Dark Designs I: Grelminar's Staff

RPG 1990 Dos Dosbox Softdisk Publishing Top down Fantasy

Unoriginal and dated RPG

Dungeon crawling RPG fans have a pretty good set of games from which to choose from, with the likes of Bard's Tale, Dungeon Master, Diablo and endless others begging for their time. While Dark Designs isn't terrible, it unfortunately offers little in the way of innovation and is thus difficult to recommend over these aforementioned classics. The game doesn't get off to a great start, with a tired fantasy plot revolving around an evil warlord who has opened a portal to another world which must be closed before endless numbers of hideous beasts pour through to consume the world. As the player, you control a team of four brave heroes who must explore a dead wizard's tower to recover his staff which just happens to be the only thing which can close the portal. Things also continue in a familiar vein as you create your character, from a choice of fighter, wizard or priest, with stats being assigned in a random fashion, while the main gameplay itself will also be fairly recognisable to anyone who has ever played a fantasy RPG. Exploration of dungeons is from a 3D perspective, while combat shifts to an overhead view, depicting your team and your enemies in fairly crude stick-figure form, and with options such as attack, use spells or items being available. If this all sounds like every other dungeon crawler from the 1980s and early 1990s, then you would be right to think so. There really is nothing original about Dark Designs at all and while it isn't terrible, the dated graphics and lack of depth mean that it is only really recommended for die-hard genre fans.

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