As a boy I remember having a lot of fun with these games (two more prominent examples are Pool of Radiance and Champions of Krynn) and I recently bought them again from gog.com (you can get most of the games for about $8 total). I started Champions of Krynn and it still holds up – a neat little story, even if most of the actual gameplay is combat and dungeon-crawling. I still enjoy the DnD turn-based combat and character level progression more than most modern RPGs. Anyone else remember these games?
I loved the gold box games, though I never did get around to playing all of them, I ought to get around to the Krynn titles sometime.
I have fond memories of messing around with Unlimited Adventures too.
I feel like the odd man out here, because I didn’t like these games at all. They always felt like poorly implemented ripoffs of the Ultima titles, with super clunky combat and not much else.
Which “modern RPGs” are you referring to that you prefer the turn based/level up stuff to? The Skyrim style?
I still have Dungeon Hack and occasionally fire it up in DOSBox.
If we’re on the subject of old, D&D-esque, RPG games, Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2 have held up well.
I went through the entire series of games starting with Pool of Radiance when I was a kid. I played a bunch of the other SSI games too, and like EckyThump I loved Unlimited Adventures (some of the first computer games I ever made were done in that engine).
And before there was Baldur’s Gate, there was Dark Sun: Shattered Lands.
I replayed Curse of the Azure Bonds back in January which was always my favorite Forgotten Realms gold box game. It was still enjoyable although how much of that would translate to a new player, I don’t know. The funny thing was that I remember spending a few weeks on it back when I played it on the Commodore 64 but this time it took me under three nights to finish it.
Playing it with a modern fantasy game (especially MMORPG) mindset is… interesting. “I’ll send my paladin up front to tank and hold their attention!” Gnolls walk past said paladin to bang on my magic-user… “Hey, don’t you guys understand how aggro works??”
On a related note, the first part of the remastered Bard’s Tale trilogy launches next week.
Yeah, in a real RPG, intelligent opponents will usually know enough to focus fire on the guy in the dress.
The real aggro strategy is to give your monk a robe with stars and planets on it and a pointy hat, and dress your wizard in a gi and a tied fabric belt.
And, to really throw them off, you make your gnome the party’s tank.
I loved those games. Also look for the Buck Rogers games that are basically the same engine with a Sci Fi setting (based on a short lived TSR Role playing game at the time).
This does bring back memories. I used to lug my 64 around to the guys house and we would take turns using it. Gradually replaced the desktop AD&D sessions we played for years
Is it available still? I like trying to get old stuff working with modern machines.
Slightly related, is anybody aware of an adult D&D group in or around Columbus OH?
You can get the old Gold Box games from GOG.com for cheap. They’re already set up to run on modern systems though so no challenge of getting a twenty-five year old game running.
Thanks for that. $15 for all three (eventually) games is a good deal.
If you are looking for a similar, slightly modernized experience, Pathfinder:Kingmaker is coming out in September. It has turn based combat based on the D20 engine and tries to emulate the old gaming experience by having lots of scripted dialogue and Background Texts.
I played the Pools of Radience series. If you had one good item (like boots of speed) you could “share” it with all your party members by saving a player with their inventory, removing them from the party, bringing them back into the party taking their item and giving it to another player then saving that new players and removing them from the party, then start a saved game that doesn’t have those members in the party and import them into the party and they’ll both have the item (something like that). Also, that’s how I learned to manipulate machine code - save a character before they levelled up, saved them in a different file after they levell up, then read the machine code on both files side by side to see what had changed, usually only a few things had changed, a time counter, and the level counter, find out which was which and you could manipulate all your characters’ levels. Cheat much?
Oh and fireball was hands down the best attack spell ever.
I saw it in magazines all the time and wanted that game so bad but it was never available in any stores at the time.
About 95% of game time was waiting for the floppy disk drive access.
I loved the D&D games, as well as the Buck Rogers ones. There were some Neverwinter Nights fan-made conversions that were also quite good.
Especially against trolls. Trolls regenerated so fast that without fire or acid you pretty much couldn’t beat them. Even if they “died” they’d get back up. Those games were challenging and fun.
I wish someone could figure out how to get aols neverwinter nights working again ……but with out all the cheating… it ran on aol 2.0 and win 3.1…….
anyone remember the dumb code wheels they had for some of them ?
and the “tavern tales” aka were too cheap to put this info in the game so you get to stop and read it in a book?
funniest thing I remember is your in a cave type of thing near the end of the game and you keep running into a gnome on a bike…it takes a minute to realize what hes on tho ……
my favorite non gold box game is stronghold …sort of a ad&d majesty/SimCity game