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Orcs & Elves (DS)

Rated: 12+.

Story: You've taken a trip with your talking wand to visit the local mountain full of dwarves. When you arrive, however, you discover they're all gone, the tunnels are infested with monsters and some evil priestess is intent on taking over the world.

So it's a usual morning at parent and toddler, really...

Gameplay: You wander around a dungeon, whacking opponents over the head with a sword. The action is turn-based, so you move or attack and then the monsters move or attack. Defeating enemies earns experience. Get enough experience and you go up a level, becoming stronger and tougher.

As the game progresses you gain new spells and weapons.

Save System: Manual save at any time.

Comments: The DS is liable to be the best selling games console ever. Why don't Western developers want to make games for it? This is the only traditional Dungeons and Dragons inspired role-playing game on the system that I can think of.

Sadly, it's a conversion of a mobile phone game, so it's rather basic - trudge through mazes, locating keys to open up new mazes with fresh keys in them. There are a few block pushing puzzles and loads of monsters but not much depth. The main strategy comes from deciding when to drink potions and working out which weapons are most effective against particular monsters. It's barely more complicated than Doom. This being the case, the turn-based nature of events seems more a legacy from the game's mobile phone origins than a suitable choice for the DS. The role-playing elements should have been increased or it should have been made into a free-roaming shooter.

Nevertheless, Orcs and Elves is OK and a pleasant piece of nostalgia for those who have fond memories of Stonekeep and Dungeon Master.

Briefly, anyway.

Ultimately, however, it's a somewhat disappointing, stripped-down version of a twenty-year-old game.

Conclusion: Better than all the competition... Oh, hang on...

Graphics: Good enough. They'd look great on a mobile phone but the DS can cope with so much more. Can we have a proper Dungeon Master clone, please, someone...? Anyone...?

Length: Short.

Rating: 3/5.

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