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Alive 14
Wiliness 3 Review

      Some time ago Laurent Kermel, who was also interviewed for Alive 
      9, released Bold, a horizontal scrolling shooter, which cheated 
      a lot to achieve a resonable framerate. A bit later he brought 
      us Wiliness 3, a Dungeon Master clone, which has not been 
      reviewed for Alive so far. The game has been coded in GFA BASIC 
      between 1989 and 1992 but wasn't released before 2004. Even 
      though the game is not really finished, i'd suggest to get on 
      with it now...

      Once again another adventure game appeared for this great
      machine from ATARI. I couldn't wait to see it, and hastily 
      inserted Disk 1 of Wiliness 3. Then I powered up the machine. Of 
      course I didnt bother to read the "" file, instead i just 
      double clicked onto the executable in a rush...

      Wiliness 3 started loading and I could hardly wait for it to 
      finish... arf.. a blue screen appears.. Damn loading is taking 
      ages here! It would better be a quality title to justify such a 
      loading orgy, well perhaps it's just me :)

      After the intro and a couple of disk swaps, Wiliness 3 kindly
      asks for a save game disk. Erm? I tried to insert an empty disk, 
      which kept the drive alive for 2 seconds and then the game 
      freezed. WTF?

      I restarted my machine and tried another loading marathon. This 
      time I tried Disk 1 when it asked for the save game disk. What 
      can I say? It freezed up again. Damn...

      Perhaps it's time to relax and insert a few words about the
      story of the game...

The Story in a Nutshell

      Many years ago Dahen was the richtest and greatest human city in 
      the northern territories. Anyway, fifteen years ago the lake 
      turned black and during a mighty storm a flash destroyed the 
      temple of the city, killing all of the cities magicians at once. 

      One year later an ambitious and rich man arrived in Dahan. His
      name was "Jackar". He spent alot of money and time to rebuild 
      the city. But since most of the population had left after the 
      initial catastrophe he decided to create a mysterious 
      underground maze. As a challenge a group of four heroes were 
      allowed to enter the maze each year. The prize of the, so called 
      "Northern Challenge" was legendary but never found so far, since
      nobody ever left the maze since 10 years.

      This time the so called guild of spheres send a team of four 
      heroes accompanied by a magical spirit to beat the challenge. 
      Well as you might have already guessed, you are taking the role 
      of this magical spirit to aide our heroes to fulfill their 

      So much for the story, but how should I ever get the game


      Then a strange idea formed in my brain. "Why not read the 
      "" file?" While scrolling through the file, I found on 
      disk 1, I got enlightened:

      "Run Gallery.prg first and create your own characters and save
       them to an empty disk"

      Hmmm, so be it! I started the Gallery program on Disk 1, which
      btw is also called the "Gallery Disk".
      I have to admit that the character graphics are nicely made. But
      the different states could have been a bit more different in 
      their optical appearance. Anyway, it was quite easy to pick the 
      characters, like the strongest one etc.

      The only thing, that made me a bit nervous was all the rune 
      texts around. My hope I could pass on with the game without 
      reading a thick manual began to fade away while i was saving my 
      characters to an empty disk. Now we could really start...

It's loading again...

      After a while a blue screen appeared with an black mountain.
      BOOOM! A vulcano appears and hmmm, thats it... Well, I expected 
      a bit more tbh, but it's better than nothing and we shouldn't 
      forget to mention the sample running in the background.

      Surprisingly this time the character disk worked and I found 
      myself trapped inside some nicely painted dungeon...

      There was some eerie silence and worse than that, the mouse
      pointer moved slow and bouncy like: "Where the hell did all my 
      CPU time go?"

      After exploring the dungeon a bit - not without bumping into the 
      wall at least ten times - I have to admit that Wiliness 3 is 
      very cool. The graphics are nicely done and the sound engine is 
      not bad either. For example within the dungeon, you can hear 
      dripping water which adds a lot to the atmosphere. 

      After a few steps, I stumbled upon some meat and fruits lying on
      the floor. Since I am a greedy bastard I took em all ;) well you 
      would expect stuff like that to appear in a Dungeon Master clone 
      but then i noticed something special about Wiliness 3. The right 
      mouse button let's you attack the enemy. This will be a bit 
      confusing at the beginning, but it's a nice feature if you get 
      used to it. 

Control, I'm here...

      If you want to check the state of your heroes you'll be pleased 
      to find a clearly structured status screen. The usability of 
      that screen is so good, that even a complete fool would 
      understand the handling within seconds.

      You can detect your heroes running low on food or water and
      resupply them by simply stuffing some food into the heroes 
      mouth :)
      It's also a wise idea to use the "eye" to have a closer look at 
      scrolls and other items. Since the scrolls usually give you 
      valuable hints how to solve the game you should make sure to 
      read them.

      Usabilitywise the controls could have been improved by a direct
      backwards key. While roaming the maze you can use the arrow keys 
      to move around, but it seems nobody ever thought about using the 
      "down" key. Instead You have to turn around manually if you want 
      to move back.

      While cursing about this shortsighted implementation of controls 
      I noticed an icon on my game tab. By clicking it, I figured that 
      I was able to finetune the formation of my characters. My setup 
      was badly in need of a fix since i had the weakest guy leading 
      the party. I quickly changed to a better setup with my ant guy 
      at the front and I'd strongly advise to have a look at this 
      formation setup as well, if you are planning to survive Wiliness.

      After some more time in the maze I noticed another cool feature
      of Wiliness 3. It seems each of the characters is able to speak 
      on its own. Texts in different colours for each hero appear 
      below the game screen. A lot of the talk was about the dripping 
      water I mentioned earlier, and according to our heroes talk it 
      seems to originate from a lake above the maze.

Darkness all arround

      Suddenly the whole screen faded to black. Hmmm, I guess there 
      must be some kind of spell to get us "enlightened" again. But 
      which one? And where do I get it from?

      Well, one has to read the manual to get any further, which is
      luckily avaiable for free from the authors homepage. Just to 
      avoid you the hazzle to search for it, a spell called "NCH" 
      gives you a magical light which is needed to continue from here 
      on. If you don't remember it you have to restart the game...

      To figure how to get these spells to work right seemd a bit 
      strange at first. It seemed you needed those odd runes but lucky 
      enough there is another way. You can just type the spell-
      shortcuts under the pictures of your heroes. Not really that 
      hard, I guess :) Just make sure to type the shortcuts in the 
      right place and press on I, II, III or IV inside the rune table 
      to activate them. 

      Since i have been walking around the first level for a while and
      couldn't find any more keys, even though I noticed that I walked
      in circles for some time now, I decided to give the "open door"
      spell a try. If you are interested "CMF" should do the job.

      To get more more hints and lots of other information you might 
      want to visit the Wiliness 3 website at:

The good and the
bad Things
      Wiliness 3 is one of the better Dungeon Master clones. The game 
      play is fast paced. And Laurent succeded to capture the spirit 
      of the genre. He also added some strange nuances here and there. 
      I also have to mention that the graphics are well done.

      However, where there's light there's also shadow and I feel a
      bit of frustration about some of the controls since im to used 
      to the ones of FTL's Dungeon Master, but perhaps that's just a 
      personal impression. 

      But there is one more thing, that is not to be ignored. It's the 
      major downside of Wiliness 3. I am speaking about the fact, 
      that the game is just not complete. You can play until Level 6 
      only, but it will be still worth it!


      Atmosphere : 8/10
      Gameplay   : 7/10
      Control    : 5/10
      Sound      : 6/10
      Graphics   : 9/10
      Overall    : 7/10

Final Words

      If you want all information about this game, you better follow 
      the link I added above and make sure to save all the data to 
      your hard disk or floppy. It will help you a lot while playing 
      the game.

      I hope I could get you a bit interested into this fine game!
      Thanks to Laurent for another quality game for a dead machine. 
      Let's hope he will finish it one happy day :)

                                                   Marcer for Alive, 2006
Alive 14