Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara

The latest addition to Capcom’s growing line of remastered arcade classics, Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara offers two titles in one package. Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom and its sequel Dungeons & Dragons: Shadows Over Mystara are bundled together in a single release, […]
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The latest addition to Capcom’s growing line of remastered arcade classics, Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara offers two titles in one package. Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom and its sequel Dungeons & Dragons: Shadows Over Mystara are bundled together in a single release, providing dozens of hours of gameplay for a single entry fee.

Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow Over Mystara is presented as the first title, with Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom accessible via a press of the Back button just as was the case with Capcom’s recent Darkstalkers Resurrection. It still feels like an awkward design that could be improved with a simple menu screen. Presentation aside, each title remains distinctive despite the many shared assets. Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara offers two different peas in the same pod, and they feel comfortable next to one another.

The reason Dungeons & Dragons: Shadows Over Mystara is presented as the headline title is simply because it’s a much more complex experience. While both titles are scrolling beat-‘em-ups of the classic ‘90s variety, Dungeons & Dragons: Shadows Over Mystara evolved the innovations of it’s predecessor extensively. Both titles feature the occasional distraction from the left-to-right killathon that is their ultimate premise, but Dungeons & Dragons: Shadows Over Mystara builds upon this with improved magic and auxiliary systems, additional characters and more varied enemy design.

Dungeons & Dragons: Shadows Over Mystara features six playable characters, each of which have their own unique strengths and weaknesses. The special abilities, items and magic on an option wheel similar to that of the classic Secret of Mana. For example, the player can press the option button to bring up the magic wheel and subsequently cycle through the assortment of spells with the same button, or they can change to the auxiliary weapons wheel with a press of the jump button. It’s a system that at first feels overly complicated, but encourages experimentation to the point where it’ll soon become second nature.

As the player progresses through either of the videogames included in Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara they’ll earn experience points and slowly level-up. Furthermore, Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara features an overarching ‘player level’ system similar to that featured in Final Fight: Double Impact and Marvel Vs. Capcom Origins. The player is given simple challenges across the videogame – kill a specific number of enemies, collect a set amount of loot etc. – and completing these challenges will not only advance your player level but also unlock those all-important Achievements.

The visual quality of Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara is, sadly, not up to the standard we’ve come to expect from Capcom’s digital remasters. Opting for smooth animation over the sold chunky sprites of Final Fight may have earned acclaim twenty years ago, but both titles look worn on modern televisions and in high-definition (HD). Dungeons & Dragons: Shadows Over Mystara is noticeably slicker, with more character variations (randomly selected so that up to four players may all choose the same class) and a great deal of detail in it’s environments. There are many assets that are shared between both Dungeons & Dragons: Shadows Over Mystara and Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom as far as the enemy types go, including some of the boss characters. In this respect and many others, Dungeons & Dragons: Shadows Over Mystara feels like a renovation of Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom as opposed to evolving it for a full blown sequel.

Despite making allowances for the fact that the titles upon which Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara is based launched nearly twenty years ago, what we are presented with is still disappointing. While there is nothing technically wrong with either Dungeons & Dragons: Shadows Over Mystara or Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom, neither title is as engrossing as the big name competition of the same era, including Capcom’s own Final Fight. The multiplayer aspect and persistent player level system are undoubtedly Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara’s greatest assets, for without them it would be no more than a run-of-the-mill scrolling beat-‘em-up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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