JaysonFour
JaysonFour   Michigan, United States
 
 
Beware the Gift-A-Pult. :kitteh:
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How many of us are old enough to remember the glory days of the arcade? Before all this here internet gaming got itself going, well, we actually had to get out of the house if we wanted to go and play with other people. Oftentimes they would be found out at the mall, as part of a bowling alley, or maybe you were lucky enough to live near something like a Showbiz Pizza (nowadays known as Chuck E. Cheese) or an Enchanted Castle. They used to have all kinds of games that never used to see a home release- shooters, driving games... but my favorite were the multiplayer beat-em-ups. The Simpsons and Ninja Turtle four-player cabinets were really fun, and who could forget that X-Men double-screen six-player game? If you could get six players going on that, it was the stuff of legends.

Out of all of them, well... my favorite really wasn't any of those. This was about the time in my life where I was starting to spread my little nerd wings, and well... I spied a certain franchise on a few arcade cabinets- Dungeons and Dragons. Guess where multiple bucks worth of my tokens could be counted on to reliably end up when I went out to game? It was always a chore to choose which of the two to play- unless I just dropped twenty bucks on tokens and played through both games, one after the other with a meal break in between. Those were the days... until I moved away and couldn't play them for the longest time.

Most of the arcades have closed down- but thanks to some wonderful people, well... these two games have been preserved and re-released on Steam, and to be honest, I couldn't be happier. So go grab your character sheets, dice bags and cheez doodles, today we're looking at Dungeons and Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara.

Consisting of two games- Tower of Doom and Shadow Over Mystara, both of these games take place in the Mystara campaign setting. The premise, well, is very simple- you're one of an adventuring party in each game, choosing between four different classes in ToD- warrior, dwarf, cleric, and elf, with Shadows adding in a thief and a magic-user. You're tasked with finding out just what the heck is going onto cause a rise in monster attacks on villages, and from there, well... no, I'm not going to spoil it! Just play them in order- finish Tower before you play Shadows and you'll get the whole story!

The action of this game brings to mind someone dropping a D&D adventure and a Final Fight arcade board into a blender and hitting frappe- you'll work through a number of levels, knocking the heads of classic D&D monsters like goblins, kobolds, gnolls, owlbears and others as you battle through to find yourselves the culprits as just just what the blazes is going on- picking up massive piles of shiny treasure, powerful weapons and magical artifacts along the way, gaining experience as you bash in heads. You'll hit levels at certain points of XP, granting better health, power and special abilities. The money you collect even has a purpose- sometimes you'll hit a between-level shop and be able to refill disposable things like burning oil, hammers, daggers, arrows...

Oh, did I forget to mention that? Every character gets a number of ring menus full of stuff to use instead of their regular weapon- this is most important for your caster classes, because it's how you access your spells. Just tap the ring button, tap until you have the spell you desire (Spells go by level- you get a certain number of spells per level per life, and once you burn through them all, you better hope more scrolls drop out of chests or you're going to be out of luck and down to whacking stuff. For example, Fireball and Lightning Bolt are both third-level spells), and then select it and hit the action button to let that sucker fly. Just beware that certain spells just won't work on everything- Cloudkill doesn't affect skeletons, for example.

A number of stages contain various routes or selections- you will sometimes be given a choice of routes to take, or you might be up against a time limit to kill something. You could also find secret treasures. All in all, they're both really solid beat-em-ups and worth plying over and over and over...

The best part of these games, however, was actually included- the multiplayer. Feel like risking your sanity with some random Steam gamers? Make a public game and wait for slots to be filled... or you could just get a bunch of your friends together and make a private game- and then invite friends directly from your Steam friends list. Easy, simple multiplayer- you can easily kill a late night with this game, and it's a blast to play because you can keep going as long as you want and then people can drop in and out. That fluid, that seamless. All the other players have to do is wait a few minutes.

Downsides to these games... well... hmmm... They end? There haven't been sequels? The fantasy theme might turn some people off? Each fighter is limited to one of two looks and can't change gender?

The price point is fifteen bucks retail, but it might catch sales that could knock it to half or better. Even at fifteen, though, it's a good purchase, and completely worth it.

You can't go wrong with this one- just buy it, install it, and enjoy.

TL;DR - This will let you slay your boredom for 14d6+10 fun damage. 9/10.
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Comments
Malicious Aug 9, 2017 @ 9:16am 
Meow! :FFXIII2cactuar:
Gear Aug 1, 2014 @ 12:45pm 
The best.
Con10ental Op Jul 16, 2014 @ 12:44pm 
Hope you enjoy Pirates. I had the original on the C-64 and I loved the game. Since then I think I have bought it for three or four other platforms. There isn't anything particuarly fancy about it, it is just that Sid Meyer thing where it just plays wonderfully.