Back when arcades were filled with bat-top sticks, adjustable racing seats and plastic machine-guns that you could pivot in place like an oversized joystick, making that one credit last as long as humanly possible was the ultimate goal. Conversely, arcade game manufacturers wanted your game to expire in a timely manner. Not so quick that you immediately lost interest and set off in search of something less punishing, but not so long that you could see the credits roll for the price of a sandwich. It was a balancing act, one that required subtlety, and nowhere were the scales more apparent than with the classic scrolling beat-'em-up.
After the success of Final Fight and Knights of the Round in the late 80s and early 90s, Capcom dispensed a pair of Dungeons & Dragons beat-'em-ups that went beyond the usual health item and weapon drops. This began with Tower of Doom in 1993, a game that gave players an inventory crammed full of daggers, arrows and magic rings, and when Shadow Over Mystara surfaced three years later, the loot system expanded to include equibbable armour and magic talismans. Now that Iron Galaxy has re-mastered this pair of sprite slayers, is it worth revisiting these dungeons with the added advantage of infinite credits?
In the case of Mystara, the answer is a firm yes, because while Tower of Doom is a fantasy-themed button-basher that flatters to deceive, its sequel is the real deal.