Things are getting old-school this week, both in terms of graphics and gameplay. I present to you this week's two games: Adonthell: Waste's Edge and Crystals Of Holy.
Adonthell itself is not a game, but an engine for RPG/adventure games to be built on. Waste's Edge is basically a demo game to showcase the engine. Not that this engine really needs showcasing; most GBA games blow this out of the water graphically, and I'm pretty sure I've seen NES games that looked better than this. That being said, there is a lot to like about this game. Even though the graphics are fairly primitive, there are a few nice effects like steamy air in a kitchen and "wipe" effects while moving between rooms. With a game like this though, the graphics aren't going to be what keeps you playing. Luckily, even though there's no combat to be found so far, there is a fairly engrossing story with some pretty solid writing. Sure, it's not a storyline of epic proportions, but I really enjoyed the fact that I never once heard a dwarf say something along the lines of: "And I was all like... no way!". You'd be surprised at how fast something like that can make you remember that you're not in a mystical land after all, maybe even quicker than shoddy home made voice acting can. Waste's Edge has none of that bullshit as far as I can tell, and it's much appreciated. By the way: if you want to try this game out you'll need both the Adonthell and Waste's Edge packages, which are available for Windows, Mac OSX, Solaris, and BeOS as well. For us Linux users the source, as well as .deb and .rpm packages are provided. By the way, Adonthell is fully open source.
Crystals of Holy is not open source. It's not even freeware actually, so I guess including it in a free RPG roundup is sort of bogus. Crystals of Holy describes itself as shareware, even though at this point in time there is absolutely nothing to pay for. Right now, this is only a demo, which seems totally free (as in beer) but at some point in time that could change. Anyway, besides moving way to fast (even with the "-timer" command line option that's supposed to slow it down) this game is pretty enjoyable, even though it is plagued by the "Dude, my stuffs(sic) gone and now I'm pissed" problem I mentioned above. It's very clear that this game is very much inspired by the older entries in the Final Fantasy series. Hell, the artwork being used right now is straight out of Final Fantasy IV (something the developer says is only a placeholder). So, if you've played any Final Fantasy game ever, you should have a pretty good idea what to expect. If you haven't ever played a Final Fantasy, stop reading right now and go play one. Anyway, besides a pretty non-intuitive control layout, this game seems pretty feature complete and even has a little bit of a graphical advantage on Waste's Edge (although it's not that much).
Both games are nice ways to kill a little time. Crystals of Holy has combat (which Adonthell will have in the future), Waste's Edge has better writing, and it's open source. By the way: when the Adonthell 0.4 demo comes out, check it out. It'll be cool.