It’s 44 BC. Caesar is dead and the Roman Empire is on the brink of civil war. Titunius, a prominent Roman citizen, has been poisoned, supposedly by his beautiful wife Aurelia. So sets the stage for this historical drama in which the player has a chance to become a hero.
The player enters this virtual tapestry as Hercules Prasinus, a dashing Roman officer and past love of Aurelia. Because Aurelia has been found guilty of murder and is awaiting death in prison, the player has only 40 days in which to prove her innocence.
In this role-playing game, Hercules can move through 16 locations in and around Rome where he picks up objects and questions people. You will quickly discover that this is not simply a murder investigation, but rather a probe into the fate of the Roman Empire. As players meet and talk to Mark Anthony, Brutus, Cleopatra, Cicero, and Octavius, they help decide the future of the ancient Republic.
This software offers intriguing gameplay because of its innovative dialogue engine. Each time players meet someone, they have a choice about how to present themselves. The screen shows three masks, each representing a different persona. By choosing a mask, players affect their ability to obtain information. Players need to be shrewd to figure out which attitude will get them what they want. The software remembers how a player behaved previously and adjusts accordingly.
Many things help to make this historic drama work so well. The beautifully rendered scenes sweep players into the grandeur and majesty of Ancient Rome. Every time players talk with a character, a logbook automatically records all important information. A “Documentary Base” is always available to provide necessary historic information. There is even a playbill setting forth the background of each character, both historic and made-up.
By playing in this virtual world, children experience a historic time on a very personal level. Becoming a Roman citizen and saving the Republic is a memorable way to learn about Roman history.
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