1996 Simbiosis Interactive
Designed by Jens Hultgren, Laurent Cluzel, Alexander Jacobs
Reviewed 2000 June 7

Rating +1 Linearity narrow, segmented
Reasonability sporadic Connectivity high
Difficulty pedestrian Relevance strong
Interface 3rd paned menu Real-time minor

You play Quickthorpe, a young lad volunteered for the job of killing the four dæmons that have ruled over the lands of your world for centuries. As you explore the lands to find them and the means to destroy them, you will also learn how they came to power and of the greater threat behind them.

The above sounds serious, but this is really just a humourous romp through strange fantasy lands. The inhabitants of the lands are all a bit absurd. The underlying mythology is interesting, but nothing is done with it. The four lands have appropriate themes of ice, mist, water and fire. The dialogue has a ribald streak -- never lewd -- that adds to the humour. The final ending scene is also a refreshing change from the usual pretentious fantasy dénouement.

The challenges are inventory and dialogue based, firmly relevant to their worlds and sensible to the story. They're mostly pretty easy, and don't slow you down, making for a short game. There's lots to explore, though, and lots of extraneous objects that you might waste time fiddling with.

The most notable aspect of play is the frequency of death, often with little or no warning. If you go down a path before you're supposed to, you die. Examine the wrong thing, and you die. Say the wrong thing to somebody, and you die. There's no death screen when you die, just the last scene with Quickthorpe absent or lying dead. The ways he dies are sort of funny, and if you save as you come to each scene it's not too annoying. In a few places there's an automatic resurrection, but usually not.

There seems to be one long dead end, but you're not likely to trip down it: just pick up everything you can, or at least the obviously useful objects.

You right click to cycle the mouse cursor through the handful of actions that can be done on or by objects. If your mouse slips a few pixels and off the object, it immediately reverts to the default action for the area it is now pointing at, losing your cycles. This was a bit annoying.

The artwork is beautiful -- bright and clear. It's busy, but important objects are always clearly visible. The voice acting is very good. Various accents are used to highlight the nature of various people.

Fable is not side-splittingly funny, nor does it try to be. It's just an old fashioned, fun adventure. It's short and easy, all the dying aside, so it's not recommended for those looking for a challenge.

Beware! Here are some spoiler-ridden notes on the game. They're only recommended for people who have played the game and want to see some of my rationale for my evaluations.
David Tanguay's Game Reviews
Here's a description of all the gobbledygook in these reviews. It's also a bit of an essay on the nature of adventure games.