Review by Bobo The Clown

Reviewed: 01/25/02 | Updated: 01/25/02

A Good Start, But A Premature Finish, Like My First Time With... Uh... Nevermind...

Usurper could have been one of the best BBS door games ever released. It could have easily beaten out Legend of the Red Dragon on most BBS systems as the most popular game, due to the vast amount of features and available equipment. Unfortunately, a few factors prevented Usurper from being a dominant game.

In Usurper, you play the role of a band of heroes. You can have anywhere from three to six playable characters. Your mission is to attempt to get to the very bottom of an expansive dungeon. The basic storyline itself is very simplistic; however, like most BBS games, the real story was beating your fellow posters and friends soundly in a role playing game.

The gameplay in Usurper is that of a traditional turn-based text role playing game. It's very similar to Legend of the Red Dragon in execution; you go to a common area, and pick fights with monsters that you find. There's also the standard BBS options, such as killing fellow players in your spare time, and sending in-game messages to other people.

However, Usurper provides much much more than just these standard options. You can form clans and alliances. You can equip over ten different items on each character, ranging from weaponry to rings to armor to helmets. You can raid other people while they sleep. You can go on story quests in an effort to gain more experience and gold then normal dungeon fights would give you. The possibilities are endless.

Or should I say, they should have been endless. However, Usurper was released too late in the BBS's lifespan; 1993 was the very first release. By this time, Legend of the Red Dragon had skyrocketed in popularity, and Usurper was still in a very early form. By the time that all the bugs were worked out and an extremely playable game was created, the BBS era was dead, and the internet was on the rise. Usurper can still be found on some Telenet BBS systems, but more and more go out of business each day.

There are pretty much no strong presentation values in Usurper. The visuals are 90% text, with some ANSI graphics and ASCII art thrown in. There is no sound or music in the game. However, almost all BBS games are like this, so Usurper does not stand out from the crowd. At least it doesn't use a blinking yellow text like many other games...

Overall, Usurper is an outstanding relic from the BBS game. If you can find a Telenet that supports it, it can provide a good twenty to sixty minutes of pure role playing fun per game. The trouble of finding one could be worth the reward!

If you don't wish to play this game online, however, you can also download a version on to your system and run it locally. The homepage for Usurper (come.to/usurper) has detailed instructions on how to do this. You might want to try this option first, to see if Usurper meets your fancy before you hunt down an online game.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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