Essentially, Quest of the Blade Masters stays very similar to the original, the only difference being that the game can now be played online. According to Ripcord, this latest version will prominently feature the actual quest, with up to 8 players simultaneously online, with gameplay somewhat in the mold of Gauntlet Legends. Other online modes include multiplayer challenges like king of the hill, hidden key (like capture the flag), and last man standing.
The game's original creators, Ronin Entertainment, are also handling this latest updated network version. So, naturally, as the original was playable at the show, I took it for a quick spin. Running on the PC, the game controlled almost flawlessly, primarily using the mouse. But being an action RPG with a lot of running and direct fighting included, it should control even more seamlessly with the Dreamcast pad. Players walk around in open landscapes and as they happen to come up on overgrown rats, malicious creatures, and evil soldiers they can either choose to engage the enemy or run right by them.
There is one universal hand-to-hand attack and assorted spells at the player's command. As players come up to interactive items or enemies, appropriate menus pop-up to allow for easy decision-making on the fly. Otherwise, there is also a complex menu that shows a full list of items, learned spells, and the character's status -- there are 5 playable characters in all, each with their own unique weapons and abilities.
Quest of the Blade Masters, with full online multiplayer support, will be released for the Dreamcast in November 2000.