Review by mrtzeentch

Reviewed: 02/20/03 | Updated: 03/11/03

At the top of the Old School D&D games

Throughout the early 90's, Strategic Simulations Incoperated released almost two dozen Dungeons and Dragons games. Commonly refered to as the ''Gold Box'' games, these were the most true simulations of Gary Gaiger's classic Role Playing Game. They started in the late 80's with games like Pool of Radiance and Champions of Krynn. As time went by, these games got better graphics and sound, yet retained the same format: Perfect simulation of Dungeons and Dragons. Near the end of the Gold Box era, the last two games, Dark Queen of Krynn and Pools of Darkness were released. These games epitomized what it meant to be a true, classic RPG. DQoK was based in the Dragonlance realm while PoD was based in the Forgotten Realms. This review covers the latter of the two (DQoK will aslo be reviewed by me)

Gameplay - 10

By the time this game was released, most of the bugs in little issues with the system that was first used in Pool of Radiance were succesfully ironed out. Whereas the ealier games like Secret of the Silver Blades and Curse of the Azure Bonds had good stories, but rarely used them in the gameplay, thus sticking you in the world and saying ''go'', Pools of Darkness kept the story closely tied into the gameplay. Your actions directly effected the events of the game. This was by far the most open-ended of the series. You could do what you wanted, when you wanted, and each event had many paths to take to accomplish it. also, for those who were dedicated enough to have played the earlier games, your characters by now would be very powerful and could move through the game much quicker. This brings to light one of the series greatest aspects: The ability to import characters from the previous games. You could bring your characters from Pool of Radiance, up throug Curse of the Azure Bonds, then to Secret of the Silver Blades, and into PoD. This made for a trully epic game. The Gameplay itself was the typical turn-based action of all other previous D&D games. You control up to 6 party members and a few NPC's and travel around looking for loot and monsters to slay.

Graphics/Sound - 9

Since this is an older game, it is impossible to compare to newer games. There was virtually no animation, and the sprites were very basic. But this is an RPG, who cares about that!? Sound-wise, it is the same thing. You only heard simple onises when spells were cast or enemies were hit. Nothing spectacular.

Replay/Enjoyment Factor - 10

This game is so epic, especially if you go through all the other 3, that it could literally take you a couple hundred hours to play through the series. And for any old school D&D buffs, this could keep you busy for a LONG time. And since this game usually comes in collector packs these days, you won't have to go looking for all the other games. I HIGHLY recomend this to older gamers who want to relive the good old days, or to open-minded gamers that don't need a flashy FMV every five minutes to keep them attached.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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