Sunday, February 25, 2007

Ivan Another Go

Ivan another go... Ivan... I want... get it? Sigh.

Anyway, Iter Vehemens ad Necem (Ivan) is a simple graphical roguelike. It's fiendishly hard, which is encapsulated by the translation of the name, "a Violent Road to Death."

The graphics look, at first glance, very basic. With first impressions counting for an awful lot in this shallow society of ours, many people will probably turn away before even trying out the game. However, the simplicity of the graphics allows for some really nice touches that screenshots just don't portray. Characters bleed, metals shine, dogs drool, and it makes it surprisingly immersive.

This fella is in trouble

How did he get this far?

One of the major differences between Ivan and traditional roguelikes is the body system it employs. You can lose limbs, Gods can remake them out of various materials - to be told you have been given a new arm made of banana flesh is amusing to say the least.

Make no mistake about it though, this game is hard. You will meet many violent deaths. However the challenge is part of what makes this game so addictive. You are always intrigued by what you will find that little bit further into the game - although I doubt I will ever finish it so finishing it isn't even a motivation to play!

One of the things I have yet to master is genies... how do you make meaningful wishes? I always end up being given something crap! When I ask for arcanite armor why do I get hardened leather? But all those little frustrations make you come back for more.

I have lost a lot of time recently to a game I would not normally have played. I, like many of you, glanced at the screenshots and thought, "looks rubbish." True geeks don't need graphics, but I'm not a true geek and I really do not enjoy nor will never play ascii art games again. But this is not ascii art, and in this rough looking piece of coal you will find an absolute diamond. Play, and enjoy.


Anonymous said...

"I will never play ASCII art games again"

I used to be like that.. I played Nethack with tiles, and iso-2d with Falcon's Eye, and fancy 3d via NoeGNUd, but then I ended up playing in ascii mode via an ssh connection for a while (various reasons) and now I can't stand to have the tiles enabled.
To put it bluntly, I realized that playing roguelikes without ASCII is just irritating. It's far too hard to have the whole map visible onscreen and then try make out the difference between an orange blobby thing and a slightly different orange blobby thing, when I can tell the difference between an O and a Q at a glance. Tiles get stuck with depicting lots of different monsters that all have similar body shapes.

ASCII means not having to zoom the map in and out all the time like with tiles, since text characters are easily differentiated even at very small sizes.

Anonymous said...

it seems that development of ivan died a while ago, and their forum got spam-infested; though a new community-based forum has popped up. Looks like they might be working on making some forks too. This new forum is at: attnam[dot]jconserv[dot]net; we'll have to wait and see if these become viable game(s).

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