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Saturday, November 25, 2023

Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara

The sequel to Tower of Doom, and as one might expect, it retains the core gameplay of the original while expanding on it in several ways.  For one, there are now six playable characters - a Thief and a Magic User join the fray, and each character also has two unique sets of sprites when multiple players select the same class, effectively expanding the roster to 12 playable characters.  The Thief is a comparatively weak but fast-moving character who can attack at range with an unlimited-use sling, steal items from enemies and open chests without requiring keys, while the Magic User gets a wider variety of offensive spells to use than any other character and is the only character who can wield the game's most powerful weapon (the Staff of Wizardry).  One can also find temporary rings, boots and helmets to bolster their abilities (though they break after sustaining several hits) and while the overall story remains the same, the player is given a choice of branching paths throughout, giving some more stages and replay value to the experience. It's also a deceptively deep game - the sheer amount of hidden moves, secret items and tactics in the game ensures that it has plenty of replay value for die-hard RPG fans as well as beat-em-up enthusiasts.  An overlooked classic if ever there was one.

Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Released: 1996, 1999, 2013
Platforms: Arcade, Sega Saturn (as part of the Dungeons & Dragons Collection), Playstation 3/Wii U/PC/XBox 360 (as part of the Chronicles of Mystara collection)