|Dark Sun: Shattered Lands|
|Developer(s)||Strategic Simulations, Inc.|
|Publisher(s)||Strategic Simulations, Inc.|
|System requirements||386/DX 33MHz CPU, 2MB RAM, 17MB Hard disk space, 256 color VGA, DOS 5.0|
|Input methods||Keyboard, mouse|
Dark Sun: Shattered Lands is a turn-based computer role-playing game that takes place in the Dungeons and Dragons' campaign setting of Dark Sun. It was released for DOS in a somewhat unfinished state in 1993 by Strategic Simulations, Inc., and later patched to a more workable version. It was later re-released on CD-ROM as part of the AD&D Masterpiece Collection in 1996.
The game had a sequel, Dark Sun: Wake of the Ravager, in 1994. An online MMORPG, Dark Sun Online: Crimson Sands, was released in 1996 and hosted on the T.E.N. Network. It was plagued by hacking problems. Not much can be found about what happened to either the game or the network, and neither are running today.
The game takes place in the fictional land of Athas, a dying and hostile desert world. The locale is Draj, a city-state ruled by a powerful sorcerer-king. Nearby are several "free cities", surviving in the desert thanks to the hard work of their citizens, and Draj seemingly has nothing better to do than to destroy them all. The player controls a party of up to four gladiators, condemned to fight in Draj's arena until they die, so naturally the first order of business is escape. Upon escape, the party must unite the free cities to resist Draj's army.
The engine uses a top-down view of the world. Much of the game involves interaction with other characters, giving the Dark Sun series more emphasis on role-playing and less on dungeon-crawling compared to the earlier gold box games. As with other Dungeons and Dragons computer titles, combat features prominently in the game play. Shattered Lands is noted for its highly strategic combat thanks to its two-dimensional turn-based combat system. No two battles are alike, and many of the "boss battles" involve a large army rather than a few powerful mages or fighters. Proper formation and spell use is a must, particularly when attacked from several directions. Characters are also far more powerful in Dark Sun than in ordinary Dungeons & Dragons campaign settings: base stats are 4d4+4 rather than 3d6, and members of one race, half-giant, receive double to their hit die rolls. Shattered Lands also incorporates elements unique to the Dark Sun campaign setting, including unique character races (the Mul and the insectoid Thri-kreen) and extensive use of psionics.