"You enter a new kind of hell."
Clans is a slightly bland name, isn’t it? Maybe that’s why it was called Satanica in Germany. Satanica, that’s more like it.
It came out during a time where everyone was waiting for Diablo II and every game that shared similar traits was quickly dismissed as a clone. Clans got slaughtered by the press, they hated the non-scrolling, square rooms with clearly marked exits and the static, pre-rendered graphics.
Well. I love them to death. All these wonderful shades of brown, grey and black. Almost every room/bit uniquely rendered. A sense of total bleakness without bragging about it. And then puzzles, like, proper puzzles that you would find in classic point-and-click adventure games. Kicking a door in with an axe, setting spellbooks on fire in a chimney to destroy them.
I'm playing the game with some kind of weak elf character, something I normally don’t do, as I prefer babarians or warriors, as they don’t die so easily.
I really recommend the elf class, it ramps up the difficulty and changes the gameplay, because you really don’t have a lot of HP, and potions are rare, so suddenly every health point counts.
Well, you quicksave, enter a new room and a bunch of enemies start to attack you, which often means instant death or unacceptable HP loss - so you quickly reload, which only takes a fraction of seconds and try again, which creates nice “I can do this better!”-loops reminding me of Hotline Miami.
In Diablo II, when I lost HP, I never really knew why, and it didn’t matter, as you could heal yourself without problems.
Next thing: Clans doesn’t give you experience points for killing enemies. I partly think this is because the developer didn’t have the funds to properly balance and test an EXP system. But on the other hand, it is SO bold to take away from players what they desire the most: watching numbers grow.
Instead, you level up by finding items, and avoiding fights (via teleporters) is often encouraged. Also, enemies often start fighting each other, which always gives games a sense of realism…
(All of this makes me also want to play the next game they did, it’s called Dragonfire - The Well of Souls and contains the playable character class DUCK. Also, you set out to fight an evil princess. What’s not to love? Needless to say, that one got killed by the gaming press, too.)