Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance (Xbox)

Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance (Xbox)

Written by Dan Clarke on 10/21/2002 for Xbox  

The Baldur’s Gate franchise has been very successful on the PC and Interplay decided to bring that franchise over to the consoles. Last year Baldur’s Gate Dark Alliance graced the PlayStation 2 (it was a very underrated game – a lot of fun) and now the Xbox.

If you’re new to the world of Baldur’s Gate, it replicates the rule set of Dungeons and Dragons. Armor Class, hit points and sword of thunder +2 are all here. I haven’t played the ‘real’ D&D since 1985, but all of the statistics bring back memories. The game uses the ‘D&D 3rd Edition Rules,’ which I’m sure some people are extremely familiar with. I am not personally, but that will not affect your enjoyment of the game.

Basically this is a hack and slash game. Like Hunter and Enclave (both ironically done by Interplay and/or Vivendi as well) you’re roaming through areas basically killing everything in sight and trying to fulfill some sort of quest. Unlike the PC version of the game, Dark Alliance is more action than RPG and that’s ok with me personally.

Graphics are fantastic in the game—the patented “Interplay making waves through walking in water” effect is here in full force. If you have yet to see this, just you wait. There is plenty of action here and you’ll be leaving blood stains all over the place as you create carnage. Good fun – but this game is rated M for a reason.

During the game, you’ll need to pick up items and equip your fighter/sorceress/archer. Don’t forget that you’ll have to equip your warrior with those items you pick up – it’s not automatic, especially if you pick up defensive items like a sword or boots.

This game uses the hordes of monsters effect quite a bit. In one stage you’ll find a ‘boss” with seemingly hundreds of minions that you have to eliminate. In early stages, you’ll have to work your way through sewers and clean out gigantic rats.

Each character does bring unique qualities to the table – my favorite is the sorceress as I have become accustomed to using her fire spell – there’s nothing more fun than lighting your enemies afire and watching them rot away in flames.
In addition to the very cool melee weapons you can also find ranged weapons as well. I have a very tough time targeting enemies this way – in one stage there was a whole row of baddies slinging arrows at me. As I dodged the arrows I had to shoot back using my ranged weapons but most went into the wall rather than the opponent. I strongly recommend that as you level up you put points into the guided attack option so you’ll have a better target when you fire your ranged weapons.

The sound is very good in the game –whether it be screams, grunts or the voice acting. Music gives the game a very spooky feel and you will be spooked in this game especially when a boss monster comes after you from out of the blue.

You’ll find plenty of barrels and containers to smash, however not everything can be destroyed. Some items are movable and some items aren’t. It’s too bad there isn’t more interaction but it doesn’t detract from the gameplay.

The game is not much different than the original game on the PlayStation 2. The graphics are a little more shiny and the frame rate is exceptionally smooth, that’s about the only noticeable differences. If you already have this game on the PS2 there’s no need to upgrade.

Overall, if you like the hack and slash genre of Hunter and Enclave and even perhaps Diablo on the PC, you will absolutely adore this game. It’s a lot of fun and the multiplayer co-op adds a lot of replay value. Pick it up – you won’t be disappointed!
If you haven’t played it for the PS2, you need to get this game. Previous PS2 owners of the game may not be that interested, but multiplayer is always a blast.

Rating: 9 Excellent

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.


About Author

I am male, married, 31 years old and love videogames ever since my parents bought me an Atari 2600 on December 24, 1979.

My resume for video gaming includes writing for PC Gamer (Contributing Editor, 2000), Operation Sports, Sharky Extreme,and the now defunct Rival Works, in addition to ghost writing for various publications. In addition from 2000 to September 2002 I was Editor In Chief for an online publication that ceased to exist because of the powers that be.

Right now I am playing Medal of Honor Spearhead, Splinter Cell, NHL2K3, Madden and NBA2K3. I love sports games and first person shooters with a pinch of strategy games.

I have two wonderful kids and live in the Northeast. I am a Patriots, Revolution and Orioles fan. View Profile

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