The initial disappointment of any experienced fan of the fantasy role-playing genre when playing Menzoberranzan will probably lie in the realization that there is nothing new here from previous titles of the Forgotten Realms series. You've seen this before in the guise of a different story, similar graphics and stereo-typed characters. There's something to be said for the old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!", but there should be equal emphasis on improving or enhancing a product to keep it fresh and inspired. This isn't a bad game, it's just sort of like an old car that's been carefully maintained (but without new parts) to keep it running. However, there is an upside to this. It's comfortable and will get you where you want to go, sure and steady.
Menzoberranzan is, not surprisingly, a very long game. It's filled with enough mini-quests and dungeon crawling segments to keep even the most die-hard hack and slasher occupied for hours and hours. The central quest, freeing the village and rescuing the unfortunates who got spirited away by those nasty drow elves, is achievable but not before your two characters have paid the price through experience and level advancement. Like any decent role-playing game, this one contains a vast array of weaponry, spells and items to be mastered by your adventurers. Since you are limited to two primary characters, your selection of the class (cleric, mage, ranger, paladin, thief or fighter), influenced by which of the six races he/she belongs to, is a factor in how you'll manage to complete your mission. The good news is that you can "employ" two other non-player characters throughout the game. The better news is that you're not stuck with anyone that joins your party of four as you have the option to dump them anytime and find someone new with skills more to your liking. This ongoing decision-making of which NPC's best meet your needs is integral to the game and adds a welcome dimension of strategy.
The interface is simple and straightforward. Maneuvering in the 3-D game world is generally easy but not without its occasional hiccup or stumble. You'll find the world in Menzoberranzan to be relatively flat without the need for such activities as swimming or mountain climbing. There is an auto-mapping feature that allows you to make data entries and doesn't limit you to looking at one map depending on your location. You have the option of scrolling through all the maps you've uncovered as your adventurers make their way through the various locations. Sound effects are basically well done and the musical score of the game is a highlight. If you're looking for something really new and innovative in the world of role-playing, Menzoberranzan will not be the answer to your search. If you're looking for a tried and tested, dungeon crawl type adventure with lots of fighting and spell casting and a decent plot/storyline, then you could do worse than this one.
Graphics: High resolution 3-D environment is occasionally rough and unpolished and can slow movement in certain areas. For the most part, the graphics are clear and detailed but fall a bit short of creating a desired moody atmosphere.
Sound: Music is really good but the sound effects are standard fare.
Enjoyment: A typical role-playing adventure. If you like hack and slash, spell casting, exploration based RPG's, Menzoberranzan works. Just don't look for ground breaking graphics and dynamic movement.
Replay Value: Multiple choices in character generation usually make for good replay value and this is no exception.
In Menzorberranzan the player takes the role of two adventurers (two more can be recruited) who have just returned from a fight against an evil enemy in the Icewind Dale. A drow raid looking for Drizzt attacks the village the adventurers are staying in and takes several villagers as hostages. Now (probably with the help of the captain of the guard) the adventurers will have to rescue the villagers in an epic that spans to the evil city Menzorberranzan itself.
Menzorberranzan is a treat for any fan of the Drizzt books by R.A. Salvatore, as Drizzt and Guenhwyvar can join the party during the quest.
People who downloaded Menzoberranzan have also downloaded:
Ravenloft: Strahd's Possession, Ravenloft: Stone Prophet, Eye of The Beholder 3, Dark Sun 2: Wake of the Ravager, Eye of The Beholder 2, Eye of The Beholder 1, Dark Sun: Shattered Lands, Pool of Radiance
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