Review by SXITH

"An Adventure With All The Gore"

Devoid of wisdom regarding the world of Dungeons & Dragons or the pages of The Forgotten Realms, I can however, discern a worthy RPG when I play one. Lavished with the traits of an honorable dungeon-crawler, Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance produces a flat-out aura of fantasy carnage. Riotous battle-lust practically oozes from the controller. The screen dumbfounds even the dullest of the dull with its fanciful schemas. There is a top-notch cast of voice-overs from the brilliant folks of Soul Revaer 2. An uncomplicated control scheme runs like child’s play. Vivendi Universal’s achievement may not cede ground-breaking innovation, but chucks in the best of the hack-and-slash breed. Don’t get too excited yet, though. Dark Alliance is not to be mistaken for being wholly unblemished. Underneath its armor are a few perceptible dents. An obstructing, isometric camera view can really fuel some frustration when two players thwart in accord. Avid readers of The Forgotten Realms may even grit their teeth because Dark Alliance’s plot is nowhere linked to that of the books, for it is an entirely new narrative.

An account of strife and escalating war extricates in the progression of blood-spattering cinematics. If you spend your leisure on Fantasy novels, then Dark Alliance is highly urged with its grand craftsmanship of storytelling. SquareSoft can take a seat and learn from Final Fantasy X’s somewhat forced and yappy dialogue. Nothing is more pleasing then seeing characters from books come alive, and Dark Alliance has several characters from Baldur’s Gate play some quick or trivial role. If you eye a D&D zealot grinning about, you’ll understand why. The quest itself initiates once the player selects which boots he shall tread thick and thin through. Will it be Adrianna the Eleven Sorceress, Vahn the human Ranger, or Kromlech the Dwarven Fighter? Whichever the player sinks duty into, well preparations is key with an assortment of magical weapons to slay the hundreds of beasts swarming about. Dark Alliance is mainly focused on slashing through caverns and other regions awaiting to challenge the forces of good. When gaining a level, the player selects a handful of points onto different attributes of his character, like increasing strength, intelligence, etc. The plot proceeds as the players progresses from town to town and collects information. Dark Alliance, in one word, is mayhem, limbs are cut off and sprays of blood flutter everywhere. Story advancement takes place in 3 Acts. 2 players can fight in unison, ripping holes through the lines of monster hordes. But if you’re the solitary type, the game done alone is an even better undergo since the field map on 2P mode gets squashed in and identifying your character becomes tedious. As a glut of graphically overbearing spells, hobgoblins, and heroes blast onto the screen, the 2P mode slows down dramatically. But what’s so great about the fluid combat, is that the controller works like a true architecture. Every button is used and used often. With Real-Time action and with each blade spewing blood and throaty screams, Dark Alliance is as action-packed as a summer blockbuster.

Represented in real-time polygons, Dark Alliance’s animation plays with robust attitude. Vivendi Universal conveys their brute of prowess, fabricating an immense world of unending brilliance. Relying profoundly on flesh, clammy monsters, and relentless battlegrounds, the sheer scope outstrips that of Diablo II on the PC. Environments are juiced up, bursting with activity, and containing some of the best environmental effects. Streaming helpings of aesthetics will not have any gamer yawn with gripe. The unyielding action is smooth and breathes red hot gore.

At its brim moments, the 15-hour quest was a very pleasing experience. Not once did I found myself falling into the mess of grogginess, only jamming buttons while shouting slurs at the merciless multitude of enemies. Even if Dark Alliance lacked mind-bending puzzles, which would have been a big plus, the RPG will still entertain those infatuated with the hack-and-slash genre. Hour upon hour, helpings of flying flesh planted a firm smirk on my face. If your soul is full of blood-lust and desired butchery, by all means get this and satiate that hunger.

*NOTE: This Reviewer is very violent and loves GORE*

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 01/11/02, Updated 01/11/02

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