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Quest for the Rings, The Box
Box Front

Back of Quest for the Rings, The Box
Box Back

Quest for the Rings, The Cartridge

Overall Score:
(Out of 5)
Gameplay: 4.8
Graphics: 4.3
Sound: 4.6
Voice: 4.8

In 1981, The Quest for the Rings was a Dungeons & Dragons fan's dream come true! This is particularly true for fans of the pen-and-paper version of the classic RPG. Like D&D, The Quest for the Rings gives players the opportunity to assume a heroic identity and battle monsters in a fantastic setting. The Warrior wields a mighty sword to slay enemies. The Wizard can immobilize foes with his spells. The Phantom can walk through walls, and the Changeling can don the Mirrorcloak of Invisibility to vanish from sight. Two players simultaneously battle the forces of the Ringmaster to recover the lost ten Rings of power. An optional third player can assume the role of Ringmaster, besetting the heroes with all manner of fearsome obstacles, including molten lava and deadly dragons.

The Quest for the Rings was the first of the Master Strategy Series of games, which combined video action with traditional board game elements. The game board that came packaged with this cartridge depicts the map of a fantasy world. The Ringmaster places playing pieces and tokens on the board to represent enchanted castles where Rings may or may not be hidden. The castles represent different hazardous environments. Rings may be waiting in vast Dungeons, hidden in the invisible Crystal Caverns, guarded by the deadly molten Infernoes, or buried in the hazardous Shifting Halls, where the very walls come alive to trap the Heroes. The Ringmaster controls the dispersion of the Rings and the monsters which guard them. The Heroes' task is to recover all ten Rings within a set amount of time.

Once the Heroes enter a castle, the action switches from the game board to the Odyssey² console. Using the keyboard overlay, the Ringmaster selects the type of environment where the Heroes will do battle and the type of creatures they will encounter. Heroes will face the humanoid foes called Orcs and Firewraths everywhere, but they may also have to fight the Nightmares -- a horrific team-up of vampiric pterodactyls and hideous overgrown spiders. Even worse are the Dragons, huge lumbering reptilian creatures that guard the bottom third of the screen. Working together, the Heroes must make their way past these guardians to reach the Ring at the bottom of the screen. Making matters even worse, the Ringmaster can periodically "possess" one of the Heroes to sabotage their valiant quest.

The Quest for the Rings is an excellent game, usually considered the best of the Master Strategy Series. Today, console RPGs are common, deep and elaborate, but in 1981, they practically did not exist. This game was truly ahead of its time. Even with the O2's simple controls, The Quest for the Rings made players feel that they were stepping into a role -- the very definition of "roleplaying." It blended board games with video games in a way that hasn't really been done since. The variety of game options made each Ring quest seem distinct, despite that fact that the gameplay is essentially the same every time. The only drawback is that the game requires at least two players, but really needs three for full effect. Because of this, it's very difficult to get a good game going -- especially nowadays. But if you can scare up two O2-playing D&D fans, The Quest for the Rings is a quest well worth undertaking.

All Reviewer Ratings:

J.W. Hunter5.05.05.0-5.0
Joseph Castro5.04.05.0-4.7
Júlio Filho5.
Mark Darmofal5.04.54.5-4.7
Mike Cronis5.05.05.0-5.0
Rafael Cardoso5.04.24.0-4.4
Tim Whalen5.05.05.0-5.0
William Cassidy4.54.25.0-4.6

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