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Video Game / The Wheel of Time

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The Wheel of Time is a 1999 video game based on the popular series of high fantasy novels of the same name and developed by Legend Entertainment, who had previously developed Unreal's Return to Na Pali expansion pack and would go on to develop Unreal II: The Awakening. Instead of attempting to adapt the books into game form, the game instead tells an original story set in the Wheel of Time universe, taking place a few centuries before the events of the books. The story follows the adventures of Elayna Sedai, an Aes Sedai librarian whose journeys bring her into conflict with the force of the Dark, Shadar Logoth, the Whitecloaks, and even Ishamael himself.

The game uses the Unreal engine, with gameplay that is extremely similar to that game, including the way enemies move and attack. Elayna cannot channel the One Power, so instead she uses an arsenal of Ter'angreal artifacts that allow her to cast a variety of spells.

The game's multiplayer component is based around a capture the flag mechanic, in which each of the 4 players has their own fortress guarding a cuendillar seal. Players can equip their fortress with traps and computer-controlled allies, and must raid each opposing player's fortress to obtain all 4 seals.

After over 22 years of being unavailable digitally, the game was re-released on in April 2022 with the aid of Nightdive Studios.

Tropes featured include:

  • Action Girl: Elayna, as the games protagonist, travels the world and kicks all kinds of ass throughout. She has to be as an Aes Sedai, especially if shes going to fight a Forsaken.
  • Amplifier Artifact: Due to her inability to channel saidar without aid, Elayna needs to use Ter'angreal to do so. They effectively act as the game's weapons equivalent.
  • Artificial Brilliance: For a 1999 game, the AI is quite competent, as the enemies will attempt to dodge Elayna's shots where possible, and use their ranged attacks while relentlessly closing in to melee, where even basic Trollocs will outmatch her. It is also relentless in pursuing her, able to jump from/to higher floors to reach her, and will swim to cross aquatic barriers as well. Using a variation of the A.I. from Unreal helps a lot in that regard.
  • Attack Reflector: The Reflect Ter'angreal creates a shield that bounces magical attacks back at the enemy, however it only lasts for a few seconds so you have to time its usage skillfully almost like a parry. Whitecloaks also carry shields that reflect magic attacks, so you need to damage them either indirectly (i.e. with splash damage) or with non-projectile attacks like chain lightning.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Averted. Fallen enemies will at least have their clothing bloodstained, and may be surrounded by pools of blood as well. Killing the enemy with a particularly strong spell will avert the reducing them to a lump of charred flesh instead.
  • Capture the Flag: This is the Citadel multiplayer game mode. Players place traps within their own citadel to prepare for the combat, then they compete to capture seals from the opposing citadel.
  • Charged Attack: Balefire can be charged to hit even harder than it already does.
  • The Chessmaster: The Hound ( or rather, Mordeth possessing his body) manages to play everyone for a fiddle over the course of the game, manipulating Elayna and the other factions into nearly wiping each other out. He even manages to depower Ishamael himself by tricking him with an artifact that blocks someone from using the One Power. Unfortunately for him, he underestimates both Ishamael and Elayna (Ishamael not being as helpless as the Hound would think even without the One Power, and Elayna unexpectedly being skilled enough with Ter'angreal to defeat everyone and gather all the seals).
  • Elite Mooks: Myrdraal, Whitecloak Archers, and Elite Trollocs are all tougher and more challenging than your average mook.
  • Emergency Weapon: The Air Pulse Ter'angreal. It would technically be a Ranged Emergency Weapon only due to having a range slightly longer than a melee attack. Otherwise, it's quite weak even against the first opponent encountered in the game.
  • Everything Fades: Averted with the dead enemies; their bodies will remain on the level, which was unusual in 1999.
  • Expressive Health Bar: Elayna's health affects the posture of her portrait at the top left corner of the screen. The lower her health, the more slouched over she becomes.
  • Expy: The Hound is pretty clearly one for Padan Fain.
  • Fog of Doom: Mashandar, as expected, can be found all over Shadar Logoth. Its silvery tendrils will quickly kill Elayna and anyone else gripped by them.
  • Healing Potion: The healing Ter'angreal isn't a potion, but it in a form of a cup, giving the implication that it would act as a potion.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Downplayed. The game has the usual Easy, Normal and Hard options, and the tool-tip at the bottom of the screen denotes a character the game compares the highlighted difficulty to:
    Easy: Wit Congar
  • Intangible Man: One of the spells, Shift, allows Elayna to teleport through grates and small openings as long as she can see through the other sides.
  • Knight Templar: The Children of the Light have this attitude towards everyone else, as they consider all Channelers to be servants of the Dark One, even the Aes Sedai.
  • Mle Trois: The four factions (Elayna's Aes Sedai, the Dark, Shadar Logoth, and the Whitecloaks) are all hard-coded to be hostile to each other, but there are actually very few levels in the game where characters from different factions can be found in the same area.
  • Mirror Boss: All of the game's major bosses are channelers; they move and fight similar to the player character, and behave more like multiplayer bots than standard enemies. Elayna's reflection is a literal mirror boss.
  • No Body Left Behind: Anyone killed with Balefire will be completely destroyed, both physically and in the Pattern, leaving nothing behind. This is the only thing that can kill a Forsaken Deader than Dead.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Balefire manifests in this game as a powerful purple beam that can kill things so hard it wipes them from existence.
  • Rocket Jump: When timed correctly, Elayna can use Balefire to propel herself vertically. Unlike most examples, what increases her jump height isn't an explosive blast, but the massive recoil of the spell flinging her upwards when aimed to her feet.
  • Shown Their Work: The inventory screen has a quotation from the books for each spell, showing where in the books the developers got the idea for that spell.
  • Skippable Boss: Ishamael, the leader of the Forsaken, is the one boss in the game you don't have to fight if you don't want to. You can just grab his piece of the MacGuffin and quickly run away from him back to the exit portal. This is quite helpful as he's likely the most difficult and powerful boss in the game, as expected from the World's Strongest Man (Rand hasn't been born yet).
  • Squishy Wizard: Elayna can survive less damage than almost all of the enemies in the game. Making it through the game alive involves being quick on your toes as well as intelligent use of Ter'angreal spells to even the odds.
  • Spikes of Doom: One of the trap types of the game involves spikes suddenly coming out of the walls and impaling Elayna.
  • Super Powered Mooks: Black Ajah can cast many of the same spells your character uses, and can take a lot more damage than you can, making them challenging opponents.
  • Unique Enemy: You only fight 1 Whitecloak Questioner in the entire game, which is treated as a level boss, even though it's classified as a Champion-level enemy like Legion or the Giant Trollocs, which are fought several times each.
  • Vancian Magic: Most Ter'angreal only have a small set of charges that act as an ammo equivalent. Grabbing more Ter'angreal can recharge them. A few (marked with a bluish aura in their location) can respawn once their charges run out.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The Hound, the first full boss you face, is limited to very basic Ter'angreal attacks and doesn't have much more health than you do. The next boss, Elayna's reflection, however, has a much wider and more dangerous selection of spells and more typical boss-level health, making her the first really challenging boss you'll encounter.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Elayna's connection to the saidar is so weak that channeling is nearly impossible to her on her own. However, she's quite experienced at wielding Ter'angreals as weapons. So skilled in fact, that she can fight the Forsaken themselves and win.
  • Worf Had the Flu: At the end of the game, Elayna can fight Ishamael and actually win. It's made clear Ishamael isn't as powerful as he'd normally be because the Hound temporarily severed his connection with the One Power, forcing him to rely on Ter'angreal. He's still by far the game's most powerful boss enemy.