Silver is a bit of a cult-classic among RPGs. Unfortunately, because it was released around the same time as Baldur’s Gate 2 and Diablo 2, it never really got the widespread attention it deserved. The game was also released on SEGA Dreamcast in 2000. In recent years, the original PC version had become buggy and downright unplayable on modern machines, but there is now an updated version available on Steam.
The game is set in the world of Jarrah. David, the protagonist, is introduced when his wife Jennifer is kidnapped along with all the other women in his village to satiate the desires of the evil sorcerer Silver. While trying to rescue his betrothed, David gradually learns of Silver’s true goals, and how those do not necessarily involve a fun time for the rest of Jarrah. The story itself is not all that special, but it serves the rest of the game well. Many of the dialogues are well-written, and there is a very rich cast of memorable NPCs.
The game combines two different techniques to craft its own unique graphical style. The player, the NPCs, enemies and most of the interactive game objects are represented by a low-poly 3d model. While these obviously look rather dated, their animation is still surprisingly good. The main graphical feature, however, are the monumental, pre-rendered backdrops. The image quality of these has faded a bit over the years, but the designs are still amazing.
Controls and UI
The controls are quite different from a lot of its contemporaries and still feel fresh and responsive. Silver uses an elaborate input system of mouse clicks and swipes that allow you to perform several different types of attacks. As long you perform the correct input command, you can slash, sweep and lunge in any direction as well as block incoming attacks. (But why equip a shield when you could dual-wield swords? Madness! Madness, I say!) The system is pretty intuitive as well, so it really is a major bonus and one of the main reasons the game still has a dedicated fan base today.
The sound design is excellent. In many regions of the game there’s no real background music, but there’s always some appropriate ambient sound (e.g. chirping birds, leaking sewage pipes). When the background music does appear, it’s always dramatic classical music, which really adds to the epicness of the scenes. The voice acting is outstanding, which lends most of the NPCs bucketloads of character.
There’s combat with mobs of enemies, boss fights, puzzles and a bit of exploration in the game. Combat is the main course, though, and it’s usually a bit on the easy side. The enemy AI isn’t very aggressive and as a result combat tends to be rather easy. Some bosses are a bit more challenging, but overall the game is definitely on the easy side.
When a PC-game is close to two decades old, things starts going wrong. The original PC version had become literally unplayable, but the steam version runs very well on modern machines. However, I have experienced a crash or two. Both times this happened right before a save point, which was a bit frustrating. Because of the spacing of the save points, you rarely have replay more than 10 minutes, though.
More annoying is the fact that at a certain point in the game there’s a timing-based puzzle. Because modern machines have increased the frame rate, what used to be a fairly easy puzzle has become a veritable nightmare. I passed it after around 10 minutes of trying, but I’ve read accounts of people being stuck for hours. There’s only one such puzzle I know of, and with some help from YouTube you should be able to complete the puzzle too.
Even two decades after being published and in a world with an incredible amount of competitors, Silver is still worth your time. The controls are still innovative, the graphics hold their own, the music is as good as ever and the few times the game did glitch out never prevented it from being a really nice experience. The game is super cheap so you have no excuse not to play it.