Dark Sun 1 - Shattered Lands

Dark Sun marked new graphics territory for SSI. It also marked the beginning of a line of bug ridden SSI role plays. Dark Sun was a hit for SSI despite its rather short game play and occasional bug.

The story sees your party as slaves to fight in the gladiator arena of Draj, a city ruled over by an evil sorcerer king. Indeed the whole land is enslaved under sorcerer's except for isolated free villages in the harsh deserts. Your party must duel in the arena, survive then make escape into the desert. Once free your task is the unite the scattered villages and overcome the evil sorcerer's.

You control up to four characters which must be created at the beginning of the game. As well as the usual AD&D races and classes you have Muls, a cross between Dwarf and Human and Thri-Keen a grasshopper like race. The graphics of Dark Sun a like a crude Ultima 7. Some of the desert scenes a quite good, although indoor locations seemed rather poor. Sound is reasonable, nothing brilliant. What I would like however is an enhanced CD version featuring speech. There is quite a bit of character dialogue in Dark Sun and a full speech version would be great.

At first I found it a little difficult to control my characters. Under normal mode your party appears as a single character, your lead character. When you go into combat your party collaspes into the four seperate characters. I found myself using the keyboard shortcuts a bit in Dark Sun.

As I said earlier there are bugs in Dark Sun. Things such as lockups when entering rooms or new locations. I would have enjoyed Dark Sun except I was cheated of the finale. I had done everything, solved all the side quests and was to be transported by a genie to the final showdown battle. When I got there I was all alone, the enemy was no where. From other posts I have seen in the comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.rpg newsgroup this is a bug that others have experienced as well. The game is also a little on the short side.

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