By meatsounds 9 Comments
Rocking it old-school!
I've created a WinXP virtual machine on my 64bit Win7 install, and into that install I put that wonderful, wonderful fan creation, Tutu ( http://www.usoutpost31.com/easytutu/ ). TuTu allows you to play BG1 on the BG2 engine, which is mostly the same but with two major improvements: firstly, a higher resolution allows you to see more of the map at the glance; secondly, a bunch of UI improvements, like revealing all containers and doorways with the 'Tab' key. Using Tutu also spruces up the graphics a bit, but if you're playing Baldur's Gate I, you're quite likely to not be the type of gamer who is too worried about that.
Baldur's Gate is also home to a burgeoning mod scene (well, burgeoned...). I installed the BG1NPC pack ( http://www.gibberlings3.net/bg1npc/ ) which tries to make up for BG1's real shortcoming compared to BG2: the relative lack of NPC interaction. It includes everything from random banter to intra-party conflict to romances. I'll report back on how good/bad/embarrassingly the fan-created content is, but I can already vouch that everything is super-polished.
I rolled a single-class thief, because BG doesn't really have a thief NPC for you. Also, rogues are my favourite classes, and I'm one of those people that loves to backstab. I'm also playing evil for the first time. Face it, the alignment that most closely matched RPG playing is evil, what with all the merciless pursuit of one's own benefit, ransacking homes, hoarding all the wealth that's available, and cutting a bloody swathe of destruction through the world. Also, it's possible to make a classic DnD party in Bg2 with Korgan, Viconia and Edwin (the best fighter, cleric and mage NPCs, respectively) if you provide the thief. They just happen to be evil. Yes, I'm playing this with the long haul in mind. In BG1 Kagain the Amazing Regenerating Meat-Shield and Shar-Teel have to play the role of fighter.
I haven't cleared the Nashkel mines yet, and already I'm reminded of just how enormous, wide-ranging and deep this game is. Definitely one to play with the FAQ open in the window next to you, to make sure you don't miss anything.