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1 review, 4 user ratings

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Scourge of Worlds: A Dungeons & Dragons Adventure
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by Scott Weinberg

"Ever feel like FORCING a movie character to do something? Try this out!"
4 stars

Growing up as a full-blown geek, I was really fond of the "Choose Your Own Adventure" series of books. These were adventure yarns, horror tales, and sci-fi stories in which you could choose your own a degree. Every few pages you'd get an option like "If you want to accept Mogwar's assistance and give him the Kaloontee amulet, turn to page 34" or "To slam your sword directly into Mogwar's face, turn to page 36." They weren't exactly the most literary books, but I had fun with 'em - and they turned me on to the fine art of reading books. Now imagine that "choose your own adventure" gimmick being used via DVD technology. Sure, it's a gimmick - but it's a gimmick that's also a lot of fun.

Scourge of Worlds is a Dungeons & Dragons-affiliated adventure. But don't let that scare you off. If all you really know about D&D is that brain-meltingly atrocious movie from a few years back, I recommend a little more research. Long before Peter Jackson came along and awarded our planet with his phenomenal Lord of the Rings movies, D&D was the leading name in orc-bashing, treasure-seeking and experience-pointing. The aforementioned movie version aside, D&D is synonymous with geek-tastic adventure gaming of the highest order. And Scourge of Worlds might actually help the wounded fans to forget about that rotten movie once and for all.

The basic plot here is, of course, a quest. You begin with a trio of heroes who are seeking an outlaw for bounty. Once they discover their quarry, you get to click away and help make lots of decisions. Should you let Beriathon go free? Or should you help him on his own quest? Should you head off to the far-off (and safe) town - or should you hit the local (dangerous) village? Do you instantly thwack your enemies with a sword and a few magical spells - or should you try reasoning with your opponents? To Scourge's credit, you get a whole lot of options to choose from...which makes the 'replayability' factor impressively high.

Visually, Scourge of Worlds is a pretty package indeed. It's all done with computer animation, and while the end product is not exactly up to Pixar's standards (which, to be fair, is the industry benchmark), there's enough well-rendered eye-candy and spectacular effects to keep the adventure fans entertained. The voice-work is surprisingly impressive, the hero's characterizations are solid, the screenplay is unexpectedly dark and, at times, fairly witty.

But don't go in expecting high-end carnage of any kind, because Scourge of Worlds is a pretty family-friendly game. (I suspect the material would earn a mild PG-13 from the MPAA.) Experienced RPG-types will undoubtedly find something to appreciate here, but it's the younger ones who will most likely adore this game. (If you'd handed me this DVD when I was, say, 14 years old...I'd have spent a week sifting through ALL the different possible adventures. And then I'd start from scratch all over again!)

The original version of Scourge of Worlds was released back in 2003, but Rhino Home Video has commissioned a new edition. This one's a 2-disc Special Edition that includes the game on disc one and an inventory list full of special features on disc two. It's on this disc that you'll be able to watch the adventure in "linear mode" or click through four different behind-the-scenes featurettes. You'll also find a trivia game (that offers deleted scenes as a reward) and a theatrical(-type) trailer. All in all, a pretty solid little novelty concept, one that's well-produced and more than a little addicting.

I suspect that 'Scourge of Worlds' is only the tip of the choose-your-own-digital-adventure iceberg. Should this nifty little game prove successful, I bet we'll see newer and more elaborate concepts before too long. But for now, 'Scourge' is a perfectly entertaining little adventure of a diversion, and a product that's infinitely more deserving of the D&D brand-name than, well, let's just forget that that awful movie was ever even made.

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originally posted: 02/15/05 15:24:58
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User Comments

4/15/08 Tim Morgan Terrible acting, worst plot ever, ok animation 1 stars
6/06/07 David Cohen One character is really irritating, animation is so-so, otherwise a fairly enjoyable romp 3 stars
8/18/05 ES its short as hell and leaves you with a cliffhanger ending, so frustrating! 2 stars
2/26/05 James Kiang Played through once. Seemed okay and good voice-acting. 3 stars
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  DVD: 15-Feb-2005



Directed by
  Dan Krech

Written by
  Richard Elliott
  Simon Racioppa

  Dan Hay
  Lester Rosenthal
  Anna Deas
  Caroline Lesley
  Jack Brown
  Sam Cunningham

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