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Reviewed by  Mr. Bill & Lela

TancredeAlthough this game is the result of the continuing collaboration between the famous author Paulo Coelho and the talented Stephen Carriere of Arxel Tribe, and is sometimes referred to as Pilgrim II, it is not really a sequel as such, but is instead an entirely new story about the same era as seen from another perspective. It is a long and epic story and is published as 2 separate games, each complete in itself: this game and The Secrets of Alamut.

In Pilgrim we watched as the young Simon de Lancrois grew into a spiritual leader and legend in his own time. Now we see Simon from quite a different viewpoint: through the eyes of another man who was also a leader and legend. This is his story .....

The time is the mid 13th century, the setting is the merciless Syrian desert, and the man is known only by the name of the curved Turkish sword which he wields so ruthlessly: 'the Scimitar', or As-Sayf. Blond and blue-eyed, he was born Tancrede de Nerac, the son of a knight in France. He grew up filled with the naive dreams of glory common to all very young men, and fought first with the Crusades and later the Knights Templar.

But the reality of war soon disillusioned him and so, worldly, cynical and no longer caring, he became (along with his like-minded friend, Caradoc) a soldier of fortune, a mercenary ..... and eventually a notorious and brutal desert bandit, with no evidence of his past remaining but the Templar doublet which he still wore.

In time however, the sheer number of the horrors As-Sayf had seen and the atrocities he himself had committed overwhelmed him and, empty and with an aching heart, he sought redemption. He had heard of a prophet, Simon by name, whose followers had built a utopian city somewhere in the desert: Jebus, a city of peace and hope and love, where a man might heal his troubled spirit.

But when he finally does arrive there, he finds it dilapidated and abandoned, the people scattered: their lives and dreams crushed, betrayed by the very man in whom they had put their trust. With a terrible anger and the righteous indignation born of his own soul sickness, As-Sayf vows revenge on this false prophet, this Simon de Lancrois. But first he must find him .....

Although on the surface this mystical/spiritual story appears to be about As-Sayf's search for Simon, in reality it is about his now legendary search for himself ..... and the people he meets, challenges he faces, and enemies he fights along the way are all symbolic of his own personal demons. The journey will take him from Jebus to Jerusalem and beyond, and the talented artists at Arxel Tribe have done a superb job of re-creating that beautiful but deadly world which was the life of a Bedouin nomad, with all of its cruelty and superstition: including ancient astrology and cabalistic magic, flesh-eating ghouls and even a golem.

The full screen, 360 degree, 1st person, point and click graphics are immersive and absolutely gorgeous: you can almost feel the heat and dust of the desert in your nostrils, and the interiors are rich and detailed with gleaming metals, colorful tapestries, stonework and artifacts. And the 3rd person cut scenes are thrilling, particularly those on horseback, with evocative music to add to the mood.

The puzzles are varied, original and part of the story (we particularly liked the 'bird of prey' puzzle), with a few which are very difficult and complicated (like the astrological puzzle, which we would recommend using a walkthrough for), but clues and/or items can be found with attention to detail. But this is a linear game, so make sure you recheck people, places and objects after accomplishing something else, and remember to listen to sounds and always look up. You can be killed by either errors in judgment or enemies, and there are 2 places where you also must kill. But that is descriptive of both the man and his times, and there is no blood or gore: the 'action' elements in this game are few and short.

At one point Qamar the astrologer gives As-Sayf a gift, with the wish that it bring forgiveness and peace to his heart and soul. We hope so too, and we look forward to continuing the journey in the sequel and seeing how it all turns out.

Developed (2000) and published (in Europe) by Arxel Tribe.

Published in North America by The Adventure Company. They have combined this game and The Secrets of Alamut (as Part 2) into one box titled The Legend of the Prophet and the Assassin (4 CDs).

Minimum System Requirements: PC Only!

Where To Buy This Game:

Walkthroughs or Hints:

"Walkthrough" available here!

Mr. Bill's   Adventureland
Copyright  March 2001
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