Rings of Power

Rings of Power
Game title:
Rings of Power
Sega Genesis / Sega Mega Drive
Naughty Dog, Electronic Arts
Christopher Erhardt, Andy Gavin, Jason Rubin
Alexander Hinds
Game manual:
3,995 times
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Rings of Power is a 1992 role-playing video game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Electronic Arts (EA) for the Sega Genesis. The player takes on the role of an apprentice sorcerer named Buc, whose quest is to assemble a team of adventurers and collect eleven rings to defeat the evil god Void.

The game was pitched under the working title Buccaneer by Naughty Dog founders Andy Gavin and Jason Rubin following the release of their previous title Keef the Thief, and was developed while the pair attended college in separate states. It was originally intended for a PC and Amiga release until Gavin and Rubin happened upon – and decided to invest in – EA's secret operation of using makeshift development kits to create Genesis games without Sega's permission; as a result, Rings of Power became Naughty Dog's first console video game.

Rings of Power is a role-playing video game in which the player controls an apprentice sorcerer named Buc, who is tasked with exploring the land of Ushka Bau and gathering a team of five other adventurers, with whom he must collect the eleven titular Rings of Power in order to confront and defeat the evil god Void. The game is played from an isometric perspective and with a diagonal control scheme; the camera zooms closer to Buc whenever he enters a building. The game's setting can be traversed on foot or with an assortment of vehicles, including dinosaurs, boats, ships, and dragons. Magical gateways marked by a ring of statues are scattered across the setting and can transport Buc and his party to other locations in the world. The game features a day–night cycle, and many tasks and quests can only be accomplished during the day or the night. Various characters can be conversed with to obtain information concerning the Rings or other quests at hand. Characters can also be bribed with currency, which can be used to gain information or unlock doors.

Combat can either be initiated with a command while talking to a pedestrian or may occur randomly while traveling. During combat, Buc and his party are located on the left side of the screen and have blue shadows, while their opponents are located on the right side and have orange shadows. Each party member is equipped with a strength and magic meter, which are affected by how much damage a character takes or the type of spells the character uses. A party member will die if their strength meter is fully depleted, and a character will only be able to cast weak spells if their magic is depleted. The player can set the party's spells to be selected automatically or manually, and can adjust how aggressively a party member behaves in a fight. Winning a fight grants the party currency and experience points, which can be used to learn stronger spells. Strength and magic can be restored by camping, which also accelerates the passage of time.

Long ago, the divine being Nexus the Benevolent used the Rod of Creation to turn the desolate planet of Ushka Bau into a paradise. He then granted humanity the gift of the Six Arts: the Art of Separation, practiced by knights; the Art of Summoning, practiced by conjurors; the Art of Force, practiced by archers; the Art of Change, practiced by enchanters; the Art of the Body, practiced by necromancers; and the Art of the Mind, practiced by sorcerers. After a long age of prosperity, Nexus's envious demonic brother Void the Destroyer stole the Rod and created an age of chaos that lasted 66 years. Nexus and Void engaged in a titanic battle that split the Rod in two, and each fled with half. They further divided their halves into eleven Rings of Power and hid them to keep each other from reassembling the Rod and taking power again.

500 years later, the Rings have yet to be recovered and have passed into legend. However, the six Guildmasters discover strong evidence of the Rings' existence as well as clues to their locations. To prevent Void's minions from reassembling the Rod, each of the Guildmasters decide to charge six of their most promising students with forming a team of five other adventurers from each discipline and finding the Rings. As the Guildmaster Thalmus the Wise prepares the top students of the Academy of the Mind for this quest, he is attacked and killed by Darius, a student who has fallen under Void's influence, and the other students are teleported elsewhere by Thalmus's dying word.

Buc, the Academy of the Mind's most promising student, builds a team – consisting of the knight Slash, the necromancer Mortimer, the archer Feather, the conjuror Alexi and the enchanter Obliky – and sets out to gather the eleven Rings. After retrieving them, Buc and his team take the Rings to Nexus's seat at the Fount of Heaven and defeat Darius, who has become Void's physical vessel. Nexus transports Buc and the Rings to his realm and reassembles the Rod of Creation. Nexus leaves the Rod in Buc's care, claiming that keeping it in either his or Void's possession would upset the balance between them. Upon returning to his world, Buc creates a mighty palace in the Fount of Heaven's place from which he rules from that day forward.

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