Help me remember a mid-90s adventure game
December 17, 2008 1:29 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to remember a DOS game I used to play. It was an adventure type game where each level you had a task to complete in a dungeons-and-dragons type setting, so mages, archers, skeletons, that sort of thing.

After each level you could hire new people to be on your team, and I think the ones that died during the level stayed gone permanently. You could switch between the various people on your team instantly by hitting a key (pgup/pgdn?). There was something of an overarching plot between the levels where a dark lord was using skeletons and zombies to take over towns and castles (that doesn't narrow it down much, I know). I also remember the mages could teleport to a random spot, and the druids(?) could plant trees which you could use as walls. Each character had a health bar and a mana bar.

On the technical side, this was very low res (must have been 320x200), and it used DOS4GW (and for some reason I think overlays too). There was a cooperative mode where you had a split screen and you two people could each control a team member at the same time. The terrain consisted of a large rectangle which you had a scrolling viewport onto, and I don't think the mouse was involved at all.

I realise each part of that describes hundreds of games, but the hive mind is so good at tracking these things down I figured I'd give it a shot. Thanks for reading anyway.
posted by fvw to Computers & Internet (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Hmm... Some parts of that are ringing Master of Magic bells, although you're right, it could be lots of games. Master of Magic is awesome though.
posted by yellowbinder at 1:36 PM on December 17, 2008

Response by poster: Nope, not Master of Magic, the individual characters where larger (10x10 pixels each at least, if I had to guess), there wasn't a resource system (well, perhaps just gold). Oh, that reminds me. I think if someone died, they'd leave a crystal or something like that for a little while which would lead to currency for buying new team members.
The view was more top-down too, judging from those screen shots. I think there were really only two game screens, the main action one (square viewport on the left, minimap + healthbar + manabar + status info on the right), and a buying new people screen, though I don't have a mental image of the second.
posted by fvw at 1:44 PM on December 17, 2008

Response by poster: Oh, and it was realtime, not turnbased. Funny how you forget to mention the little things like that.
posted by fvw at 1:44 PM on December 17, 2008

Gauntlet? Originally an arcade game but ported over to numerous platforms.

posted by Roach at 1:53 PM on December 17, 2008

There seems to be a DOS game similar to what you described called Demon Stalkers, but I don't think it fits all of your description.
posted by burnmp3s at 2:15 PM on December 17, 2008

Response by poster: Not Gauntlet either, less arcady, better graphics. A bit new too I think. Also, I don't think there were any real indoor levels, it was all just "the area inside the castle is the piece of grass with the wall around it".
posted by fvw at 2:20 PM on December 17, 2008

Don't know the game, but this post over at Metafilter may be of some use for you.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:34 PM on December 17, 2008

Response by poster: Nope, not demon stalkers either, they weren't so much mazes as open areas with forts, hadrian walls, and copses. I don't think there were that many levels either, could be 50 in total.

If nothing else I've got three new games to have a look at though, so my question isn't wasted.
posted by fvw at 2:38 PM on December 17, 2008

Doubtful, but maybe Sorcerian?
Mobygames (see the sorcerian link) has a category-based drill down that might help, I will have a try at it for you if you don't suss it out, but I'm at work at the moment.
posted by juv3nal at 2:44 PM on December 17, 2008

Sounds like Ultima Online to me (which was awesome).
posted by swift at 2:49 PM on December 17, 2008

Gameplay sounds a lot like like Myth but this came out in 1997. Maybe Siege?

Was it tactical battle strategy kind of stuff, or more like kill a bunch of guys and save the princess/get the treasure?
posted by Alabaster at 3:17 PM on December 17, 2008

Ultima Online is waaaay not a DOS game (it's still running, mostly with the original '97-era client.) Earlier Ultimas were, but they don't really match the description - the party system was completely different. Possibly Akalabeth, only because I never played it and it's probably the right era.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:31 PM on December 17, 2008

Sounds like Might and Magic. It was grid based but realtime.

posted by wongcorgi at 4:30 PM on December 17, 2008

Response by poster: Sorcerian: Nope, it was top down view
Wasn't any of the ultima series, and definitely not online, this was before I even had a modem.
Myth graphics are much better than the game I remember, we're talking 8 bit theatre drawings of characters here.
Siege looks close, though it was more grid base than those screenshots suggest, you could pretty much tell the internal grid it used for placing things when you saw the game.
Akalabeth looks pretty different.

I'll have a look at Mobygames.
posted by fvw at 4:35 PM on December 17, 2008

Ultima Online is waaaay not a DOS game

Oops, I mean the normal Ultima games, which for me was later 80s, so nevermind.
posted by swift at 4:57 PM on December 17, 2008

Response by poster: Mobygames had quite a few suggerstions, but nothing quite right. this was more or less the graphics style though, if that jogs anyone's memory.
posted by fvw at 5:05 PM on December 17, 2008

Bard's Tale?
posted by rikschell at 5:23 PM on December 17, 2008

Best answer: I'm fairly certain you're thinking of Gladiator. I remember downloading it off of AOL Games and loving it when I was a wee lad... thank you for inadvertently reminding me of it, even if I'm wrong and it isn't what you're looking for.
posted by Keter at 5:29 PM on December 17, 2008

Look over this list of DOS rpg games and see if it's in there.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:59 PM on December 17, 2008

Best answer: Sounds like Keter has it. There was a recent-ish SDL port/remake of it.
posted by juv3nal at 12:24 AM on December 18, 2008

Response by poster: Gladiator! As soon as I saw the name I remembered. Having a modern port available is just icing on the cake.

Thanks Keter, and everyone who helped along.
posted by fvw at 2:35 AM on December 18, 2008

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