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Games Convention 2002: Lethal Dreams

Myrthos, 2002-09-03

Lethal Dreams is a Role Playing Strategy game, or in other words a strategy game with role playing elements. It allows the player to plunge into the remains of a once sublime world. In many battles your going to win back artifacts of the world from other mighty magicians. Once you got a hold of all these artifacts, it's time for the final battle. There is a large variation of worlds to travel through, either marshy or desolate, or technology-caused or fantastic. Once all artifacts of the Crystal Lotus have been collected, the recreation of the bygone magnificence from these shatters can begin.

The Characters
Before the game starts you will have to choose from one of six playing characters. Each of them represents one of the schools of magic. There are no other character configurations possible, so right after you selected one, the game begins.

Zerin - Evocator
Zerin chose the path of magic of Awakening, giving power over force and energy. He is impetuous and hot-tempered as the fire that is under his control. He is always ready to move forward, towards uncertainty. He is the type of person that acts first and thinks afterwards. Nevertheless, he gets out of most difficult situations by being fearless and sheer luck.

Mirtis - Incarnator
Mitris chose the path of magic of Incarnation, with its dark and secret depths. Mirtis has a specific gift to distort and dispel enemy magic like a distorting mirror reflects real world images. This ability makes him a very dangerous opponent in a magic fight. Mirtis is always calm and laconic, he splendidly controls his feelings and emotions.

Cruan - Necromancer
Cruan chose the path of magic of Necromancy, longing to know laws of life and death. Cruan can control his own life power as well as life power of other people, moving into bodies of controlled creatures and spreading death by their hands. He looks like an absent-minded scientist but he is fatally dangerous and others consider him cruel and ruthless.

Sirimbel - Doorkeeper
Sirimbel chose the path of Magic of Portals, hoping to become an astral pilgrim. Sirimbel's superfluous caution annoys people rather often. They consider him to be a paranoiac and coward. But his caution is a result of his ability to see shadows of the future. Shapeless and strange ghosts make him measure every step on the road of life.

Veriton - Transmuter
Verition, following his artistic nature, studied the path of magic of Transmutation. He uses all his art of transformation for creation of mad fantastic images. Due to his ambition and changeability it's very difficult to deal with him. But his abilities allow him to control the powers of Chaos rather well, which could kill any other magician.

Inanna - Enchantress
Inanna, the only woman in this association of magicians, chose the path of magic of Charms. Inanna gives the impression of being an idealist but she understands things more deeply and precisely, than the majority of other magicians. It allows her to control practically any magic force. Even creatures created by Inanna's enemies often have to submit to her orders.

Besides their own path, each magician also has access to the path of images. It could be the greatest assistant to the one, who wants to see the unseen, to hear the unheard, to know the unknown.


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The Game

After you have made your choice, your character will appear on a small patch of land, which is shaped differently depending on your magic school. The area is surrounded by a thick impenetrable fog and is called a domain in the game. Each magician will start in a different domain and besides their own domain there are many others. The concept leads to belief that there will be a multiplayer mode, but to be frank, I forgot to ask. Anyway you will start out on one of the six starting domains and your target is to conquer as many domains as possible and collect all of the six shards that each magician has and which are required to recreate the world when you reach the central domain. At that domain the plot will unfold itself and a final battle waits, after which the world can be restored again.

You conquer domains by either fighting and defeating the domain keeper (each domain has at least one) or by negotiating with the domain keeper to work together. It all depends on you. Another effect of going the diplomatic route is that you can exchange spells with the domain keeper.
When there are domains with more than one keeper, you will see that these keepers are at war with each other also, you can try to join one of the sides or just wait until one of them has won and fight it out, or negotiate with the winner.
Each domain will give you a certain amount of mana and each domain also regenerates mana faster or slower than other domains. Five of the domains will belong to other magicians, you can fight with them or negotiate with them to get a hold of their artefact.

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Each of the domains will have it's unique environment and unique monsters to fight. Monsters respawn after you killed them. They always do that in the same place. There is however a spell that allows you to block those areas and thus effectively disable the respawning of those monsters.

You summon creatures to fight for you and you can control your creatures to listen to you. But they will only listen to commands when they are in hearing range. To solve that problem you can create some messengers that are able to swiftly travel to the summoned creatures and convey your orders to them.

The game supports two playing modes: turn based strategy and real-time tactics. The latter one is what you do when you fight in a domain with one of the domain keepers. The turn based strategy mode is being used on the map. You can then have your domains attack other domains and engage into combat like that.


The strength of your spells depends on the casting duration, when summoning creatures this results not only in stronger creatures but also in different ones. What is also nice is that you can combine some spells. As an example I was shown the summoning of a creature combined with a firestorm spell, which created a new creature named a fire spirit. There are many spells that can be combined with summoned creatures in order to change their abilities. You increase the level of a spell by using it.

As a magician you can use only spells from your own path and the path of images. As each path has unique spells, playing as a different magician should allow you to play the game slightly different as well.

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Some last comments

The game is rendered in 3D and gives you an ISO view of the world. The graphics are not breathtaking, but they aren't bad either. On the other hand I don't care that much for graphics. It's the gameplay that is important. While they were showing it to me, I found myself comparing it to Etherlords. As far as graphics go I have to say that Etherlords would win as far as gameplay goes I don't know of course as I didn't play the game and only saw it for less than an hour.
The concept should add enough to make it stand out for itself though. If they succeed then it will be a real great game to play.
It's replayability should be found in the fact that the domains are laid-out differently whenever a new game starts, that it's non-linear and if that's not enough than I assume the multiplayer version should keep you occupied long enough. It's even rumoured that it's possible to create your own domains in multiplayer mode.


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