Game Title: Dungeons & Dragons Tactics
T - for Teen
Game Score: 5.5/10
Gameplay: I'll admit, it's been a long time since I've took up 20-sided dice, pencil and paper, and played Dungeons & Dragons. So when I picked up and played Atari's new "Dungeons & Dragons Tactics" it brought back some memories of wandering down dank, dark hallways searching for treasure and glory.
The game does a decent enough job of taking the classic table-top game and bringing it to life, however, those who are not accustomed to the details and rules of D&D might find the game a bit tedious and confusing. Those who do play D&D might appreciate the game's rules.
Still, I was a bit frustrated having to look up the long list of character condition symbols, as well as having to research other game terms in the game manual's glossary.
The game's premise is pretty straight-forward. You and your team of adventurers set out to battle groups of monsters in search of treasure and to stop evil. You have the option of choosing pre-set characters from a variety of classes and races or taking the time to create your own.
At the beginning of each campaign you'll be asked to pick a few characters from your group to go forward into danger. The game is turn-based and operates much like a fancy chess game. Doing simple actions, such as moving and taking out items from your pack can be unnecessarily complicated. The game makes you flip through a series of menus and scroll through many options for an action that could have easily been assigned to a single button.
Still, along the game you get to meet some familiar faces from the D&D monster lexicon, including the dreaded Beholder, which looks like a giant basketball covered with eyes and packing a powerful magic punch.
Graphics: Game characters, monsters and levels are decent looking. Dungeons have a dark, eerie feel to them and the fact that you have to light your way with torches or magic adds the sense of things lurking in the shadows.
One thing that can be confusing is the animation used when monsters die. Rather than collapsing in blood and defeat, monsters just sort of crouch, making it hard to tell if you have killed them or just wounded them.
Audio: If there's one thing that caused me to grit my teeth in this game it was the music. The full-blast dramatic music often times did not match the mood of the game. While dramatic music is expected during big battles, the constant running score just left me feeling anxious and annoyed.
Parent's Take: While this game really can't be described as graphic, it does have some animated blood and combat.
Final WordThose who love Dungeons & Dragons may be able to overlook some flaws to find an entertaining take on the classic pencil-and-paper game. Those not too familiar with the game could find this version a little hard to take and might want to stick with easier Japanese-based role-playing games.