EDGE (Extreme Dungeon Game Experience) is a new role-playing game for the Palm OS. It took several years to develop, but the wait was worth it.
I’ve been playing RPGs on handhelds since the days of Kyle’s Quest, and EDGE is far and away the best I’ve ever seen.
The developers at zanegames set themselves an ambitious task: to offer the same experience one would have playing a fantasy RPG on a Playstation or Xbox.
They didn’t completely meet this goal, but Zane Rutledge and his team came closer than any other handheld game I’ve ever played.
Look and Feel
First off, the graphics in EDGE are beautifully done. I’m in the middle of Champions of Norrath on the Playstation 2, and I think the look of both games is about equal.
Pretty much everything looks good. The landscapes look authentic, characters look like what they’re supposed to be, and the monsters are suitably monsterous looking.
The monsters you meet work kind of the same way. They can be displayed only at certain angles. This sometimes leads to the odd situation of, for example, wolves running at you sideways.
Also, your character walks very stiffly. Frankly, my dwarf looks like he has the worst case of constipation I’ve ever seen.
Still, these are just a few limitations in what is otherwise an amazingly good-looking game.
In-Depth Game Play
EDGE has an extremely elaborate plot for you to follow. This is an area where it actually surpasses the RPGs I’m used to on my Playstation 2.
As I said, I’m in the middle of Champions of Norrath. While this offers lots of different quests, the way to solve just about all of them is to keep hacking until you reach the end.
The quests in EDGE, on the other hand, are usually much more complicated. And the side quests are different depending on which class of character you choose.
This game allows users to choose a character that is a human, elf, or dwarf and is one of four classes: fighter, thief, mage, or priest.
For example, one of the side quests for the fighter class is to find the Shield of Xersia.
In Champions of Norath, you’d be told “Walk down this hallway, killing everything you meet, until you reach the end, where you’ll find the shield sitting on a table.”
In EDGE, if you ask the person who tells you to get the shield where it is, he’ll tell you that if he knew that, he’d go get it himself. This means you have to wander through the city of Xersia, talking to everyone you meet, until you finally hear from several different people all the clues you need to find the shield. Of course, there’s a lot of hacking up of monsters on the way, too.
As I said, the quests and puzzles you have to get through aren’t easy. If you get stuck, there are hints on the zanegames web site.
There’s an overall plot, of course, and it’s not something you’re going to get through in an afternoon. I’ve been playing it for several hours a day for a week now, and I’m just now getting somewhere close to the end.
Much of the success of a game like this depends on how easy it is to use.
In general, EDGE’s controls are well-designed. And they are configurable enough that you can make the game work like you want.
There’s room for improvement, though. It’s tough to tell what rings or necklace you have on, for example.
If you have a Zodiac, you’re going to love EDGE.
It supports the joystick, rumble pack, and the stereo speakers.
Hearing someone walk past you, with the sound moving from one speaker to the next, is very cool.
It would be nice if EDGE offered a multi-player mode over Bluetooth, though. Maybe in some future version.
Of course, a Zodiac isn’t required. I know it runs fine on other Palm OS models, too, including ones with 320-by-320-pixel displays.
The only thing that EDGE really needs is a mapping function.
Early in the game I spent way too much time wandering through this village trying to find the blacksmith’s shop again, when I wanted to be off fulfilling quests.
I talked to Zane Rutledge about this, and he said mapping would definitely be added in the next version of EDGE.
However, whether there is a next version of this game depends entirely on how many copies of this version he sells.
I don’t think Rutledge has anything to worry about. Go to his site and download the trial version. This lets you play EDGE until you have become a fourth level character.
At that point, I suspect you’ll be more than willing to slap down your $24.95. It isn’t cheap, but the sequel to Champions of Norrath costs twice that.