by MARTY DEMAREST & r & & r & Fable II & r & Rated Mature; Xbox 360 & r & 4 Stars & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & NTERVIEW SUBJECT: "The Hero" of Fable II & r & & r & ME: Have you lost weight? & r & & r & HERO: Yeah. I was eating too many pies for a while. Then I thought: "A hero's gotta look good." So I started crunching celery and the pounds dropped right off. And as a magic user, I don't need a lot of bulk. Magic's also why I have these neon blue lines all over my body. They started showing up after I'd cast spells long enough.

ME: When did your eyes turn red?

HERO: About the time I turned evil. See, I started my career as a slumlord. First I earned gold working as a blacksmith. You can earn a lot blacksmithing. Too bad it doesn't build muscles. For those, I had to spend experience points -- like in those role-playing games the street kids call "dorky." Anyway, I bought up buildings in the poor part of town, then raised rents. The tenants hated me, but I needed the money. 'Cause you can't earn enough just by adventuring. Once you've found a treasure chest and opened it, it's finished. It doesn't matter that a new horde of monsters are around it every time you come back -- the chest stays empty.

ME: Did charging exorbitant rents cause you to become evil?

HERO: No. But it did make horns grow out of my head. That freaked people out enough that they were intimidated by me. I was able to order them around. So I led a few farmers to the Temple of Shadows and sacrificed them. I killed 18 people that way--almost half of them monks from the Temple of Light, too. I even tried abducting children, but they wouldn't leave the local village.

ME: So you can be evil in Fable II, but not ultra-evil?

HERO: Yeah. I was able to sacrifice my wife, though. Then my eyes turned red. But people don't really mind. Albion's a pretty liberal place. They have gay marriage. People use condoms. So I guess being an evil hero is no biggie as long as I keep trying to defeat Lord Lucien. He's been enslaving people, and he killed my sister when I was a kid. I figure that after wiping out an entire village, I shouldn't judge, but there's not much other adventuring to do.

THE GOOD: ME: Building a real estate empire, joining a cult, marriage, childrearing -- not to mention hairstyles, clothes, tattoos... Are you a hero with a thousand faces?

THE BAD: HERO: A thousand faces, but only one basic path. Even the countryside looks all big and free, and then you discover you can only walk in small areas. But don't get me wrong, I like my life. I just really wish I could have a little more control over the big things. Don't you ever feel that way?

ME: Hey -- I'm asking the questions here.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Fable II wraps a rich world around an eminently changeable hero and a linear though enchanting story.

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