Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast is a computer role-playing game in a high fantasy setting, developed by BioWare and published by Interplay in April 1999. Released as an expansion pack for Baldur's Gate from 1998, it adds about 20-30 hours of extra gameplay to the original game. Tales of the Sword Coast adds four optional areas to Baldur's Gate, but does not directly impact the original storyline.
The gameplay of Tales of the Sword Coast remains fundamentally unchanged from that of Baldur's Gate. The game mechanics are the same, and the new game areas of the expansion are placed in the same world map as the original game. However, the expansion pack introduces minor tweaks both to game mechanics and interface.
The experience point cap of the original game has been raised from 89,000 to 161,000. This allows players to reach higher levels of power, wielding more powerful spells and better weaponry. The interface has seen a number of improvements, including automatic stacking of identical items for less micromanagement, and the display of unidentified magic items in a blue tint. The thieving class has had its abilities somewhat toned down, requiring appropriate shadows nearby in order to vanish from sight, and thieves must now sneak behind opponents in order to attempt a backstabbing attack. If the player has already finished Baldur's Gate, the game presents the option of loading a save game which places the player character (and party) in Ulgoth's Beard. Ulgoth's Beard acts as a hub for the new quests introduced by Tales of the Sword Coast.
The four new areas added to the Baldur's Gate game map are the small town Ulgoth's Beard, a werewolf island, an ice island, and the ruins of Durlag's Tower. These areas provide additional side quests and exploration within the main story line. If installed during an ongoing Baldur's Gate game, Tales of the Sword Coast will seamlessly blend into the main story line.
Ulgoth's Beard is a small town with great adventuring possibilities. Outside the inn of Ulgoth's Beard stands a mage called Shandalar. Shandalar forcefully teleports the party to a desolate Ice Island, ordering the player to retrieve his cloak for him at the island. Player is forced to fight off other, already insane prisoners of the Island Dungeon in order to escape it.
At the docks of Ulgoth's Beard, the party encounters Mendas, who asks the party to accompany him in traveling the Trackless Sea. The ship is wrecked on a mysterious island, which player is set out to escape. There are people on the island who are suffering from the Werewolf attacks. The player helps them, only to discover that these people are in fact Wolfweres, a vice versa-form of Werewolfs. The player fights through the island lycantrophic population, including the greatest of Werewolves, Loup Garou. Upon the return to Ulgoth's Beard, it is revealed that the men who sent player on journey are Loup Garou too, and they are about to avenge their brethren.
In the inn of Ulgoth's Beard, the dwarf Hurgan Stoneblade approaches the party, asking the player to find the Soultaker Dagger at the bottom of the dungeons of Durlag's Tower. Several other characters implore the player to visit Durlag's Tower, including a mother looking for her missing son, and Ike who offers a guided tour of the dungeon complex. The Durlag's Tower proves to be a dangerous place full of traps, monsters and loot. There, the party has to defeat a powerful Death Knight in order to complete the tasks.
The final task in the Ulgoth's Beard is to stop a cult that recaptured Soultaker dagger from summoning a demon from the Abyss. Arriving in the cult's hideout, the player party is, however, too late, and the only option left is to destroy already summoned demon, Aec' Letec.
The expansion was critically well received. In the review from GameSpot, the game was found to feature "some occasionally frustrating battles, adds only minor gameplay enhancements, and takes a few additional liberties with AD&D rules," but the new areas and game content were found to be well-designed and interesting. Computer Games Magazine called it "a solid add-on to an excellent title", but complained that glitches occasionally caused the game to crash. Moby Games lists blurbs from a number of reviews, whose assessing of Tales of the Sword Coast ranges from 71 to 90 out of 100.
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