The Temple of Elemental Evil Review

That temple looks evil!

Review by Tracy Bosworth
Published 29th March 2003

The Temple of Elemental Evil

  • Developer: Troika
  • Publisher: Atari
  • Release Date: 10th October 2003

The world of GreyHawk, famous for its Dungeons and Dragons connection makes its interactive debut on the PC in The Temple of Elemental Evil.

What starts off as a simple rescue missions soon turns into a full on battle against evil as you and your team investigate rumours of nearby bandits wondering around the village of Hommlet. The villagers believe the bandits may have awoken an ancient and mysterious evil that ultimately means that it is up to you to put this evil to rest.

Firstly you must create a party of up to 5 characters ranging from eleven available classes including sorcerer, barbarian, monk and fighter; these can be either made from scratch or pre selected from the list of available characters. All characters in your party must be of similar alignment from good, neutral and evil and there are 9 variations of these to choose from such as neutral good, lawful good, chaotic evil and neutral evil. The level at which your party can be customised goes to great depths and once created you can even adjust a characters skills and abilities which will affect your options later on in the game.

Apart from the 5 characters you start off with you can also hire up to three non-playable characters during your journey for a price. Although they do occasionally come in useful they can also cause more harm than good by selling things you need to merchants, carry too much and weighing themselves down and generally just hindering your progress.

At first your party will be weak and low on skills, that is why it is vital to tune your characters perfectly before the game starts which is something that only experienced gamers will know how to do. The rest of us either have to read the manual for a few hours or simply go ahead with what we think is right and learn by trial and error. As the game progresses however your characters become stronger and more experienced allowing them to gain multiple attacks, heal more efficiently and cast more damaging spells.

The turn based battle style is based on the 3.5 Edition rules and features an action point system to balance combat and movement amongst other things. Larger characters or characters with longer weapons such as spears, gain an attack of opportunity against incoming enemies with smaller arms, discouraging them from charging headlong into them and characters that lose all of their hit points during battle can be saved if someone attends to their wounds.

Missions and sub-quests are pretty varied and allow your characters to gain experience and skills as well as earn some valuable items such as weapons and gold. Unless however, you are an experienced player of Dungeons and Dragons you have a good chance of adding useless skills to your characters so taking time to understand what everything and everyone does in invaluable to the game.

The Temple of Elemental Evil boasts some great graphics, environments are huge and nicely detailed and character models are animated brilliantly. Clothing flutters and ripples in the wind and lighting, shadows and spell effects are impressive.

There is no doubt that fans of Dungeons and Dragons will find something to love in this game however newcomers to the genre may be put off by the games complex battle systems and confusing character development. A little more consideration for newcomers would have been appreciated but as it stands anyone who has not played this type of game before will probably spend more time reading the manual in frustration than actually playing the game. If you can tolerate a harsh learning curve then this game is probably for you, what it tries to do it does well and the various routes through the game add some replay value too.

Review Score: 7.6/10

Please note, this review was scored using our old system. For more information please see our review policy.

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