Darkstone: Evil Reigns

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Darkstone: Evil Reigns
Darkstone Coverart.png
Developer(s) Delphine Software International
Publisher(s) EU Electronic Arts
NA Gathering of Developers (PC)
NA Take-Two Interactive (PS)
Director(s) Paul Cuisset
Producer(s) Paul Cuisset
Artist(s) Denis Mercier
Composer(s) Christophe Rime
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, PlayStation, Android
Release date(s) Microsoft Windows
  • NA 31 July 1999
PlayStation
  • NA 28 January 2001
  • EU 9 March 2001
Genre(s) Action RPG
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Distribution CD-ROM, download[1]

Darkstone: Evil Reigns (Darkstone in North America) is an action role-playing video game developed by Delphine Software International for Microsoft Windows and PlayStation. In 2014, the French publisher Anuman Interactive launched a remake available on iPad, iPhone and Android, with the cooperation of the original game's author Paul Cuisset.[2]

Gameplay[edit]

The game can be played single player or multiplayer. Multiplayer games may be cooperative or competitive. Multiplayer games can be played over a LAN (using TCP/IP or IPX) or the Internet. The game includes its own server, so it is not necessary to locate a dedicated game server - any player can initiate a multiplayer session which other players can then join.

The user interface is similar to that of Diablo. Characters can be moved around by simply clicking on a location. Clicking on an enemy initiates an attack. Clicking on an item picks it up. Each character has an inventory that can be opened. Items can be rearranged or removed. A unique feature of the game is that in the single player game the player can control two characters. At any given instant, one character is directly controlled by the player. The other character will act intelligently for the most part - it will follow the other character unless ordered not to and will defend itself against enemies. The player can switch between characters with a single click.

The game world is divided into the town (where the player can trade weapons, armor, magical items and so on) and four Lands - Ardyl, Marghor, Omar and Serkesh. In the PC version, each land contains the entrances to two dungeons, as well as other features associated with the various quests. The town is populated by townspeople who will send the players on quests, and also tradespeople from whom the player can buy and sell things. Each of the first seven dungeons is associated with a quest and all of these have four levels. Completing a quest will result in the player's character recovering one of the seven crystals.

In the PlayStation version, the lands are a bit more abundant. In order from town: Ardyl, Terrnya, Marghor, Dywahd, Omar, Mothada, Baastahl, Serkesh. Each land has a singular quest to accomplish, and the entry to only one dungeon that has four levels. The last world, Serkesh, has three levels plus Draak's Lair. Dungeons contain many corridors and rooms. There are also many crates, vases and chests that can be opened or broken to reveal useful items. Wells abound, where characters can restore health or mana.

There are four general classes, each of which has a male and a female variant giving a total of eight character classes, Amazon, Assassin, Monk, Priestess, Sorceress, Thief, Warrior, and Wizard. Each character has a set of four attributes - Strength, Dexterity, Magic and Vitality. Each general class is skilled in one area such as combat, magic, etc. The Warrior and the Amazon, for example, are both skilled in combat. In general the female classes are physically weaker than the male counterparts but make up for this in other areas such as dexterity or magic.

Characters have Health and Mana values. A character dies when health decreases to zero. Mana is used when casting spells. Both can be replenished by drinking certain potions or from certain wells. Characters also get hungry as time passes. Food can be bought in town and is often found when opening chests and crates. Characters age as the game progresses. As the character ages, he/she becomes weaker and less dextrous. The effects can be countered by drinking a potion of youth - these become available toward the end of the game and can be bought in town and also may occasionally be found in the various dungeons. Characters have a "level" based upon a points system. Points are gained by doing damage to enemies. A character will "level-up" as certain points thresholds are reached. Each character can carry one weapon, a shield or a torch (but not with a two-handed weapon), and can wear a helmet and armor. The player character can also wear two amulets and four rings.

Each character class has seven predetermined skills; some skills are shared in common by the different classes, while others are specific to the individual classes. Specialized skills include such things as Repair, Theft, Lycanthropy (ability to become a werewolf) and many others. Spells can be learned and cast. Spell books can be bought at the town. There is no set order to which spells are available, as every time the player re-enters the town, there are different spells sold.

A range of medieval-type weapons are available - swords, knives, bows and so on. Warriors would usually carry a sword or club, while a Magician might use a staff and a Priest a wand. There are also ranged weapons such as bows and throwing knives. Some weapons are two-handed, which precludes the use of a shield. Many items have a minimum requirement of strength, dexterity or magic and can not be worn by characters who do not meet the requirement. There are also items that give protection against attacks with poison, magic or lightning. Armor also comes in a variety of forms, all the way from rags providing two points of protection to full armor providing sixty points or more. Weapons, shields, helmets and armor is often imbued with properties that enhance some character attribute. Possible boosts include adding a percentage OR a specific amount of points to damage or armor, a specific amount of points to a single attribute OR all attributes, a percentage to one OR all resistances, or a spell with a specific amount of rechargeable mana points OR a permanent spell that doesn't need recharged. Items may have up to two boosts and one spell- which is extremely rare to find, or to buy from Gunther. Rings and amulets add to character attributes or protection. The chances of finding or buying enchanted items increases as the game is played , and also as the characters level up to access higher difficulty levels. Higher boosts can be found in the higher difficulty levels.

Some objects are blessed with qualities such as Abundance, Life Recovery, Quick Mana Recovery, Slow Poison, Light Aura, Spell Duration Increased, Permanent Perception, Mana Shield, Eternal Youth, Poison (poisons enemy), Fire Element (burns enemy), Vampire (steals 20% of enemy's life), Magic Missiles (casts spell when enemy is struck), Storm (pushes enemy back when struck), Stone Curse (petrifies enemy when struck), Touch of Confusion (struck enemy ignores player and attacks other enemies), Push Target Back and Fast/Faster/Fastest Attack, whereas others just have bonuses to attributes. Other worn objects are cursed and cannot be removed without the help of Madame Irma. The curses are Old Age, Slow Motion, Bulimia (grow hungry quicker), Leaking Pockets (items drop out of backpack) and Unease (only really affects a player in the multiplayer mode). One rare artifact is the rune which looks like a small red stone that can be used to fix a spell onto a worn object. (This is done by the player selecting a spell and right-clicking on the rune then left-clicking on an object that causes the spell to be fixed onto it with a mana reserve equal to the player's current mana).

There are several potions and elixirs that the player can drink, which are identifiable by color. The red potion will restore Health; the blue potion restores Mana. Green potions are usually antidotes, although occasionally they are poisons. The orange potion is an elixir of youth which will reduce your age (and increase the player character's abilities accordingly) by five years, though never to less than 20 years old. Other colors improve specific attributes—purple is for Dexterity, cyan is for Magic, yellow is for Vitality, and gray is for Strength. There is also a peculiar potion known as Surprise, which is usually of a distinctive mottled color but may sometimes appear purple; the Surprise potion will increase one attribute for the character and decrease another. The attributes affected are selected randomly and the number of points gained or lost is likewise a random number. The Dexterity, Magic, Vitality and Strength potions increase their respective character attributes by one point. Aside from wearing enchanted objects, they are the only way to boost attributes past the character class maxima. For example, the maximum Strength a Sorceress may achieve through levelling up is 50, but enchanted objects and drinking Strength elixirs can raise it up to the absolute maximum number that the Amazon may reach through normal levelling. Master Elmeric always has Healing, Mana and Antidote potions for sale. He has the four attribute increasing elixirs randomly available along with the Youth potion. (Frequency increases in higher game and difficulty levels.)

Plot[edit]

The evil Lord Draak, who has the power to transform himself into a dragon, has recovered from earlier defeat and returned with his minions to the world of Uma bringing death and mayhem. Players attempt to find their way to Draak's lair and slay him in combat. On their way they must locate the seven crystals and use them to recreate the time orb, without which Draak can not be defeated.

There are seven crystals; the purple Crystal of Wisdom, the red Crystal of Virtue, the blue Crystal of Bravery, the yellow Crystal of Nobility, the turquoise Crystal of Compassion, the green Crystal of Integrity and the grey Crystal of Strength. These are magically reassembled by the hermit Sebastian to form the crystal Time Orb.

In the PC version, the townspeople will ask the player to do optional quests in return for money. These quests are either retrieving artifacts or killing an infamous monster. The artifacts are the Holy Grail, the Royal Diadem, the Shield of Light, the Unicorn's Horn, the Dragon's Scale, the Magic Anvil, the Path Book, the Medallion of Melchior, the Sacred Scroll, the Stone of Souls, the Cursed Sword, the Storm Flower, the Claw of Sargon, the Celestial Harp, the Bard's Music Score and the Broken Vase. The monsters are the ratman Buzbal the Furious, the vampire Nosferatu and the skeletal Evil Garth.

Release[edit]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PC) 77.39%[3]
(PS) 65.41%[4]
Metacritic (PS) 58/100[5]

Darkstone: Evil Reigns received mixed to positive reviews. Aggregating review website GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PC version 77.39%[3] and the PlayStation version 65.41% and 58/100.[4][5]

References[edit]

External links[edit]