|System: PC, PS3, Xbox 360*|
|Release: June 18, 2013|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood Suggestive Themes Violence|
by Jake Valentine
Nostalgia can only do so much for a game. When you boot up that old classic on your new system, your ears perk up, your eyes brighten, and your hands tingle. There's little doubting that you're enjoying your old-time favorite, but how much of that enjoyment comes from nostalgic feelings? This is a question I often asked myself concerning Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara. I'm not saying it's a bad game, but there's one thing that it suffers from: being a straight port of an arcade game.
Back in the day, arcade games ran on the concept of requiring quarters to play. You wouldn't pay full price up-front to play. If you wanted to continue, it'd cost you another quarter. Die? That's another quarter. Did a friend want to join in? That'll cost them a quarter. The same type of mechanic exists in the two games featured in Chronicles of Mystara. Both Tower of Doom and Shadow Over Mystara, originally released in arcades, are now part of a collection on Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and Steam.
Capcom could have simply ported the two games over as is and called it a day. Thankfully, they didn’t. Like all other successful re-releases, the addition of achievements helps to create a new sense of challenge. Simply beating a game with unlimited continues isn't necessarily difficult. Picking up every achievement though? Not so easy. Still, I can't help but wish that there were a few more modern features added to the game. The aged requirement of quarter pumping feels too dated. The ability to set House Rules, in addition to achievements, is nice, but I can't help but want more than just this.
The elephant in the room, regarding a reliance on quarters in a modern game, is the removal of challenge. If you were out of change in the arcade, that last life became that much more valuable. Many modern side-scrollers have added in a set amount of lives to help combat this. Once you run out, it's game over, and you're sent back to a save point. Instead, by Mystara being a straight port from arcade to consoles, I can continue at will. Am I stuck at a certain point in the game? Not to worry, I can just keep trying over and over again until I pass through with very little penalty. Sure, I might lose points, but it's not like I'll be posting my initials on a leaderboard for the entire neighborhood to see.
I could rant and ramble all day about arcade games being released in the modern day, so it's probably better that I go back to talking about the actual gameplay. The star in this package is Shadow Over Mystara, featuring six different playable classes and some of the best gameplay in the entire genre. In traditional D&D style, characters will level up as they progress through the game, becoming stronger and more powerful to help you defeat the stronger and more powerful foes. Am I saying Tower of Doom is a bad game? No, I'm saying Shadow Over Mystara is a much better game.