Game Title: "Orcs & Elves"
Platform: Nintendo DS
Studio: EA Games
Rated: T for Teens for blood, gore, fantasy violence and alcohol use
Rating: 7 out of 10
Gameplay: "Orcs & Elves" takes the "Dungeons & Dragons" concept and gives it a boost. While "D&D Heroes" was a hit for the Xbox with its big epic boss fights, the "D&D Eye of the Beholder" for the Game Boy Advance was just a little maze and puzzle game. Taking both concepts and putting them into "Orcs & Elves," which was an original game developed for mobile phones, EA Games has an interesting role-playing game that keeps the player's interest and is easy to control. An army of orcs has taken over a dwarven mountain citadel, and it's the gamer's task to take it back.
Graphics For a small-screen game, "Orcs & Elves" fills each scene with a load of information. From the stone and mortar walls to the flying arrows that come at you at breakneck speed, the scenes lean toward the in-your-face immediacy. There are times when you need to share a few steins of ale to get a guard to tell you secrets to a specific puzzle. The screen then becomes blurry and jittery, and the controls get a bit sluggish.
Audio: The sound of orcs and other creatures roaring and fighting adds to the chaotic world of adventure. Sometimes the audio track leads to clues to a puzzle solution, and sometimes the sounds warn the gamer of a pending attack.
For the RPG junkie, "Orcs & Elves" is right up their alley. Those who are familiar with "D&D" will find pleasant similarities to obtaining armor, potions and treasure, as well as fighting a few hairy bosses.
Parent's take: There is a considerable amount of fantasy fights that end in bloodshed. And more than a few puzzles require the gamer to crush a skeleton to find clues.
Final word: "Orcs & Elves" is a fantasy RPG that adds to the "D&D" fire. It calls for the gamer's analytical sense to solve puzzles but also for the gamer's reflexes to survive in the intense battles.