Review by Dragena01

Reviewed: 04/24/09

This defines how we played games back then.

While I admit, gamers of this generation have always been about graphics and an excellent storyline. But what about the games that we played back then? Dungeons & Dragons, Might & Magic, Wizardry... And hell, some adventure games like Leisure Suit Larry, King's Quest and the like... All of them defined adventure and beauty, and left it to your imagination.

It was like free-roam-- which takes a little more imagination to deal with. But a lot of new-school gamers seem to have a lot of lack for that, always using what they see, and not what they think.

But this game right here... This is a revival of that old-school genre. Let us begin, shall we?

Graphics:

There are 2 graphic modes, so I will explain each of them separately.

Modern (8/10)

What can I say, if you want dungeon-roaming with actual graphics and 3D design, this is the mode for you. The graphics on this mode is indeed colorful, and can give you a vibrant and creepy feel. The NPCs seem to be well designed, and the graphics within several areas (Towns, Dungeons, etc.) seem to be exceptionally good. However, I do have a mild complaint with the monster graphics. While indeed they look good, they just seem... small and not threatening. Something about the monster graphics just doesn't seem to fit. It's probably because of all the colors used for these individual monsters. But they get better overtime.

The menus and status screen are also quite colorful, and even in battle it's fine.

Classic: (9/10)

Now THIS is how it almost was back in old-school. It's the same as Modern Mode, but less... graphical, to put it simply. The dungeons are nothing but white lines and black spaces, but this is what most of the old-school games were like back on the PC... Except they weren't 3D, they were 2D. So maybe not exactly oldschool, but still a nostalgic memory nonetheless.

The town where you get items and etc doesn't have any graphics, however. But the NPCs you meet in shops are turned into sprites, which is rather interesting. Same goes for monsters. And the battles you partake are also less-graphically done, and is made to be more simple. This doesn't affect combat, it just gives a more retro-kind of feel.

Sound/Music (9/10)

If I had to describe the music, I would say "ROCKIN'!". As like Classic and Modern mode, the modes have their own music scores. With Modern, you're hearing a lot of rockin' roll with a techno-ish type of beat. With Classic, you're hearing a lot of 8-bit/16-bit music, which is a definite nostalgic memory. The sound effects like weapon hits, traps, and etc. are well done as well, although I could notice a few sound effects that seem recycled. But fine nonetheless.

Gameplay (9/10)

This is where the game truly shines. If you've played Might & Magic, D&D, Wizardry, or both, you'll feel right at home. If not, then you'll have a lot of learning to do. The games listed above were made to be very difficult, and this game is no exception. If you are not familiar with the AD&D (or D&D) rules, you can still play it, but you'll be in for one heck of a hard game.

You start the game at the town's guild, where you can create your characters (Or select pre-made ones). You have 4 classes, 4 races, and 3 alignments. Classes are: Warrior, Thief, Mage, and Priest. Races are Human, Elf, Halfling, and Dwarf. Alignments are Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic. Each class has their own alignment restriction, same with races. Humans are the only class that can choose their own alignment.

Now for the battles themselves. In this game, you have something called AC (Armor Class). Now in typical RPGs, higher Armor means good, right? Not here. in D&D rules, the lower your AC, the better, even in the negatives. Battles are turn-based, and you can choose to attack, defend, cast magic, use items, or run away. Specific classes can use spells, so don't think a thief or a warrior will do any casting for you unless you dual-class.

Like I said earlier, the difficulty is brutal if you don't know what you're doing, and it can be a bit of a grind. Accuracy is determined on what your specific stat is. Phys Atks deal with str, Ranged Atks deal with dex, and so on.

But overall, for old-school gamers, this game is great. And new-school gamers? Don't hate this game because it was before your time. Because what made gaming so great is because of our ancestor games. So don't hate them, like them!

Anyway, I highly recommend playing this game if you're in the mood for a challenge. If you don't like challenges, then I suggest you look elsewhere.

I give it a 9/10 overall.


Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: The Dark Spire (US, 04/14/09)

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