Reviewed by Syrsly on Sep 03, 2012
Game Overview
Release Date:
September 15, 2000
Platform Reviewed:
Personal Computer
Platforms Available:

Darkstone is a dungeon-crawling RPG in the style of Diablo and Torchlight with roguelike features. It offers both 1-player and 2-player cooperative gameplay. The game also gives you a very solid challenge-to-reward ratio. The game is one of the best offerings in its genre, even today. Is it worth its price? Is it worth your time? I will make the answers to both those questions very clear, but just in case you are in a hurry, the answers are both yes, definitely!

The graphics have not aged well, but they are not necessarily terrible. For their time, they are brilliant. The characters are animated fairly well, and the player models actually look at the mouse cursor, something most game characters are not programmed to do. That said, the polygons are very noticeable, and the full screen resolution is stuck at only 720x480. The low resolution means the already noticeable polygons are also very pixelated. Thankfully, the cutscenes are fairly high quality, just a bit grainy. Overall, the graphics will not win any rewards, but they will not distract you from the enjoyment of the game.

The music is brilliantly composed and sounds beautiful, especially for its time. The soundtrack also includes a theme song called "Dark's Gonna Shine", which is extremely catchy and just as magnificent as the rest of the music. However, the PC version of the game only has the music video version of the theme song. If you want the actual soundtrack, you will have to use the PlayStation disc.

The sound effects are repetitive and annoying but not overly obnoxious. You can easily overlook the sound effects most of the time, as long as you adjust the sound settings so they are quiet. The dialogue can also be skipped, so you really can ignore the sounds if you want to.

The gameplay is where this game really shines. It has a superb 1-player campaign that allows you to play with a NPC ally of your choice. You start at point A, Town, and have to make it to point Z, the final boss. The game world is somewhat linear but has a lot of explorable areas. It is not an open world, but it does allow you to freely roam around the levels and go where you want without level restrictions. You are forced to be very careful with your items and money in order to get through the challenges outside town. The enemies get progressively more difficult as you continue to farther lands. You have to manage your health, mana, and even your hunger and age. If you get to a certain age, you get weaker resistances, but you can drink potions of youth to stay young. Antidote potions cure poison status, skill potions give you skill points, you know, the typical RPG stuff. However, you also have to avoid traps, fight monsters in realtime, and use lots of very interesting magic spells and abilities. Unfortunately, the story of the game is very basic and very short, but the fun is in the journey, not the destination, and this game offers a very lengthy and interesting journey that is different every time you play.

Darkstone was one of my favorite, most played games on PlayStation, but is the PC version, which came out 2 years earlier, better or worse? I think the PC version is better, but it does have some shortcomings. For example, the PC version does not play well with gamepads and has very complicated, uncomfortable controls. However, once you play the game for a while, the controls seem to make a lot of sense. The PlayStation version did not have as much to do! The PC version had a quest editor, so even if you went through the entire vanilla game and played all the random quests already, custom quests can be downloaded or created fairly easily. The quest editor is not as flexible as what you would see for Torchlight, mind you. The PC version boasts a cooperative 2-player LAN mode, while the PlayStation version was only 1-player. Overall, the PC version of Darkstone is just bigger and more significant than the PlayStation version.

PC When we refer to PC, we mean personal computers, so be sure you read what operating systems support this game. Currently, we review games for Mac, Windows, Linux, and DOS.

Another thing to look for when browsing PC games is the system requirements. There are really 4 things you need to worry about: RAM or memory, processor, video card, and finally, the hard drive space. Memory can be upgraded fairly easily, and it shouldn't cost much. We recommend having at least 1GB memory, 2GB if possible. Your processor needs to be fairly modern, and a Pentium 4 probably won't cut it. We recommend a 1.8Ghz Core 2 Duo or better. Your video card should support DirectX 9 (or higher) and have a minimum of 256mb memory attached to it. We recommend 512mb or greater. Hard drive space is subjective, but we recommend having a fairly large amount of space. You could settle for as little as 40gb and be able to play most games, but we recommend having 80gb or more space to make sure you have room for multiple games at once. Most PC games don't run straight from their disc. They usually require an install process, and most modern games require around 8gb of free space to install.

PC controller PCs are the ultimate game console, because they can be upgraded, and they will never go out of style. PCs can also play most old game systems through emulators, so if you lose your Playstation, you can just play your games on your PC. You can also play classic arcade titles and have infinite coins!

A lot of people complain about having to use a mouse and keyboard to play PC games. This isn't a requirement, fortunately, and we have what we call gamepads or joypads. Yes, we can use game controllers! We can even use Xbox controllers! That said, it's not as plug-and-play as a game console, and some games simply will not work with your joypad. Fortunately, Steam tells you if games support controllers, and if your favorite game doesn't support them, you can map the controllers to keyboard and mouse controls.

Just be careful when buying PC games. Read reviews carefully. If a game gets a 1/5, don't buy it. If your PC is a cheapie, don't expect modern 3d games to work. Read the system requirements very carefully. If you don't know anything about your system, you can find help in the PC Stuff forum.
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