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VIDEO GAME REVIEW

Point and Smite

Diablo II Expansion Set Is Worth the Clicking

By Chad Serrant

Staff Writer

Diablo II: Lord of Destruction

Expansion set for Diablo II

Published by Blizzard for the Mac or PC

Rated M for Mature

$34.99

Upon returning from a brief trip to the homelands, I received startling news. Although I had destroyed Mephisto and his brother Diablo, the third sibling, Baal, was still alive. The remaining Prime Evil was determined to transform this world into a living hell.

Diablo II: Lord of Destruction is an expansion set that begins at the end of Diablo II. Baal travels to the frozen north in an attempt to corrupt the worldstone. Although I do not know the exact details, his success would no doubt damn this world.

Diablo II is indeed a fancy dungeon hack. Your mission is to create powerful characters who will smite their evil foes. In the original, you could crusade as a barbarian, amazon, necromancer, sorceress, or a paladin, while the expansion lets you battle as a sleek assassin or a vengeful druid.

Each character has his or her own special attacks and techniques. The assassin uses martial arts, traps, and shadow techniques to conquer her opponents. The martial art skills make her fearsome in hand-to-hand combat, and the shadow techniques are more like a mix of summoning skills from other classes. The traps seem limited, given that they’re useless in large open areas, but come in handy in tight, confining hallways. Assassins are good at delivering quick, accurate blows.

The druids are very versatile warriors. Elementalists can conjure snowstorms, hurricanes, and volcanoes to trap their foes. Druids may also summon wolves, corpse-eating vines, and helpful spirits. Druids also possess lycanthropy, which allows them to become fast and accurate werewolves or tough and strong werebears.

If you wish to continue your adventure as one of the original five classes, there are enough changes to warrant the purchase of this expansion. Your hirelings can wear better armor and weapons, and you can give them potions for healing. Charms give you bonuses for keeping them in their inventory. Runes can be inserted into your weapons, and give large bonuses if inserted in the correct order. Your private stash is nearly doubled in size, so you can greatly increase your earnings.

I appraise Blizzard’s use of 256 color 2D graphics. The 800 x 600 resolution makes the graphics less grainy, so you can’t pixel hunt. You also have more room to look around with this screen size. Be warned, that computers that are close to the minimum specs will not be able to handle the new resolution. The religious font is a nice touch, but I have trouble telling the difference between the number 5 and the number 6. The videos are gorgeous and are a good source of entertainment in between adventures.

The background music helps to set the dark mood of this game. Although it is of high quality, the music seems short and repetitive. It is also very quiet, so you won’t notice much. The sound effects are appropriate, and none of the effects will seem out of place. The voice acting is excellent, but I happen to disagree with some of their pronunciations (Baal is pronounced as “Ball,” not “Bail,”).

Remember that you can fight the Lord of Destruction by yourself or with friends over the internet. Blizzard’s <Battle.net> has a lot of users for you to interact with, so it is always possible to find someone to play with. Unfortunately, you cannot get information about a game (for example, the difficulty of the game) until you join it.

Diablo II: Lord of Destruction is an entertaining adventure that Diablo II veterans and newbies should enjoy. The forces of good are calling you. Join us.