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Evil Islands: Curse of the Lost Soul, originally The Cursed Lands (Russian: Проклятые земли), is a PC game by Nival Interactive that combines role-playing, stealth and real-time strategy. It is the third game of the Allods franchise, after Rage of Mages and Rage of Mages 2: Necromancer. Evil Islands introduces a new interface and full 3D graphics.
The game was published in October 2000 in Russia and CIS (Russian version) and a few months later in English.
The game's story consists of a man called Zak who finds himself at a base of ruin in an unknown land called Gipath. After he wakes up, Zak finds a group of people praying and as they spot him, they run off and alert a nearby village shouting, "The chosen one has come!" Zak soon finds this village and the people who live in it. While inside the village the village Elder, named "Silver Tongue", briefs Zak on how they believe he is this chosen one and how he has come to save their village from Goblins and other such threats that roam the land. Soon after he has done these Quests, he finds a plot about a traitor who plans on killing him. And the story also unfolds even more over three different lands, and how he wants to regain his lost memory over the course of the game's story.
Evil Islands also has an online muliplayer feature allowing you and other people to do quests, level up and generally do the things you do on the single player side of the game but with human players. Quests are different from those of the single player story and have different objectives and rewards. The multiplayer portion of the game is also much harder than normal play especially without other players, encouraging people to group up. Multiplayer gaming at the time when the game was released was still fairly new, making Evil Islands stand out from other roleplay games for its time.
This game contains examples of:
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You can't have more than two allies at a time, although Lazy Backup is avoided and you can just pick another one if one of them is killed.
- Beef Gate: A few throughout the game, worth noting a couple of dragons in Gipath and an Imperial Guard in Suslanger.
- Black and Gray Morality: Zak falls into the Anti-Hero trope, and while the Khadaganian empire is undoubtedly evil, the Canian empire is not much better.
- Blade on a Stick: Kharad carries an unique spear that throws lightning bolts towards his opponents.
- Crapsack World: Let's see. First, an After the End environment (Gipath) with ruins everywhere and people living in Stone Age. Second, an empire (Ingos) governed by The Caligula, and where just leaving the city means you'll get ruthlessly shot either by rioting villagers, the incredibly powerful gang of local thieves or the Private Army under orders from the local merchant. Finally, an empire (Suslanger) with basically no freedom, soldiers everywhere, and with legal slavery. What a happy world, don't you think?
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Erfar the Silvertongue.
- Critical Encumbrance Failure
- Dem Bones: The skeletons from the Dead City.
- Dungeon Bypass: Can be done a couple of times, although you still want to complete all quests because of the experience bonus.
- Instead of doing the long set of quests related to entering the Dead City, you could just traverse the cave that is available very early in the game. The other entrance leaves you about ten metres far from your objective in the Dead City.
- If you don't want to avoid all of those quests, you can still shorten them. Getting to the observatory is far easier than the game tells you. Instead of making peace with the Lizard Men living in the Middle Mountains, you can just lure the ones near the dragon to kill them elsewhere, and then just sneak the dragon. Similarly, you can avoid the quest for freezing the lake by taking a side path that goes around the lake. There are some Lizard Men there, but you should have killed many of them already by that point, and they're anyway weaker than the skeletons you're forced to fight to get the crystal required to freeze the lake.
- Elemental Crafting: The game has cloth, leather, hide and fur for armor, stone and bone for weapons, and metal and diamond for both. Wood is strangely absent.
- The Empire: The Khadaganian empire.
- The Evil Army: The Khadaganian army definitely falls here.
- Giant Enemy Crab / Giant Spiders: The Armadillos in Gipath and the Haunt Spiders in Suslanger, respectively.
- Improbable Power Discrepancy: Mostly played straight, with a few aversions. The different types of Underground Monkey have completely different health depending of the island you are, and the giant spiders you fight in the Death Canyon (that you're forced to complete while alone and with obselete equipment) are strangely weak compared to the ones you fight elsewhere in Suslanger. However, in Suslanger you encounter hyenas which have about the same power as the dogs you encountered in Ingos. This actually has some logic, but makes hyenas look pathetic when compared to the rest of enemies in Suslanger.
- Inexplicable Treasure Chest: Averted. The few treasure chests that you find usually have some kind of background that you can check accesing the quest menu.
- Item Crafting: Taken Up to Eleven in this game, as you have to craft even spells.
- La Résistance: The Brotherhood of the Last Sanctuary.
- Last-Disc Magic: Completely averted. The best offensive magic is not acid, the Suslanger magic, but lightning, which is already available in Ingos, and there's even a way to craft a Lightning spell in Gipath, although it will be very expensive. Concerning non-offensive magic, the high price, required skill and stamina cost and the low duration of Suslanger's spells makes most of them useless, while the game's most useful already available in the previous islands.
- Lizard Folk: The most dangerous regular enemies in Gipath.
- Lord British Postulate: Many monsters were designed as unkillable by giving them tons of HP and rapid regeneration. However, with the introduction of easy mode in a patch, most of them became technically possible to kill, even though the process was long, difficult, and involved a share of luck. Enthusiasts posted a detailed guide to killing every single creature outside of towns, except two dragons that are too tough to kill even this way and a frog in the tutorial, which only survives because the player has no ranged weapons at this point. This slaughter, nicknamed "Project Genocide", completely breaks the game scripts, making quests play in the wrong order, NPCs making references to future events, and corpses and empty spaces participating in conversations.
- My Rules Are Not Your Rules: Enemies never run out of fatigue needed to run (no pun intended) and cast spells. Thus even a frigging troll (an ugly, pimply, lumbering bulk--you know the kind) can always outrun the player.
- No Hero Discount: Lampshaded and justified. In one instance, your base of operations is a village where you are praised as the "Chosen One", but the village merchant is so infamously stingy that he explicitly warns you right away that he will still charge you with all your purchases. Later, all the village money happens to be stolen and he once again clearly refuses to supply the village guards with weapons for free... because they didn't stand for him against brigands. Another time you join some rebels and obtain all the gear from their blacksmith. He actually apologizes for his shameless prices and explains that he has to smuggle the weapons and bribe the officials of the Evil Empire.
- However, at the very end of the game, it's subverted; the very last 'merchant' you meet before the final battle will give you anything he has in stock and perform all services for free.
- Our Orcs Are Different: This game has the "Blizzard" orcs.
- Panthera Awesome: Tigers appear in both of the two first islands.
- Point and Click Map
- Resources Management Gameplay: Very important. You'll want to grind as much as possible, not only to gain experience, but to earn money, since Money for Nothing is completely averted in this game. Besides, the best materials in each island are not available in shops and you'll only be able to get a few from enemies.
- Hard leather (the best leather in the game) is mainly acquired from the Lizard Men (also from Ogres, but there are few of them). You can stock it without too much difficulty, as you'll fight lots of Lizard Men in Gipath. However, although you can craft stronger leather armor in Ingos and Suslanger, you can't get hard leather anymore, meaning you can only use whatever you saved from Gipath.
- Strangely, the opposite situation to the one just above happens with fur: you can get lots of snow tiger skin in Ingos, but there is no new fur armor, so you can only upgrade the one you saved from Gipath.
- Zig Zagged with hide, as the best one, red dragon hide, can't be acquired by killing red dragons (they drop red dragon bones instead), but by buying it in Suslanger. Before that, however, there's only troll hide, acquired from trolls, who are seldom encountered, and buyable only in Ingos.
- Obsidian, the best type of stone, can only be acquired from elite Orcs (standard Orcs drop just silicon, although you can't buy it either).
- The best type of bone you'll be using is shell bones, acquired only from Armadillos. There's one type below (hard bone, acquired from skeletons) and several above (several types of dragon bones; in Gipath they're only acquired as a quest reward, making them Too Awesome to Use, and in Suslanger they're made obsolete by metal).
- The best metal in Ingos is steel, acquired from both the Woodsfolk and Wormheads, so you'll be able to get lots of it. However, Meteorite, the best metal ever, is mainly acquired from Black Wormheads and Imperial Guards (also from Desert Ogres, but again, they are seldom encountered); the first ones can't be encountered after you complete the Wormheads' Cave, and the others are the toughest regular enemies in the entire game, so good luck getting some Meteorite.
- So Long and Thanks For All the Gear: Make sure you've taken all the equipment you want from your party members before moving to the next island!
- Some Call Me... Tim: Tka-Rik.
- Thunderbolt Iron: Meteorite is the strongest metal available for crafting weapons.
- The Unchosen One: Zak, in an odd case. He is originally hailed by the villagers as The Chosen One by sheer coincidence, and most energetically by the village elder — but then it turns out that the prophecy is more or less a scam, the village elder is actually a spy for The Empire, sent to prepare for its invasion of the island of Gipath. Naturally, he becomes a hero anyway.
- Tomato in the Mirror: It's eventually revealed that Zak's identity is that of the mysterious Joon you've been looking for during the Suslanger arc.
- Underground Monkey: You'll find several types of wolves, boars, toads, tigers, trolls... that look the same except for color or size.
- Vendor Trash: Some enemies drop this instead of money, materials or items.
- Warp Whistle: Completing some quests will allow to travel instantly to certain areas of the map.