By Egge 8 Comments
As the saying goes, the Holy Roman Empire was neither "holy", "Roman" nor an "empire" and thus life in the notoriously divided 15th century Germany was probably not always easy. It's not exactly a walk in the park in MicroProse's classic RPG, either, but at least the game version got dragons in it (someone please call Bethesda's lawyers...).
Good Old Games has just re-released Darklands (1992), and although I've never personally played it before today I know it to be one of the most ambitious open world games ever released. The gameplay is party-based and structured around a deep skill system with plenty of stats and abilities, 37 classes and a variety of social backgrounds to choose from (which in turn affect class restrictions etc.) as well as an abundance of skill and equipment checks throughout the game. The party can follow the storyline or otherwise explore the huge world map freely in search of fame and fortune, and combat is resolved within a "pause-based" isometric system which is somewhat reminiscent of later RPGs like Baldur's Gate. Exploration of cities is largely text-based but features an impressive amount of options about what to do and how to approach the numerous dangerous situations the party invariably finds itself in. I definitely need to play more of this inviting and somewhat intimidating game, and thankfully the official cluebook is included in the GOG release...
Buy Darklands here; http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/darklands