Well, I decided the next prey would be TitanQuest, so I picked it up today. Just from reading the manual, I can tell you that this is definitely a buffed-up Diablo 2 clone.

Of course, I bought the wrong package. Mine had the game on CD. Five of them. And every one was used for the installation. Ick. They were all on one tall spindle, too. Brought back memories of those old Sierra games that came on multiple floppies.

Anyway, the installation went fine. However, I had to find out what version I had, because a search for patches brought up four results. So I ran the game. It came up well, and has a nice intro. Several soldiers standing outside some building.

Then the door bursts open and a medusa comes roaring out, bow at the ready. Plinks one guy right off. The rest draw swords and run to attack. One manages to survive and pretty much takes her out (the statue falling on her helped, too ;).

Then I reached the main screen and saw the version number. Got the patch and installed that without trouble, too. So it was time to get started for real.

You begin basically as a nothing. You choose a name and gender and that’s it. There are no classes as such, only what they call “Masteries”, which are skill sets. You pick the first one at level 2, and the second (and final) mastery at level 8.

Unlike Diablo 2, none of these are gender-based. So you can have a female tank or a male with skills somewhat similar to an Amazon. There are three fighting masteries of Warfare (the tank), Hunting (Amazon, using bow/spear), and Rogue (traps and fancy fighting). Then we have four magic-based sets: Storm (lighting and ice), Nature (healing and summoning), Earth (mainly fire), and Spirit (necromancy). Rounding out the masteries is Defense, which is mostly protective, with a little offense thrown in.

Under each of those are various skills, and much like D2, you add points to them as you go up in level. You also add points to the masteries to unlock the higher skills. You also get some attribute points each level to bolster your stats.

Since the Rogue was my fave in Diablo, and the Amazon in Diablo 2, I started a female character. No armor (of course) and just a knife. We start in a village that’s being attacked by satyrs of various kinds. This is obviously a “beginner dungeon”, since I was able to do quite well against them with that puny weapon.

Well, I did have trouble with the mini-Foozle, a satyr shaman. He was a bit tough and I had to back off and down a healing potion. But I got him nonetheless and achieved level 2, where I immediately took Hunter.

Combat is just the same as in D2. Click on the enemy. Hold the click to keep fighting. Hold shift while left-clicking to stay in place (handy for ranged attacks).

So far, the game is running well on the default settings. That’s at 1024×768 with everything on except anti-aliasing and vertical synch. However, there is a minor problem with shadows. Sometimes, they look like thin black lines instead of shadows. I may need to upgrade my drivers. Will keep you informed on this. More as it happens.