Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Iron & Blood - Warriors of Ravenloft is a 3D dark-fantasy fighting game developed by Take 2 and published by Acclaim for the Sony PlayStation on October 31, 1996. It was later ported to the PC (running MS-DOS) on January 7, 1997.
Based on TSR's Dungeons & Dragons tabletop role-playing series, Iron & Blood takes place in the gothic-horror Ravenloft campaign setting. The story is set between two factions: a band of heroes manipulated by ancient vampire Count Strahd von Zarovich and the chaotic assassins of the dreaded death knight Lord Soth.
Along with the traditional gameplay of 3D fighters at the time, the game includes persistent character-specific stats (including unlockable super moves) and a unique team-based game mode (known as Campaign Mode). It is known for being originally developed as an exclusive to the 3DO M2 (under the title "Ironblood").
Iron & Blood plays like a traditional 3D fighting game (with stages of different sizes, enclosed by damaging Rune Walls). Along with a standard joystick for walking, jumping, and crouching, players have four attack buttons at their disposal: Fast Attack (X), Normal Attack (⬜), Strong Attack (△), and Misc. Attack (O). Players also have two buttons for guarding against attacks (L1 for Stand Block, L2 for Crouch Block) and 3D dodging (R1 for Dodge Towards, R2 for Dodge Away).
Some techniques include running (by double-tapping back or forward on the joystick) and 3D sidestepping (by pressing either Dodge button while walking, running, or performing a certain attack). Using a special technique (back, forward, back + Misc.), players can perform an attack that hits opponents who are knocked down (known in most fighting games as a "Down Attack").
Each fighter has three combos (high, medium, and low) and up to three special moves. By winning with each fighter in Campaign Mode, players can unlock two powerful special moves: their Magical Ability (which can be used three times per match, and can be upgraded twice) and their Arcane Power (which can be used once per match, sometimes giving that fighter a persistent effect).
The game also includes an experience system, where players level up a character (after every five wins, on any mode) to gain slight combat buffs (the stats of which are unknown). If a character is defeated in Campaign Mode, their unlocked moves and experience points are lost.
Along with the traditional Arcade and VS. modes (under "Head to Head") and a "Training" mode (which is a one-round match against a CPU), the game features a team-based Campaign Mode, which can be played in either player-vs.-CPU or player-vs.-player modes. Players pick from a set number of combatants (the number of which can be chosen from the Options menu) on their chosen faction (which is picked when a player chooses their first character). The first player to eliminate all enemy combatants wins the game.
Prior to each match, the game determines (and proclaims) the match's "objective", which can be one of the following:
- Magical Abilities - The winner of the match gains one level in their chosen character's Magical Ability. If they are at the maximum Magical Ability level, they gain an Arcane Power. If they already have an Arcane Power, they instead gain three experience points.
- Ring of Resurrection - The winner of the match gains the Ring of Resurrection item for their chosen character. Characters who are defeated while having the item will automatically use that item post-match, restoring their health and negating their death.
- Additional Teammate - The winner of the match gains a random teammate from their faction for their team roster (provided that teammate hasn't already been defeated), regardless if the roster is full.
Players then choose a character from their current roster and, if available, an artifact that they may possess. At the end of the match, the defeated character is removed from that player's roster (unless they have the Ring of Resurrection item) and the winning character remains (with their health amount retained from the match). All characters who didn't participate in that match has some of their health amount restored (up to the maximum amount).
During Campaign Mode, players can perform special moves on specific stages to acquire a special artifact, which can be used (one per match) at the character selection screen prior to a match. Each Artifact grants a special power. Losing the match while having an artifact equipped destroys it.
In the Artifact Selection screen, players can choose to enter the match without an artifact by pressing either Block or Dodge buttons.
- Trial of Champions (Darius's Stage) - Prior to the match start, the player overrides the character choice of the enemy player.
- +4 Ring of Protection (Erland's Stage) - Lasts for entire match. Increased damage resistance.
- Ring of Teleportation (Ignatius Max's Stage) - Activate to teleport to a random location in the arena. Can only be used three times per match.
- Spirit of the Martyr (Luthor's Stage) - Lasts for entire match. The damage dealt from enemy attacks are also stored in the artifact, which is added to the player's next attack.
- Signet of Holy Wrath (Red Cloud's Stage) - Activate to trigger a 30-second buff where the player's non-magical attacks have double damage at the cost of disabled blocking and dodging.
- Talisman of Health (Shinesta's Stage) - Activate to trigger health regeneration (as long as the player character is not hit and the player character's health has not reached maximum). Can only be used once per match.
- Ring of Equilibrium (Torgo's Stage) - Lasts for entire match. The knockdown power of enemy attacks are halved, while the knockdown power of player attacks are doubled.
- Fire of Retribution (Xenobia's Stage) - Lasts for entire match. If the enemy player activate a Chaos artifact, their character also receives damage. If the enemy player uses a Chaos artifact that lasts for the entire match (other than Altar of Sacrifice and Voodoo Doll), their character receives endless damage over time.
- Altar of Sacrifice (Ardrus's Stage) - Prior to the match start, the player kills another character in their party to gain their current character's 3rd-level magic ability and arcane power.
- Ring of Invisibility (Balok's Stage) - Activate to become completely invisible until the player attacks.
- Aura of Misfortune (Balthazaar's Stage) - Lasts for entire match. Enemy artifacts, magical abilities, and arcane powers have a 60% chance of doing nothing and a 10% chance of being lost permanently.
- Tempest (Kaurik's Stage) - Lasts for entire match. Spawns storm clouds around the enemy character, striking them with lightning bolts at random.
- Gauntlets of Thievery (Nym Pymplee's Stage) - Activate to attempt to steal the enemy player's currently-used artifact. If it is successful (the chance of which is increased depending on the player character's current experience level), the Gauntlets of Thievery is also destroyed.
- Dark Essence (Sasha's Stage) - Lasts for entire match. Increased damage resistance for non-magical attacks.
- Voodoo Doll (Stellerex's Stage) - Prior to the match start, the player chooses another character in their party to receive the damage taken by their current character.
- Bane Glyphs (Urgo's Stage) - Activate to spawn a glyph on the ground, which explodes and damages the enemy character when they touch it. Only one glyph can be placed at a time.
The game includes 20 playable characters, split into Order and Chaos factions. In one-player Head-to-Head mode, the player's opponents will always come from their chosen character's opposing faction. In the Campaign Mode, factions are set up by the first character chosen (for either player), and players can only compose their roster from the characters in their faction.
The game's four boss characters can only be fought against in Head-to-Head mode on the Fighter difficulty and above. They can also be chosen by any faction when playing as them.
- Darius the Gladiator
- Erland the Elven Archer
- Ignatius Max the Thief
- Luthor the Paladin
- Red Cloud the Shaman
- Shinesta the Elven Princess
- Torgo the Dwarf
- Xenobia the Warrior
- Ardrus the Skeletal Warrior
- Balok the Black Knight
- Balthazaar the Headsman
- Kaurik the Warlord
- Nym Pymplee the Goblin
- Sasha the Werewolf
- Stellerex the Wizard
- Urgo the Margoyle
- Tantalus the Minion of Chaos (sub-boss, playable with cheat code)
- Magog the Avatar of Order (sub-boss, playable with cheat code)
- Belial the Lord of Chaos (sub-boss, playable with cheat code)
- Lord Strahd (final boss, playable with cheat code)
Cancelled Saturn Version
Paul Good, President of MAGFEST and game designer at the time, detailed a port of the game for the Sega Saturn on an episode of Encyclopedia Bombastica [1:16:22]. He noted that Nym Pymplee's mouth, on the PlayStation, was "modelled out [to] every single, individual tooth as a cone", using about four hundred polygons, which is an unrealistic use of the console's resources. Good rebuilt the mouth "with about ten polygons" and expounded that his team's version of the game ran at sixty frames per second and was "significantly better than the PlayStation version". The port, nonetheless, never saw release.