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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.


Dark Sun: Shattered Lands DOS Fighting colorful spiders in a cave dungeon
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 This sewer area is more than just a dungeon - it has a settlement, several quests, and a couple of nice secrets!
Dark Sun: Shattered Lands DOS Lovely area with a beautiful hand-drawn look. I made my strange creature the leader of the party

Promo Images

Dark Sun: Shattered Lands Screenshot
Dark Sun: Shattered Lands Magazine Advertisement
Dark Sun: Shattered Lands Screenshot
Dark Sun: Shattered Lands Screenshot


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User Reviews

SSI gets ready for the Renaissance Unicorn Lynx (181409) 4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars
Great RPG set in AD&D world willyum (1028) 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

Critic Reviews

PC Games (Germany) Nov, 1993 88 out of 100 88
Play Time Jul, 1994 85 out of 100 85
Play Time Nov, 1993 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 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.


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