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Dark Sun: Wake of the Ravager is the sequel to Dark Sun: Shattered Lands, the first CRPG game in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dark Sun campaign setting. Wake of the Ravager incorporates some new elements introduced by the Dark Sun series to the basic AD&D rule set, as you continue the quest to defeat evil in the brutal Dark Sun universe.
Half-giants, Mul, and Thri-kreen are added to the normal mix, and clerics worship one of the elemental planes instead of deities, each with unique spell selection and equipment restrictions. A new class, the psionicist, uses mental abilities to generate spell-like effects, but due to the harsh conditions in the Dark Sun world, all begin with higher than normal attribute scores, with non-psionic characters receiving some rudimentary psionic skills.
Parties from Shattered Lands can be imported, or a new party of four created from scratch. The top down isometric view is used both for exploration and turn-based combat encounters, with the latter allowing for strategic battle planning (e.g., positioning fighters in the front and relegating weaker mages to the rear). Combat strategies that are impractical in many RPGs are possible, like casting a wall of stone to limit enemy movement.
Wake of the Ravager has an interesting and engaging storyline, a unique game world, and a potentially strategic combat system due to the addition of psionics. Unfortunately, the problems outweigh the good points. Foremost are the "upgraded" graphics, which are no more than magnified sprites from Shattered Lands, about double in size (including flaws) with no improvements — they're muddy looking, blocky, and ugly.
The graphical problems pale in comparison to the number of bugs, though, which crop up in some form or other every time you play. Roughly half of the sessions end in a computer crash, and several bugs render the game not winnable. Hardcore fans of the Dark Sun setting may want to follow the story, but the aggravating and incessant bugs will be too much for casual gamers.
OVERALL RATING: 3 ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide