The many different weapons and spells make this game so much fun to play!
The main character (there are three to choose from) is seen from a third person perspective and changes according to what armor you're wearing and what weapon you're wielding with extreme precision and crisp details. The enemies and monsters are animated just as well and also wield different weapons and armor. The many different milieus of the game give the game that feeling of actually being in different places. The backgrounds are amazingly detailed and the scrolling is second to none. On top of that, the lightning and water effects of the game surpass even those of games created years after and really push the game forward. It feels very encouraging and keeps you playing. The effects from the many different kinds of spells available are just amazing! Everything is extremely detailed, from the weapons and pieces of armor to end-of-level bosses (Which include sorcerers, master thieves and beholders etc.) and lightning effects. There are also many small details for example if your sword holds powers of fire (to deal extra fire-damage) it's engulfed in flames that moves convincingly in accordance with your characters movement. The NPC's should also get a mention, since they are very well made and definitely get a personality. All these things together make the world of Baldur's gate, including among others the wine cellar and catacombs of said town, the Sunset mountains, the ice caverns, the sunken chapel and finally the Onyx tower come alive. The overall layout of the game including the level-up screen, title screen, options menu and interaction menus are sculptured to perfection. The collision/sprite detection is almost perfect. It's one of the best looking game I have ever witnessed!
The game features mostly atmospheric, dark and foreboding ambient tunes that changes as certain things happen in the game. For example, the music changes into a more intense and exciting one when you start exploring previously unexplored areas of the map. There are many other specific tunes to enjoy during the course of your adventure; one of the best examples is in the very beginning of the game as you are centered around the Elfsong tavern you can hear a beautiful song in the background (supposedly the unrest of a spirit of an elven woman singing). The sound effects are brilliant and there are different sounds for different kinds of armor and weapons down to equipping items. Clicking on a chainmail to wear, sounds different than selecting a studded leather armor, which in turn sounds different from a plate armor etc The sounds of battle and skirmish are very satisfying and the other sounds, which includes firing a bow and magic missiles etc, are top of the line, crisp and very encouraging. The voice acting is definitely some of the best I've heard and projects the atmosphere of the characters and the story perfectly.
The controls are very intuitive, responsive and the moves are well mapped. If you still aren't happy with the way they work, you can define your own scheme. The jumping (Y-button) is kept to a minimum, which I personally like when it comes to RPG and adventures. However, the jumping sequences are a nice break in the hack and slash gameplay and the acrobat-controls are, surprisingly, very precise and not frustrating at all. Of course, the most important action element is the combat which, in my opinion, works very well. It's pretty mindless grinding, but finding cool combinations of magic and hand to hand combat is really satisfying and good fun. You only have one basic attack, but that doesn't really matter since you have spells and/or magic to your disposal as well. The battle rules are d & d, complete with random damage points and the whole shebang. The many different weapons and spells make this game so much fun to play! You also have a "block" button (black button) which you'll never use. The only thing I found it useful for was to block projectiles. The level up system is very detailed and the choices of how to distribute your points are huge. Every level you reach you get a set number of points to distribute among the many different skills and abilities. Ranging from an increase in attack speed, more permanent hit points, spells, enchanted arrows, being able to carry more weight, dodging etc. The skills you can choose are different for each of the characters. Every five levels you get to increase one of your attributes (dexterity, strength, endurance etc.) and the perks that come with it (like dealing extra damage, stronger ranged attacks and so on). This game is just so much fun and the story is very driven and strong and with these NPCs, you'll have A LOT of fun exploring this very animated world.
This game is really one of those games you say "just one more battle" or "I'll just explore one more location" and you just keep going long into the night. The three different characters are; Kromlech the fighter, Vahn, the arcane archer and Adrianna the sorceress. They all have a different set of skills and style in which you should play them. This amounts to an incredible re-play value and add to that 3 different difficulty levels to challenge and also the hidden mode "the Gauntlet" that you'll unlock once you complete the game. Personally I have completed the game four times on different difficulties with different characters and I can still see myself play through this again in the future. Outstanding!
One of the best games I've ever played! Baldur's gate – Dark alliance clearly pays homage to Bard's tale and other classic RPGs in its settings and improves on everything. Wine-cellar, taverns, catacombs and temples. Fighting kobolds and sorcerers and dragons. Skara Brae anyone? It also draws influences from Gauntlet (the two player mode), Diablo (the action and potion drinking) etc. While being one of the most playable games AND by looking and sounding stunning "Dark Alliance" is an adventure all RPG and action fans should experience… a couple of times.