Japanese-style RPGs, while popular on consoles, have been woefully underrepresented on the PC. Those few that have been released to date are mostly shareware fan efforts or no-frills console ports, Final Fantasy VII being the most notable example. Now French publisher Infogrames, in an effort to fill this void in the market, has released Silver, a purported Final Fantasy killer designed specifically for the PC. And while Silver won't unseat Final Fantasy as the reigning champion, the game is nonetheless interesting in the way it attempts to rethink some of the genre's conventions.
As the game begins, your alter ego David witnesses his wife's kidnapping by the minions of the evil wizard Silver, and he sets out to rescue both her and the rest of his hometown's stolen women. Helping David in the pursuit is his incredibly tough granddad called Grandad. It's a loopy, enjoyable start to the game, which is a good thing because Silver's success or failure rests almost entirely on the strength of its story.
Silver plays out on prerendered three-dimensional backgrounds through which you must guide polygonal characters. The environments themselves are essentially static bitmaps with a few looping animations. They look good for the most part, and some are spectacular, though everything tends to have that overly clean, computer-generated feel that Final Fantasy VII managed to avoid. The characters themselves are not particularly detailed but are especially well animated.