Yesterday we did a set of ten helpful hints and tips about the first game in the Dungeons & Dragons Collection remake entitled Chronicles of Mystara that comes out next week. Today we’re going to do the same for Shadow Over Mystara. SoM is a very similar game in that many of the same enemies cross over, but there is a palette swap for the Kobolds into Dragons, the order of bosses is different and a few new enemies are added. However the game is also very different with at ten stages rather than seven, two new playable characters in the Thief and Magic-User and a lot of new magic items to find and plunder. Join me now as I reveal some a few things that have long since been forgotten about this game save by those of us who own the Sega Saturn and/or Arcade Cabinets as well as some basic information that isn’t readily available in the HD remake itself but still affects it.
1. I’m going to start off with the longest and most complicated aspect of the game because that way it’s right at the beginning of this piece. I also STRONGLY RECOMMEND YOU BOOKMARK THIS as you’ll want to refer to it regularly.
Numerology is an exceptionally important aspect of Shadow Over Mystara. and it is one of the biggest secrets in the game. Depending on what you name your character will determine what secret item you might get at the start of the game. These items might range from a piece of armor to a game breaking magic item that you can spam with an infinite combo. Sounds interesting, yes? Well here is how it works. Each letter, number and symbol in the name corresponds to a number. All the numerical values of the number are then added up by the game. If there is more than a single digit than THOSE numbers are added together until only a single digit remains. That digit determines what item what you get.
AFKPUZ = 0
BGLQV = 1
CHMRW = 2
DIMSX = 3
05 = 5
16 = 6
27!?-& = 7 (spaces also count as a “7”)
38 = 8
So now you know what each input equals. Let’s do my name as an example. ALEX. A = 0, L =1, E = 4 and X =3. That gives me an 8 as my number. You will end up with a 0-9 as your number, although a zero is hard to come by unless you name yourself something like FAP. So what does the number give you? Let’s take a look.
0 = Type A. This gives you a MEDAL. Lame.
1 = Type B. This gives you BOOTS OF SPEED (Faster movement speed).
2 = Type C. This gives you a piece of HEADGEAR. Exactly what you get varies by the class you took.
3 =Type D. This is a RING OF PROTECTION.
4 = TYPE E. This is a RING OF FIRE RESISTANCE.
5 = TYPE F. This is a RING OF SPELL TURNING. Very nice.
6 = TYPE G. This is GAUNTLETS OF OGRE POWER (Do more damage with your weapon).
7 = TYPE H. This is Accessory I. What you get varies on class. It’s pretty crap UNLESS you chose Magic User because then you get a ROD OF FIRE, which gives un unlimited low damaging fireballs. Very hand, but not as hand as the other rods.
8 = TYPE I. This is Accessory 2. Again, nothing good unless you are a Magic User as you get the ROD OF LIGHTNING. This can let you do an infinite chain spam attack against anything, including bosses that aren’t immune to spells (Sorry, the Lich and Red Dragons can’t be hurt by this). Just get an opponent in a corner and taptaptaptaptaptap away!
9 = Type J. This is Accessory III. Once again, nothing good unless you are the Mage as you get the ROD OF COLD. This is like the previous rod in terms of spamming except it can also freeze opponents, which is nice. The Rod of Cold is the best rod in the game and to start off with it instead of having to find it makes life so much easier for a Magic-User.
So there you go. Figure out what item you want and go from there.
2. Unlike Tower of Doom, you can have up to two versions of the same character in each game. So if you want two Dwarves and two Elves, you can. You’ll end up getting a different visual for each to tell them apart. In some cases, like the Magic User, the visuals are very different rather than a palette swap. HOWEVER, both the Cleric and Magic User will have different spells based on the visual representation. For example, the Mage in green with the Vampire Hunter D hat will have Cloudkill and Power Word Kill while the Mage with short black hair and a skunk stripe running through it will have Conjure Elemental and Meteor Swarm. The classic Cleric from Tower of Doom will have Sticks to Snakes and Holy Word and the new Cleric will have Insect Plague and Earthquake. Both Magic Users are awesome but I think the green mage is cooler looking. Oddly enough enemies usually immune to an element like the Red Dragon and Hellhound are still affected if you get say, the fire elemental. The original cleric is better than the new cleric just because Earthquake can’t affect flying enemies while Holy Word can.
3. Final Strike is the most powerful attack in the game and once you have access to it, it can one hit KO even most bosses in the game. The catch is the requirements to get it. You have to have at least three people playing, a total of 2 MILLION XP in a game and a magic user with the Staff of Wizardry. You can only do the move once as it sacrifices your Staff of Wizardry in the process and drops everyone down to a single hit point. That said the move even takes off one and a half bars of Synn’s life off, so it’s worth saving it until then. To do the move, the other two or three players must hold down their three core buttons (attack, jump and use item), then the Magic User will have to equip his staff and do the same. BAM! Everything dies.
4. The Sword of Legend is hidden in the first cave you can float down to in the Caverns of Rafael. It will be Cursed Sword 1 at first and you’ll have to remove the curse to get it to change. This involves using the sword fifty times, which will kill your character two or three times in the process. Other methods include jumping and pressing attack a millisecond before you hit the ground (frame counting helps immensely here). You’ll have to do this fifty times and you won’t take the damage you would from uncursing the sword otherwise. The Frost/Fire Elemental method does not seem to work in this game unfortunately.
5. The Sword of Flame can be found in the Forest of Despair, but only if a Dwarf, Fighter, Thief or Elf opens the first chest you find. Later on in the stage, the Storm Blade can also be found, but again, one of the above four classes has to open the chest. Basically it is best to let mages and Clerics stay away from the chests in this stage. Finally the Sword of Frost can be found in the Land of Fire, but only if the usual classes open it.
6. The Magic User is by far the best class in the game. Spells are crazy powerful, his staff of striking has an amazing range and if you get a Wand of Frost or Lighting, you can get an infinite spam combo by getting an enemy into the side of the screen. This combo even works against bosses like the Dark Warriors and even the Lich! The Magic-User is by far the best against both Red Dragons and really only suffers against the Beholder and the Lich if you try casting spells. By far the best four man team in the game is Magic User, Magic User, Elf and then either Cleric (for more magic and healing), or Thief (For a lot of reasons). If you really want to dominate the game and get the most XP (and high scores) MME is the way to go, with the fourth member being a Cleric or Thief. I personally prefer the Cleric as he has some nice spells and can heal, but if you are trying for one of the four special swords, definitely go Theif. I can’t over-emphasize how overpowered the mage is in this game. Just like real D&D!
7. The thief is fun and as she can use any of the four special swords, she’s a good alternative to the Warrior or Dwarf. She can’t take a lot of damage though but her ability to open locked chests without keys, her sling and the ability to steal items from monsters by ramming into them (only way to get some items if you’re trying for a certain trophy/achievement) makes her crazy awesome as well.
8. This version of Shadow over Mystara suffers from some minor lag and move detection issues like Tower of Doom – issues NOT present in the Sega Saturn or arcade version. Jumping will definitely be noticeable, as sometimes the game will think you are going to crouch or will duck down and then jump up for some reason. It also has problems with rapid presses, so rapid attack, rapid fire with the elf or dash may not work sometimes. Just a heads up strategy-wise.
9. If you choose the Forest Labyrinth, the correct directions are randomized each time. You have four chances and if you get it wrong, you face a Black Dragon so pay attention to the signs. If you miss the sign before the Kobold destroys it, let one Kobold live and follow the direction it takes off in. That’s the right path.
10. Always choose to help the Gnomes. This village contains rare magic items including four weapons, four wands and four rings. My advice is to get the rings of Cure Serious Wounds and Lightning Bolt and then if you are trying for trophies/achievements to get the Wand of Paralysis.
There you go. Ten big tips and tricks that should help you get through Shadow Over Mystara pretty easily whether it’s your first time out or you’re a veteran of the game like myself. We’ll have a review of the collection up on launch day so be sure to check back then and in the mean time, feel free to read my preview of Tower of Doom as well.