Video Game / Albion
is a computer role-playing game released by Blue Byte Software in 1995 for the PC. It was originally released in German, then translated to English for the rest of Europe.
The game was technically unimpressive, but featured an imaginative and rich setting combining fantasy and science-fiction elements in an original, if at times slightly confusing way. The story centres around the adventures of Tom Driscoll, a pilot for a multinational corporation vast enough to excavate entire planets
, as he crash lands on one such planet. This world, dubbed "the Nugget" by the corporation and called Albion by its inhabitants, turns out to be full of life and inhabited by an alien sentient species as well as Celtic humans. It's also teeming with literal magic. Tom and his fellow crash-landed Terran Rainer Hofstedt set out to find their spaceship, which surely isn't going to excavate the planet to pieces now that it turns out it's actually full of life... right!?
Albion includes a complex back-story and detailed descriptions of the game world. Talking to the right people will reveal much information about topics relevant to the area you're currently in, including their cultures, philosophies, history, and many many more. Only little of this is actually relevant to the plot.
The game features an interesting mix of 2D and 3D perspectives: while most indoor and outdoor places are seen from two 3/4 View
, all dungeon crawling has to be done in 3D. Most of these dungeons lack light sources, forcing the party to rely on rather short-lived torches
to get anywhere, making dungeon exploration downright scary. This is done especially well in the very first planetside dungeon: while exploring the decidedly unassuming cellar
of their host house, the main characters suddenly get stranded in almost total darkness, armed with nothing but daggers and knives, hearing only the growls of resident feral kangaroos
out to get them. You get treated to some Survival Horror
right there, if only for a few minutes. (Unless you've found a gun in the prologue. Then you can go Doom
on them right there)Not to be confused with the setting of Fable
, the miniseries
by Alan Moore
, or any of the other dozens of fictional and non-fictional uses of the name
This game contains examples of:
- Actually Four Mooks: Used clearly in the outside maps, not always in dungeons, but also more deceptively in the latter. In a dungeon, you might see four mooks, but when you fight them, it can turn out each of them is actually a separate battle with four mooks.
- A.I. is a Crapshoot: Subverted. NED is doing exactly what it was programmed for - protecting the company's interests. Acceptable collateral damage includes the destruction of an entire planet full of life and preventing interference with this process by any means necessary, such as slaughtering the ship's crew, should they find out the truth.
- All in a Row: On the 2-D maps; in 3-D, you just get a first-person viewpoint for everyone at the same time so that you can't see any character, as if they all occupied the same point in space.
- Already Undone for You:
- Drinno, the dungeon under the druid school on Gratogel. If Bero's already gone through the maze, how come none of those obstacles have been removed or show any sign of tampering?
- Averted in the final dungeon. The last set of doors which all have some sort of security lock have all been opened by one of NED's robots you previously encountered
- Arc Symbol: The eye of the Goddess is a minor example.
- Beware My Stinger Tail: Iskai characters in your party, like Drirr, may use their tail as an additional weapon slot.
- The Big Guy: Drirr.
- Black Mage: Khunag.
- Boss in Mook Clothing: Since there are very few actual bosses in the game, some of the tougher monsters are occasionally used as Mini Bosses of sorts. Best example are the demon-type enemies, which are often tough, resistant to magic, and cast devastating spells. They're a joke if you have the Banish spell, however.
- Camera Perspective Switch: Indoor and wilderness areas use 3/4 View typical of JRP Gs (the latter use smaller tiles and spites, appropriate for crossing a continent). When you enter a dungeon, however, the perspective changes to a pseudo-3D raycast environment to increase the tension.
- Character Portrait
- Climax Boss: Pretty much all of them, due to the fact that there are so few bosses in the game, though particularly Kamulos.
- Creepy Basement - Quite literally in at least two occasions (i.e. in the basement of a house), and loosely elsewhere. One young boy laments the flying creatures he has to deal with to get beer for his parents... said creatures are four-foot-long locust-wasp hybrids.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Mellthas is good for exactly one thing: killing demons (granted, this is vital in later parts of the game). He's a good healer early on, and his small fireball is good for ranged support, but by the time Khunag and Harriet join, both abilities will become useless. His main purpose is most likely to balance out Sira's Game Breaker nature, since after he joins, you can't have one without the other in your party.
- Cutscene Power to the Max - Late in the game, Tom is escaping from the Toronto with Joe and they are stopped by an AI body that's about to shoot them. A magic stone Tom received earlier activates and shoots a fireball, critically damaging the robot with a single hit. When you have to face others in combat later, it'll take much more to destroy them.
- The ship's AI specifically refers to this incident later, which it presumably learned from and beefed up the 'bots.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu? - The leader of the Kenget Kamulos turns into an avatar of their God of War to fight you. And, well, then you beat him. Especially humiliating when the Kenget are always going on about their martial superiority, and their then god is beaten by a party including females, non-humans, and warriors using physical weapons (ie. non-spellcasters), all of which they disdain, plus one traitor of their own people.
- Which is exactly the reason why the other elders decide to allow the party to leave: there's no way they could punish you without revealing to the entire order that their god has just been bested by impure ones.
- Disability Superpower - Mellthas' ability to communicate telepathically with Sira.
- Disc One Nuke - Handled pretty well. At the beginning of the game, you'd have to do a lot of grinding to afford a powerful weapon (a spear), but knowing where to look and solving a few puzzles can get you a pistol, which is deadly accurate and kills pretty much anything in one or two hits. You can't replace the few bullets you find with it until the final dungeon.
- Unless after selecting the enemy to attack and before starting the attack round, you switch out the ammo with a shield.
- Another example is the spell Frost Avalanche, which can be acquired for free on the first island. This spell freezes every monster and the stronger it is, the longer the freeze lasts and the more damage it does, so if you place all your heroes to the rear row of the combat grid and cast this spell, it is basically impossible for monsters to hurt you. Getting the spell at this point is a bit tricky — you need to leave most combat in the first main quest and solve it to acquire Sira, and then clean up the whole first island for her to reach level 9, but this takes less than 2 hours of real time, and makes the rest of the game very easy.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Sira picked her uncle Fasiir as a teacher over her father Akiir. Akiir's response? Arranging for his own assassination, and framing Fasiir for it. Fasiir is locked up, Sira is orphaned, Akiir's best friend is reduced to a nervous wreck for arranging the whole affair, and the player is sent to explore a creepy living dungeon looking for evidence.
- Dream Intro: The introduction shows an odd gold-and-crystal humanoid figure flying through a cloud of bubbles that each have an object or concept in them, Albion's logo being the first. The view then leaves the scene and zooms in on a spaceship, eventually reaching Tom's cabin and showing him sitting up and saying "That strange dream again..."
- Durable Deathtrap - Drinno again. Left behind by a civil war among the druids (the separatist group becoming the Kenget Kamulos), it's full of admittedly mostly magical traps and guardians, almost all of which are fully operational.
- Eldritch Abomination
- Argim, at least physically. He's actually quite friendly, but his body is the whole building he "resides in," a single gigantic living organism, with a green energy blob thing as its core that he can communicate through. (It resembles an iskai trii, a semi-telepathic forehead organ.) Those mouths everyone has a trouble identifying are all his. There's a way to destroy the core, and if you do, the entire building 'dies'.
- The Fears consist of large hands with glowing eyes on the palms. They're called so for a reason.
- Eldritch Location - The planet is probably the most pleasant example in existence.
- Eleventh Hour Ranger - Joe, who only joins you for The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
- Emotions vs. Stoicism - The game's central narrative (the conflict between Animenkna and Animebona) falls squarely in the "emotions good, logic bad" side.
- A bit less if you also read the background information. Both emotions and logic breed monsters if left unchecked, just currently the monster of logic (the miner ship) is more dangerous than the monsters of emotion (all the demons that run around).
- Empty Room Psych
- Enemy Scan - The View of Life spell.
- False Innocence Trick: The only thing you can do in the prison in the land of the Umajo is to let free a seemingly very nice lady so that you can feel guilty about it later, when she returns to town and starts murdering people.
- Fake Longevity:
- The Umajo dungeons require you to take a long boring trips though empty corridors and actually wait several in game hours doing nothing productive in order to progress. If you choose to search the dungeon for some useful items (and to complete the Stone of Visions sidequest, or play with the demon spawning trap to level up, you will need to go through a series of painstakingly simple but time consuming and repetitive puzzles.
- The final dungeon of Khamulon will have you spend a ridiculously long time looking for a way out from a nearly endless maze of similar looking rooms, hallways and passages, all crawling with monsters. The actual way out, is accidentally locking yourself in a room then accidentally setting fire to it, which will cause the floor to burn and collapse, allowing you to jump down the hole (a process which by the way looks so much like a deathtrap, it's easy for a player to quit, reload, and never return to that place until they have explored the entire level and confirmed several times that there is indeed no other option).
- Fetch Quest: One of the weirdest examples ever in Gratogel. In order to obtain free passage to the next major area, you need to fetch a virility amulet for a local leader from the druids. However, the druid dealing with amulets has recently vanished in a deep and dangerous dungeon...
- Fighting a Shadow: You fight and defeat a man turned into the avatar of Kamulos, the God of War, who reverts back into his human form at the end. If Kamulos is actually a separate entity (the game is a bit ambiguous about the existence of gods), he probably survives.
- Game-Breaking Bug: It's possible to get stuck in Frill's room after Drirr joins you. The bug seems completely random. Also, when entering a 3D area, seeing all 2D sprites (except people) scrambled means that the game is just about to crash. This too is completely random, but is likely to occur at least once per playthrough, and if Murphy's law is any indication, most likely after you've gone a long time without saving.
- Glass Cannon: Iskai, due to their Prehensile Tail giving them a significant attack boost, but them having a very limited (and usually poor) selection of armor.
- A God Am I / Physical God: Somewhere in between these, the leader of the Kenget Kamulos can transform into the avatar of Kamulos.
- Green Aesop: Seemingly the entire point at the end.
- Guide Dang It: Stopping the assassination of Herras. You have to actually go to Herras and warn him about it - if you proceed with the plot (like the characters tell you to) the assassination will happen off-screen.
- Just in case anyone misses it, when Mellthas tells you to go visit his friend Darios (right after Arrim told you about the demons haunting the shrine and you paid Edjir for the information regarding the plot against Herras), DON'T do it. There will be a woman waiting for you outside Darios' house telling you to go straight to Beloveno instead, but she's very easy to miss.
- Some of the secret passages in dungeons are really difficult to find, as well.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Kinda. In Drinno, Drirr will offer to activate a dangerous trap at one point, since he feels guilty about dragging the party into the situation. This will, obviously, knock him unconscious.
- Hollywood Darkness: Completely averted: the only light in the unmaintained 3D dungeons usually comes from monsters and other nasty things.
- Hollywood Density: One of the few CRPGs where this trope is averted. Gold pieces have a minimal weight, but it is enough to bring the entire party to their knees if they decide to cash their more expensive loot all at once.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: The final boss. The AI housing is immune to weapon damage and takes only 1% of magic damage you throw at it, while its own attack KO's in a single hit. Oh and it has 4950 hit points, while your party members have about 100 on average. Fortunately, all you have to do to defeat it is sit tight and suffer for a few rounds, making this battle a Foregone Victory as well. However, it's actually possible to defeat it using Sira's Thorn Snare and Knunag's Steal Life (the only percentage damage spell in the game; both spells have to be near maximum power to work). You have to cast that about 50 times, and the outcome's pretty much the same, though.
- Human Aliens: Subverted; they're actually from Earth.
- Humanoid Aliens: The Iskai.
- Intelligent Gerbil: Mostly averted with the Iskai. Sure, their basic premise is "cat people," and there's something about scent glands, but beyond that, their physiology and culture is commendably original.
- Interspecies Romance: Mellthas and Sira. Complete with a Psychic Link.
- Kleptomaniac Hero: And how. The game is loaded with all manner of totally useless items that you can't even sell. You can however fill up your inventory with an endless supply of plates, forks, and drinking cups.
- Some of the drinking cups from the Toronto can actually be sold, giving you an early advantage. There are exactly four of them (two in the diner one in the hall between the dormitory sections and one in the hangar), they are slightly larger than the other cups, and have a purple-greyish tint that only becomes visible after you pick them up.
- The Lifestream: According to the Iskai idea of afterlife, after death, they will be reintegrated into the being of their Goddess. They retain some of their individuality based on the lives they've led.
- Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Even more so than usual, since even after spells are learned, they need to be cast a few dozen times before they're more than a waste of SP. Once you do, though... Towards the end, the tide turns again, because spell damage will be maxed out, but damage per physical attack won't. But then there are still the insta-kill spells.
- Magic Versus Science: The origin of the conflict between Celts and Terran humans is that their respective schools of magic and science are built on fundamentally incompatible concepts.
- Also partially the source of conflict between the planet and the colony-ship, although that's revealed to really be more of a spiritual battle of sorts. And just *how* that works basically requires you to play the whole game to 'get it'.
- Magikarp Power: All spells start out kind of weak and need to be practiced to get them to really work as advertised. The more powerful the spell is, the more it is like this; the most extreme example is naturally Goddess' Wrath, which simply destroys all opponents when it's finally learned properly, but is useless for a long time before that.
- Man-Eating Plant: The dungeon traps in the old Former Building. Though it's hard to tell if they are actually plants, animals, or specialized organs of the building itself, though considering that they don't appear anywhere else in the game, it's most likely the latter.
- Mega Corp.: The DDT Corporation.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: While the game is generally pretty original in its exotic elements, warniaks can be described as being kind of like flying scorpion-insect hybrids - except that they're actually vertebrates, adding yet another aspect.
- National Geographic Nudity: Female Iskai leave two or all out of their four breasts uncovered. This is never commented on, nor did it prevent the game's sale. This is partly because of Values Dissonance. As mentioned above this is originally a German game, and they tend to be more lenient on showing nudity in media.
- Non-Lethal K.O.: Defeated enemies die normally, but party members are merely rendered unconscious by even the most lethal enemy attacks.
- Except for the first boss, who's nursed back on his feet later. That doesn't mean you don't get to take his equipment though (which includes one of the more decent weapons in the game).
- One-Hit Kill: Several, but they only work properly when sufficiently trained up.
- Mellthas's Banish Demon/Banish Demons/Demon Exodus (which differ in their range of effect). Only work on supernatural creatures, meaning Fears, Animals, Plagues and Storms, but since these are some of the most serious opponents starting at Gratogel and almost to the end, it's nothing to be sneered at.
- Khunag's Kamulos's Gaze destroys one opponent.
- Harriet's Goddess' Wrath destroys all opponents. Just guess how hard it's to get that working properly.
- One-Winged Angel: The whole "becoming the avatar of Kamulos" thing for the leader of the Kenget Kamulos.
- Optional Party Member: Siobhan, who is also the best fighter.
- Organic Technology: Iskai buildings are made almost entirely out of plants through the use of magic. The Dji-Fadh have perfected this craft into an art form, and heir old guildhouse is a good example of what happens if their buildings grow out of controll.
- Our Demons Are Different: Compared to the options given on that page, very. The "demons" in this game are actually physical manifestations of primal emotions and fears of strong-willed people... and things. And they're practically the only standard fantasy creature used in the whole game.
- Our Souls Are Different: Played with. 'Soul' is defined as concept used by Terrans to define sentience. The equivalent of an actual soul is the Ens (or life-force... or an idea... it's not that simple).
- Permanently Missable Content:
- Everything in the Khamulon, since you can't return there after you complete it.
- Khunag will never rejoin your party if you kick him out after obtaining the High Knowledge.
- Point of No Return: Once you step into the final dungeon, there's no turning back.
- Prehensile Tail: Drirr and Sira use it as a separate equipment slot for a second weapon.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Kenget Kamulos. Not so much Khunag, though.
- Rare Candy: Sort of. It's not an item, but the island of the Dji Cantos has eight "flowers of the Goddess" patches that will increase a character's stat by 3 if they stand on them for an in-game hour. They need an in-game day to recharge before they can be used again and are permanently exhausted after about ten uses.
- Religion Is Wrong / Religion Is Right: Or more precisely, Earth religions were supposed to be a compromise between magic and science. Whether the two deities representing the two concepts, or the supposed Elder God who created them are actual existing deities or simply personifications, is never explained in detail and is completely irrelevant to the plot.
- Rainer lampshades the irony of Terrans looking down on religion because it's irrational, while Celts diss it as being TOO RATIONAL.
- Sapient Ship: The Toronto mining ship. NED the computer operates everything and the crew's main purpose is maintenance or operation of individual equipment; the ship itself is described to function similarly to a living organism, settling on the surface of a planet and using a percentage of the mined materials to grow and eventually cover and exhaust the entire planet.
- Scary Scorpions: Scary Flying Scorpions. Dozens of them.
- Science Fantasy: All the human characters come from Earth on the mining starship Toronto, and run into magic Cat Folk planetside.
- Science Is Bad / Science Is Wrong: Related to the religion issue above and its Magic Versus Science theme. The Enlightened spend most of their expository speech dissing logic and science; you may just dismiss it as a case of Unreliable Narrators, but the game's Green Aesop seems to point otherwise.
- Sequence Breaking: If you talk to Kariah again after she first suggests that you dispose of Gard and Riko, she will tell you about the plot to kill Herras long before you are allowed to warn him about it (which is directly before the assassination attempt is triggered).
- The Smart Guy: Rainer and, later, Joe.
- So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: Blissfully averted with the one character who leaves for plot-related reasons - you get one last chance to take all their gear. Played straight if you force out one of your characters.
- Son of a Whore: Drirr will eventually reveal the reason he's been reluctant to speak about his past is because of this, and because people are less tolerant of such things in Jirinaar than Beloveno.
- Stat Grinding: More like skill grinding, but the same principle applies. The flowers of the Goddess allow you to do a form of this.
- Status Buff: Sira has one that increases offense, and Mellthas has one that increases defense.
- Stuck Items: And if you screw up, they're potentially stuck for the entire game. At least they're lightweight. In addition, cursed items can't be unequipped until you uncurse them. They're also permanently destroyed if you do, which can actually be a disadvantage sometimes, since some of them have magical charges or are quite potent as equipment. Fortunately, they also break at least as easily as ordinary items, meaning that a cursed weapon will break soon enough and be automatically unequipped, but ready to be used again if desired once it's repaired.
- Superpowered Robot Meter Maids: The Toronto cleaning robots. There is actually some realism in this; ever seen those big honking industrial robots on TV? Now imagine them coming at you with that Hugh-Jass welder. Mind you, the cleaning robots look about as threatening as oversized Roombas. (Then again...)
- Take Your Time: It doesn't matter how much time you spend on the Toronto, and later in Jirinaar. The ceremony the Sebainah invited you to will always happen two days after your meeting with her. Bero can survive an infinite amount of time in that little room of his, surrounded by demons and predators. The conspiracy in Beloveno won't go anywhere if you don't talk to people about it. The latter is the most egregious example: it doesn't matter what you do, and how much time you spend doing whatever you like Herras will live, as long as you avoid talking to one person, who just happens to live halfway between Herras, and the guy who first told you about the plot to kill him. If you do stop to have a word with him, you will immediately be notified that Herras was killed because you weren't fast enough to warn him.
- Thanatos Gambit: The mastermind behind Akiir's murder? Akiir himself. Since he was already dying, he hired an assassin, and bribed an accomplice to frame his rival Fasiir.
- Unwinnable by Mistake: Do NOT strike the finishing blow to Kamulos with Sira's Fungification spell (which would dissolve him) or he won't leave a vital item!
- Vendor Trash: Averting the Money Spider: everything drops exactly what's logical, and even the monstrous animals you can grind in the wilderness drop body parts that they're mentioned as being hunted for and that can be sold. The Kenget Kamulos drop so much equipment that you can't carry a tenth of it, but if you take the most valuable items, the amount you can carry can be sold for so much money that you can't carry that.
- With This Herring: Inverted. The heroes don't even know what they get themselves into, so it would be understandable if they don't get any equipment. Instead, you get to find a Disk One Nuke in the PROLOGUE, and in the first town, you even get a full set of rather decent and expensive equipment practically thrown at you by a desperate shopkeeper for an insignificant sum.
- On the other hand, the Dji Kantos, who give you the big quest, don't have that much to offer. However, you do get to meditate on their island to increase your stats with no effort, which is very useful in the long run.
- Womb Level: Comes up very soon. Seeing how Iskai buildings are made of plants, it's only logical that this would apply to their dungeons as well. The first dungeon isn't so much as the second, which is literally alive. And sentient.