Rifts: Promise of Power

Rifts: Promise of Power is a RPG that was developed by Backbone, published by Nokia, and released for the N-Gage in fall of 2005.

Developer: Backbone
Publisher: Nokia
Release Date: Fall, 2005
Platforms: N-Gage
JustRPG Score:
+Fun tactical combat system.
+Interesting game setting.
+Unique class system.
-No replay value.
-Mediocre visuals.
-Hard to find.


Rifts: Promise of Power Overview

Rifts: Promise of Power is a tactical role playing game that was released for the failed N-Gage system in late 2005. This game was based on the popular Rifts pen and paper role playing game, and translated many of the aspects of the series to the video game itself. Overall for an N-Gage game it is pretty well done and it is especially appealing for fans of the pen and paper RPG series.

Rifts: Promise of Power Screenshots

Rifts: Promise of Power Featured Video

Full Review

Rifts: Promise of Power Review


Rifts, by Palladium Books, has been a popular pen and paper RPG for years, but has just recently made its first appearance as a video game. The debut is in the form of a strategy/RPG called Rifts: Promise of Power on the Nokia N-Gage. The results are not only a fine game, but among the best RPGs on the N-Gage!


In the distant future, the sudden destruction of millions of human lives releases massive waves of psychic energy. This magical energy surges across the globe in a domino effect that creates tears in the very fabric of space and time! These tears are known as “rifts,” and they quickly obliterate civilization as we know it! Through the rifts, magical and monstrous creatures emerge from other worlds, and mankind finds itself struggling to survive in a world where magic, psionics, and technology collide. War breaks out among those who have embraced the new magic and those that seek to preserve all that is purely human. The Earth is facing dark times, and is in desperate need of a hero. If you’re up for the challenge, then prepare to enter the world of Rifts!


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The world in Rifts: Promise of Power is an interesting blend of science fiction and traditional fantasy. I have never played the pen and paper version of the game, but after getting a taste of this exciting world, it’s no wonder that the game has been so popular for so long!


You start the game out by choosing from 1 of 3 character classes: mercenary, psychic, and mage. The mercenary is well versed in weapons and technology and their combat applications. The psychic is born with the gift of uncanny mental prowess. They can focus their minds to unleash mighty bursts of psychic power. Mages are sorcerers adept at manipulating magical energies into powerful spells. These initial character classes will branch of into further character classes later in the game, for a total of 12 different classes. You can create your own starting character, customizing all of the stats and abilities and choosing a name, or you can use one of the presets.


Gameplay is in many ways standard for strategy/RPGs. You’ll move your party of characters around a grid-covered battlefield with each character taking turns performing actions, from attacking to using magic. Battlefields are vast, giving you plenty of room to line up for the perfect shot, hide behind structures, or run across the map to get out of your enemies’ range. Your main weapons are guns, and you need to play close attention to your ammunition. During combat you’ll have to reload your weapon, and if you don’t carry enough ammo you’ll run out! Running out doesn’t necessarily lead to your demise, though, because you can physically attack too… but it doesn’t do much damage. Make sure to pay close attention to your ammo, because running out and having to reload unexpectedly can turn the tides of battle!


Aside from ammunition, you also have to pay attention to your action points, or AP. These points are used for pretty much everything you do in battle, from attacking and using items to reloading. Each action uses up a different number of AP, but you only have so any AP available to you each turn. This is where the largest amount of strategy in the game comes into play, as you must choose your actions wisely, trying to find the proper balance between power and AP for each situation. Using your guns, you have several different attack options. You can take a normal shot, which is somewhat powerful and accurate and doesn’t cost much AP. Due to the lower AP cost, you can often perform several normal shots. You can also perform an aimed shot, which is much more accurate and powerful, but costs much more AP. Lastly you can do a burst shot, which fires multiple rounds quickly. This isn’t particularly accurate, but can deal good damage. You’ve also got magic and psionics abilities that you can command, and each character has their own MP. All of this combines to add a lot of variety to the combat, with diverse character classes, many different combat options and plenty of abilities to choose from. Aside from magic and shooting, you can also guard, use items, and flee from battle.

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Whenever you’re preparing to attack an enemy, the hit percent as well as the damage range. The percent can drop rapidly in just a few squares, so getting as close as possible to your enemy is often important. Unfortunately, combat often seems to come down to a game of tag, where the victor is the one that can move the most spaces. Many of the game’s battles can be won by simply getting near an enemy to do some close range damage, then running away out of their range so they can’t hit you. This ends up leaving little need for any real strategy aside from “hit and run,” which is a bit disappointing because it’s supposed to be a strategy/RPG.


Characters have their armor, which defends them from attacks. If you can break through their armor, then you still have to knock down their HP to finish them off. In most cases, though, only a single shot from a gun is needed to reduce an opponent’s HP to 0. The same goes for you and your allies, though, so make sure to keep your armor as close to full as possible! Armor can be repaired at shops or fixed using repair items. Your armor can go down pretty quick, though, and it can be annoying and expensive to have to repair it constantly.


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There are all sorts of equipment and items you can gather, which can be purchased in stores or won through battle. What equipment you give your characters can play a fairly large role in how tough they are, and as characters level up you have the opportunity to further customize them by distributing skill points, psionics points, and spell points. Character development is deep, allowing you to create a balanced party of characters customized to your liking.


When not in combat, you’ll spend time roaming around shops, talking to townsfolk, resting at inns, purchasing a wide variety of items from shops, and embarking on side quests. The wide variety of side quests will keep you busy throughout the game, and will also result in great rewards! There are also always enemies somewhere that you can fight should you want to gain some extra experience! Occasionally during conversations you’ll be given different choices that will have some impact on the game, from determining which party members you recruit to starting a battle. When you leave a town there is a large world map to explore, filled with more towns where you can encounter enemies.


There are a lot of stats in the game, so keeping track of everything can be a bit confusing. There are also a lot of text and menus, and with the small N-Gage screen it can be somewhat difficult to take it all in. Still, scrolling through the menus is simple, and descriptions of anything you find confusing can be found by highlighting it and pressing ‘0.’ The controls are very simple and effective, perfect for the N-Gage. The camera is fully rotatable, both in and out of combat, allowing you to clearly see everything. The directional pad controls movement, and seeing as you’re usually just moving around a grid, it works pretty well.


Most of the sound is rather muffled and unimpressive. Some of the music is decent, with a catchy beat that fits the game well. However, none of it is particularly memorable aside from the fact that it seems to repeat over and over again. Graphically the game looks nice, with a really cool opening sequence, impressive effects, great design, and a lot of attention to detail. The game does a great job of creating a fantasy world, and the high level of detail really helps to pull gamers in. The game also loads rather quickly, so you won’t have to spend a lot of time waiting between screens.

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Heightening the experience even further, the game can be played up to four-player using Bluetooth technology or on the N-Gage Arena. There are quite a few different multiplayer gaming options to choose from, including melee, survival, defender, king of the hill, and capture the flag. Matches can be customized with settings that are to your liking, allowing you to pick the number of players, the teams, points required to win, and more! You can even play with your friends on your own schedule, meaning you don’t need to have Bluetooth or be in the Arena at the same time to play. Make a move, then take a break and come back whenever you’re ready to see what your opponent has done. These many different modes of play add hordes of replay value to an already lengthy and deep game. This is one that fans will be playing for quite some time.


Rifts: Promise of Power is a solid game that takes place in a fascinating universe, complete with lots of replay value and deep character development. It’s by no means going to be the next big thing in gaming, but if you’re an N-Gage-owning RPG fan, then I can’t think of any reason NOT to get this game.


Final Grade: 82%


Rifts: Promise of Power Screenshots


Rifts: Promise of Power Videos

Rifts: Promise of Power Trailer

Guides / Links

Rifts: Promise of Power Guides / Links

Rifts: Promise of Power Wikipedia Entry