Dungeons & Dragons Chronicles of Mystara Xbox Live Arcade Review
Posted by Todd Vote on 06.19.2013
Dungeons and Dragons hits XBLA. Come in for the full review
Title: Dungeons and Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara
Genre: Side scrolling action
Dungeons and Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara puts Tower of Doom, and Shadow Over Mystara all in one package and brings it to Xbox Live. Tower of Doom released in arcades in 1993, and Shadow Over Mystara followed in 1996. They were side scrolling beat em up games that included some role playing elements. We have both games here for 1200MS Points. I never got the chance to play either game in the arcade, so my review will be a fairly fresh perspective. We'll take a look at Tower of Doom first.
Tower of Doom allows you to choose between four classes of characters from within the D&D universe. You can choose to take up arms as a cleric, an elf, a fighter, or a dwarf. Choose your character, and you are on your way. I chose the elf woman for my adventure.
The gameplay is pretty basic, attack is mapped to one button, magic/ranged weapons are mapped to another. The characters have the ability to jump, and you can dash by double tapping the d-pad in any direction. Lastly, you can change between your magic, or ranged weapons with the last face button.
The gameplay doesn't really hold up to well, the character moves clunky, and you cannot attack and move. I found it slightly difficult to find my range when trying to attack the enemies. Magic on the other hand, is an effective equalizer. Some of the magic has the ability to hit enemies no matter which plane they are on, on screen.
The graphics on the game are really showing how old this game is. I suppose without an HD update, you can't really complain about 20 year old graphics. For the time, they looked okay, and looking at pictures via the google, I can see that it is fairly faithfully reproduced.
One thing I did like about the game was that it offered choice. This is what D&D is about, you and your party choosing your path. The game offered several places where you could choose to take an easier, less rewarding path, or you could choose a more difficult path.
Tower of Doom is a fairly short game on one play through, but there are treasures to go back and find, offering the player some incentive to play through again. Plus the other characters are worth checking out.
Shadow over Mystara is the sequel to Tower of Doom. It is bigger, faster, and in my opinion, much better than Tower of Doom. Of course having the benefit of coming out three years later had to help. Shadow of Mystara brings the characters of Tower of Doom back, and adds a thief class, and a magicu class, bringing the total to six.
Of course I chose the elf woman again, just for consistency's sake. Right away I can tell the graphics are much better. The elf woman looks like an elf woman, not a painting of an elf woman. She moves faster, more fluid. Her attacks are crisper, and the characters now come equipped with a small combo. This game play is reminiscent of Streets of Rage.
The layout is a bit different than it was in Tower of Doom, you actually have menus that pop up when you want to switch your magic or your daggers or whatever. Its a bit of a challenge to do while trying to avoid enemies and keep an eye on the wheel so that you get the desired ability.
Another improvement over Tower of Doom is that after dying, you have the ability to change your character class and try out a different one. An especially welcome addition when you are playing alone. Being able to switch out to the fighter, or the elf, or the thief when a situation called for it was a nice option.
You still can't move while you are attacking, but it was a lot easier to get my bearings and find the attack range in this game. Overall, Shadow over Mystara improved on Tower of Doom in every way. There is just a lot more going on. That is exactly what a sequel should do.
+ Classic beat em up action
+ Choose your path type adventures
+ Shadow of Mystara is awesome
- graphics a bit dated especially in Tower of Doom.
Overall, if you remember the games, you will want to pick this pack up. I especially enjoyed Shadow over Mystara. For 1200 points, its a bit steep, but fans of the game won't mind.
Quite dated, but faithful to the originals
A bit clunky in Tower of Doom, but greatly improved for Shadow Over Mystara.
There is plenty of treasure to be discovered on multiple plays
sometimes it is nice to just go old school and beat up some trolls