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Silver

by Infogrames
Windows 98 / Me / 95
Teen
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Price: $49.94
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Product Details

  • Shipping: This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
  • ASIN: B00002EIV5
  • Media: Video Game
  • Release Date: October 18, 1999
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,879 in Video Games (See Top 100 in Video Games)
  • Discontinued by manufacturer: Yes

Product Description

Amazon.com

This adventure game, of the medieval type, has you fight with the hero David against dragons and villains.

Review

Japanese-style RPGs, while popular on consoles, have been woefully underrepresented on the PC. Those few that have been released to date are mostly shareware fan efforts or no-frills console ports, Final Fantasy VII being the most notable example. Now French publisher Infogrames, in an effort to fill this void in the market, has released Silver, a purported Final Fantasy killer designed specifically for the PC. And while Silver won't unseat Final Fantasy as the reigning champion, the game is nonetheless interesting in the way it attempts to rethink some of the genre's conventions.

As the game begins, your alter ego David witnesses his wife's kidnapping by the minions of the evil wizard Silver, and he sets out to rescue both her and the rest of his hometown's stolen women. Helping David in the pursuit is his incredibly tough granddad called Grandad. It's a loopy, enjoyable start to the game, which is a good thing because Silver's success or failure rests almost entirely on the strength of its story.

Silver plays out on prerendered three-dimensional backgrounds through which you must guide polygonal characters. The environments themselves are essentially static bitmaps with a few looping animations. They look good for the most part, and some are spectacular, though everything tends to have that overly clean, computer-generated feel that Final Fantasy VII managed to avoid. The characters themselves are not particularly detailed but are especially well animated.

Silver's developers chose to streamline the traditional console-RPG formula by removing many of its standard elements. Thankfully, the thousands of random encounters typical to the genre are gone. Instead, most screens are stocked with monsters that must be fought once, then never again. The exits to each area are sealed during combat and reopen only when all enemies have been defeated. A few sections have regenerating creatures that reappear with each visit, but these are the exception rather than the rule. While this removes much of the tedium associated with this type of game, the finite number of available battles makes open-ended stat building virtually impossible.

Silver does include character stats and levels like your typical RPG but eliminates experience points completely. Instead, levels are gained by reaching key plot points and defeating boss monsters. Only a few instances exist where extra levels can be accrued out of sequence with the story, so in general, you are kept in strict parity with your foes. This tends to dilute the sense of escalating power that is a key draw of RPGs, but the discarding of an endless series of uneventful brawls makes that sacrifice more than worthwhile.

The fights themselves occur in real time and are very fun. Melee attacks are launched using only the control key and the mouse, with various mouse movements resulting in different thrusts and slashes. This feature could have become a cumbersome bore, but the number of moves is kept to a reasonable five, and each has its own clear use. Once the control is mastered - and it doesn't take long - the battles become both more exciting and more tactical than your average turn-based fare, which, strategic pretensions aside, tend to degenerate into attack, heal, repeat. Since you're free to move around each environment, positional advantage becomes a big factor, and many of the battles are staged as sort of minipuzzles wherein landscape features must be utilized to win the skirmish.

While things may look bleak in the land of Jarrah, everything seems to be pretty great in the actual playing of the game. At least at first. Like many console RPGs, Silver's story unfolds completely linearly for the first few hours before opening up somewhat. Grandad accompanies you throughout this beginning section. He is controlled by the computer and is generally pretty helpful. Later in the game, you're saddled with up to two companions whom you must control yourself.

This wouldn't be so bad if they were as intelligently autonomous as Grandad, but you're expected to directly control everyone. Unfortunately, such a plan is utterly incompatible with the game's arcade-like combat system. Unless you've got unusually evolved hand-eye coordination, you'll eventually end up using one character to kill everything while the other two stand motionless as monsters hit them on the head with clubs. It's true that you can select all the characters at once, at which point the secondary heroes become marginally effective. But the flaw in this strategy is that everyone then tends to clump together and, in the mouse-clicking frenzy of battle, you'll accidentally click on just one character and break the grouping, returning the remaining combatants to passive-observer status. You can direct the unused characters to stand back and fire their ranged weapons, but this is nothing more than a quick way to deplete your ammo. And instead of noting this problem and properly addressing it, the developers seem to simply kludge it by having any dead companion automatically return to life after each battle.

Silver's story is an equally big problem, although it starts out strong. Each game character actually speaks his dialogue. Bucking the trend of having friends of the programmers provide the voice talent, Infogrames has hired what appear to be professional actors, and they do a uniformly good job. Unfortunately, the plot soon devolves into a typical tale of magic-orb fetching and simply runs out of surprises long before the end. This is a critical flaw in a game that has consciously pared away many of the gameplay elements, annoying or not, that compose the bulk of other entries in the field.

Silver is simplified by the removal or retooling of much of the complex stat-based baggage of its console RPG brethren. It's a good idea that almost works. Every element starts off strong, only to reveal its weakness as the game progresses. Infogrames has come close to successfully creating a new subgenre - one based on enjoyable fast-action battles mixed with rich story. It's fun while it lasts, and even if you find yourself unmotivated to complete the entire quest, you'll at least enjoy the ride to the halfway point.--Erik Wolpaw
--Copyright ©1998 GameSpot Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of GameSpot is prohibited. -- GameSpot Review


Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A refreshing change from the dreary turn-based RPG's January 15, 2000
By A Customer
Thank God this game came along! After years of everyone getting over-excited about very tedious and frustrating games, someone finally gets it right with Silver. This RPG is the only RPG currently out that claims to have real-time combat which actually IS proper real-time, rather than other titles like Baldur's Gate and Final Fantasy 7 who claim the same thing, but still essentially have turn-based combat. The combat is Silver is wondefully unique, effective, even stress-relieving if you're every annoyed. You can get caught up in it all, and get lost 'in the heat of battle', which is extremely hard to do in the tedious and very unsatisfying turn-based combat. However, whether most people will appreciate this is another thing as RPG's have employed turn-based combat since computer games have been around. It's a bold move on the part of Silver, I think, but a worthwhile one. Dean Evans has also made a truly inspirational soundtrack for this game, and the detailed 2D background artwork is a wonderful triumph over the usual 3D trend nowadays. The game lasts little over ten hours and is quite basically a normal sized game - not as large as something like FF7. But in my opinion, quality overrides quantity. And with better combat, a better soundtrack, better gameplay, and more atmosphere, Silver is the RPG of choice to date. There are plans to release it on the Dreamcast, but this was originally designed for a PC and gameplay with a mouse. Buy it for the PC.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Extraordinary Fantasy Experience March 26, 2001
Silver is most certainly one of the best RPG's I have ever come across. It is not perfect, but it was close enough that only four stars would not do it justice. The game is played from the standpoint of David, who is on a quest to rescue his wife from the clutches of the sinister wizzard Silver. To accomplish this end, David must enlist the aid of others in order to obtain several magical orbs in order to gain the power to defeat Silver.
The three greatest features of the game are the scenery, music, and sword interface. Scenery and music are both phenominal and are perhaps the best I've seen. If you were a FF VII fan, you will be in love with the visuals and sound. The charcters are a bit cartoonish, but very lifelike. The sword interface is great, allowing you to use your mouse easily to jab, swipe, dodge, and perform a variety of other moves. The only detractor to the game is the voice acting, which is a bit cheesy at times. This however, is the only detractor, and it's not enough to cause any harm to the overall experience.
Simply put, this is a phenominal game which provided me with hours of enjoyment. I went back to play again just because I was so enthralled with the scenery, music, and exciting gameplay. Trust me, you'll enjoy it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good January 15, 2000
Decent graphics and decent gameplay.......the realtime attacking got a bit tedious at times but was innovative so it gets points there. Good basic strong storyline.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth every penny December 22, 2000
By A Customer
Silver is one of the few games in my long gaming memory (16+ years) that is truly unique. The graphics are very well done, and gameplay is very smooth. Overall production quality is top-notch. The story is very compelling.
There's a dark gothic aura to the game well complimented by humorous and surprising events. That's one thing that really stands out - the density of scripted events and the skill with which they are integrated into the game. Sometimes it's hard to tell where the gameplay leaves off and the animated scenes begin! Swordplay, although difficult to get a handle on at first, really involves the player in the game and intensifies the connection with the protagonist.
Personally I loved the humor although I can understand how some younger players might not appreciate it as much.
My main reservation with this game is that I wanted more of it! If you become addicted to it (like I did) you can reach the end way too fast.
If you want something different and exciting, and have a sense of humor, this is a game for you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare Classic August 26, 2008
Fun: 5.0 out of 5 stars   
This game was by far one of my favorite RPGs. The action in the game is quite fun. And even though the leveling system is completely linear it actually tends to make the game more fun. There's no one hit kill on the final boss because you spent 30 hours leveling your character up. The storyline, though basic, is fun and endearing. I played this game all the way through once on the dreamcast years ago, the game has stuck with me ever since. I'm extatic to finally own a copy and it will stay in library of games for years and years to come. It is definitely a classic.
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