Added to the lair: 3/8/18

Genre: FPS

Developer: Legend Entertainment

Year: 1999

Platform: Windows

Emulator: None

Wikipedia: The Wheel of Time

The Wheel of Time

What is, what was, and what will be...

The Wheel of Time is an excellent FPS that unfortunately faded into obscurity over the years. It has an interesting and considerably more complex plot than what you'd typically expect from a shooter - from this period at least - with many lengthy cutscenes between missions expanding the backstory and lore, as well as exchanges between characters. I guess this level of detail is to be expected given that it's based on such a lengthy series of high fantasy novels.

Gameplay is pretty typical shooter fare but with traditional weaponry replaced with various forms of magic. There's a very wide array of spells from lightning, fireballs, and tornados to things like illusions, shields, and healing. Some are certainly more useful than others, but I appreciate the number of options at your disposal. The game can be fairly challenging as enemies soak up quite a few hits before dying and they dish out a lot of damage if you're slow in dispatching them. Levels are often large with many secret nooks and crannies containing various spells to help you. There's a great deal of diversity in the level designs as well, which is always appreciated.

Graphically I think it's actually aged pretty well. Model detail is obviously low, but from an artistic standpoint it's very strong. Many of the locations look great and the flashy spell effects with their swirling particles, flashes, and explosions look awesome. The game really excels at building atmosphere as well.

The audio is serviceable but not exactly outstanding. Many of the sound effects don't seem punchy enough to convey the power of the spells you're wielding. The voice acting is generally quite good though.

The Wheel of Time is a really fun, unique, and challenging FPS that's been overlooked for far too long.