Now this is what I call a BIG game. Imagine, if you will, a sort of Gauntlet, only played from side to side instead of from above, and populate it with eight characters instead of four. Now you've got it! I have to say I'm impressed by the quality of the programming which put this game together. The graphics are amazing! A bit lacking in the old sound department, but looking at the characters diving around on the screen, I don't suppose there was any code space left!
You are one of a party of adventurers on the world of Krynn, a world designed by Dungeon Masters who wanted more dragons in their RPGing. You are fighting to protect Krynn from domination by the wicked Takhisis. Queen of Darkness. (Coo!) Can you retrieve the Disks of Mishakal from the lair of Khisanth, deep in the ruins of Xak Tsaroth? Can you even spell it? And who's going to untie your tongue after saying all that?
AD&D is one of the most popular, and oldest, role playing games around, and its devotees outnumber even those not-so-cunningly disguised Brossettes. So, it was only a matter of time before the game was turned into a computerised version. And now SSI and US Gold have done it. So how has the old game fared?
AD&D was a multiplayer game. The computer version. Although having eight characters to play, plays them all through the one player. The swiftness of the switching between characters puts paid to any joystick switching between players. So you can't use the game as a replacement for AD&D (as if you could). But it does have the complexity of a game of AD&D, if you play it properly.
The basic part of the game puts you on the screen as the first character in the party. This is the first face on the left of the top row on screen. Hitting the space bar brings up the Main Menu screen. And this is what separates AD&D from any other old pick 'em up. You can check on a character's capabilities and make sure he or she is up to the tasks in hand, like combat or magic. Magic users can cast spells, as long as they're on the top row of the main screen. For users of staffs, depending on who wields them, spells include Charm, Sleep, Magic Missile, Web, Detect Magic, Detect Invisible, Final Strike, Burning Hands, Cure Light Wounds, Protection From Evil, Find Traps, Hold Person, Spiritual Hammer, Prayer, Cure Critical Wounds, Raise Dead, and Deflect Dragon Breath. Phew! This gigantic reel of spells gives you a particularly sharp look at how in depth this game is.
How do you play though? Just charging around like in an arcade adventure will get all your characters killed very quickly. Careful mapping and utilisation of spells and charms is needed if you're to survive longer than a few yards in the dangerous world of Krynn. And it's worth waiting to see the dragons... or not, depending on whether you beat them or end up as a crisp little twirl on the flagstones!
AD&D is a mammoth game, and represents stupendous value for money, especially if you like your games with a bit of strategy and lots of action.
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