Drakkhen is a three-dimensional RPG which was created by French developers for the Amiga and Atari ST, and subsequently ported to several other platforms, including MS-DOS and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Originally released by Infogrames in Europe in 1989, it was released in North America in 1990. Gary Gygax helped to write the plot and designed parts of the gameplay and many of the monsters.
In the beginning the world was bound to the dragons, the source of all magic. A prophecy proclaimed that if they ever died out, humanity would be destroyed as the Drakkhen (scaly half-dragon Humanoid Abominations) emerged to rule. One day, a particularly stupid paladin found and challenged the last of the dragons. After a difficult battle, he managed to slay it, and with its dying breath the beast screamed the curse the triggered The End of the World as We Know It.
You control a party of four adventurers sent to an island (the only place where magic still exists) to negotiate with the warring Drakkhen rulers, all in an attempt to gain a pardon for the actions of the stupid paladin. Some of the Drakkhen are benevolent and actually help you, but most of them are evil, so of course that means you have to kill them.
And that's the plot...for all the versions except the SNES version. Which had a drastically different plot period: the "Drakkhen" in the SNES version were the regular humans who had eight special gems stolen by four elemental dragon kings, that then divided them between their children, each dragon having a son and daughter. The party is sent to the homeland of the eight dragon princes and princesses to retrieve the gems and wrest control of the universe from the dragons. About the only thing that's the same between all versions is that some of the royalty are benevolent and most are evil.
A semi-sequel, Dragon View, was released for the SNES. It retained the 3D travel map, but changed the core gameplay to a single-character, side-scrolling hack n' slash in the style of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, along with scripted cutscenes and a much more coherent plot.
This game provides examples of:
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: The SNES port, by virtue of having the initial French script translated into Japanese, then translated into English with the help of the original French dev team. The weird game of Telephone played with the translation resulted in the SNES version outright having a drastically different plot than the original releases.
- Clown-Car Grave: There is a coffin in one room of Haaggkhen's Castle that will infinitely spawn zombies.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: Hell, sometimes the constellations themselves will decide to turn into big, insane, practically unkillable monsters who fly down from stars and try to slaughter you. Oh, and don't you dare try to run over any random grave markers you come across, or you will face the wrath of a giant demon dog head that shoots lasers from its eyes.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: Sometimes you'll get a Random Encounter where this big, black shadow dude will crawl out of the ground. Unless your characters are ridiculously high leveled, don't try to fight him. He'll kill every single one of them almost instantly.
- Horny Devils: One monster you may encounter is a very naked she-devil.
- Mooks Ate My Equipment: Not in a literal sense, but many of the stronger enemies are capable of destroying your armor.
- Nintendo Hard: This is a very difficult game. It will take at least several tries to beat it.
- Patchwork Map: The island is divided into four regions of equal size. From north to south, we have an icy arctic wasteland, a swampy region riddled with lakes and rivers, a generic grassland with trees and the occasional pond, and a desert.
- Random Encounter: Taken Up to Eleven. Hell, even while you're just standing still they happen.
- Note that this only happens in the overworld. Encounters in the dungeons are fixed.
- Even the merchant is a random encounter.
- Super Drowning Skills: Try to cross any body of water and your characters will drown in seconds. Although taken to ridiculous heights, as water will start to sap away HP on contact.
- Tech Demo Game: In 1989, 3D graphics were a real novelty.
- Trauma Inn
- Wide Open Sandbox: Well, sort of. After you complete the bit of stuff at the beginning, you are free to explore the world as you wish... at your own risk.