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Dark Sun: Shattered Lands (DOS)

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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.9
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5 point score based on user ratings.
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Description

The world of Athas was once peaceful and pleasant - until wizards found a way to increase their power by draining the planet's energy. Athas gradually turned into a desert, its seas evaporating, its sun transforming into an ominous crimson fireball. The wizards then gained control over the land, becoming sorcerer-kings and enslaving most of the population. One of such kings, Tectuktitlay, rules the city-state of Draj. By his orders, a group of slaves is sent to a battle arena where they have to fight monsters as gladiators. However, that group manages to escape the slave pens. They have to contact the leaders of independent villages built by former slaves, and unite in a battle against Draj's oppression.

Dark Sun: Shattered Lands is an AD&D game based on the Dark Sun campaign pack by TSR. The player can control a pre-generated party of four characters or create new ones at the beginning. There are eight available races, including half-giants and the exotic insect-like thri-kreen alongside the more traditional ones. Eight character classes are available: Fighter, Ranger, Gladiator, Cleric, Druid, Preserver, Psionicist, and Thief. Psionic powers constitute a separate spellcasting discipline that comes in three varieties: psychokinetic, psychometabolic, and telepathic.

The entire game is viewed from an overhead perspective. The game world is composed out of numerous large interconnected areas, which include outdoor locations, dungeons, and settlements. Following the completion of the first two areas, the player is free to roam the world and access its locations in any order. There are several tasks that have to be fulfilled in order to complete the game, but the player is also given a considerable degree of freedom concerning his treatment of NPCs and the way quests are solved. There are various sub-quests in the game as well. Multiple-choice dialogues are used for interaction with characters.

The turn-based battles are seamless, taking place on the exploration screen without any other confines. The game is not particularly combat-heavy and many confrontations can be solved peacefully. During combat, the player navigates characters in a tactical fashion, using melee and ranged weapons as well as various spells. Character-building and attributed are in accordance with traditional AD&D rules, including armor class rating, choosing spells to memorize when leveling up, etc.

Screenshots

Dark Sun: Shattered Lands DOS A beautifully decorated entrance to a vast underground area
Dark Sun: Shattered Lands DOS This is a monster village! Monsters are working and generally live their lives
Dark Sun: Shattered Lands DOS An early dialogue with your "master" in the slave pens. There are quite a few topics and choices!
Dark Sun: Shattered Lands DOS A stony area with skeletons - my cleric casts protective "pillows" on my warrior

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User Reviews

SSI gets ready for the Renaissance אולג 小奥 (168989) 4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars
Great RPG set in AD&D world willyum (922) 3.83 Stars3.83 Stars3.83 Stars3.83 Stars3.83 Stars
Didn't look for an online system. Dave Syntax (2) 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars

The Press Says

PC Games (Germany) Nov, 1993 88 out of 100 88
PC Player (Germany) Nov, 1993 78 out of 100 78
Power Play Nov, 1993 73 out of 100 73
High Score 1993 3 out of 5 60

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Trivia

Cover art

The striking cover artwork is a piece by Brom originally used as the cover to Troy Denning's 1992 Dark Sun novel The Crimson Legion, book two of the Prism Pentad and TSR product #2403.

Release

Originally slanted for release in Fall of 1992, SSI was forced to delay the release of this game till late 1993. Because the company had originally counted on profits from this game in 1992, the delayed released indirectly led to SSI laying off 20% of its employees at the start of 1993. When it finally was released, Shattered Lands sold much poorer than expected. One year later in 1994, SSI would be bought out by Mindscape.

Information also contributed by Alan Chan and Pseudo_Intellectual

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wossname (159) added Dark Sun: Shattered Lands (DOS) on Jun 26, 2000