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Title: Champions of Krynn
Developer: Strategic Simulations, Inc.
Publisher: Strategic Simulations, Inc.
Date Published: 1990
Platforms: DOS, Apple II, Amiga, Commodore 64

This title has alot in common with SSI's other Gold box games -- it's a roll playing game and not a role-playing game. You control 6 characters of the usual 2nd Edition AD&D Dragonlance varieties, starting at level 1. Your characters (and I use the term loosely) can advance to level 8 (7 for rangers, 9 for thieves) in games terms, but have no individuality beyond that. The plot is also almost completely linear, except for a handful of side-quests and random encounters, and I seem to recall very few significant side quests compared to the game's two sequels (see below).

Still, for an old fashioned dungeon crawl with obligatory epic battle of good versus evil plot glued on top, it is pretty fun. Numerous War of the Lance characters turn up (a little too often for my liking, but YMMV) and the overall setting will be familiar to those who have read Weis and Hickman's Chronicles trilogy of books or is familiar with the DL campaign setting.

It is important to note that the 2nd Edition rules, combined with the quirks of the DL setting can make this game mighty confusing for anyone not already familiar with them. On the upside (from a learning-curve perspective, at least), the list of magic spells is much smaller than the full 2nd edition list.

CoK uses the same engine as other gold box games, so gameplay is a mix of first-person navigation and top-down combat, all succulently turn-based and orthogonal. That means square. No, not like the Final Fantasy people, like the shape. Major gameplay elements include managing character inventory, spells and health, and running around killing stuff. Most areas in the game have an overhead map for where-the-fuck-am-I purposes, but not all of them.

So what is the game about? Here's the story in brief, mostly from my own poor memory:

It's a year after the Blue Lady's war (Dragons of Spring Dawn) and the Knights of Solamnia are helping rebuild the area around Neraka, including Kernen, Throtl, Sanction, Jelek and Gargath. Your intrepid band is helping out. Caramon has gone missing on a routine patrol at Gargath Keep, and your investigation leads you to uncover a plot by the Aurak Draconian Myrtani to steal a Dragonlance and cause general mayhem. You have to pinch the lance and stop Myrtani's forces, which include two flying citadels, a tribe of ogres, a bunch of dragons, a Death Knight with assorted undead goons and oodles of hobgoblins.

Also, you can import your characters from here to Death Knights of Krynn and from there to The Dark Queen of Krynn, complete with all of your stats and most of your equipment. Certain extremely funky items will be removed, such as the Dragonlance, the Gauntlets of Ogre Power, the Mace of Disruption, etc. Still, it can be quite satisfying to play through the entire series, from level 1 to level 40 (if you have the patience, or cheat like me), with the same 6 characters, even though the characters themselves don't develop as people or anything.

I was able to find a copy for download at http://www.abandonware.whitesqrl.com and http://www.virtualfools.com/ssi/ but neither seem to be very large sites, and so may not be up in the future. CoK is not available at Home of the Underdogs. Feel free to /msg me if you can't get hold of it. I have real live floppies, baby. Oh yeah.

Champions of Krynn - Death Knights of Krynn - The Dark Queen of Krynn

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