Chronicles of Mystara
Steam, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo
Along with parachute pants and a flat-top haircut, my list of pre-high-school embarrassments now includes never playing Capcom’s early-1990s Dungeons & Dragons arcade games. Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara, the packaged re-release of Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom and its sequel Shadow over Mystara, allows me to correct at least one grave injustice on the list. While Tower of Doom shows its age with finicky hit boxes and slow response, Shadow over Mystara is a great ride for up to four players. Since both of the games in this compilation are set in the Mystara campaign, Shadow over Mystara often seems like a polished version of its predecessor, and many enemies, bosses, and spells appear in both. After playing Shadow over Mystara, it’s hard to want to go back to Tower of Doom (and the option to purchase the games separately would have been welcome). They may not be the best example of the side-scroller brawlers that were so popular during the day, but the added RPG elements—such as XP, vendors, and gear, and Choose Your Own Adventure-style chapter progression—are great additions that more modern brawlers should embrace. After all, it worked for Castle Crashers.