Dark Sun II: Wake of the Ravager
At the end of the first Dark Sun you managed to fight your way out of the slave pits of one such city, and rescue the world from the evil machinations of Tyr's sorcerer-king. You and your party are heroes.
Enter a new and unknown threat, there are rumours of a man transformed into a dragon planning to take over the world. His second in command, the Lord Warrior, has been seen lurking in the streets of Tyr, and it is rumoured he has a large following of the less moral inhabitants of the city. Only one hope remains to prevent this evil rumour from becoming fact, The Veiled Alliance! You enter the gates of Tyr, to be greeted by an earnest young woman who begs your help, and is immediately felled by a Templar's spell! You leap into the fray ...
Pick up your characters from the first game, or create more if they've become sad statistics in the Void of Lost Players, or simply use a pre-rolled party, and ready yourself for a fight. The game allows you to choose both male and female characters of all races, apart from the insectoid Thri'kreen which are all female.
You'll need to interrogate, fight and navigate your way through the gaming areas of this new chapter. For those who are new to Dark Sun, you are on the world of Athas, a land devastated forever by the ancient war between sorcerers and mages. A land of sprawling deserts, twisted magics and barbaric inhabitants, reminiscent of a post-nuclear hell, where you must fight for your lives.
Water is the most precious commodity of all, and friendship is tenuous at best. Humans and their fellow races huddle in tiny cities and towns hording the few litres of water they have, and strangers are looked on in a suspicious light.
The character sprites are very well drawn and the whole game takes place from one viewpoint, a top-down view or eagle eye. Fighting is carried out in the same screen, and small sub-menus pop up for conversations. The interface is mouse based, and although there are keyboard short-cuts; mouse is simply the easiest way. Spells are cast by choosing one from a selection available to your character, and fighting is turn based, not a rushed click and bash approach.
The sheer number of spells available to your preservers (magicians for good, evil mages are called defilers) clerics and psionicists is almost overwhelming. Your characters will get to cast at least 6th level spells, and to play a character party with no spell casters is probably a waste of time.
There is a plentiful supply of weapons to use, ranging from the common sword to more exotic weapons like a gythka or chat'chka. Many of the weapons you find will have added spell bonuses and some will be useable only by certain classes of characters. In addition, you will find many psionicist items but to use them you need to have a pure psionicist in your group, likewise for preserver items.
Dark Sun II has a slightly different interface to other SSI games and it is a little buggy, but is guaranteed to give you an enthralling game, and take up lots of your time.