Genre: Role-Playing (RPG)
Perspective: Bird's-eye view
Setting: Europe, Fantasy, Medieval
Published by: MicroProse Software
Developed by: MPS Labs
Even if there are only a few enthusiasts working on the game, this will not stop them from doing something incredible. And this game is another proof of that.
Middle Ages. But this is not a fantasy world as we are used to seeing it. This is the world of medieval Europe. The system of estates, about a hundred cities that actually existed at that time, an excellent combat system ... But at the same time, elements of fantasy are present, only they are very well hidden. There are kobolds, dragons, undead, demons and gnomes. But they hid in the deepest dungeons, where impenetrable darkness always reigns. The place of the usual magicians is taken by alchemists. Now you need to rent a room in a tavern, buy recipes and ingredients, and give the alchemist a few days to conjure over his flasks. And then, in the midst of the battle, give him a simple order ... So there were only charred carcasses left. Why not fireball? There are a lot of such recipes, and sometimes the same one is found in slightly different variations ... Especially complex recipes even require the presence of a philosopher's stone, prayers uttered to certain saints and their blessings.
There are also the usual spells of priests, but they are very original in design. There are more than a hundred (!) Real-life saints, each responsible for his own "profile". You must know Latin in order to participate in masses, to do righteous deeds, to earn the gratitude of the church, to come to an agreement with the bishop ... But what you get from prayer is more than worth the effort spent on gaining favor.
And then there is an ingenious character generation system. Races in the game replace estates. Peasants, merchants, nobles. About a dozen, quite a decent set. There are restrictions on the classes available to different estates and the age. Let's say you can't become a twenty-year-old knight or break into this class as a peasant. In order to become a knight, you must at least start as a squire, then scroll through five years during the generation and rise to the “junior knight”, and only then, being already an experienced veteran, you can finally start the game as a knight. Age also imposes its own limitations. After forty, physical characteristics begin to drop rapidly, so a balance must be struck between experience and age.
The main goal is simply to live it. Of course, there is a main quest, during which you have to destroy a dark cult that is spreading across Europe like a contagious disease, but after its completion the game does not end and you can continue your journey through this magnificent world. After all, there are still so many different side quests in Darklands ... This is clearing mines of kobolds, when you have to take part in a clash between kobolds and dwarfs, and a task to kill a robber baron, and search for missing documents, and just a lot of interesting things.
Just think, I haven't described even a tenth of the entire game ... I haven't talked about the fight against witches, and how a demon crawls out from under the altar, about more than a dozen ways to leave the city, about the real features of cities (for example, the best weapons are forged in Steyr, and it is historically a city of gunsmiths). By the way, about weapons. The creators decided not to give the weapon digital values, but only to introduce a quality indicator, which is responsible for all properties together. This is also a step towards realism, as I doubt a medieval blacksmith had a 1d8 + 1 label on his sword.