Back when I was a young ‘un, side scrolling beat ’em ups was the CoD genre of choice. From arcades to home systems, everyone who played games remembers one in particular. Mine was Streets of Rage 2, or maybe Golden Axe, then again Turtles Arcade was also pretty damn good. So when Capcom released Dungeons and Dragons: Tower of Doom, and Shadow over Mystara, the only thing that made this game stand out, was the Dungeons & Dragons name, and of course Capcom.
So now, 20 years after the original release, Capcom have released both games under one title -Chronicles of Mystara, and what a release this is. With all the original characters over both games, online multiplayer, drop out and drop in, and a nice addition to track achievements along the left hand side. Of course you can change the settings too; you can change what filter is applied to the game, smoothing out the original look, or having it crisp and sharp. A great setting that is my personal favourite – scan lines, a love it or hate it setting, I enjoy the HD touch up this game has received, but nothing beats making the game look like you’re playing it on a 90’s CRT TV, I guess I just miss the feeling of sitting there with the warm glow.
Though one big difference this game does have is the characters. Most of these games had 3 or 4 different characters to play as, so when you see the 6 different characters, each with different fighting styles and bonuses, such as the thief being able to double jump, it’s a great addition. Adding to this that there is now a small inventory system, being able to hold daggers, oil pots to throw, and magic pots too to use against the many varied enemies all from the books of Dungeons and Dragons. Capcom seems to have taken all the best parts of the more popular games at the time, and just mashed them all together into this amazing game.
It should be remembered that this is an arcade game originally, so prepare for boss fights to be cheap and hard to hit, the first mini boss is a fast moving chariot, zooming across the screen. You can of course cause it to stop by hitting it, but it will just zoom past you again. It is expected to make you lose your credits as fast as possible to make you put more money into the old machines, though this game does come with a difficulty selector. The 5 different modes mostly just changes how much damage you get and deal out though, I’m not sure which is the original difficulty but I would guess it would be the highest.
Of course graphically this game is dated, regardless of the filters that have been added. It’s a 90’s arcade beat ‘em up through and through, of course this is an arcade title so those who expected a full HD remake shouldn’t be disappointed, but should have expected this. But as already said, scan lines and being able to turn off the smoothing option is enough for me to enjoy it.
I really enjoyed the sound track to this game, I’m not sure why, it just took me back to sitting on my Mega Drive playing Sonic and Golden Axe. It has a sound track that can only be described as just perfectly 90’s. The boss music and listening to the terrible voice acting that was put into the original arcade cabinet all just bring back memories of a time before voice acting was the norm, and listening to a death scream or hearing “Seeegaaaa” was the closest you could get to voice acting.
Over all this is a great little old gem that should be picked up by anyone who was a fan of the genre, local 4 player coop is a great addition to your gaming library and will have you fighting over healing items, and adding drop in/out online was a great addition and brings this classic into the modem age. Of course it is a punishing game so for those who hate to be killed repeatedly or hate the idea of learning a level before you can complete it, either play on an easier difficulty or just steer clear, this is a game aimed at the original fans of the game and genre and those only.
This game has been added to my slowly growing collection of my childhood games, sitting happily between Golden Axe and Metal Slug, and I would strongly recommend this game.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.