It’s been a busy month of preparing for life-changing events and I unfortunately haven’t had time to dig into Steam’s less well known offerings.
…So this month, we’re breaking all of the (arbitrarily decided and never fully explained) rules and kicking it retro!
May’s oddball game is Dark Sun: Shattered Lands.
Released back in 1993 by the now extinct Strategic Simulations Inc., Shattered Lands was the first true RPG-style game I ever played and probably the one I’ve had the most fun with. I’ve beaten it many times over the years and recently kicked it back up again thanks to GOG.com.
Based on the Dungeons & Dragons Dark Sun campaign setting (2nd Edition ruleset, for those that know what that means), Shattered Lands is a turn based game in which you play as a party of 4 slaves forced to become gladiators.
The world of Athas has been brought to the brink of destruction by the careless and excessive use of magic. The setting is one of desolation and desperation, where people struggle to find water and resources such as metal are scarce. Monsters are everywhere.
Your basic goal is to escape captivity and organize an army of freed slaves to fight off the forces of Draj and its evil sorcerer-king Tektuktitlay.
One of the reasons I still enjoy Dark Sun is the fairly simplistic, fast paced combat. The graphics are definitely bad by modern standards; in fact, they weren’t great for the time. That said, they are still serviceable for the most part, but are prone to some pretty bad glitches. The entire game is plagued with bugs, which is a definite annoyance.
I personally found the weapon/armour statistics confusing for a long time as I have never really participated in Dungeons & Dragons, but they are true to form.
If you’ve never played it and are in to classic CRPGs, give it a look on GOG.com. The hardcore CRPG players may find it too simplistic by today’s standards, but it’s some good fun.
As a side note, the sequel (Wake of the Ravager) is on GOG as well. It’s more of the same, but the bugs are magnified ten fold to the point of borderline unplayability. Unfortunate.