I don’t know about you, but I just adored those dungeon-crawling RPGs last generation; both the Baldurs Gate: Dark Alliance and Champions of Norrath franchises ruled and I’ll still play them to this day. …but do you know why I still play them to this day? Because that style and structure has been left behind in favor of bigger, flashier productions, that’s why. Therefore, I have to admit I’m excited to see Gameloft’s iPhone title, Dungeon Hunter: Alliance , headed to the PlayStation Network. Remastered and updated with high-definition visuals, this could be the very thing we old dungeon-crawling fans have been craving. Featuring that entertaining, nonstop hack ‘n slash action/RPG structure that revolves around building the power of your chosen character, Alliance could be one of those rainy day, kick-back-and-play titles.
While the original adventure for the iPhone only boasted single-player, this new iteration will include four-player cooperative play, both locally and online. That’s a huge addition and one that many should appreciate; I distinctly recall going through Dark Alliance with a friend, and it was mad fun. At the start of this enhanced adventure, players can choose between three classic character types: Warrior, Rogue and Mage. Both the Warrior and Rogue get in the faces of enemies while the Mage, shock of shocks, needs to avoid close encounters and inflict pain from afar. As you might expect, the controls won’t be difficult to grasp: just hit the X button for a regular attack, the Square button executes a heavy attack, L2 lets you use a special Fairy Attack, and R1 is used to interact with objects in the environment. By the way, it’s a “Fairy Attack” because a fairy brought you back from the dead.
But here’s an interesting twist to the standard formula: if one of your buddies kicks the bucket, you can stand over the body, hit R1, and revive him. Provided at least one party member is alive, the team can’t be entirely destroyed; someone can always bring back a downed ally, which is a very nifty feature. Oh, and remember how in some old dungeon crawlers, the loot wasn’t divided up evenly; i.e., it would all go to whoever picked it up? Well, don’t worry, you won’t be getting into fights over who snagged all the gold, as the game will automatically divide everything equally between the players. However, you can’t split an axe three different ways, so that’s a different deal. Even so, many weapons are class-specific and because you’ll probably be playing with different classes, someone on your team can benefit from a weapon that’s useless to you. As you move about, you’ll battle hordes of goblins, skeletons and other clichéd baddies, along with several large bosses. And yes, before you ask, there are towns that serve as traditional hubs.
When in a village, you can take care of your necessary affairs. You can buy stuff, talk to various citizens who might offer invaluable info, and assign any earned skill points. It doesn’t seem as if you’ll be able to dole out those points when in a dungeon, which may be an example of the limitation of the original hardware. But that’s only a minor thing. Lastly, the game will boast PlayStation Move compatibility, but it’s not what you think. You won’t use it like a sword or anything; it actually acts like a mouse, as you’ll control an icon on the screen and hold down the trigger button for your character to move in the chosen direction. Also, you have to shake the wand back and forth for that powerful Fairy Attack. So this is a good option for all you old-fashioned PC gamers out there, although given Move's extreme sensitivity (which we’ve experienced first-hand), we’re guessing the standard controls will be best.
Dungeon Hunter: Alliance should be ready to go some time early next year.