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Dungeons & Dragons Collection

Reviewed by: MichaelMedia: CD
Released by: CapcomStatus: out of print
Platform: Sega SaturnNumber of games: 2
Year released: 1999Players: 1-2 (simultaneous)

Games included:
Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of DoomDungeons & Dragons: Shadow Over Mystara

This is, without a doubt, one great game collection to get if you're into importing Saturn software from Japan. These games are medieval/fantasy beat 'em up titles similar to Golden Axe. You get two CDs; D&D ~ Tower of Doom, and D&D ~ Shadow over Mystara.... and you get zero difficulty due to infinite continues in both games. Imagine Golden Axe mixed with RPG elements and much better characters, enemies, and stages and you have D&D Collection. The first title, Tower of Doom, came out before Shadow over Mystara in the arcades. They both are very similar, though SoM looks quite better. These are your standard romps through medieval times; hack, slash, and use magic on all the skeletons, dragons, chimeras, etc. Anything that gets in your way, destroy. Pretty simple. You select from a fighter, cleric, dwarf and an elf in ToD, and in SoM there's two more characters added; a magic user, and a thief.
Tower of Doom: I bet these displacer beasts didn't see that coming.

What really separates these games from other similar titles are the multiple routes. However, you soon learn why; the stage areas are short. I figure that Capcom didn't want people getting too dragged down with fighting the same few enemy types over and over again through 10 minute long stages, so they opted to break stages up into smaller fractions and add a generous variety to enemy types. The bosses are often large and very well designed, such as an ogre, dragons, daemons, sea serpents, and, get this, an owl bear. Nice! You gain levels, items, magic, amulets, potions, and weapons throughout the game. These are obtained often by destroying treasure chests and buying from the shopkeeper. The control is superb; what did you expect from Capcom? Then again, there's not a whole lot to do--move, jump, slide, attack, use magic, etc. I don't mind this style of control, though I'd prefer it if the games made me think more about preparing for battle.
Tower of Doom: Beating the crap out of troglodytes never gets old.

You see, both games have infinite continues. Which brings me to this question; what's the point in having various difficulty settings? Do not the infinite continues defeat the purpose of the difficulty settings? It's not like a Street Fighter conversion in that sense, because if you lose in SF you have to start the match all over again and actually earn the victory. I would've preferred to have Capcom force the player to restart the stage, even if there are infinite continues, because then and only then would I feel I'm earning my way through the games. The graphics are pretty good in ToD and great in SoM since the latter title was released later. The graphical differences are as such; SoM has slightly bigger, more well-animated characters and foes, and there are more backgrounds as well. Neither approach Capcom's CPS3 graphical wizardry as displayed in Warzard (another D&D title). One thing I really liked was the Capcom artwork of the characters during the short breaks between stages in SoM, which resemble the artwork quality of the Nightwarriors character win shots. Very nice stuff.
Shadow Over Mystara: Sure, you have to beat that dark warrior, but keep an eye on those skeletons. They're sneaky.

The music is good, but nothing special. Come on Capcom! Ghouls 'N Ghosts has a better soundtrack than both of these titles (certainly as far as composition and enjoyability is concerned). Sounds are arcade-quality as they should be. Ever played King of Dragons and/or Knights of the Round (arcade or SNES versions)? D&D Collection is the perfect compliment for those two games. However, if you really want this collection, know that the treks, while sweet, are short-lived. And you may be better off saving your money for something with more meat on it's bones (like the Capcom Generation Volume 2 disc, with both Ghosts 'N Goblins arcade titles and the SNES Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts on one disc; HOW CAN YOU GO WRONG?!? D&D Collection is a good addition to your game library, but only Capcom diehards need apply here.
Shadow Over Mystara: They called down the thunder, didn't they?

Worth the purchase: Only if you're a fan of beat 'em ups, Dungeons & Dragons or Capcom arcade games.

Diversity: There were only two D&D arcade games made, and they're both right here.

Playability: As usual, Capcom did a great job maintaining the original arcade control.

Hidden gems: N/A