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Quest for the Rings Reviewed by Adam Wallace on . Rating: 40%
Quest for the Rings
Quest for the Rings Quest for the Rings Quest for the Rings Quest for the Rings
  • Review Score:

  • C-
Those who had played around with the original Odyssey remember how there was more to that console than just the console and its ROM cards. Due to incredibly severe graphical limitations, the system came with a whole bunch of additional props to be used with the games from the screen overlays to a gridiron card for playing the football game. Magnavox tried to do something similar with the RPG Quest for the Rings. The game came with a keyboard overlay, a game board, and tokens similar to what was used in tabletop Dungeons & Dragons back in the early 80s. It was an impressive package for the time. Unfortunately, the video game part needed more leveling up before it was ready for the adventure.

The goal of the game is stated perfectly in the name. There's a ring in each dungeon, and the players have to work together to get it. The game requires two players on the console, but a third player could serve as the Dungeonmaster and fiddle with the game board and tokens. The two on the console can choose from four distinct character classes which was a great idea for the time, but the implementation needed work. The warrior and wizard have a short-range attack to use, but the phantom and changeling only have stealth abilities making them less appealing. Worse is that none of the classes have hit points. One hit kills, and the fact that all of the enemies are faster than the player characters and outnumber them three to one on average makes the game very frustrating. It ends up coming down to one player acting as the decoy for the enemies while the other player runs for the ring.

Quest for the Rings (Odyssey 2)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The game does look and handle decently for the time. The animations work reasonably, and there's decent variety with the enemies. The dragons actually look quite impressive for 1981 with large, well-drawn sprites and good fire effects. The only weakness is the stock person sprite used for both the player characters and the orcs. The only difference is the color. It would have been nice to see differences in the player sprites based on the character classes, but the weapon effects would suffice. There are only a few dungeon maps that cycle repeatedly, but that's acceptable for the time.

Quest for the Rings was a novel attempt to bridge the gap between the people who were playing D&D at the time and video gamers. I definitely can't fault Magnavox's ambition on that goal. Unfortunately, the video game part needed more work to complement the package rather than drag it down. Just ignore the video game and use the tokens for your next round of D&D.
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