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Aidyn Chronicles: The First Mage
Preview By: Marty Weisenburger
Developer:   H2O
Publisher:   THQ
Genre:   RPG
Est. Release Date:   October 2000
Posted:   4-27-00

If there's one area that the N64 has been lacking in since it's incarnation, it's the role playing genre. Although the machine has had a few adventure-ish titles with RPG elements (Such as Zelda and Goemon), owners of Nintendo's machine haven't had anything besides the average-at-best Quest 64 to satisfy their urge for epic quests in a traditional RPG style. That said, N64 role players finally have something worth getting excited about - a true, next generation role playing game that should satisfy fans of the genre - THQ's Aidyn Chronicles: The First Mage.

The storyline revolves around a 17-year old boy named Alaron. Orphaned as an infant, Alaron was adopted by the king and raises him to be a squire. Alaron is in the wilderness, where he is attacked, robbed and left to die. Fortunately, a wise old woman finds him and nurses him back to full health. Soon after, he is poisoned be goblins, and the resulting illness is beyond the reach of human healing. Desperate, Alaron seeks a race called the Mirari, known for their healing skills. The storyline goes deeper into other mysteries, and will unravel as the game plays out.

Although the game takes place from a third person perspective, make no mistake - Aidyn Chronicles will be a traditional, "real" RPG is every sense of term. As opposed to being used for Mario style running and jumping, the 3D world will instead be used for a more Zelda-esque sense of exploration. Ditching the "cartoony" look of Quest 64, the characters are looking to be much more mature, which should make the game feel less like a fairy tale and more like a truly epic quest. Besides Alaron, playable characters include Brenna (A close companion to Alaron, also orphaned when she was young), Abrecan (A knight skilled with weapons), Rheda (a young sorceress who seeks to cure her friend, who was cursed by a necromancer), Godric (a castle alchemist), Becan (A knight who saved the king in battle, but now lives in peace, resenting al forms of war), and Donovan (A confident, sometimes arrogant fighter) .

As you might have guessed, the game uses the standard knights, swords and castles. This isn't nessecarily a bad thing, however, as it fits in well with the storyline and characters. The combat system is looking less akin to most RPGs and more like that in SquareSoft's Parasite Eve or THQ's previous N64 effort, Quest 64. Players enter a battle, and are give a specific area that they can move around in, as well as attack or cast spells.

Supporting the 4mb expansion pack, Adyin Chronicles looks good to hit the N64 this summer on a 256mb cart. Although N64 role players were disappointed with Quest 64, H20 seems hell-bent on delivering an RPG that *will* satisfy hordes of skeptical role players. Given that the game has no competition, it shouldn't be too hard to appeal to fans of the genre on the N64. We'll be keeping an eye on this one.

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