Reviews: Dungeons And Dragons Chronicles Of Mystara

An arcade beat-em-up with mild RPG-like depth, makes for a very fun game

There really is nothing out there quite like this game. The arcade Dungeons And Dragons games expertly take the elements that make different genres of gameplay fun and weaves them together to create a game that has fast action, cooperative multiplayer, hidden secrets, and a lot of depth.

The beat-em-up aspects are rather fleshed out compared to other games in the genre. You can block with your shield by holding attack and pushing backwards, dash into enemies to knock them back, perform downward attacks while in midair, or even do two specific attacks involving a specific swing of the stick (down then up, or down -> down-forwards -> forwards) and the attack button. All that depth uses only the attack button and the stick, so the fighting is already off to a great start.

But there's also magic spells to cast and items, such as bow and arrow or throwing knives, to use. You can choose them from a menu and use them separately, and even find additional items lying around, or slowly learn new spells. The spells have a surprising variety of uses for an arcade action game - they can attack a single enemy, damage everything on screen, heal, or even provide status buffs such as extra speed or increased damage. Furthermore, the enemies have specific elemental affinities, and can be damaged more by some spells, or are immune to others.

Collecting silver and gold pieces to be able to purchase things in shops adds more RPG-like elements to the game, and there's even a hidden shop that sells secret weapons you can't get anywhere else. You can even equip new weapons, and the weapons themselves sometimes have special properties such as elemental damage, or simply increased strength. There's even strategy in which is more important - for example, the Sword of Flames knocks enemies to the ground every time when used on them, but lacks the punch of the Dragon Slayer, and yet, it's considerably more useful in certain situations that require crowd control.

But what really allows all these elements to work together and form a cohesive game, is the pacing. Simply put, this is an arcade game. Meaning, you play one area, go to the next, and so on, stopping at shops now and then. This keeps the gameplay moving forwards, rather than having players wander around, Zelda-style. Combine all these elements together, and you got one excellent game.