Zapak brings massive multiplayer fantasy, RuneScape to India

Unsheathe your sword, unleash your magic spells and take on the mythical monsters of RuneScape. The unchallenged champion of free massively multiplayer online (MMO) games has been brought to India by India's largest web-based games provider, Zapak.

, is a browser-based fantasy game set in the mythical game world of Gielnor -- a land of many kingdoms, regions and cities, each with its unique monsters and adversaries. Players around the world can assume 'avatars' of their choice, exploit one of 24 'skills', set up goals to either challenge each other or take on a common foe.

They can traverse Gielnor the hard way -- on foot -- or whistle up some teleportation spells, that would not be out of place on 'StarTrek. Fights could be pure magic -- or a more realistic 'melee'.

Since the game was first conjured up in 2001 by the UK-based Gower brothers, Andrew and Paul, it has grown to become the most popular MMO free game, making money for parent company Jagex, through on-site advertising. The graphics have also evolved to breathtaking 3-D and transformed RuneScape into a cult classic. Players banded together in closed groups and led the company to offer a premium paid version five years ago. A monthly subscription bought an enhanced full screen mode, no advertisements, nine additional skills, mini-games for groups of less than 30 players, and a fantasy world 3 times larger than the free game.

Zapak which has placed the free game at  also offers the premium version for Rs 150 monthly subscription , which is about the cheapest any where in the world for this game.

The growing fan-base in India have already led the makers to install quite of few of their 170-plus international servers in this country -- which makes for faster playing. And even if you choose to stick with the free version, it will offer the sort of zippy 3-dimensional gaming experience that is generally available only on pricey platforms like Playstation or XBox. Play on! 

A shortened version of this game review appears in the current ( November 7 issue of The Week magazine )

Nov 5 2009