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Baldur\'s Gate Dark Alliance is available on all the popular consoles, including Gameboy Advance. The Sequel however, is currently only available for PS2 and Xbox. Rated Teen for Blood, Violence, Use of Alcohol

Story

It?s late and dark outside as you stumble into Baldur?s Gate. You?re not even there for five minutes when you get mugged and are inches from death before the evening watch saves you from your attackers. As it turns out, there is a new thieves? guild rising in power and they are being aided by some evil force. You want to settle the score with them and wipe them out for the injustice they have done to you and others. There of course is a greater evil you will have to uncover and defeat.

Who can I be?

Your choices are limited to a male dwarf warrior, a male human archer, or a female elf sorceress. Drizzt is a male dark elf you can unlock later on in the game; he?s powerful and wields two scimitars.

Game Play

This game is very fun and is similar to Dungeon Siege, Diablo or other hack and slash RPG?s. You basically get quests, collect loot and upgrade your weapons and armor. As you fight and gain experience, you will level up allowing you to raise various attributes. Some of the attributes are for strength, armor, wisdom, and charisma. You can also learn and enhance various attacks. There are three acts (worlds) in the game that you will get to explore. The game play is rather short; I beat the game in roughly nine hours. Fortunately there are un-lockables such as Gauntlet Mode and Extreme Mode. Gauntlet mode is available after you beat the game. In the Gauntlet Mode you have 15 minutes to clear a dungeon and survive. Of course you cannot save. If and when you complete Gauntlet Mode, you will unlock Extreme mode (ten times harder and ten times as fun according to the box) and, upon defeating that, the new character Drizzt.

What kind of quests will I embark on?

Although there are many enemies, you?ll gain a few allies when you complete quests for them. Some of the quests are retrieving artifacts or other items stolen from them from the new thieves guild. You?ll have to infiltrate the thieves? guild, dethrone a king in a not so friendly way and smuggle booze for a bar drunk (optional).

What kinds of enemies will I face?

When you start off in the tavern you?ll be battling some big rats. Other animal based baddies include spiders, wolves, yetis, and lizard men. There are some powerful blobs and flames that will attack you too. The undead will attack you as well while often taking the loss of a few limbs before they finally rest in pieces. Each area has it?s own boss or mini boss; fortunately, there is usually a save spot nearby.

Graphics

The graphics in this game are very well done. The characters and people you interact with look very detailed and smooth. The environments are large and leave plenty of room for exploring. The terrain is detailed and easy on the eyes. The water, ice, and flame effects are good too.

Sound

The voice acting is great; no annoying or repetitive voices come to mind. If you leave your character alone for too long they tell you they want to get moving. The enemies have their own unique sounds as well. Weapons and explosions sound decent, each special effect has it?s own sound effect. The background music is pretty too.

Multiplayer

This is a strong point in the game. A second player can join a single player game at any time or drop players from existing games. Of course this can be used as an exploit to get good equipment etc. When you do play a two-player game you share the same screen, so this leads to the only downside is that one player can hold the other back when it comes to exploring. Both characters have to be in the same visible area to move on.

Appropriateness

There is plenty of hacking, slashing, and blood. This is unavoidable. There is alcohol and drunkenness too. Murder and stealing are part of the plot. Magic use is present but not necessary. It?s mainly elemental lightning, acid, fire etc. Some of the characters as usual can use some more clothes, mostly the females. I am still perplexed how the female elf does not get her belly all scratched up in battle when it?s fully exposed. I was surprised not to find any occult symbols in this game since many D & D titles have them; in fact the symbols they did use have Christian roots. Finally, the game?s teaching on death is contrary to the Bible?s Heb 9:27. The undead are summoned, and the main enemy needs to die a second death.

Conclusion

This game is very fun and is great for two-player action. It?s an older title and can be found for less than $15, which makes it a great buy even though the single player campaign is short. The un-lockables expand the lifespan of the game a bit. It does have some standard RPG appropriateness issues but it?s pretty clean for a D & D title.

Final Ratings

Game Play B+ Graphics A Sound A Controls A Appropriateness D

Overall 81%

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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