DescriptionThe 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.
Part of the Following Groups
- Dungeons & Dragons Campaign Setting: Dark Sun
- Dungeons & Dragons (D&D / AD&D) licensees
- Fantasy Creatures: Elves
- Sound engine: AIL/Miles Sound System
|SSI gets ready for the Renaissance||Unicorn Lynx (181363)|
|Great RPG set in AD&D world||willyum (1030)|
|Didn't look for an online system.||Dave Syntax (2)|
|PC Games (Germany)||Nov, 1993||88 out of 100||88|
|Play Time||Nov, 1993||85 out of 100||85|
|Play Time||Jul, 1994||85 out of 100||85|
|ASM (Aktueller Software Markt)||Nov, 1993||10 out of 12||83|
|PC Player (Germany)||Nov, 1993||78 out of 100||78|
|Power Play||Nov, 1993||73 out of 100||73|
|Score||Jan, 1994||70 out of 100||70|
|PC Joker||Nov, 1993||68 out of 100||68|
|High Score||1993||3 out of 5||60|
|Computer Gaming World (CGW)||Dec, 1993||Unscored||Unscored|
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Cover artThe 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.
ReleaseOriginally 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
Related Web Sites
- Dark sun online: The age of heroes (The first two games in the series are free to download along with the manual, game music and a strategy guide for each game.)
- Let's Play AD&D - Dark Sun - Shattered Lands (Spermy Smurf's playthrough of the game on the Let's Play Archive)