Well, looks like I hit the stopping point for the demo. But it’s a little odd, as I count eighteen areas visited, while supposedly there are twenty.

Anyway, I should mention a bit about combat. It is certainly turn-based, and you do start with eight action points. Who goes when depends on quick action skill and dexterity, and possibly other factors; I’m not sure about that last one.

Attacking takes five points. You can move before, but not after, with one exception. I found that throwing special items, like magic crystals, seems not to be counted as an attack. So you can toss one, then attack with a spell or missile weapon if you still have at least five points left.

Moving is more than just a step, too. You can cover a fair distance before letting loose, and that’s necessary sometimes, as all distance attacks have a range. Line of sight is also taken into account; you can’t attack from behind something if the target isn’t visible.

The main problem is when you’re up against multiple opponents. I wouldn’t recommend going completely solo here unless you’re very familiar with the game. One or two creations are really necessary to help out.

On the other hand, there’s no penalty for backing out of melee combat, which is a good thing. No free strikes by the enemy (or you, if an opponent starts retreating).

Returning to the game proper, I did all the jobs I could manage in the outdoors. One optional task was extremely nasty. I had to go through a toxic waste dump, which was no fun at all.

There were places like this in earlier GF games, and I knew the drill: go through it in combat mode. That lets you cover some distance before taking damage. And of course, heal up now and then.

When all the jobs were completed, I returned to Southforge and saw it had been attacked in my absence and general evacuation was in progress. Now I had to ride shotgun for a caravan heading out with the disassembled geneforge. Lucky me.

I met it at a bridge, and had to get it safely to the west exit of the area. Fortunately, everyone in the group could do a little fighting, so this part wasn’t too bad.

In the next section, I didn’t see them, so figured that was it, and I continued on the the Cairn Gates. The game thoughtfully informed me that I’d never get through them.

Then I checked my quest log and saw the guard duty hadn’t been finished. Uh oh. So I walked back all the way to the bridge. Didn’t see anyone. Turned around, and tromped to the next section…and there they were, waiting for me. Huh.

Dunno what happened, but at least they showed up again. This time, though, knowing what was ahead, I told them to stay put. Then I went forward and took out a pair of nasty Shapers (they’d wiped the floor with me earlier, but I was stronger now).

After that, the caravan moved on and near the exit, cheap tricks: a bunch of roamers showed up. Really unpleasant critters that explode when killed. Fortunately, I happened to be well ahead of the caravan, and it was just me and my trusty fyora.

We had no trouble killing them; it was simply a matter of staying far enough back to avoid injury when they went boom. Finally, the caravan got through to the gates.

Other rebel forces had been there ahead of us, and there was no opposition left. The caravan went its merry way and the job was done.

The game has some interesting twists. The Shapers keep trying to recruit me. And there’s a third group that would like to see shaping by anyone ended forever. I rather like that idea myself. Not that I think it’s really possible. Not unless you could destroy every geneforge in the world. And everyone who knows how to build one.

Anyway, I made it to the first real town, and paths away from it all lead to areas that are locked. But I’m still wondering about those two missing locations. Unless there really are just eighteen, not twenty.

So you’re all wondering: will I buy the game and continue? Why not? I have to find out what the drakons are doing; from what I’ve heard, it could be very nasty. Gotta save the world somehow! ;)