s sister, has been up to her evil ways and has placed a curse on Camelot to bring the land under her power. It is up to you, in your chosen role, to thwart Morgana’s plans and save the Kingdom of Avalon from her clutches as you battle through a series of chapter-based escapades that are spread over several levels.
At the conclusion of each level your character will indulge in some ideal chatter which is presented in text format. You will not loose anything in this game if you take the option to skip these sessions. In fact you will probably get more enjoyment by skipping them as the dialogue could hardly be called inspired.
Most of the game’s action revolves around clearly away the coloured cells from various Match-3 grid game boards. Along with the underlying colour, the cells of the grid contain coloured runes. By switching two adjacent runes, you need to make groups of three or more runes of the same colour so that they disappear taking any base colour with them. Obstacles, such as cages, ice blocks, vines and crates appear at random to make matters more difficult as you will need to include them in groups on several occasions in order to remove them. The completion of each chapter will bring the reward of a page from Merlin’s spell book that he needs to fight off the threat or Morgana.
Running down the left side of the grid are areas showing your current score and amount of gold at your disposal. There is also a tube showing how much time you have in order to complete the current grid. Failure to complete within the time will mean the level will need to be replayed in order to progress. On the right side of the grid are the special weapons at your disposal. These are earned during normal game play or purchased with your gold.
The special weapons adopt the same colours are used by the runes from which they are formed. Each type of weapon has its own distinct property with regards to how effective it is. The Red weapon is rather basic and destroys a single rune on the grid while the Yellow weapon will take out five runes at a time. Capable of destroying random runes is the task of the Green weapon. The Orange weapon has the power to release a meteor storm that will take out two sections of runes. Using the Blue weapon enables you to remove all the runes of a specified colour. Finally the Purple weapon obliterates half the grid.
Match-3 game play is also used when you tackle the Boss battles which occur during the last level of each chapter. In a Boss battle you take turns to play against a computer controlled opponent. Both you and your opponent have a certain weakness which is indicated by the coloured rune which appears alongside your portrait. Using this rune in groups will seriously weaken your opponent and your character when used against you. This is a kill or be killed battle.
From time to time, two other forms of game play appear. As Morgana’s magic is involved in the game, then you will need to create potions to help defeat her. Making a potion involves selecting the correct three bottles from shelves. The bottles are identified by rune markings that you need to match. If you select three wrong bottles then you must start the level again.
Calling more for quick hand / eye coordination is the other type of action in Runes of Camelot. With these sessions you will be presented with an animated scene of ravens quickly flying about in various directions. You need to pick out and click on the black ravens. The more you manage to collect during the time period, the nearer you will get to finding Morgana and will also earn you gold for purchasing special weapons.
The game of Runes of Camelot does not have any instant appeal although it could grow on you a little. There is one slight problem at the end when the last Boss battle kept repeating itself on the test system. The game’s graphics are reasonable without being special and I quickly decided that turning off the game’s audio help my playing enjoyment. The game consists of 90 levels which includes the Boss battles. Price at £5.10, Runes of Camelot requires a 1GHz processor with 512MB of RAM running Windows 7 and later although I suspect you should have no problems playing the games with Windows XP and later.
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