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The name for two completely different games.  Both date back a while, but were extremely good in their day, and fond to the memory of several ToothyWikizens.
The two are:



SpiderWeb?



Note: This series is re-released under the title 'Avernum'.  Marginally improved graphics and no other changes.  Demo versions of all the titles are available.  Also, Avernum now has more episodes than Exile did.  --Vitenka

A series of games by SpiderWebSoftware. All three games are marvelously interconnected - After having played through one, there are countless things that you will recognise in any of the others.

Such as the FriendlySpiders.  Gibber?.

Exile



A lot of potential.  AlexChurchill found it marred by the fact that every spell in the game became available very early on - just for huge amounts of money.  So you wander around, getting lots of money, and thus become able to use any spell you like.

There was a good plot an' suchlike.  I'll let someone else describe that.

Definitely not as good as either of the following two games, but still very playable. The limitations are definitely more noticeable after having played one of it's followers, so if you want to play the series, start here, then move on - you'll appreciate the others more for it :)

Please don't spoil the plot for those of us still playing through the series ;)
Spoiler free (as in, you learn this by watching the intro) - In Exile I you get thrown down into exile and have to sort things out.
In Exile II there is a bit of a war.
In Exile III you have to deal with what you did in Exile II.  (Please please no spoilers on this)

Exile II



Utterly fabulous adventure game, fulfilling huge amounts of the potential in Exile I. 
Deserves to be praised for its:

Could be knocked for its:

Exile III



In most ways, better than Exile II.  Was hyped as the adventure where the map changes with time: if you spend too long before visiting town X, it might get burned down.  I happen to have a great dislike of the system of time passing - I enjoy exploring anywhere and everywhere, and that just isn't possible in this game: If you take too long before embarking on the "major" quests, then you will find important characters just aren't there anymore. I believe that it's possible to complete the game, regardless of how late you leave it: it just becomes significantly harder. Still, a natural progression from the predecessors, with a smoother combat system, an absolutely VAST world to explore, and countless bits that will have players of the earlier games clapping for joy. At least I did, anyway... Definitely worth playing, but be careful. This can and will EatYourLife?...
Oh yes. Yes yes yes. Me and a friend must have literally spent a hundred hours playing through Exile III, and we didn't even get within sight of the end. I actually still havn't! This is possibly my favorite PC game of all time. No other RPG I've played has had the same charm. Everything, barring the graphics, is five star. This is how CRPGs should be made. It's just...wow. I can't describe how much better this is than anything like it. I've never played Exile I or II, though. Are they just as good? Better question - are they essentially the same? -- Xarak
Well, read the descriptions above. Exile 1 is IMO very definitely not as good as 2. I didn't play 3 that much due to time constraints, so didn't get into it that much. Exile 2 is brilliant. Exile 1 may also be brilliant, just less so than 2. But I can't really say how they compare to 3. A lot of the mechanics and appeal is the same in all 3, I guess. --AlexChurchill
Three is generally held to be a (very) slight let down after 2.  Try Avernum, to get (slightly) better graphics ;)  --Vitenka
Speaking as someone who's only played the demos, Exile 2 is more like 3 than it is like 1.  You could play the demos and see for yourself, or you could try Blades of Exile, for which there are a large number of truly excellent user-made scenarios (also a large number of truly awful ones, but the rating system helps distinguish these) --Edwin
I've got BoE? - obviously, it's no E III, but some of the mods were pretty nice. I made a couple of scenarios myself, but they're now lost in the mists of my old HD. -- Xarak
Did anyone else get to see them?  These things can often be dug out, if so. --Edwin
My scenarios? Nah. This was about 6 years ago. -- Xarak
Didn't see them.  I have registered blades of exile (of avernum is out) but I also have a HUGE stack of spiderweb I've not got around to yet, so haven't cracked it open :)  --Vitenka

Blades Of Exile



TheSagaContinues? - but it goes in UnexpectedDirections?, since Blades comes complete with an editor.

By todays standards, a horrible editor - but an editor nonetheless.

Discussion



I should note that Exile was originally a Macintrash? thingy, but it got copied across to the PC.  And then remade into Avernum - which is basically identical but with (slightly) prettier graphics. 

Ah, Avernum, I tried that one.  Started the game, went through the character generation, walked out the front door and saw a rat.  Now, I'm guessing it was someones pet rat since, when I attacked it, the entire village suddenly became hostile and attacked me...  Maybe rats formed part of their religion or something...  I pretty much gave up at that point.  I'm afraid my tolerance for bad graphics is pretty low unless tied to a _very_ good plot/game... - Kazuhiko

(Vitenka) I urge you to give it another try - Exile/Avernum? has that very good plot you are looking for.  Still, let's play devils advocate for a while:

Still - it is a wonderful series of games, with a very good plot.  And they are HUGE.  If you like making maps of towns (Herman, shopkeeper, wants bread - top left of town) then this is definitely the series for you.

Oh, they also made a few other games; all based on the Avernum engine.  GeneForge? is especially fun, but that's just because I think little red fireball-spitting cowardly velociraptors are fun.

Given I have (practically) zero experience with any of these games then, which one would you recommend I start with?  And should I look at Exile or stick to Avernum? - Kazuhiko

(Vitenka)  Hmmm.  Tough one that.  I'd say stick with Avernum since it is simply a remake of Exile.  You get the same plot, and moderately improved graphics - and a few bugfixes.
It might behoove you better to try 'Homeland' or 'geneforge' first.  They are smaller, in some ways simpler and have a pretty good plot.  If you can put up with the engine long enough to get through the demo of one of those then jump in to Avernum and prepare to eat trilogy :)  Having said that - if you buy a whole bunch of Avernum discs they throw in large chunks of exile for free, so it's not like you have to make a choice.
Grab the free demo of Geneforge and play that.  That would be my advice.  It's easily the most advanced engine of the lot of them, and has a lot of solutions that they don't.  (Like a decent map, no other party members inventories to massage)



SuperiorSoftware



Read a computer mag about a game (BBC/Speccie?) which was also titled Exile, but involved some kind of platform based puzzle game in space, worms-type weapons direction (you really choose the direction), and that few people have finished. Sounded intriguing, has anyone played it/heard of it? -- El Garblood
Aaahh, now that would make sense - I've been trying to fit in the above discussion on Exile with what I know of the BBC game.  http://exile.acornarcade.com  Thank you for restoring my faith in my memory :-) --Mjb67

Oh, yes! I remember that!  That was really good, and really difficult.  I got (I think?) 2/3 of the way through the game (although it's kinda hard to tell) - certainly further than anyone else I knew.  That was a nice absorbing game.  You really had to think outside the box for some of the puzzles.  --AlexChurchill
Drat, means I may have to play it - Grabled
[Remake available here]

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CategoryComputerGames

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