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Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles Of Mystara review

Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles Of Mystara review

You might not have played them, but they more than deserve a re-release. Chronicles Of Mystara is an enchanced port of Capcom’s two Dungeons & Dragons side-scrolling brawlers from the mid-Nineties, games that are often heralded as the pinnacle of the genre.

Capcom had been slowly refining the formula since the early days of Final Fight, and Tower Of Doom and Shadow Over Mystara are two of the most complex and deep takes on the ‘walk from left to right and punch some guys’ recipe.

Players can choose one of four characters in Tower, later upped to six in Shadow, with a pleasing amount of variety on offer. From the standard Fighter and Magic User classes to the more hybridized Thief and Cleric, each character has a bunch of unique moves and play differently enough to create a number of experiences.

Key gameplay is the same standard brawling you might expect, but the sheer scale of the games is surprising. Shadow Over Mystara in particular is very long for an arcade game, taking well over an hour to finish. How anyone ever completed it in an arcade is beyond us.

Capcom did a great job of imbuing the games with a legitimate D&D feel, with a bunch of loot to find from slain foes, spells to cast and weapons to upgrade. Characters level up as you progress, although there is no option to customise their build.

It’s readily apparent that this was a game created for the arcades, as it often seeks to part players from their hypothetical quarters in the cheapest ways possible. These games are hard, sometimes unfairly so, but infinite continues means you can brute-force your way through if you choose. The two are also clearly balanced towards having a full four-player team, and tackling them solo gets very, very tricky.

Both games also have several branching paths and players who want to see everything will more than get their money’s worth. Add in the challenges, achievements and collectibles that have become standard in Iron Galaxy ports and you get a surprisingly large amount of bang for your buck.

For fans lucky enough to have experienced it back in the day it’s a no-brainer, but gamers with an interest in the past and playing two of the best arcade games to come out of Capcom’s golden period should definitely give Chronicles Of Mystara a look.

Score: 90%

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