|Curse of the Azure Bonds|
|Developer(s)||Strategic Simulations, Inc.|
|Publisher(s)||Strategic Simulations, Inc.|
|Platform(s)||Amiga, Apple II, Atari ST, C64, MS-DOS, Apple Macintosh, NEC PC-9801|
|Release date(s)||USA 1989|
|Genre(s)||Role-playing game, Tactical RPG|
|Media||5¼" and 3½" floppy disk|
Curse of the Azure Bonds is the second in a four-part series of Forgotten Realms Dungeons & Dragons Gold Box adventure computer games, published by Strategic Simulations, Inc.. The game was released in 1989.
The story is a continuation of the events after Pool of Radiance.
After the defeat of Tyranthraxus, the party heads out on a journey and is ambushed along the road. The members of the New Alliance have placed a curse on the party by imprinting five azure tattoos, known as sigils or bonds, on their arms, each symbolizing a master of evil. These bonds allow the masters to override the will of the party and to carry out the will of the New Alliance. The party discovers these bonds when they awaken in the town of Tilverton, stripped of their equipment.
The five symbols on the party's arms are arranged in the following order top to bottom:
- Symbol of Moander: A hand with a mouth in its palm.
- Symbol of the Fire Knives: A knife surrounded by flame.
- Symbol of Dracondros: An inverse arc with a sort of "plus sign" above it. This symbol bears a similarity to Elminster's symbol.
- Symbol of Tyranthraxus: An ornate, inverse flame with the letter "T" written in Dethek in it.
- Symbol of Zhentil Keep: A letter "Z" surrounded by a circle and the circle surrounded by a triangle pointing downward.
The party's objective is to defeat the creators of the five sigils and free themselves of the curse. The party will face off against a large group of rogues called the Fire Knives, a red mage of Thay called Dracondros, a priestess of Moander called Mogion, a cleric of Zhentil Keep called Fzoul Chembryl, and finally against Tyranthraxus (assuming the form of a Storm Giant) in Myth Drannor. Along the way, the party will meet some characters from the Azure Bonds novel including Akbar Bel Akash, Alias, Dragonbait, and Olive Ruskettle.
There are a few optional side quests the party can undertake, if desired. The party can gain some extra experience points and usually some extra treasure items can be found.
The bonds the party possesses can determine the friendliness or hostility of some people in-game. For instance, having the Zhentil symbol will cause citizens from the town of Hillsfar to dislike the party and charge outrageous prices.
To play Curse of the Azure Bonds, one simply needs to create characters and form a party. The gameplay basics are identical to all games in the series. Characters can also be transferred from Pool of Radiance or Hillsfar.
Curse of the Azure Bonds can be perceived as a pretty good step up from Pool of Radiance. There are some new features to gameplay.
- The game primarily takes place in the Dalelands and the overworld map allows a player to select an adjacent location and automatically travel there. There are random encounters when travelling to locations.
- Most towns in this game are rather simple, giving a menu of places to go such as an Inn or Tavern, rather than having the party walk around.
- The player may now choose the classes of Paladin and Ranger for characters in addition to Fighter, Thief, Mage, and Cleric.
- The Fix command was added to the Encamp menu. Fix allows a party to be healed very quickly as long as a living and conscious cleric or paladin is in the party.
- Graphics did improve slightly, though everything was still drawn in 16 colors.
For MS-DOS there are four different versions of the game:
|MS-DOS||V1.0||Turbo Pascal 5.0|
|MS-DOS||V1.1||Turbo Pascal 5.0|
|MS-DOS||V1.2||Turbo Pascal 5.5 (exepacked)|
|MS-DOS||V1.3||Turbo Pascal 6.0 (exepacked)|
- Alias, the character from the novel, is the woman pictured on the novel's cover and the same cover is used for the game as well as the game's title screen.
- Alias has red hair in the pictures, but has blonde hair in the game.
- Akabar Bel Akash in the game doesn't match up with his details in the book. In the game he has only one third level spell - lightning bolt. In the book he makes use of the haste and fireball spells.
- Game created by: SSI Special Projects
- Project Leader: George MacDonald
- Programming: Scot Bayless, Russ Brown, Michael Mancuso
- Development: David Shelley, Michael Mancuso, Oran Kangas
- Graphic Arts: Tom Wahl, Fred Butts, Susan Manley, Mark Johnson, Cyrus Lum
- Playtesting: Jim Jennings, James Kucera, Rick White, Robert Daly
- Main article: Azure Bonds
The novel is simply called Azure Bonds, and is written by Jeff Grubb and Kate Novak. The story begins with an adventurer named Alias awakening in an inn; she has a set of blue, highly magical sigils on her arm, and cannot remember how she came to acquire them. She soon learns that the sigils represent various forces of evil, and that they can control her mind, forcing her to do their owners' will. With the aid of a mysterious lizard-creature named Dragonbait, a southern mage called Akabar Bel Akash, and a halfling "bard" by the name of Olive Ruskettle (the novel was written long before all races were allowed in the default rules to take any character class), she sets out to learn more about the sigils' creators, and become free of them.
The Games Machine scored Curse of the Azure Bonds with a score of 90%. It was considered to be a dramatic improvement to Pool of Radiance with introduction of new classes, better storylines and improved combat engine.
Similarly in CU Amiga-64 the reviewer scored it with 89%.