Not pictured: The astoundingly sad
music that plays during this bit. Sniff...
READ ME RELEASEDATE 1999 PUBLISHER Interplay DEVELOPER Black Isle Studios GET IT $9.99 — Good Old Games VIDEO GUIDE Let’s Play: Planescape: Torment http://bit.ly/nrtnPH TRIVIA There was an official novelization of Planescape: Torment, and the word “dreadful” doesn’t begin to describe it. While not as bad as the Baldur’s Gate 2 novels— little is—it’s best- summarized by the fact that it gives The Nameless One... a name. All the clever- ness, intrigue and etail is simplified to the point of stupidity, and the main plot is clearly based on an older version of the story than the one that made it to screen. If you want to read an authentic Torment novel, try the fan- made one, which you can download for free at http://bit.ly/aAbjsI.
Belief is powerful. Make this lie too often
and it can have very unusual repercussions.
Most RPGs give you a quest. Torment gives you a question: “What can change the nature of a man?” It’s not a riddle. It’s
not a puzzle. It’s simply the first hint that
you’re about to embark on the smartest,
most philosophical quest of your life.
Torment is the story of The Nameless
One, a grey, scarred immortal who
wakes up with amnesia on a mortuary
slab in the middle of a filthy city built on
filth, fear and backstabbing. With the
help of a cheerful, slightly perverted
skull called Morte, he soon discovers
that he’s an immortal trapped in an
endless cycle of death and rebirth.
The Nameless One has lived good
lives. He’s lived terrible ones. His one
constant is that wherever he goes, pain
follows, along with a ruthless enemy
willing to do anything to keep him from
breaking his curse.
Given its cult status now, it’s hard to
remember that nobody had much hope
for Torment when it first came out. It
had the most boring trailer ever created.
The launch announcement was a badly
rendered girl wearing nothing but a few
strips of strategic red leather, with The
Nameless One described as simply “a
corpse with irresistible sexual charisma.”
Ouch. Bad start...
Mind over matters
Risking a purchase anyway, mostly
because it was a Black Isle game
(Fallout) using the Infinity Engine
(Baldur’s Gate), Torment quickly
exploded to the point that even after
replaying it several times, I barely know
where to start telling you about it.
Maybe with a story about Ravel, the
wicked witch tired of cruelty? Fall-
All your party are tormented souls, drawn to your pain. But they kill things pretty well.
From-Grace, a puritan succubus who
runs a brothel for sating the mind? The
brutal humor? The sadness of
Deionnara, the still obsessed ghost of a
woman broken by The Nameless One in
a past life? The endless layers of detail?
I could, but instead, let me share the
moment Planescape really clicked for
me. To be honest, up to this point, I
wasn’t enjoying it much. I was lost,
frustrated, and had no idea what the
hell I was meant to be doing. Then I met
Mebbeth is a witch, willing to share
what “little” she knows of the Art...but
only if you agree to help her with some
quick chores. The first is to get some
seeds from the market. Unfortunately,
the seed merchant doesn’t have the
ones you need, so you need to find
another character who can will the
original tree back into existence for you.
O-kay. Time for magic?
No. Not yet. Returning, Mebbeth
remembers there was something else
she needed from the market—her
laundry. Unfortunately, the merchant
who does her washing has had her
sheets for years, and has washed and
rewashed them so many times that they
feel like cardboard. Luckily, Mebbeth
doesn’t mind. She just sends you back to
the market, this time to retrieve ink.
Tedious, time-wasting nonsense? In
most games, it would be. But this is
Planescape: Torment—the smartest
RPG of all time. When you get back this
time, Mebbeth asks what you learned.
And it clicks. Your first errand was a
OUTFIT: Upper Class
BEST PARTY MEMBER /
YOUR PC IN 1999
Pentium 2, 512MB RAM,
Windows 98, 15-inch