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Review [Quickie Nr. 004] Prelude to Darkness Retrospective Review

VentilatorOfDoom

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Tags: Prelude to Darkness; Quickie; Zero Sum

I know that a lot of the regulars around here were holding their breath, anxiously awaiting the next entry in the prestigious RPG Codex [Quickie] review series, and despite that it took years for the next entry to emerge, Konjad bounces back big time, bringing us his retrospective review on the merits of Zero Sum's Prelude to Darkness.

The turn-based RPG called Prelude to Darkness was released many years ago. So many years that its most current version is already a decade old. Nonetheless, few role-playing games fans have even heard of it and even fewer played it. Here, on RPGCodex, we even have an official subforum for this game… and it’s almost dead. Posts rarely are written there and few people bother to even visit the place. Is the fate of the game well deserved or is it just a decent product that never managed to gather enough players to reach the critical mass of popularity and spread around through positive word-of-mouth?​

Stay tuned, fasten your seat belts, and follow Konjad into the depths of the rabbit hole. Read the entire [Quickie Nr. 004] here.

- Zero Sum homepage
- download version 1.7
- download version 1.8
- here's a small patch by Codexer Fowyr that fixes a few things (see readme)

Read the full article: [Quickie Nr. 004] Prelude to Darkness Retrospective Review
 

VentilatorOfDoom

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thanks for reminding me, I included download links now
 

Tito Anic

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Heard good words about this one, it is on my "to do" list .

The gender can lead to very minor differences in some dialogues, for instance as a female character you'll not be able to use girls in a brothel
There are two distinct bloodlines and a mix of both of them to be chosen. Some quests are exclusive to a certain bloodline.
It is a genuinely open-world game. There are no artificial limits to what you can and cannot do. It’s possible to travel to any part of the game world right away, with a very few exceptions, and nothing blocks your way.
What I really like about this game is that despite a large open world every NPC is unique. Many of them will give you quests, but even if they don't they all have unique dialogue lines, even if not many.
:incline:

Another major issue are constant crashes.
:cry:

Good review, i like your style: informative and accurate:salute:
 
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Lurker King

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Errata:

In the first paragraph: “that jnever managed”. The correct is “that never managed”.

In the fourth paragraph: “They do'nt affect dialogues”. The correct is “They don’t affect dialogues”.

I have other suggestions about the structure of some sentences. Do you want me to send them to you, Konjad? Or to you, VentilatorOfDoom?
 

VentilatorOfDoom

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Another major issue are constant crashes. It is said that version 1.8 crashes and fails to run so often that version 1.7 is recommended over it because it is more stable, but in my experience both are playable but crash often enough to be annoying. I did not notice a difference in stability between those versions of the game. Fortunately the game has an useful autosave option that allows you to specify the time interval between autosaves, so when it is set to two minutes or so it doesn't lead to a significant loss of progress even if a player forgets to quicksave. Nonetheless, crashes are a major nuisance and if you plan to play Prelude to Darkness, then be prepared for a lot of them.

Lurker King
I already removed a whole batch of typos including those you mentioned. Btw. I already spent 2 hours restructuring sentences, removing typos, correcting grammar and the like but I didn't feel like re-writing the entire thing myself, so I only changed the biggest offenders. If you have more suggestions or want to edit the entire thing more thoroughly your help would be appreciated, but I'd suggest you copy the whole bbcode, make your corrections and then give me the entire bbcode to paste it in.
 
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Niektory

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Combat in this game is a frequent event and it fills my heart with delight that the combat system is well done. Sometimes it feels more like a tactical game than a role-playing one.
The system has some cool features, but unfortunately the enemies are mostly boring and the AI is bad, so it gets old fast. The interface doesn't help either.
The technical issues are really dragging the game down. It's a shame we never got the source code.
 
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Lurker King

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I’m sorry for the stupid questions, but how can I copy the whole bbcode of the review? Where do I send the corrections? I made suggestions for just four or five passages.
 

janjetina

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Umm.. why did you share 2 links to 2 different version? Looking at it, 1.8 seems to be the final. Is there some major changes that made some people to prefer 1.7 or..?

I played v1.8 a few years ago, and the average time between crashes was about 20 minutes. I've managed to finish it in spite of the crashes using frequent saving (relatively short combat encounters made it possible, though there was one long combat encounter close to the end of the game that I needed to replay multiple times until I managed to complete it without crashing). I've heard that v1.7 was more stable, but I haven't tried it.
 

Fowyr

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Black Angel

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Another major issue are constant crashes. It is said that version 1.8 crashes and fails to run so often that version 1.7 is recommended over it because it is more stable, but in my experience both are playable but crash often enough to be annoying. I did not notice a difference in stability between those versions of the game. Fortunately the game has an useful autosave option that allows you to specify the time interval between autosaves, so when it is set to two minutes or so it doesn't lead to a significant loss of progress even if a player forgets to quicksave. Nonetheless, crashes are a major nuisance and if you plan to play Prelude to Darkness, then be prepared for a lot of them.
I played v1.8 a few years ago, and the average time between crashes was about 20 minutes. I've managed to finish it in spite of the crashes using frequent saving (relatively short combat encounters made it possible, though there was one long combat encounter close to the end of the game that I needed to replay multiple times until I managed to complete it without crashing). I've heard that v1.7 was more stable, but I haven't tried it.

Ah... okay, then. Thanks, 1.7 then.
 

hello friend

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I'm on an actual spaceship. No joke.
Tried to play this more than once over the years. Every time the constant crashes cured me of my enthusiasm.

And the graphics :oops:
 

Fowyr

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Every two minutes? I think that most of your crashes are curable by finding old computer with Win98 then.
 

Severian Silk

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Konjad, which operating system did you play this game in? You might want to mention something about that in your review.
 

Konjad

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Strap Yourselves In Codex Year of the Donut Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
Konjad, which operating system did you play this game in? You might want to mention something about that in your review.
The first time... Windows 7 I think. This time, Windows XP. Tried to run it on Linux but it's impossible.
 

Urbanolo

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I was hoping for a second review of Technomancer, but meh, this must suffice.

All in all thanks for the review Konjad, it certainly sparked my interest in the game, though I'll check if it even runs on Windows 10.

Edit: it works just fine (for now) :greatjob:
 
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Fowyr

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That was on XP with two core procc.
And I always played and play it on Win98. Every two minutes is still too high rate.
If you are not in small location (Novacula place, for example) and scroll like mad, it should be 30-60.
I played 1.7, I think.
 

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