Ishar 3: The Seven Gates of Infinity, Atari ST

The third and final instalment in the Ishar series, Ishar 3: The Seven Gates of Infinity was released by Silmarils in 1994.

It plays similarly to the previous two games (ie. first-person, real-time RPG), but with further refinement and a somewhat different setting – at least initially.

You begin with one member in your party (Zubaran – the same guy you began the last instalment with), and must add up to four more, each represented with a portrait at the bottom of the screen. Like the previous game, clicking this portrait cycles through status and information panels, and also an inventory.

In Ishar 3 you begin the game in a walled city, called Koren-Bahnir, and must solve various puzzles by exploring and fighting. Like the other Ishar games, just gaining a foothold in this archaic RPG is a challenge. Combat is unforgiving; healing is tricky, and just finding the puzzles (never mind solving them) is a bit of a nightmare. That said: Ishar 3 is quite compelling (if you’re playing with a walkthrough), even though the presentation is scruffy and the interface is clunky. All the characters from the first two games are in this one, and are recruitable via the many inns found dotted around the city. Apparently you can even load in a party from the previous game, although I haven’t tried it.

Ishar 3 is arguably the best game in the trilogy, although it does take some effort to escape the city and into a less confined environment. The game still suffers from the usual Ishar failings, though, like spelling mistakes; day and night being too quick to cycle; and inconsistent healing. Playing the game in a emulator, and using quicksaves, does help. I can’t imagine playing this on an actual ST, though. The slowness and the unforgiving combat and healing would drive me nuts.

The Ishar games I would say are an ‘acquired taste’ overall. Especially when compared to, say, Dungeon Master, or Albion, or the Eye of the Beholder series. If you like obscure RPGs (which I do), then you might get some enjoyment out of them.

The Ishar trilogy on The King of Grabs:
Ishar #1, Ishar #2, and Ishar #3.

More: Ishar 3: The Seven Gates of Infinity on Wikipedia
GOG: Ishar Compilation on GOG.com

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