Curse of the Azure Bonds was released in 1989, by SSI, Inc. as the sequel to the popular Pool of Radiance. Curse was a computer fantasy role playing game using AD&D rules.

The gameplay was very similar to Pool, which I have covered in another writeup, but there were a few important fixes that made certain aspects of the game far less tedious. The most noticeable of the changes is the "Fix" command in camp mode. This will automatically make your healers forget all of their spells, memorize healing spells, cast them on your party members, and then re-memorize the original spell list, rather than having to do all of that manually. There were also bugs removed in the item selection interface, which had a tendency mess up, and a few tweaks to the combat system. You could also load characters from Pool of Radiance, or the very different, "in-between" game, Hillsfar.

The story was, in my opinion, much weaker than its predecessor. Basically, your party wakes up and has these strange magical blue tattoos (Hence the name of the game) on each of their arms. They learn quickly that these are used to control their actions, and they must quest to destroy the people who placed these bonds on them. As each of the badguys is destroyed, their bond vanishes and the plot moves forward.

WARNING! Vague spoiler paragraph! The most disappointing part of the story is that the final bond is held by Tyranthraxus, the villain from Pool of Radiance, who your party has supposedly already vanquished.

The game is set mostly outdoors, and as your characters are higher in level than in Pool, the encounters can be more interesting, and many more spells and abilities are available. Even given its faults, it was a worthy successor to Pool.

Nodeshell Rescue

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