Scourge of Worlds, The: A Dungeons & Dragons Adventure (2003) (NTSC)
|Year Of Production||2003|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Dan Krech|
Jos'h R.L. Fuller
David W. Shaw
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Regdar the warrior, Lidda the thief and Mialee the scantily clad sorceress are on a mission to bring back a Cleric who has stolen an ancient map from his own temple. The usual fantasy highjinks ensue with various impossible monsters (you know the kind, gigantic slavering beasts who look like they need to eat a house full of cows every day to survive and yet somehow manage for years at a time on just a few grubs and some dirt) and a few pontificating do-gooders getting in the way.
Saying too much would spoil the fun, but since this is an interactive movie the plot does change slightly depending on which paths you choose. If you ever read a Steve Jackson 'choose your own adventure' book back in the eighties you know the form. At a particular point in the story, the action stops and you are presented with two choices as to what to do next.
The problem with doing this as a film is that it means making much more movie than a normal feature in order to fill out each path, and so the solution to the problem of cost is to either make the overall story short or cut down the production values. Scourge takes the first option, which is kind of self defeating as there isn't enough variety in story paths to make the interactive elements really satisfying.
Scourge of Worlds is made and presented in a 1.78:1 widescreen format enhanced for 16x9 TVs.
Scourge was never intended for theatrical release and was made specifically for the DVD format. Consequently, the sharpness and grain characteristics of the film are excellent. However, someone made a serious mistake in setting the contrast and ambient light levels in the numerous night-time scenes as the shadow detail is quite poor. Given that Scourge is the product of digital animation where every aspect of the image is under total control, this is quite disappointing.
The colours used in the film remind you more of Saturday morning cartoons than real life - this is no Final Fantasy. Skin tones are not very realistic, however the magic effects are quite nice, although you might start to wonder if Mialee knows any other spell than Magic Missile (Dungeons & Dragons players will know what I mean).
The only artefacts you'll find in Scourge are the ones the heroes are looking for: as this is all digital and was made specifically for DVD, these kinds of glitches are entirely absent.
There are two audio tracks included with Scourge, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 track for those without a home theatre sound system and a 5.1 track for the rest of us. Both tracks are good with the dialogue easily heard and the effects sounds and incidental music mixed in well.
With this being an animated production, the lip sync of the dialogue isn't what you'd expect from a live action film. A lot of the time the animation of the characters' mouths doesn't really match what the characters are saying, which may have been acceptable years ago, however there are quite a few software packages around now, with the best being developed right here in Australia, which can sync animated mouths with their dialogue and so this aspect of Scourge could have been done better.
Music is used sparingly to create mood and tension and is mostly effective and sounds perfect in relation to the rest of the audio tracks.
Scourge makes some use of surround channels in the 5.1 track, however I found that it actually sounded better in Pro Logic II instead of 5.1 as this spread more sound to the rear channels. The battle scenes in particular could have benefited from more dynamic directional sound.
The worst aspect of the audio is its use of the subwoofer, which is virtually non existent. There are many sequences during fights and particularly with the sounds of monsters braying where the sub could have been used to greater effect.
|Surround Channel Use|
Not much in the way of extras here. Menu audio! What do I say, it's there and it sounds reasonably atmospheric and inviting, which is I suppose what menu music is supposed to do.
The credits are equally uplifting and give credit where credit is due in a sublime and moving way. I was almost in tears.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The R1 and R4 versions of Scourge are identical.
Basically this is one for the fans (of Dungeons and Dragons) and seeing how there's a lot of them out there it will probably work in a commercial sense. However, as an interactive movie in its own right it lacks sufficient depth, number of story paths, and doesn't really have a very compelling story in the first place. More money and time should have been spent on the script, a fact that should be beaten into the brains of everyone thinking of making any kind of film.
|DVD||Denon DVD-1600, using S-Video output|
|Display||LOEWE Planus 4670 70cm 16:9. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Marantz SR7200. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Luxman LV600 valve hybrid stereo amp for front stereo pair and Marantz SR 7200 for centre and surround channels|
|Speakers||Altec Lansing Model 15's front stereo, matched Krix Centrix front and rear, Krix matched rear surrounds, Sony rear subwoofer (Altec's provide sub for front)|