Capcom's 'Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara' includes two 1990's arcade games: Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom and its sequel Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara.
Capcom's 'Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara'
Video gamers like me who are in their (very) early 30's might recall playing coin-op games such as Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom or Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara at their local pizza joint or mall arcade. Lord knows I've spent a fair amount of time (and a bunch of my parents' quarters) at Pistol Pete's Pizza in Las Vegas doing just that.
While those days might be all but gone (Pistol Pete's are no more), Capcom is giving gamers a chance to experience it all over again from the comfort of their own living rooms through the downloadable title Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara. It's every bit the side-scrolling arcade action of the two originals packed into one neat package, but it does so at the detriment of the coin-op feel of the originals.
With support of up to four players, both of the included games fairly well within the customary D&D restraints. And at a glance, it could possibly be mistaken with SEGA's Golden Axe. What makes Chronicles stand out as different, however, is that the D&D games can be played to different outcomes rather than the single linear path of SEGA's powerhouse title of the time. Another way in which Chronicles differs is the ability to collect power-ups, items, and cash with the latter being used to upgrade the equipment for the game's fantasy-standard characters.
But how have the games held up after all these years? Well if the recent release of Atlus' Dragon's Crown means anything, it's that there's still a demand for 2D hack-n-slash games. A modern gamer's palate, however, has matured along with the average age of gamers themselves. Players will likely find moderate success - nay even beat the game - through button mashing. And while it can be fun (more so when playing with others as opposed to going at it solo) and looks fairly good with its HD up-conversion, it loses a bit of the old pizza parlor coin-op cabinet feel both literally and figuratively.
So while it's unlikely to replace or replicate the experience of playing the original coin-op arcade games at Pistol Pete's (or whatever your childhood pizza joint of choice was), it's still a game worth playing either for nostalgic reasons or because you're too young to have played the originals. The game's priced a bit high at $15, but me and others like me probably spent at least that much in quarters playing the game in the arcades. It's all relative.
Version tested: Xbox 360 (also available on PS3, PC and Wii U in Sept.)
(Capcom supplied a copy of this game for review.)
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