Menzoberranzan (video game)

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Menzoberranzan
Menzoberranzan Coverart.png
Cover art of Menzoberranzan
Developer(s) DreamForge Intertainment
Publisher(s) Strategic Simulations
Platform(s) MS-DOS, PC-98, FM Towns
Release
Genre(s) Role-playing
Mode(s) Single-player

Menzoberranzan is a 1994 role-playing video game created by Strategic Simulations (SSI) and DreamForge Intertainment. Menzoberranzan uses the same game engine as SSI's previous game, Ravenloft: Strahd's Possession (1994), and is set in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms campaign setting.

Story[edit]

Menzoberranzan, an underground city populated by the Drow, had been introduced in the game materials two years earlier in December 1992 in a three-book box set called Menzoberranzan: The Famed City of the Drow by Ed Greenwood, R. A. Salvatore, and Douglas Niles.[1] The game also features Drizzt Do'Urden as one of the main characters.[2]

Gameplay[edit]

The game has elements of Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss (3d world and real-time action)[citation needed] and its game concept is somewhat similar to Westwood’s Eye of the Beholder series.[3] The player initially creates two player characters (PCs) and can acquire non-player character (NPC) allies later in the game.[2]

Release[edit]

Menzoberranzan was published in 1994 by Strategic Simulations.

The game was later included in the 1996 compilation set, the AD&D Masterpiece Collection.[4]

On August 20, 2015, game distributor GOG.com released the PC version of the game along with several other Gold Box titles.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

Reception
Review scores
PublicationScore
PC Gamer (US)85%[6]
Next Generation3/5 stars[3]
PC Zone68 out of 100[7]
Electronic Entertainment5/5 stars[8]
CD-ROM Today4/5 stars[9]

In Computer Gaming World, Scorpia wrote, "Overall, Menzoberranzan is a disappointment. It has some nice features, but nice features must be supported by a strong story. Sadly, what could have been a superior entry in the CRPG field comes off as just another hack-n-slash product".[10] Andrew Wright of PC Zone considered it "a case of dumb dungeoneering stylishly put together", and stated that it "tries to be Ultima Underworld and fails miserably." He offered praise to its graphics and interface.[7]

A reviewer for Next Generation gave the game 3 out of 5 stars, remarking that the high-resolution graphics have a "painting-like quality" and that the gameplay is authentic to the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons franchise.[3] T. Liam McDonald of PC Gamer US called Menzoberranzan the best Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game ever released, and praised its graphics and story. However, he complained that it is "combat oriented in early levels and takes its sweet time getting to the narrative elements."[6]

In Electronic Entertainment, Al Giovetti summarized the game as "high-quality role-playing meets fast-paced first-person exploration and spectacular real-time combat", and he believed that it was "a sure bet to please role players."[8] Ian Cole from the Quandaryland website awarded the game 3.5 stars out 5. He was critical of the slowness of the game compared to Ravenloft and that "too many places were empty — just nothing". He praises that this was not a typical hack and slash game with a lot of character's statistics and puzzle solving.[11] John Terra of Computer Shopper said the game "stands out" and called it a "must-have".[2]

According to Allen Rausch of GameSpy, "without a great plot and exciting monsters that truly utilized its spectacular setting, Menzoberranzan ended up being less impressive than it was in players' imaginations".[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Salvatore, R. A.; Greenwood, Ed; Niles, Douglas (1992). Menzoberranzan: The Famed City of the Drow, Revealed At Last!. TSR Inc. ISBN 1-56076-460-0. 
  2. ^ a b c Terra, John (April 1, 1995), "Menzoberranzan", Computer Shopper, SX2 Media Labs, retrieved September 6, 2012  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  3. ^ a b c "Menzoberranzan". Next Generation. Imagine Media (3): 93. March 1995. 
  4. ^ Butcher, Andy (January 1996). "Games Reviews". Arcane. Future Publishing (2): 80. 
  5. ^ Release: Forgotten Realms: The Archives - GOG.com
  6. ^ a b McDonald, T. Liam (February 1995). "Menzoberranzan". PC Gamer US. Archived from the original on February 26, 2000. 
  7. ^ a b Wright, Andrew (March 1995). "Menzoberranzan". PC Zone (24). 86, 87. 
  8. ^ a b Giovetti, Al (March 1995). "Menzoberranzan". Electronic Entertainment (15): 67. 
  9. ^ McDonald, T. Liam (April 1995). "Menzoberranzan". CD-ROM Today. 3 (4): 95. 
  10. ^ Scorpia (February 1995). "Beware Of The Under Drow". Computer Gaming World (127): 57–60. 
  11. ^ Cole, Ian (February 1995). "Menzoberranzan". quandaryland.com. Archived from the original on March 5, 2004. Retrieved 18 April 2008. 
  12. ^ Rausch, Allen (2004-08-17). "A History of D&D Video Games - Part III". Game Spy. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 

External links[edit]