Death Knights of Krynn. (computer game) (evaluation)
by Bob Guerra
Like its predecessor, Death Knights of Krynn is set in the legendary Dragonlance game world. Veterans of the first campaign, Champions of Krynn, will be happy to learn that its characters may be imported directly to Death Knights while retaining most of their worldly possessions and bank accounts. Don't worry if this is your first venture into the Dragonlance world, though; Death Knights comes with a prebuilt party of adventures who are up to the challenge and ready to move out.
If you'd rather, you may assemble your own party entirely from scratch by generating individual characters and banding them together to form a new party. Character creation begins with the selection of race, class, gender, and alignment. The computer then randomly generates the character's ability scores (stength, intelligence, dexterity, and so on). If you're not happy with a character's ability scores, you can have the computer try again or simply modify them yourself.
Lastly, you name your character and choose a battle icon to represent him or her during combat. An adventuring party may consist of up to six player characters and two nonplayer characters (NPCs). This latest fantasy role-playing (FRP) epic picks up one year after the decisive Battle of Kernen at an anniversary celebration.
Besides being a celebration, the gathering is also a fond memorial to Sir Karl, the former commander of the Gargath Outpost. Unfortunately, Sir Karl has been summoned from the graved by Soth, Lord of the Death Knights, to make a gruesome surprise appearance at the celebration. Riding in on his new Death Dragon, Sir Karl makes it clear to the shocked crowd that he has had a change of heart since his death and no longer considers himself one of the good guys. And you thought it was going to be a dull party!
Death Knigths comes with the standard rule book to guide you through its many action menus and a machine-specific player reference card. Also included in the game package is a 60-page Adventurer's Journal that provides a wealth of information on characters and parties, combat, magic, and the numerous treasures, spells, and creatures of Krynn. Sixty-six narrative journal entries supplement the onscreen text at specific points during the story, serving both to enrich the adventure and to copy-protect the game (whenever you start the game, you're asked to enter a word from a specific journal entry).
Finally, the journal concludes with a glossary of AD & D terms and dozens of tables which illustrate some of the number-crunching that governs the mechanics of the Dragonlance game world. Players who are new to the role-playing genre may find this level of detail to be somewhat over-whelming, while diehard FRP fans will appreciate the game's complexity and adherence to official AD & D rules. Whichever category you fit into, you may want to invest in the Death Knights of Krynn clue book available directly from SSI.
Although Death Knights of Krynn features higher character levels, a slightly modified combat system, and some new spells and monsters not found in Champions, its major weakness is that it offers little in the way of graphic realism or sound quality to distinguish it from other AD & D titles. However, gamers who enjoyed Champions of Krynn will no doubt be pleased with Death Knights. As sequels go, it's better than most, and the option of bringing your favorite characters along for the ride makes Death Knights of Krynn worth the trip.