At the beginning of the game, the characters are summoned by General Laurana to investigate rumors of evil creatures threatening the city of Caergoth. The heroes are quickly led to travel to another distant continent of Krynn, Taladas, where the forces of evil are hatching their plans.
To play The Dark Queen of Krynn, a party of six characters is generated by the player. The gameplay basics are identical to all games in the series. Characters can also be transferred from Death Knights of Krynn.
The game was more combat heavy than the previous releases in the series and there was less time spent in exploration mode. While the tone of the release was epic in scale, ultimately leading to an encounter with the dark goddess Takhisis, the game was marred by significant bugs.
The Dark Queen of Krynn is similar to its predecessors in terms of gameplay, though graphics were improved, as the game could now display 256 colors.
A departure from many of the prior titles (including the Forgotten Realms games) is that the choice of the character's combat icon is restricted. Instead of choosing parts and colors, a player has some pre-drawn icons which can be selected.
Unlike its predecessors, the arrow keys can not be used to select menu options. Those options are selected using hotkeys or clicking on the menu option with the mouse.