Back in the 90's, multiplayer beat-em-ups were all the rage in arcades, with up to four players taking part in a number of action-packed scenarios. Capcom was a major player in this genre, with games such as Knights of the Round, King of Dragons and Captain Commando. However, what you might not have realized is that it created two of the deeper entries in the genre with its Dungeons and Dragons arcade games. Tower of Doom and Shadow Over Mystara both managed to add role-playing elements to the side-scrolling action, making them big hits with fans and walk-up players alike.
The games didn't have much exposure in terms of home release, however. In 1999, Capcom did release a Dungeons and Dragons compilation for Sega Saturn, but that's really about it. And considering how much of a rarity that collection is, not too many people are getting to enjoy it.
But Capcom will change all that this summer when it releases Dungeons and Dragons Collection: Chronicles of Mystara across the board for digital platforms, bringing both Tower of Doom and Shadow Over Mystara, remastered, to not only Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, but also Steam and the Wii U eShop. Like the arcade games, the titles will allow four people to jump in simultaneously, taking on boss enemies and powering themselves up with their particular characters over the course of their journey. We recently had a chance to give the game a try at the company's PAX East booth.
The team handling the game's conversion, Iron Galaxy, is no stranger to remastering Capcom material. The developer previously handled Street Fighter III: Online Edition, Darkstalkers Resurrection and Marvel vs. Capcom Origins. And like those games, D & D Collection features a side bar that players can use to track their progress over the course of the game, earning rewards for meeting specific goals, such as killing a certain number of enemies in the game or unlocking a certain skill level. It can be a bit overwhelming when four players are hacking away on a screen, but the games stay true to the nature of the arcade games – you can't ask for more than that.
Both Dungeons and Dragons games will also include both local and online play, so whether you choose to bring your own hack-and-slashers or log into a network to play with your friends, you'll have allies along with you. And you'll need them, as each game brings a particular group of nasties that you'll need to take on, including rogue knights, lizards, goblins and, as you might expect, dragons.
Iron Galaxy has also done its homework when it comes to making the games look good for the current generation. While the graphics have that certain nostalgic charm, they have been retouched a little bit, so the sprites don't appear so ugly on an HDTV. Likewise, the music is enjoyable, with a bit of that D & D style charm that fans will come to appreciate.
Though Dungeons & Dragons wasn't nearly as hot a property at the event as, say, DuckTales, the franchise has its fan base, and Chronicles of Mystara is sure to appeal to them and casual players alike when it launches for various platforms this summer. Gear up your dwarf, because he's got a hell of a battle ahead of him…