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Game offers adventures in the Promised Land

Published: Saturday, Dec. 17 2011 5:00 a.m. MST

The first major Book of Mormon computer game has landed. "Helam: A Stripling Warrior Quest" was designed by React Games, a local design house with previous titles on the PC and Xbox Live.

I've been busy over the past week exploring the Promised Land. Grab your sword and strap on your leather armor, Helam is in town.

Most new video or computer games start around $50, but "Helam" is priced just right at $24.98. It can even be purchased and downloaded right to your computer from the official website at Helamonline.com. A free demo version is also available.

"Helam" truly is fun to play from the get go. I despise games that try to capitalize on a well-known theme or brand but deliver a horrible gaming experience. The Book of Mormon theme is present here, but the story is told through an interactive experience in which the player becomes an imaginary character from the book.

Anyone who plays the game should have fun and enjoy the historical setting.

"I wanted to make the world of that ancient time come to life for my kids, spark their imagination and get immersed in such a rich history, which is their heritage as well," React Games CEO Chad Lee said.

In the game this player is in the role of Helam, a Nephite young man who is striving to find the Lamanite warrior who killed his father. The story is set during the time of the stripling warriors, where Lamanites and evil king-men plot to capture the people of Nephi. Helam starts in his home village tracking down clues, performing tasks and fighting jungle animals. There is a world map of Book of Mormon locations to explore as a linear storyline unfolds.

The game play is similar to a role playing game or RPG. Players maneuver their characters through the game while gaining experience, leveling up, acquiring better equipment and having new members join your group. At one point Helam get to perform a secret mission for Captain Moroni.

The fighting system is a combination of luck and strategy without the blood and gore. When you encounter a creature, you must decide whether to attack, defend or power up your attack. Your opponent does the same and then you reveal your decisions. If you both attacked, you score maximum damage. If you defended and your opponent attacked, you will receive a smaller amount of damage. Some battles must be planned carefully.

To run the game, a graphics card is needed for older computers, and when you move your character around the screen, you will often get caught on landscape elements. Once you're into the game, these things are minor but can be frustrating at the time.

The game is family-friendly and easy to learn but does include combat.

Here are three clues to the game that I found helpful. First, be sure to keep track of the location of every mysterious indestructible square stone found. Second, be sure to find all three relics on every board in the game to unlock a powerful weapon. Finally, be sure to double back to the cave you explore in your first adventure before tackling the final boss. The most fantastic creature in the game is there, and its treasure is fabulous.

This is a moderately priced Book of Mormon themed stripling warrior adventure game with good graphics and fun gameplay that is fun to play. Now I just have to find where I put down my javelin.

Ryan Morgenegg is a multimedia specialist for the Deseret News.

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