Good Old Reviews
The History of Dungeons & Dragons in Video Games, Part One

Stew Shearer | 13 Sep 2014 08:00
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Order of the Griffon
Original Release: 1992, Platform(s): TurboGrafx-16, Developer: Westwood Studios, Publisher: Strategic Simulations, Inc.

Order of the Griffon on the TurboGrafx-16 drew heavily on the work done in the Gold Box titles, with one big exception. While Griffon employed exploration and combat similar to the likes of Pool of Radiance, its mechanics were based on the original Dungeons & Dragons rule set as opposed to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. This would prove a turn-off for some role-playing fans more used to playing under the umbrella of 2nd edition. That said, the game overall was still quite decent and quite far from the worst thing to ever get stamped with the D&D label.

Image Source: Moby Games

Warriors of the Eternal Sun
Original Release: 1992, Platform(s): Mega Drive, Developer: Westwood Studios, Publisher: Sega

Dropping players into the middle of a war between humans and goblins, Warriors of the Eternal Sun was a bit of a mixed bag of holding (nyuck, nyuck). While it boasted attractive visuals and a marginally entertaining combat system, many felt that it was lacking when compared to other console RPGs available at the time. Nonetheless, it's potentially worth a try if you have a Mega Drive and a hankering to play something a bit less well known.

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The Dark Queen of Krynn

Original Release: 1992, Platform(s): Amiga, DOS, Macintosh, Developer: Strategic Simulations, Inc., Publisher: Strategic Simulations, Inc.

The third and final entry in the Krynn series, The Dark Queen of Krynn tasked players with investigating an evil force threatening the city of Caergoth. As with the previous games, Dark Queen allowed players to import their old characters. The gameplay, likewise, didn't step away from the series' established turn-based mechanics. In other words, if you already had a taste for the Gold Box games, you were going to like this. That said, while many did indeed praise the game, others maligned it for SSI's failure to catch several substantial bugs before the game went to stores.

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Treasures of the Savage Frontier
Original Release: 1992, Platform(s): Amiga, DOS, Developer: Stormfront Studios, Publisher: Strategic Simulations, Inc.

The follow-up to Gateway to the Savage Frontier, Treasure of the Savage Frontier is the last of the Gold Box games. Hoping to bring the line to a memorable close (and distract players from its aging engine), the game's designers made some unique additions to the game's story. Most notably, player characters could, for the first time ever, enter into a romance with an NPC. To accomplish this, the game tracked the player's actions. If the player behaved in a consistently good or evil fashion, certain characters would fall in love with them. The remainder of the game was tried and true Gold Box, but this element helped Treasure close the line on a high note.

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Spelljammer: Pirates of Realmspace

Original Release: 1992, Platform(s): DOS, Developer: Cybertech, Publisher: Strategic Simulation, Inc.000

Based on the 2nd Edition's Spelljammer rule set, Pirates of Realmspace removed players from the humdrum fantasy worlds of past games and launched them into a space faring adventure hurtling across the universe in a magic powered starship. The game, in turn, combined real-time ship combat, turn-based melee battles and interplanetary trade to create an RPG experience truly unique among the ranks of the existing D&D games. Unfortunately, for all its ambition Spelljammer wasn't without flaws. Many gamers and critics alike took issue with its occasional buggyness and lengthy load times.

Image Source: Moby Games

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