PAX East 2013: Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara hands-on
Capcom lost their minds during the final stretch of the old school beat ‘em up era, and I apparently missed it. Their pair of Dungeons & Dragons brawlers, Tower of Doom and Shadow Over Mystara, were beautiful, involved, and at least a little out of control. Call me a plebeian, but my first experience with the games happened over the weekend at PAX East 2013, where Capcom showed off an HD collection of the two games called Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara.
The two games featured the typical selection of D&D classes, with Tower of Doom allowing you to play as a Cleric, Dwarf, Elf, or Fighter and Shadow Over Mystara adding a Thief and Magic-User class. Up to four players could group up and battle their way through the fantasy world. In many ways, it’s your typical Capcom fighter in the style of Final Fight, Captain Commando, and Alien vs. Predator, but thanks to a simple inventory system, huge monsters, and characters with action-interrupting magical attacks, these games are just a little over-the-top.
In my playtime with the HD re-release, my PAX co-op buddies and I tore through a handful of environments in Shadow Over Mystara, fighting piles of monsters and one screen-filling boss. I stuck to the Dwarf and Fighter classes, hacking and slashing while the rest of my group went completely bonkers using magic attacks. The game action would often pause briefly for an epic screen-clearing magic spell. You can see Capcom’s artists were working overtime on these games even back then.
I was so baffled and overwhelmed by the action that I wondered if someone was cheating or the new version was drastically changed. But even a simple glance at some screenshots shows that D&D is pretty much turned up to eleven at all times.
For those who’ve already played these classic beat ‘em ups, you’re probably like, “Yep, yep, this all sounds right, but what’s new?” Well, since the game is being handled by Iron Galaxy, you can expect a similar treatment to their previous re-releases Street Fighter 3: Third Strike Online Edition, Marvel vs. Capcom Origins, and Darkstalkers Resurrection.
Chronicles of Mystara will feature drop-in, drop-out co-op for four players and online gameplay using GGPO tech for a smooth experience. The borders of the screen will show various challenges that players can complete to earn coins. Those coins, in turn, can be used to unlock level-ups, gameplay loot and concept art. Online leaderboards and a gameplay tracking tool called the Character Visualizer will allow players to really dig into their stats and play habits.
In addition, the game will feature new “house rules” which will allow players to tweak the gameplay and create a fresh experience. One example Capcom gave was referred to as “hedgehog mode.” In it, players lost money instead of health, dying only when they run out of money. On top of all that, the Wii U version will allow players to manage their inventory via the touchscreen.
Chronicles of Mystara will be available in June for XBLA, PSN, PC, and Wii U for $14.99. Once it arrives, you can be sure I’ll be exploring everything these Capcom beat ‘em up classics have to offer.
Follow @JoeDonuts if, like him, you were too busy playing Streets of Rage 2 back then.