|Realms of Arkania:|
|Developer(s)||Attic Entertainment Software|
|Composer(s)||Guy Henkel, Horst Weidle|
|Series||Realms of Arkania|
|Release||DEU September 1994|
INT October 1994
|Genre(s)||Role playing game|
Realms of Arkania: Star Trail is a computer role-playing game by Attic Entertainment Software based on the German RPG system Das Schwarze Auge. The original German version of the game (German title: Das Schwarze Auge: Sternenschweif) was released in 1994. Due to the success of its predecessor Realms of Arkania: Blade of Destiny, it was translated to English and released by Sir-Tech in the same year.
After the failed orc invasion on Thorwal, the orcs attacked another region. The player is recruited in the city Kvirasim by an elf ambassador to recover an old artifact, the Salamander Stone, that could unite the elves and the dwarfs for battle against the orcs. Immediately a mysterious third party which seems to be against the uniting of the dwarves and elves counter offers riches and bribery. The quest leads them first to the depths of a long abandoned dwarven mine in the mountains. There they must walk a fine line between taking what they need and taking out of avarice. If successful they meet a master smith, who forges an asthenil sword for them and lets them swap it for the Salamander Stone.
Leaving the mines with the Salamander Stone, they are instructed to take the stone to an orc besieged city of Lowangen. The party is allowed past the orcish blockade, only after they leave behind most of their heavy weapons and armor. Once inside the city, they are robbed of the Salamander Stone. While attempting to locate it the group runs into cultists serving an unknown god. The cult comprises humans and elves. After a bloody fight, the group finds two Salamander Stones, one fake and one genuine. There is a notice of instruction telling the cult to send the real one off to the north to their leader.
The group travels to the northernmost city on the map and finds it completely deserted. Upon entering one house they find a trap door leading below the house to an underground base of the cult. Within its first floor, they find a warrioress frozen in a solid block of ice. She joins the group after the player character thaws her out but leaves as the party moves to the third and final floor.
On the last floor is a temple to the Nameless God. At the very back the party finds the dwarven ambassador, Ingramosch, petrified in stone and the mysterious third party that first tried to offer them riches for the Salamander Stone. He is actually a powerful sorcerer. After taunting the party, he casts a spell that teleports him to the massive cave behind him. A huge dragon comes forth and starts breathing flames at the party. After battling the party for some time, the dragon finds them honorable and allows them to live. As he disappears into his cave, the player character uses the salamander stone to flesh spell upon Ingramosch. They climb out of the dungeon and find the elven ambassador waiting with a horse-drawn carriage. He takes the party to the harbor where a boat is waiting. The elf spends days healing the dwarf with magic. When Ingramosch comes to, they give him the Salamander Stone.
After arriving at the tree city of the elves, the dwarves and elves hammer out an alliance. In celebration, the group is treated to a feast in the tree city, where the rarely seen elf king shows up and thanks the group for all its success and hails them as friends forever to elves everywhere.
The Northlands Trilogy
Realms of Arkania: Blade of Destiny was the first game in the trilogy. It was followed by Star Trail and Realms of Arkania: Shadows over Riva. Players can save the game after beating it, which allows them to import their characters into the sequel.
According to Die Zeit, all three games in the Realms of Arkania series, including Star Trail, were commercially and critically successful. The paper's Nicole Lange reported in 2011 that the three entries together had surpassed 2.4 million sales worldwide.
The game was reviewed in 1995 in Dragon #219 by Jay & Dee in the "Eye of the Monitor" column. Jay gave the game 2½ out of 5 stars, while Dee gave the game 3 stars. A reviewer for Next Generation assessed that "The return of the old-school RPG, Sir Tech's Star Trail is sure to appeal to those gamers who would lose months at a time fighting evil. Unfortunately, even with its new control system (reminiscent of New World's Might and Magic series), graphics, and sound that far outclass those of Wizardry, the game may be too complex for the beginning adventure to tackle."
Barry Brenesal of Electronic Entertainment praised it as "a first-class fantasy role-playing game that should keep you busy for a long, long time." PC Zone's Mark Burgess called Star Trail "a must" for fans of the genre, and summarized it as "slightly old-fashioned looking, but it's got what it takes." In Computer Player, Al Giovetti wrote that the game was "recommended for role-playing enthusiasts", and he praised its graphics, automap and journal features, interface, complexity and audio.
Writing for PC Gamer US, Trent C. Ward called Star Trail "a must for every diehard RPG enthusiast", and "a great title for those who're tired of adventure games masquerading as RPGs". Computer Gaming World's Petra Schlunk wrote that Star Trail was "a deep and rich game, though it can be overly so at times." She regarded it as "a game for the hardest of hard-core role players—those who will fight anything, even a frustrating game system, to finish a quest."
Star Trail received PC Gamer's 1994 "Best Role-playing Game" award, and was named the year's top "Multi-Character Role-Playing Game" by Computer Games Strategy Plus. It was also a nominee for Computer Gaming World's "Role-Playing Game of the Year" prize, which went to The Elder Scrolls: Arena. The editors of Computer Gaming World called it an improvement upon Blade of Destiny that was "well-suited for hard-core role-players", while those of PC Gamer US wrote, "Never before, nor since, has a RPG contained as much depth or player control as this one". In 1997, PC Gamer US named Star Trail the 47th best game of all time, calling it "an achievement of RPG greatness".
- Jay & Dee (July 1995). "Eye of the Monitor". Dragon (219): 57–60, 65–66.
- Ward, Trent C. (February 1995). "Realms of Arkania: Star Trail". PC Gamer US. Archived from the original on January 18, 2000.
- Schlunk, Petra (December 1994). "The Trail of Tears". Computer Gaming World (125): 194, 196, 198.
- Burgess, Mark (March 1995). "Realms of Arkania: Star Trail". PC Zone (24): 92, 93.
- "Realms of Arkania: Star Trail". Next Generation. Imagine Media (3): 94. March 1995.
- Brenesal, Barry (December 1994). "Realms of Arkania - Star Trail". Electronic Entertainment (12): 104.
- Giovetti, Al (February 1995). "Star Trail: Realms of Arkania". Computer Player. 1 (9): 64, 65.
- Staff (March 1995). "The First Annual PC Gamer Awards". PC Gamer. 2 (3): 44, 45, 47, 48, 51.
- Staff (November 2000). "A Decade of Gaming; Award Winners of 1994". Computer Games Magazine (120): 56–58, 60, 62, 66, 68, 70–76.
- Lange, Nicole (September 23, 2011). "Zu deutsch für den Rest der Welt". Die Zeit. Archived from the original on March 24, 2016.
- Staff (May 1995). "The Computer Gaming World 1995 Premier Awards". Computer Gaming World (130): 35, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44.
- Editors of PC Gamer (May 1997). "The Best 50 Games of All Time". PC Gamer US. 4 (5): 65, 66, 69, 72, 73, 75, 76, 80, 82, 86, 87, 90, 91, 94–96.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)