Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Pools of Darkness is the fourth and last chapter of SSI's first AD&D Gold Box RPG series. The epic storyline that began with Pool of Radiance, and continued in Curse of the Azure Bonds and Secret of the Silver Blades, ends here. From humble origins, characters have quested for years to rid the land of evil and become great heroes known throughout the Forgotten Realms' world, and even powerful deities have taken notice.
Pools of Darkness presents the six-character party with their greatest challenge yet. The fate of an entire continent hangs in the balance, as they must confront a god in his own domain. As in previous games in the series, exploration and NPC interaction is viewed from a first-person perspective, while battles are strategically fought using a turn-based isometric combat mode.
The game suffers gameplay balance problems stemming from the faithful reproduction of AD&D rules, which break down at the high levels eventually attained by the characters. Mages become vastly overpowering compared to other classes at the highest levels, making up for being the most useless characters in the party at the lower levels. Non-human races are restricted in advancement by level caps, which can result in some not gaining any levels at all. Even if limited advancement occurs, they're non-factors in most battles. Non-human mages are affected most severely, as they're saddled with all the disadvantages of human mages but can acquire none of the powerful advanced spells.
Despite the problems, Pools of Darkness is satisfying as both an individual RPG and as the finale of the series. The epic storyline is complemented by a degree of nonlinear gameplay, and features intense strategic battles with a variety of very powerful enemies. First timers to the series, as well as veterans familiar with the AD&D rule set, will enjoy the experience, but the game's high level play may be too complex for those not familiar with rules. Veterans who import primarily non-human parties from previous games will be upset by limitations on character advancement.
OVERALL RATING: 5
Ten years have passed since the events described in Pool of Radiance, and the heroes return to the city where it all started, Phlan. The city is thriving, and looks quite idyllic; but a sinister force is lurking deep in the shadows... After the heroes leave to escort the council member Sasha on a diplomatic assignment, the evil Lord Bane sends four of his most feared lieutenants to destroy the cities of Faerun and twist our dimension. The goal is clear: explore the land and rid it of the evil, by taking on Bane's minions one by one...
Pools of Darkness is the fourth of Gold Box series of classic-style AD&D-based role-playing games. The gameplay is quite similar to other games of this type. At the start of the game, the player creates a party of characters (up to 6). Classic AD&D races (dwarf, elf, half-elf, gnome, etc.), character classes (fighter, paladin, monk, wizard, etc.), alignments (Good/Evil and Lawful/Chaotic axis), and statistics (strength, intelligence, wisdom, etc.) are there for the player to choose and adjust. Once the party is created, the player begins the exploration of the city of Phlan. Upon exiting the city, the player explores a top-down map, visiting dungeons and other locations of interest, as well as engaging in combat.
The turn-based combat is done in similar style as other Gold Box games: the player navigates characters one by one on the top-down battle field, assigning various commands. Experience points are gained after successfully defeating enemies. Enemies appear randomly on the world map as well as in dungeons.
Pools of Darkness is the fourth in a four-part series of Forgotten Realms Dungeons & Dragons Gold Box adventure computer games. The party starts their adventure in the city of Phlan, charged with the task to safely escort Council Member Sasha on a diplomatic mission. Upon leaving the city, Lord Bane, along with four of his lieutenants, claims the entire land of Faerun as his own, and magically teleports, destroys, and removes many cities off the face of the land...
People who downloaded Pools of Darkness have also downloaded:
Pool of Radiance, Secret of the Silver Blades, Curse of the Azure Bonds, Death Knights of Krynn, Champions of Krynn, Dark Queen of Krynn, The, Gateway to the Savage Frontier, Treasures of the Savage Frontier
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