Ruleset and Gameplay
Troika's second release The Temple of Elemental Evil (ToEE) is a party-based RPG that uses a modified DnD core 3.5 ruleset and allows characters to reach level 10. The game is notable for taking place in the original Greyhawk universe and not the Forgotten Realms, which was the backdrop for almost all DnD CRPGs of that era. Another key difference of ToEE from its peers is that the game features a true turn-based system in lieu of the real-time, pause-to-command combat popularized by BioWare's Infinity-Engine and Aurora Engine based games. Essentially players can move about a mixed 2D/3D tileset in real-time during non-combat action and then seamlessly switch to an action-based / initiative system once they encounter foes. The turn-based combat allowed heroes and monsters alike to move in order based upon their initiative rolls and make attacks based on the standard action and move action system described by the D&D 3.5 edition ruleset. Each turn required you to use a radial UI dial that allowed you to choose from the dozens of attack and defend movements as well the character's large spell selection. The later battles required deep strategy with the player managing positioning, stances, counterspells and attacks.
The game, reviled and loved alike for its high difficulty, is often cited as the last of a dying genre that gave way to more action oriented RPG fare like Oblivion, Fallout 3, KOTOR and Mass Effect. In that sense ToEE remains a lasting example of how to reproduce complicated pen and paper style gameplay on a monitor. Others however criticize the game for its overly involved number crunching and slow paced combat. The latter, more popular view, combined with a fairly unstable (some say rushed) release build caused the game to sell poorly. Troika, which is fittingly a Russian word meaning "three of something", would go on to release only one more game -- its third -- Vampire: Masquerade.
Similarly to Vampire, the game received numerous fan made patches. Patches which, in some cases, also restored cut content, a brothel, removed due to fear of censorship in some territories. The Circle of Eight community has made the game bug free, increased the level cap to 20, added spells, and a lot of high end content. Visit their mod's here: www.co8.org.
Original System Requirements
- Windows 98/ME/2000/XP
- Pentium II 700MHz Processor
- 128MB RAM
- 1.1GB Hard Disk Space
- 4X CD-ROM Drive
- 16MB DirectX compatible 3D Video Card
- DirectX compatible Sound Card
- DirectX 9.0
- Pentium 4 1.7GHz Processor
- 256MB RAM
- 10X CD-ROM Drive
- 64MB DirectX compatible 3D Video Card
On October 13, 2010 CD Projekt released the game for their digital distribution platform, GOG.com (Good Old Games) for $5.99 US. It is notable that their version of the game is Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 compatible and is completely DRM free.
Temple of Elemental Evil has a fairly persistent modification community. The most well known group is the Circle of 8, who for years have been balancing and adding to the core game with a set of downloadable patches.