Baldur's Gate: Dark
| The Final Say!|
Gate: Dark Alliance -
reviewed by Andrew B
Review Date: 5 May 2003
Distributed By: Vivendi
and Dragons is the world's first role-playing game (RPG) and has spawned
countless of games on different systems, from the Commodore 64 to the
PlayStation 2 and it only gets better from here. The Baldur's Gate series is
the extremely popular Advanced Dungeon & Dragons game series on the PC
that was the first game of its kind to really capture the true spirit of RPG
and Dungeons & Dragons. Fortunately for console owners, developers Snow
Blind Studios have taken the premise from the PC and developed an entirely new
gaming system for the console with amazing graphics and a very interesting
you have already played the PlayStation 2 version of Baldur's Gate: Dark
Alliance then you will find nothing new on the XBox version as it is a
straight port from the PS2 with the same graphics, gameplay and storyline.
However, now XBox owners can get the chance to play one of the most
entertaining and exciting games to have hit the world of console gaming.
Gate on the XBox is a combination between Gauntlet (the original game) meets
Dungeons & Dragons. The basic view of the game is an isometric view that
the player can rotate for a better camera angle. Once you have created your
character (three customizable characters are available), you can then enter
the world of Dungeons & Dragons that has you searching for fortune and
glory. As with all RPG's, your character must perform various missions for
non-playing characters (NPC's) in the game such as rescuing other
characters, clearing out basements that are filled with rats or recovering
lost items. Although some missions are there for "filler", the
majority of missions eventually link up to the grand finale and the mystery
behind the whole game.
other PC orientated RPG's, Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance is all about action
and you must sometimes literally fight your way through hundreds of enemies.
Fortunately the game compensates because the player has access to various
powerful weapons, armour and magic's that can be used against these creatures
of the dark. One of the most difficult levels in the game was solving a puzzle
in a room that was filled with hundreds of zombies and skeletons, needless to
say my frustration skyrocketed but it was extremely fun.
the XBox version is almost identical to the PlayStation 2 version but that
said, the PS2 version was perfect. The only downside to the graphics is the unreliable
framerate issues that were also prominent on the PlayStation 2 version and
these rarely occur.
has been created perfectly in this 3D world, from the towns that you
visit, to exploring tombs and lairs of dragons, the developers have
successfully managed to draw the player into the mythical world of
Dungeons & Dragons. Baldur's Gate also has some of the most
impressive lighting effects to hit a game of this style and just about
everything has a realistic lighting effect that goes hand in hand with
the gaming environment.
visual spell, whether a fireball or lighting strike has it's own unique
characteristics that interact with the gaming environment so when you
release a fireball in a dark tomb, the whole area will be alight from
the fireball. The characters in the game have been professionally
designed and each character in the game has a unique look to them with
some extremely nice looking texture details. The Dragon and the Beholder
simply look amazing and some of the giants that you encounter later on
in the game are extremely huge that almost take up the entire screen.
There are also some beautiful cut scenes in the game that is a
combination of ingame graphics and CGI.
sound effects of Baldur's Gate are brilliant and also supports Dolby
Digital for a gorgeous soundtrack and some amazing sound effects. There
are a myriad of sound effects in the game from the grunts and squeals of
orcs, to sounds of the magic from fireballs to the glorious sounds of
good versus evil such as the clashes of swords as everything has been
implemented perfectly into the game. The voice acting of the game,
although professionally done and sometimes over the top is perfectly
suited to the world of RPG and is what the genre is all about, action
and bad acting. The soundtrack of Baldur's Gate has been created by
acclaimed writer Jeremy Soule that sounds straight out of a Hollywood
movie and is one of the most best suited soundtracks around for this
type of game.
Gate: Dark Alliance is still one of my all-time favourite RPG's around
(first on the PC, then on the PS2 and now on the XBox) and contains some
amazing graphics, addictive gameplay and an interesting storyline that
is sure to please just about all kinds of gamers. The game also contains
a great multiplayer option (2-players) that gives players the chance to
complete the game together which is just about as close you can get to
Dungeons & Dragons without having a Dungeon Master. The replay value
of the game is a little low and you will probably finish this game in a
few weeks or regular gaming, fortunately once you have completed the
game, it opens up various bonus characters such as the good dark elf
Drizzt from the extremely popular Forgotten Realms book series. These
bonus characters can then engage on various solo missions that are not
included in the game and could be compared to the VR missions in Metal
Gear Solid 2 Substance. If you are one of those console junkies that
already owns this on the PS2, then there is probably no reason to get
the XBox version, however if you have never had the chance to the play
the original version, then do yourself a favour and buy this game now!
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