Paladin: The Game

If you've happened upon Paladin: The Game by chance and are intrigued about its origins, then you would be right in thinking that it isn't a standalone game in of itself. Paladin was an animated series in the fairly distant past, and this flash game is based fairly heavily on the happenings of this animated series. You can expect some decent adventure from Paladin: The Game, as it is a third-person action/adventure game with RPG properties sprinkled into the mechanics. Going on an adventure is pretty much the only thing that you can do after the evil necromancer Ridel threatens to put humanity in the ultimate danger. Those that have seen the Paladin animated series will be right at home here, though the game welcomes anyone wishing to have an action-packed adventure since the story is also explained concisely as you go along.

You begin as the fresh-faced Paladin, not yet a warrior but a boy that is starting early in his training to become one. You take control of Paladin in a standard tutorial-based level which has an old man describing the controls and actions you can perform throughout your adventure. These consist of basic movement (WASD or directional arrows), item utilisation, and attacking. Though you move with the keyboard, you attack with the mouse by clicking the left mouse button which initiates a sword-based attack. A jumping attack is performed by pressing the jump button (spacebar) and then the left mouse button. You can also perform a kick which damages your enemies less but knocks them back to give you time to perform more attacks.

There is more to Paladin than simple sword fighting however. The RPG element of the game takes the form of levelling up as you kill a certain number of enemies. Each time you level up you gain stat points that you can spend on attributes like strength and speed. The supernatural also plays a part in this game since you can also spend stat point on various spells that give you the extra edge against your enemies. Whilst paying attention to your health (obviously) you must also keep an eye on your aura (or mana as it's often known in magic-based RPG games) which drains when you utilise the spells. The RPG element is obviously more basic than more modern RPG games such as Blade Hunter, but Palain: The Game's greatness can hold its own even against modern RPG titles.

It is the development of Paladin as a powerful warrior that makes this game so enticing to play not just for the odd five minutes but through to completion. Adding to your attributes of strength, health, dexterity, speed, and aura ensures that you are constantly improving and getting stronger. Adding points to your spells adds a supernatural dimension and more variety to the game. You've got spells that range from simple aura shield or aura blast to a devastating shockwave, a powerful fireball attack, and even the power of flight. The more powerful the spell however, the more aura will be drained from your reserves.

Now for the design of the game. As you would expect from a flash game as old as Paladin: The Game, the graphics aren't exactly cutting edge even for the flash world, but for the time of its release this was a very good-looking game. The game is quite loyal to the look of the series with a distinctive animated style that's about as far away from the plain-textured and amateur-looking flash games that mar the flash game world. As far as the sound effects go, you've got some fairly dated and generic music, and the same goes for the sound effects, though this doesn't diminish the experience in the slightest. If anything, this game is an exercise in pleasant nostalgia of the way games used to be.

The adventure is a fairly lengthy one, giving this game quite a bit of longevity. The replay value is also quite high since this game has three difficulty settings and various cheats that you can unlock in order to make the game more interesting. Cheats range from standard increased speed and infinite health/aura to being able to play as odd characters like Jay Leno and Napoleon Dynamite; this clearly demonstrates Jazza Studios' sense of humour. There are also quite a few enemies to face, including a range of undead foes and even dogs that seem to want to rip you limb from limb.

For the veteran gamer, Paladin: The Game is a pleasant excursion into the fairly distant realms of the gaming past. The gameplay is solid (even if the physics are a little off) and the RPG element gives it quite the long-term draw. The graphics are obviously a little dated and nowhere near as bright or colourful as fellow warrior game Paladog, but this doesn't affect the gameplay in the slightest. There's a lot to be enjoyed about this game, it just may be a little lengthy for those that aren't massively into the genre.