Knights of Legend is a classic console RPG set in the world of Ashtalarea, released in October 1989 by Origin Systems for the Apple II, DOS and Commodore 64. It advanced the RPG genre by adding new classes like the "Kelden" to the mix of old standbys, and a new style of map and quests. The game was the first of a planned four-part series designed to use the same character and continue the story with each successive game, but the other three never saw the light of day.
The primary objective of Knights of Legend is to explore the land and complete each of the 24 available quests. Each character starts ranked as a peasant but can increase rank by leveling up. Knights of Legend is very much a "pen and paper" style RPG. There are lots of complicated and intricate systems, especially within combat.
Unfortunately, players are only able to get characters up to the "Squire" rank which wasn't the planned maximum rank. The game was originally planned to be a four-part game, each installment continuing your custom character and providing higher level and rank caps as well as continuing the story. The other parts of the game were never made, however, which keeps characters from reaching their full potential.
The game plays from a top down perspective and your icon while inside town is an animated helmet icon that moves around from building to building. The controls are a bit rough and don't usually allow for very precise control of your character. There are eight directions of movement, but when you have to get the helmet icon to a specific tiny spot to go inside a building for example, it can be difficult. Exiting the town switches the view slightly to a larger overhead view and you lose the helmet icon. Your party is now represented by a tiny blinking dot on screen. From here random enemy encounters can occur. When battle is entered, the UI shifts to something a little more complicated. The game is very intricate, especially when it comes to combat. It is highly recommended to own the 142-page players handbook or reading up somewhere on the web if you are thinking of seriously getting into this game.
When starting a new game, characters start out in the town of Brettle. Your first task is to explore the town until you find a tailor and get fitted for a suit of armor. Weapons, horses, and more are also available from shops around town. There is an aspect to the game that adds some interesting obstacles, however. This is the prejudice system. Knights of Legend actually features a thought-out prejudice system within towns and shops. For example, a dwarf race character will not be able to purchase a horse from the Stable in the starting town, Brettle. However, another stable's owner in the town called "Shellernoon" will have no problem selling a horse to a Dwarf. Prejudice is actually very rampant in the world of Knights of Legend, and affects all kinds of characters. A few that are often affected most by prejudice are magic users, elves, dwarves, and female characters. The prejudice system adds an element of real life society.
Creating A Character
For its time, Knights of Legend had a very in-depth character creation system. You can choose to create a character from the options on the main menu. While inside the character creation screen, you first give your character a name. It can be greater than 5 characters, but only 5 will display under your portrait. After naming your character you will select which race he/she will belong to. There are the classic options of "Human", "Elven", and "Dwarven". Then there is a fourth option called "Kelden". This race is unique to the game and is expanded upon in a separate section below. After race, the player selects either "male" or "female", and moves on to class. There are various unique classes per race. Depending on what race you choose, you can then select from options such as "Brekland" or "Pyar" for the Elven class, or things like "Tunneler" or "Rat Guard" for the Dwarven class, for example. After selecting a class, stats are randomly rolled and assigned to various attributes. Those attributes are:
- Body Pts.
If the player is unsatisfied with any of the stats, it is possible to quickly and easily re-roll until you get the desired stat line. The final step is then to select a character photo of which there are 80 total portraits, featuring characters of drastically different characteristics to convey each of the races as well as male and female versions.
After successfully creating a character, it will be available from the character select screen when starting a new game.
Keldens are the one race within Knights of Legend that isn't common among similar fantasy RPG-type games. The best way to describe a Kelden is basically a large creature with wings. The figure can bee seen in the pictures on the right and left of this section. They somewhat resemble angels as they are shaped mostly like a human with wings sprouting out of their backs. Their advantage in-game is their power of flight. Also there are apparently no female Keldens in the fiction of Knights of Legend. It is currently unknown as to how they reproduce. It has very recently been theorized by a super smart pseudo-scientist, that Keldens may produce by fragmentation, which is a form of asexual reproduction.
The only 3 class options for the Kelden race are as follows:
- Cliff Guard
- Rock Ranger
- Far Seeker
You're welcome, Vinny.
Foreword and Dedication
Some of the first options that can be found on the game's main menu are a Foreward and a Dedication, written by the game's creator, Todd Porter.
" I would like to thank a few people without whom Knights of Legend would have been impossible:
Dallas Snell, Richard Garriott, Robert Garriott, Alan Gardner, and Paul Isaac.
And those behind the scenes:
Lori Perry, Doris Porter, Al Evans, Celeste Evans, Gerald Farr, Mike Farris,
and Dave Huffman. "
" This game is dedicated to two dear friends. Forest Dale Replogle and Richard Bandstra.
One taught me how to see the world around me,
One taught us how to see within ourselves.
They are the real knights of legend. "