Capcom is no stranger to re-releasing classic games in high-definition, including Street Fighter III: Online Edition and Darkstalkers Chronicles. It's also working on a new version of the beloved NES adventure DuckTales, which will make its way to multiple platforms this summer. One compilation worth looking into is Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles Of Mystara, which is available now for $14.99.
This collection features two arcade hits from the company's past – the 1993 entry Tower of Doom and the respective 1996 follow-up Shadow Over Mystara – complete with online multiplayer support and improved visuals. Each combines the best of side-scrolling beat-em-ups with traditional role-playing elements, making the experience much deeper than most quarter munchers at the time. The games are still great fun, especially with a group of friends.
If you’re playing for the first time or you need a refresher, we have some handy tips to help you along. Now go teach those dragons a lesson.
You Can’t Go Wrong with Either Game
With two games to choose from – Tower of Doom and Shadow Over Mystara – some folks aren’t sure where to start; Shadow is the superior game since it had more development time. That said, it really doesn't matter where you choose to begin your journey. Both titles provide hours’ of demon bashing and leveling up, and also come with their own story options so you feel more involved with your characters. Both also support multiplayer, both local and online, so you should have no problem gathering friends together and heading out. However, we recommend taking the time to complete both.
Experiment with Every Character
With beat-em-ups, it's easy to align yourself with a favorite character. For instance, we prefer Haggar in the original Final Fight because we love flying pile drivers. With Tower of Doom, individual characters bring something to the table.
Each title lets you choose between four characters – a cleric, dwarf, elf and fighter – and Shadow Over Mystara provides two additional brawlers, a thief and a magic user. Each one has powerful moves in his or her arsenal, with straightforward attacks and special moves executed Street Fighter-style with a turn of the joystick and press of the button. You can only use these sparingly, but they come in handy for battling larger creatures or groups.
Some have advantages in the game – like being able to use a powerful aerial attack to clear the area – while the cleric and magic-user are a bit more limited to summoning attacks.
Group strategy also plays a role. Since each person must choose a different character – unless you pick up the PlayStation 3 retail import of D&D that includes the option – it's nice to see what each player can do and how you can combine attacks together. You'll be thankful for said teamwork, especially when you come across one of the bigger bosses in the game.
The Shop is Your Friend
Always visit shops, even if you're full of health and magic. You'll want to take a look around just to see what else you can add to your arsenal, like weapons and other helpful items. In addition, if a friend's low on cash, you can actually lend him or her some money.
Furthermore, the shopkeeper is more than a pretty face. You can actually click this person in the menu to receive valuable advice.
Who knows? You may find something to make your character better. Considering customization is so important, a little boost never hurts.
Over the course of Chronicles of Mystara you’ll run into Challenges. On your own these may seem a little tough – unless you're confident enough to handle the odds – but it's best to take them on with a group. These include multi-tier tasks as "Till Death Do Us Part", "Pointy Things and Slings" and "Slick Hammers" – they're easy to spot and accept. Best of all, completing them unlocks real rewards for either your Achievement score - usually 15 points a pop - or Trophy collection. Again, get a good group together, then venture forth and see if you can get the job done.
Don't Forget Local Play
Finally, while it's good to find an online party to team up with, you shouldn't forget that both Tower of Doom and Shadow Over Mystara can also be experienced offline. Invite a few friends over, pass around the controllers and have a good time.
Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara is available for PC, Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. It will debut on the Wii U eShop later this year.