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Sacred Underworld Review
Draszmar, edited by Sia-Garrett-Manzari, 2005-06-06

When Ascaron has released Sacred in early 2004, it was bug ridden und unfinished to the max. Half a year later, a new and polished version, Sacred Plus, has been released that made the game as it should have been initially. Now Ascaron has published Sacred Underworld. Is this add-on in a better shape than the original Sacred?

As we have already posted an in depth review of Sacred here, we will just cover the main aspects of the add-on - let's start with the graphics:

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Just like the main program, Sacred Underworld is presented in beautifully rendered 2D graphics, that sometimes look more atmospheric, but sometimes also more boring than in Sacred. The dwarf is animated very good with a 'realistic' dwarvenlike walk, but the succubus' steps are a bit too short for example. Monsters are animated better than in Sacred and when you are afraid of wasps like me, giant hornets make you shiver in your boots!

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There still is not a single great tune among the background music that you can recognize or whistle after you have played the game - it is simply playing along unobstrusive. The sound effects however are as good as in the main program and also the voice acting can live up to the high standards of the original game. The succubus is doing nasty comments and the dwarf's German voice belongs to Wolfgang Hess, who dubbed Gimli in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

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Much hasn't been changed regarding the controls. What has been added, is that you have a summary of all effects of your equipment and the monsters you are about to fight show an extra hit point bar next to the circle around their feet.

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There haven't been any plot stopper bugs in the single player quest, only a few in side quests and a few other annoyances. So unlike the original Sacred retail you can play throught sacred Underworld without having to wait for a patch, but there's still enough smaller issues fix for Ascaron.
But if you believe the people in the forums, the multi-player part must be very much bug ridden. People say, Ascaron has not learned anything from the bug desaster of the main program.


As mentioned, next to new monsters, items and areas, the add-on features two new playable characters, the Succubus and the Dwarf. Let's take a look at these two:

Succubus: She is a very good close combat fighter with a few demon skills and demon magic, which however are not very well balanced. She can switch to different modes (fire, poison- and flymode), which are not very useful however, but her hell disk, a fiery disk accompaning her and attacking opponents by itself, is way too strong. When she enters a village, the villagers flee from her in fear. This is a funny idea, but, as the NPCs or quest givers do treat her normally and naturally do not flee from her it is inconsistent and therefore should have been left out.

Dwarf: He is rather a ranged combat expert as he shoots muskets, drops mines and has a gun over his shoulder which can be used as a grenade launcher or flame thrower. It is of course a matter of taste if you like such technical items in a fantasy world - I personally don't like them at all! Nice side gag: The dwarf refuses to mount any horse in the game (where horses are quite useless in the game anyway).

A character from the main program can be important into the add on from level 25 on, but Sacred Underworld offers a few premade characters with level 29 also. As in the main program, the difficulty level Bronze is way too easy, therefore it is recommended to start with Silver!

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Gameplay / Quests

By installing the add on you also add some new side quests to the main program. The main story of the add-on starts with princess Vilya, wife of the late prince Valor, being kidnapped by a Sakkara demon into the underworld. The prince's ghost is ordering us to rescue her.
There are a few new areas added to the main world of Sacred, which increase the main world by about 30%. The new areas include for example a Sunken Realm or the Forest of Nuk-Nuk.

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But all these expansions cannot compensate for the flaws that are still in the game:

  • The add on is even more linear than the main program
  • The annoying monster respawn is extremely overdone here. If you want to explore an area thoroughly, you have to kill the same monsters over and over and over and over again. Whoever thinks this is increasing fun has only little idea of gaming design I'm afraid.
  • Pathfinding is sometimes even worse than in the old Bioware Infinity games and drives you nuts
  • The idle time between the main and side quests is just too long and the areas are way too large to have fun exploring them, especially with the repetitive enemies
  • On the pro side, leveling up and item hunting are fun, but they can't make up for the little changes and the item system is quite nontransparent.
  • Even with the expansion, Sacred is only a Diablo Clone with a proper saving function.


    If you liked Sacred, you will most probably also like Sacred Underworld despite its downs. Sacred Underworld is nothing more than a Sacred Plus Plus or a Diablo 2.5 - if you still like this simplified game mechanics, go ahead. I personally prefer the more sophisticated KotOR or the very charming Fate!

  • The Verdict
    Graphics (15%) 80%
    Sound (15%) 85%
    Control (25%) 80%
    Fun (45%) 60%
    Overall 72%

    The ups and downs:
    Nice graphicsRepetitive gameplay
    Nice sond effectsRepetitive monsters
    Level up systemA few bugs
    Item huntingBad Pathfinding
    More linear than Sacred

    Reviewer's System
    Version: German Ret
    CPU: Pentium IV 1.8GHz
    RAM: 512 MB
    Graphics GeForce 5800
    Sound SB Live Platinum
    OS: Win XP Pro

    Average Reader Ratings: 8 (5 votes)
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