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Drakkhen (SNES)

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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.1
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5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Chris Wright (99)
Written on  :  Aug 31, 2007
Platform  :  SNES
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

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Summary

An oddly compelling gem

The Good

The music in Drakkhen is probably its strongest selling point. We have a dark, foreboding tune for the title screen, cheery travel music, a slow, serene melody when the world turns to night, atmospheric tones when exploring the castles, and some really wonderful, bizarre little ditties when the big monsters come out.

Sound design is also a strong point. There is a great assortment of zaps, battle cries, clashes, clinks and so on that give battles a visceral, frenetic feel.

Art is perfect for a game from 1991. Monsters are imaginative, well-drawn and animated, your party gets to look highly stalwart when you start accumulating advanced weapons and armor, and the general color scheme is most pleasing to the eye. Watching the sun rise or set in Drakkhen is a satisfying experience, seeing pastelle pinks and oranges run into the sky.

Gameplay is sublime. You can simply wander around the wide, dangerous world and level up, fight some very strange creatures, and gather jade to buy better gear with. There is a sparse population of inns, temples and other buildings you can visit, plenty of water bodies to drown in, and interesting vibe to the world as a whole. All in all, Drakkhen is a hypnotic, soothing game -- provided that you can stay alive long enough to enjoy it.

The Bad

Given the limitations of the SNES, Drakkhen is a fabulous game. It's a precursor to EverQuest, as you can travel across a wide world freely upon starting the game, exploring and adventuring with a group of people. Of course, there is only room for four party members in Drakkhen, and there are all managed by you. It would take another eight years before the basic premise of Drakkhen was improved upon by Verant.

The Bottom Line

Drakkhen is a cool, weird, sublime little game that grows fond in the memory over time.