Dungeons & Dragons used to be a little known role-playing game, a spin-off from the miniature war game Chainmail. First edition Dungeons & Dragons, published in 1974, enabled you to take on the role of a single, heroic character, which would advance in ability while exploring dungeons and could be carried from one subterranean adventure to the next.
Since its humble beginnings the game has grown into a global phenomenon, and although pen and paper role-playing has diversified and progressed considerably since its founding days, the original concept of levelling up a character and acquiring loot remains at the core of many modern-day videogames of the RPG genre.
Dungeons & Dragons: Tactics fully embraces the game's early concept - the exploration of dank and dangerous dungeons and brings the mechanism of play inline with the D&D3.5 rule set. All of the complexity and dice rolling of traditional D&D is handled for you in Dungeons & Dragons Tactics, so prior knowledge of the rules is not necessary to begin your own quest.
Action revolves around a turn-based system upon a grid. Your characters and enemies will act in initiative order, each turn being able to move and/or perform an attack or action. Attacks cover both close quarter and ranged combat, with an extensive armoury of weapons, including the ubiquitous +1 magical weapon and higher, giving you a myriad of options.
Even greater diversity and tactical flexibility is readily apparent in the actions that the spell casting classes can perform. Whether it is a simple light spell to see where you're going in the dark, a fireball to blast a troll, or a cure wounds spell, use of magic can often be the turning point in an engagement. Hundreds of spells, accessible by different combinations of spell casters, again gives you an incredible array of tactical variation.
Character creation is taken straight from the pages of the D&D3.5 rulebooks, letting you create any combination of the core races and classes, as well as Psion and Psychic Warrior. There is no right or wrong balance to your adventuring party, but some form of healer is normally a must, plus at least one fighter-type that can both take and dish out the hits.
The makeup of your party is not just limited to your own choice of characters. Where Dungeons & Dragons: Tactics really excels is co-operative multiplayer in Ad Hoc Mode, in which up to three of your friends can join you in your dungeon-running and questing endeavours.
Dungeons & Dragons: Tactics is a faithful adaptation of one of the longest running and most loved role-playing games available. It is an entertaining diversion for anyone with an interest in D&D, while pitching itself at a level that does not exclude the newcomer. However, the icing on the White Dragon has to be the multiplayer offering, which provides the highly sociable appeal of a role-playing game like D&D, but with all of the hard work done for you.