In 1992, MicroProse published their first and only CRPG: Darklands
. Set in medieval Germany, the game gives a lot of immersion, from
its innovative lifepath system for character generation
, to its use of period music
, to the importance of knowing your saints
, to tatzelwurms, quite fearsome dragons
. The game play
is good, with lots of different ways of handling any conflict and a semi-realtime combat system
. The game is also fundamentally open-ended; while there is a main plot (spoilers
), it's possible to ignore that thread and keep playing for years.
When released, the game suffered from some bugginess, including the infamous neon hair bug
(links currently down), but when properly patched, it runs quite well. And yes, it runs on DOSBox
. There are various walkthroughs
on the net, and if you can find a copy, the clue book is one of the best there is. It's still possible to find
the original game in floppy or CD form. Probably the single most useful site for the game is the Darklands Domain
, but it's currently down.
Darklands was designed by Arnold Hendrick, who also designed several of the Dwarfstar microgames
, and also the inspiration for this post). Hendrick also co-wrote and developed Swordbearer
, one of my favorite RPGs of all time.
People have started various projects to remake
Darklands, but so far nothing has really gotten finished.