I have to admit that I'm biased. In the good old Amiga times I haven't played any game more than this one. After discovering it again I was instantly caught by its old magic. The land of Trazere is swept by the waves of a mighty evil's dreams which flood the country. By hacking through dungeons the 4 heroes gather experience and get ever closer to their goal...
The 4 characters have different profiles and each a special ability (Berserker Rage, Bardish Melody, Hide in Shadows and Cast Spell) which makes them quite individual. Basically all party members are by their means useful. The barbarian tends to dominate especially at the beginning whereas the bard doesn't play a big part during the whole game. You can't edit the profiles during creating or advancing the characters but at least you can assign them to one or more of the four elements which has an impact on several stats. Incharacters may die as long as one party member stays alive so he can revive the others in temples or by certain spells.
While the combat mode isn't very convincing (you can't click directly on enemies to attack but rather have to move close to them and switch to battle mode) the spell system is IMHO excellent. I daresay that it is the best of this genre EVER (yes, even better than Diablo!). You start with 3 runes (Missile, Heal and Damage) and you can acquire other runes from the 'Ancient' (for example Vicinity, Slave, Revive...). In total there are 4 direction runes and 12 effect runes with which you can create your own spells! So let's take Missile+Damage+Vicinity+Damage and you get a missile which damages the point of impact and all surrounding hexes. So there's an infinite variety of spells and the wizard can memorize up to 10 of them. As there's no mana, all runes rather require one or more ingredients (Phoenix Claws, Night Shadows...) which can be bought in certain shops.
The whole game runs in real time, in battles, which mostly take place in dungeons (but you can also attack wandering armies) as well as on the map where several moving banners can be seen. Other nice features include a good automap, very comfortable menus, the option to let the whole party gather or attack with one mouse click and its HUGE content (considering the whole game is just 1MB big).
The downside of this game is clearly the lack of background story. The introduction is just a few sentences long and basically you don't know throughout the whole game who you are and what you have to do as explanations are very scarce and mostly related to a puzzle.
For a game of this ageis surprisingly user friendly but some things surely could have been made better. After some time it's quite annoying to have to activate 'Berserker Rage' and 'Hide in Shadows' and switch to battle mode again every time you enter a new screen but you'll get used to it.
All in allis an underrated classic and highly recommendable to fans of Hack 'n' Slay games.