Let me start off this review by saying I’ve played Dungeons and Dragons (DnD) about one or two times and in those attempts, I couldn’t last through a full session. I couldn’t get lost in the “fantasy” as my other nerd friends could and the vast amount of DnD lore was just too overwhelming. Call me lazy, but DnD just wasn’t for me.
Now travel with me back in time to the days when there were more arcades in your local area. For you younger gamers out there, arcades were a magical place where we would shell out a good five dollars worth in quarters just to play a game for all of 20 minuets. On rail shooters, pinball machines, fighting games, DDR, I even remember a commercial airplane simulator game called SEGA Airline Pilot. Long story short, if you could think of a game, it was there.
One game in particular was Dungeons and Dragons: Tower of Doom and Shadow Over Mystara. These would be presented in the form of a side scroller beat’em ups. Remember Turtles In Time or The Simpsons arcade game? Same premise but revolving around DnD.
I love me a good side scroller beat’em up and this game looked promising. But would it throw the same confusion of the original game. Well since arcades seem to be a rare thing to find, at least where I live, I had the chance to check out Dungeons and Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara for the Wii U.
Chronicles of Mystara combines both Tower of Doom and Shadow Over Mystara, which are interchangeable in the main menu. In Tower of Doom, you only have a selection of four characters: the fighter, a dwarf, an elf and a cleric. Each character has their own strengths but all feel relatively balanced. Shadows Over Mystara however gives you a total of six characters to choose adding a thief and a wizard to the mix.
One huge difference I noticed between Tower of Doom and Shadow Over Mystara, other than the graphics, was the abilities of each character. In Tower of Doom, each character has a pretty generic walk and hit attack and some items that can be thrown or used against enemies. However in Shadow Over Mystara, each character has their own slew of special combo moves that can really change the outcome of a fight if executed correctly. My personal favorite is the thief’s ability to knock enemies in the air followed by a bomb attack stretching across the screen.
Like I mentioned before, I never really got into DnD but if there’s one thing I know about it, it’s the choice to make up an adventure as you go. Well, you kind of get something like that in Chronicles of Mystara. At certain points in the main campaign, you’ll be given the option to take different routes, whether its to save a village, or to enter a monsters cave, etc. This opens up multiple paths and could possibly have a change in the games ending.
Another thing about DnD is leveling up. The same concept is present in Chronicles of Mystara as you slowly accumulate exp by completing chapters which will then boost your attack power and health points giving the player a good sense of progression and the confidence to tackle the harder difficulties.
As you progress in the game, you can accomplish in game achievements that are then converted into “Vault Points” which can unlock concept art, secret files and house rules. These house rules can consist of enemy rush modes, infinite items, larger money drop rate and more.
Chronicles of Mystara also makes use of the Nintendo Network so you can jump online at anytime with friends or a new party all together. To truly get the full experience of the game, I highly recommend playing with a total of four characters.
Dungeons and Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara is a decent side scroller beat’em up. Granted the main story can be a little on the short side, there are plenty of unlockables and multiple paths to explore with each play through. If you’re a DnD fanatic or just a fan of beat’em ups, this is a game worth checking out.