Pools of Darkness were one of the unsettlements of the old SSI Gold Box series. I played all of these games kind of religiously as a kid, and they still hold my interest today.
POD is the fourth in the line, and it brings your heroes from pool of radiance full circle, back to New Phlan. Except the hitch is that all of New Phlan has been teleported to an underground cavern. Evidently, after being teleported all across the realms for the first three instalments the authors haven't yet tired of the "whisking things away" device.
It's the same shape, with a few new twists.
This time, the offending villain is none other than the evil god, Bane. The mini big-bads are a series of his lieutenants: an ancient dragon and 3 demons of various garden varieties. You must dimension hop through 4 different planes to slay each of them. The same storyline was very loosely adapted into a series of novels in the 90's as well, although they really don't hang with the game's plot very well. As far as game play, the graphics were great!
Role playing is limited, basically following pre-determined choices. It's difficult to influence the story majorly, either it unfolds more or less according to the storyboard, or you've screwed up and end up loosing. Not too
flexible. Again - if you're looking for an enjoyable narrative, this will work for you.
As a whole, the gold box series really set the standard for gaming - the few years when the Gold Box series was still cranking out titles was a very fond part of my childhood - bunches of my friends would come over to see if we could "jointly" get through a campaign. While it can't hold a candle to the sophistication of today's games, it paved the way for those games nicely. For patient gamers, there is a wealth of enjoyment here.
All in all it’s good and interesting game! I enjoyed this game a lot. I am definitely sure others will enjoy as well.