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Darkstone

Released: July 27, 1999
Platform: PC Windows
Publisher: Gathering Of Developers
Developer: Delphine
Genre: RPG
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Darkstone is a surprisingly fun action/role-playing game that fans of games like Diablo and Nox won't want to miss. Delivering some of the most consistent voice acting in a game, great graphics, and a randomized quest system that boosts replayability, Darkstone is simply a terrific game.

Players begin by creating two characters. There are warriors, sorceresses, monks, and thieves, and each has certain strengths and weaknesses players must consider. Warriors are tough in hand-to-hand combat, sorceresses and monks wield magic, and thieves are useful for archery and picking locks. One character is controlled by the player, while the other is directed by the computer. Players can switch back and forth between characters on the fly.

Once the characters are selected, the game begins in a town populated with people you can talk to. Some are good only for idle chitchat, some will let you buy and sell goods, and others give you clues to help complete your quests. Everything is rendered in colorful 3-D, from the game's characters to its buildings, and Darkstone's outdoor and dungeon environments possess a great deal of graphical detail. The special effects, especially for powerful spells, are particularly good.

Darkstone offers a little more than a standard hack-and-slash action RPG. Your characters age and must be fed, and interactions with other characters and creatures in the game are more complex than is the case in many similar games. There isn't an enormous amount of depth, but the little touches make the game more entertaining than we thought it would be.

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