Dungeons & Dragons Gold Box Classics - Steam Edition Impressions

Following the recent Steam release of SSI's Gold Box games, we get this PC Gamer article that takes them out for a spin and shares some general impressions. If you'd like to know what to expect from these games, or why you should get the Steam version specifically, you might want to check the article out.

Important to note, however, that the Gold Box Companion mentioned in the article is actually a fairly convenient UI tool, and not some Cheat Engine alternative as the article would lead you to believe.

Here's a quick excerpt:

So what made them classics, and why would anyone want to play them today? The turn-based tactical combat I rhapsodized about above is a huge part of it, and combat makes up the majority of what you'll be doing. Some of the spin-offs went real-time though, with Al-Qadim: The Genie's Curse closer to a Legend of Zelda game, and others were first-person blobbers like Eye of the Beholder. On that subject I bow to the expertise of my esteemed colleague Andy Chalk, who says everyone should play Eye of the Beholder 2: The Legend of Darkmoon.

Beyond the combat, a significant part of their appeal is down to their unique vibe. The journals are responsible for a lot of that, full of text and sometimes diagrams that wouldn't fit on the floppy disks. Everything from overheard tavern gossip to excerpts from books found in a haunted library or crude maps drawn by monsters—all of it could be found in the journal, which you'd be directed to from the game with notes like, "You find information on his body and log it as Journal Entry 4."

Compared to the terseness of most in-game writing at the time, all-caps and brutally edited to fit text boxes, the journal entries were verbose and characterful, whether evoking a haughty villain's speech or a spy's summary of nearby threats. The writers clearly had fun with them, even adding entries that weren't pointed to from anywhere in the games, written to lead astray anyone who tried to cheat by reading paragraphs they hadn't been told to.