Reviewed on PC


Reviewed By: Rick Casteel

Computer Platform: PC
Produced by: Interplay
Price Range: $30-45
Learning curve time: 45-60 mins.
Age level: 16+
ESRB Rating: Teen
Patches / Upgrades: on Web site
System Requirements: P-266, 64 RAM, CD-ROM

Genre: RPG
Christian Rating: 2 of 5
Gameplay: 4 of 5
Violence: 3 of 5
Adult Content: 3 of 5

Box art from 'Icewind Dale'

"Icewind Dale" is a RPG from the group who brought us “Baldur's Gate” and Planscape Torment. Bioware, the developers of these games, are the premiere RPG game makers in the industry today. They use the rule set and environments from the Advanced Dungeon and Dragons game land of "Forgotten Realms". This combination of a well known, accepted standard of role playing and their proven graphics and game engine make for a compelling game experience. Bioware has been very successful at making these lands of fantasy come to life on the computer screen.

Lets get the troublesome elements out on the table. This is a land of fantasy where magicians, sorcerers, demons and “gods” live and interact. There are spells, incantations, conjuring, mysticism, and the potential to play as an evilly aligned character. You start the game by creating 6 characters of varying abilities. These abilities are based on the class and statistics for each of six characteristics. The classes you have to choose from are Fighter, Paladin, Ranger, Cleric, Druid, Thief, Bard and Mage. You then spread your ability points across the six characteristics. These consist of strength, dexterity, constitution, wisdom, intelligence and charisma. Each of your party will have individual skills you will use to tackle certain elements of the game. Once you develop your party you are ready for your adventure. Such are the components of a fantasy role playing game.

Screen shot from 'Icewind Dale' Your team starts our in a tavern where they are approached by a character who proposes a quest. The quest involves investigating strange happenings at a neighboring town. The town houses the source of heat for the area and without it the town will become a frozen wasteland. Numerous villagers accompany you to the town and are attacked by frost giants. All of the company die except for you and your party who are left to figure out what is happening and why. You are sent on numerous sub quests in an attempt to uncover the source of the plague upon Icewind Dale. You take your group through caves, crypts, towers, mines and temples in search of clues that will lead you to prevent the freezing over of the area. The group encounters all sorts of traps, creatures, monsters and NPC's along the way. As you work your way through the various areas you get closer to the answer.

The game is engaging and moves quicker than its predecessor “Baldurs Gate” due to a focus on combat rather than interaction. There is the crude language and ability to drink at the local tavern but no nudity or adult situations. Christians will need to be very aware of the material mentioned above presented in the game before deciding to buy. John tells us in 1 John 2:14, "I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one." A solid grounding in God's word can help defend us in any situation and experience we encounter. A youngster or teen may not be so strong in the word to remain unaffected by such gameplay.

Year of Release—2000

Positive—If you liked Icewind Dale you should try out the Heart of Winter Expansion. It is not very long but it has some of the best voice acting I have heard in a computer game. Plus it also has the most sympathetic and tragic villain I have ever seen, her final speech is highly thought provoking. Some people will be offended however by the opening cut scene which features an elderly near naked woman. Also due to some complaints due to the length of HOW Black Isle released a free downloadable expansion called The Trials of the Luremaster which is certainly worth downloading. It is set in the ruin of an old castle where a terrible secret awaits discovery My Ratings: [3/4]
   —Mark Goggins, age 22

Positive—I do not understand how people can draw similarities between what is essentially a work of fiction and the world that christians seem to inhabit. None of the spells, incantations or ramblings of wizards that are presentin this, or any other TSR based game are even remotely like the spells and incantations that modern witches use, and to have that suggested is quite offensive. People should learn to focus more on the fact that this is a great game to play rather than try and pick it apart with backward rhetoric. My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Bilbo Baggins, age 18, non-Christian

…TSR does not consult with witches. In fact, they have been bashed because thier spells are not realistic enough… My Ratings: [5/4]
   —Joshua Lee

We see in the beginning storyline that one man makes a sacrifice to save an entire world from being overrun by demonic forces. Sound familiar? Yes, unlike the Baldur's Gate series, there is no bias to good and evil parties. That is one reason why it does not get a perfect rating from me. Also, one of the bosses is a topless female (yes she has a few extra arms too…it makes you feel like you are fighting an avatar of an Indian idol). The good points is that you are fighting evil. But that should be essential to every game. Being a hero. You may have a few flaws but you are not overly flawed like characters in some literature. IMHO this is essential for all RPGs computer and pen and paper… Also generally, educate your children. Have a family devotional on what real Magick is (divination, summoning sprits) and not only about its sinfulness but why. That I am going to leave to the reader's fuller study of the scriptures. My Ratings: [4/5]
   —Cornelius, age 35

This game, like its predecessor, has decent graphics and good gameplay. Being a fan of Baldur's Gate, I enjoyed the little of this game I played. But quickly, I found myself wanting to go back into pen and paper roleplaying again, something I swore off as I began to come to know what being a Christian was all about. This game soon became a temptation and I returned it to the friend I borrowed it from. If you can deal with the magical and pagan elements, you will enjoy this game. If, like me, you cannot or you are recovering from AD&D then avoid this game as well as Baldur's Gate BGII and Neverwinter Nights, games soon to be released. My Ratings: [2/4]
   —Ex Amore Christi, age 16

I'm not sure, but when I tried the game out, I found the audible incantations creepy. What I mean is, I got the feeling they were REAL, Particularly since, TSR consults witches, etc. in all they do, for authenticity. My Ratings: [1/4]
   —Michael, age 30

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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