Dark Sun: Shattered Lands
DOS - 1993
Description of Dark Sun: Shattered Lands
Dark Sun: Shattered Lands is an innovative RPG set in the post-apolocalyptic world of AD&D Dark Sun universe. The game broke new grounds in several ways, such as introducing phased combat, a friendly user interface, the addition of adventure-style inventory-based puzzles, and the intriguing magical discipline of psionics. Unfortunately, it was released prematurely, with many game-crippling bugs and touted but unfulfilled features that were not fixed until months after the initial release... by which time it was already removed from most stores' shelves.
Shattered Lands takes place in and around the city-state of Draj, ruled by the sorcerer-king Tectuktitlay, in the planet known as Athas. After many thousands of years, powerful mages found ways to gain power through draining the planet's vitality. These evil wizards caused the sun to turn into a raging crimson fireball, which transformed the once-fertile lands into endless deserts. The creatures of Athas were twisted by the free use of magic, and now the only stable concentrations of humanity are in tightly-controlled city-states. These kings call themselves gods, rule through a religious organization known as the templars, and enslave many citizens. Your party comprises of four slaves, and your immediate goal is to escape to one of the villages founded by escaped slaves. The game begins in an arena, where you are forced to fight hideous beasts to the death.
As an AD&D game, Shattered Lands faithfully follows concepts and rules that AD&D fans will recognize, such as die roll to determine starting statistics, THAC0, alignment, and multi-classing rules. The plot is standard fantasy fare, but with many non-interruptible interludes that happen within the game screen to move the story along. To its credit, though, the designers of Shattered Lands boldly introduced a novel mouse-based interface that is reminiscent of point-and-click adventure games, but work extremely well here (despite the fact that sometimes it is frustratingly difficult to select different action icons when your characters are obscured).
The game also sets a new standard in graphics and spell (or psionics in the game's context) effects, although it is still limited by the somewhat awkward bird's-eye-view perspective that is left over from Al Quadim: The Genie's Curse, the engine from which Shattered Lands was based on. The game's phased turn-based combat is also very well implemented: although the enemies cannot attack while it is your "turn" to issue command, you only have a minute or so to give orders to your party, after which the computer's turn will begin automatically. This adds a sense of urgency to the game without discouraging RPG purists who are not arcade experts, and forces you plan quickly and effectively.
Overall, Shattered Lands is an admirable, bold attempt by SSI to make a brand new RPG that breaks the Gold Box mold. It has many weaknesses, such as limited inventory slots, poor writing, weak automap, and frustrating drawn-out battles with impossible odds near the end of the game that are more boring than fun. Still, the game deserves a second chance by AD&D fans as one of the most innovative titles of its time, with a new premise and some very interesting monsters.
Just make sure you grab the latest patch from Games Domain or The Patches Scroll (see our Links page) before you start the game.
Review By HOTUD
Captures and Snapshots
Comments and reviews
DBadger 2016-12-04 0 point
I believe it would be easy enough, though time consuming, for someone to program with the Neverwinter Nights engine. Anyone up for it? :)
greengo 2016-08-12 1 point
I, too loved this game. had forgotten how complex it was. I? would also like to see a remake, solving a few problems besides poor graphics. the inventory menu was kinda hard and unnecessarily unwieldy. why you couldn't just grab something without having to confirm every time, i don't know, and getting something out of a chest or transfering to a chest could be hard especially from one chest to another. Game play was easy, but likewise odd. like when you go into battle, why was "fight" not the first option? Casting spells was fairly involved and so was using items and fruit. My biggest problem is that when you sold an item that turns out you needed later, their was no way to get it back. The person you sell it to does not stock it, no does it turn up later elsewhere, like at Kel's if you accidentally sell a gem or item you need.
Aside from the clunkyness of the game, it was the only one I remember finishing completely and enjoyed every minute of it.
bubbleduck 2016-05-19 0 point
I loved this game as a kid, I was someone could develop an Android version surely smartphones can run a game such as this in original design. But like some dude said above - it would be mad to see it in today's graphics. I love this game never finished it was so hard when I was a kid. Found somewhere online where you can play it on IE but I couldn't save it :( hours down the drain. Here is somewhere to play old consoles online - I've been revisiting Atari Lynx Scrap Yard Dog - never got to finished that as a kid and its still frigging hard now.
Muhammad 2015-07-10 3 points DOS version
Answers to copy protection:
Word # Page # Line # Begins with Answer
1st 03 02 H honor
1st 04 13 S slaver
7th 07 03 G game
3rd 09 03 C choose
2nd 10 06 H humans
5th 12 04 B box
4th 13 04 L large
3rd 14 01 P pouches
2nd 15 02 P power
3rd 19 06 S stronger
5th 21 10 C class
2nd 26 04 A armor
3rd 27 03 W water
5th 27 08 S share
1st 28 14 L level
6th 29 01 E every
7th 33 05 F foes
8th 35 02 A agile
Monolith 2014-06-22 8 points DOS version
Wow, nearly 20 years since I played this one. I wish someone would redo this game pretty much untouched except to update to modern graphics. Such an awesome game! Remember as a kid when this first came out I was so absorbed I stayed up all weekend without barely a bathroom break from the game. Still one of the best games to date... and Baldur's Gate games, among a couple others, but that came a bit later :-)
Have to admit, the graphics may be a bit sad now, but the combat, game mechanics, and entertaining NPCs and their stories remain undiminished.
Steeeeeeeve 2014-05-18 2 points DOS version
One of my all time favorites. Spent many hours on this game as a kid. The huge open world astounded me. Wish there were not games like this and Wake of the Ravager.
CB 2014-05-14 2 points DOS version
One of the best RPGs I've ever played. It is like a DOS version of Skyrim or Oblivion in the sense that there is a story you can progress at your leisure, or you can just run around and explore a bunch of side quests. Unique world is a bonus.
Raekuul / Pokota 2014-05-05 2 points DOS version
I see the comments from fudge u and from boo and I'm like "you kids and your newfangled WINE compatabilities! In my day we ran things in DOS and we liked it!"
Heck, I still like this game.
fudge u 2014-04-28 -10 points DOS version
pile of bs.program is bullsh*t tutorial is bullshit, simply bullsh#i from beginning to end
Boo 2014-02-26 0 point DOS version
What computer specs does it need? 1993? Will it run on Win 7 or 8?
NCHermit 2013-11-10 1 point DOS version
I am wandering through the halls of Abandonware and I am grinning. All of these games bring back memories.
I was playing this game when it was NEW!
And I will continue to play it now.
ooohyeah 2013-11-03 1 point DOS version
hey what is the word you type in to keep playing after the sewers?
Fershizzle 2013-08-09 0 point DOS version
For more details:
Checkout GameHorder's play through: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8GWhOYzyoM&list=PLB3BD10504C58D2B3
and Mamboi's gameplay: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tG6FZsqm4q0
May Dark Sun: Shattered Lands live forever! :)
egregiousminds 2013-05-27 0 point DOS version
A great sadness would be that this game could be forgotten into obscurity. may that never happen.
Kenneth108 2013-05-15 0 point DOS version
Been looking for this game forever!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you abandoneware!!!!!
krins 2012-10-19 1 point DOS version
One of my favorite things about this game is how open ended it is. You can play any way you would like, and the emphasis is on exploring as opposed to a single linear quest.
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