Dark queen of Krynn logo

US Gold/SSI * £32.99

Will Krynn ever be the same again, especially after the Champions Of Krynn followed by the Death Knights of Krynn, and now this, the final battle? You would think that any planet in the universe would have had enough after such an onslaught.

But no, there is more. In Dark Queen you take the form of your worst nightmare and fight creatures too gruesome to contemplate. I Guess AD&D fans could use their computers to become even more unsociable creatures and replace reality with a conjured-up world based on magic, good and evil. Or they could use this game to demonstrate to themselves that there is more to life than surreality, because Dark Queen is not too hot.

My advice would be to stick to using your Amiga for something much more interesting and original like Eye Of The Beholder, a game that is a real computer game, not just a dice game translated on to an Amiga.

Dark queen of Krynn logo

Allmählich fragt man sich, ob SSIs Rolliabteilung etwas gegen uns Amigianer hat: Nach "Pools of Darkness" trottet nun auch die AD&D-Dunkelkönigin im Aschenputtel-Hemd einher, während sie am PC noch eine ganz anständige Figur machte.

Die ersten Grafiken im mickrigen 3D-Fenster sind ja nicht mal übel, aber dann! Eine Banane mit drei Störchen entpuppt sich z.B. als Segelschiff, und so mancher Dungeon gemahnt schlicht an braunen Pixel-Brei - ganz zu schweigen von der häßlichen Screenmaske aus Marmor-Imitat. Daf:ur wurden die Sound-FX leicht gestylt, was aber eher für Komik sorgt: Die Todesschreie in den Kampfsequenzen (Iso-3D wie gehabt) erinnern jetzt an Brorks Met-Röcheln bei 3,4 Promille. Na, wenigstens hört sich der Titelsound halbwegs erträglich an, und die vielen Maus-Menüs des klassischen AD&D Outfits (Kämpfen, Zauber, inventory usw.) arbeiten zuverlässig wie eh und je, zumal der unsinnige Move-Befehlt des Vorgängers wieder gestrichen wurde.

Bei derart popeliger Präsentation ist man aber fast schon froh, daß das Dragonlance-Szenario mit dieser Story endet: General Laurana holt das Helden-Sextett aus "Death Knights" ein letztes mal nach Palanthas-City, weil die bösen Draconier vor zwei Jahren wohl doch nicht völlig ausgerottet wurden. Freilich sind auch selbstgestrickte oder dem Fertig-File entnommene Recken zugelassen, um im niedergebrannten Städtchen Caergoth nach dem Rechten zu sehen, auch mal unter Wasser zu abenteuern und schließlich der düsteren Queen den Pelz zu rasieren.

Immerhin ist das Game relativ umfangreich, und die Metzeleien (nach wie vor Hauptbeschäftigung) waren auch schon mal einfacher. Aber ob das reicht, damit es dem Spieler nicht bald reicht? (jn)

Dark queen of Krynn logo

Zip up your parka, lace your Green Flash and let's go adventuring.

Have you got all 24 episodes of Blackadder on video tape? Do you ride around on a BMX? Did you go to this year's Dr Who convention? Do you wear mustard corduroy trousers, grey socks, a navy blue shirt and an army-surplus jacket?

When it comes down to it, The Dark Queen of Krynn is a common or garden RPG. An RPG just like Eye Of The Beholder II, or Dungeon Master - games enjoyed by even someone as fashionable as our own editor. It's got a party of characters, each with their various attributes for strength, matif ability, wisdom etc; it's got a quest for them to solve; it's got lots of spells, magical keys and puzzles; it's got battles with wizards and demons; and it's got a window that displays a view of your current position in 3D(ish).

Three things, however, conspire to lend The Dark Queen of Krynn the status of 'Unclean'/ Three things turn it from a simple, cheerful RPG into the sort of game that has even the pluckiest of reviewers scratching at the door until his fingernails bleed, his eyes wide with terror.

The first is the name, The Dark Queen of Krynn. The second is that it's the third in a series, the preceeding games being called Champions Of Krynn and Death Knights of Krynn. The third is the words 'Official Advanced Dungeons and DragonsŪ Computer Product', which are written on the packaging in large, red letters.

There's masses of questing to be done

Now, the Dungeons and Dragons player is a very special breed of person. He may find some satisfaction in purchasing and decorating those little metal orcs you occasionally come across in toy shops. Primarly, though, he's interested in numbers. Numbers rule everything he does - eating, sleeping, walking around, the lot. And it's these numbers which predominate in Krynn, and which will render it a no-go zone to everyone but the most committed AD&D player. All RPGs have lots of numbers in, of course, and in reality they're just the same numbers that you'll find in Krynn. It's just that in a game like Eye Of The Beholder they're integrated into the game to some extent, and most of the time you needn't worry about them. In Krynn, you click on 'View' and - woomph - the pretty graphics disappear and you've got a screen full of numbers. It's really quite brutal.

It's got everything a D&D player would find in the paper-and-pencil version of the game, but without all the hassle, without the need for a DM (that's what they call it, isn't it?) and with a few pretty pictures bunged in for good measure. He should rush now as fast as his Green Flash can carry him, and buy a copy.

From the RPG players point of view, this is still well worth considering. Like I said, those numbers are ever-present, but the graphics are attractive (if a little titchy) and there's masses of questing to be done. The combat sequences are heavy going though, with weedy graphics and lots of rules to struggle with. And the user-interface is pretty crude - everything is done by clicking on words at the bottom of the screen. Oh, and the music is awful. And the message you get when all your characters die is a little abrupt.

From the shoot-' em-up player's point-of-view, however... well, I don't think he's likely to make that mistake.