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Gold Box SSI's Gold Box Series Thread

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Saxon1974, Dec 3, 2007.

?

What are your favorite Gold Box games?

  1. Pool of Radiance

  2. Curse of the Azure Bonds

  3. Secret of the Silver Blades

  4. Pools of Darkness

  5. Champions of Krynn

  6. Death Knights of Krynn

  7. The Dark Queen of Krynn

  8. Gateway to the Savage Frontier

  9. Treasures of the Savage Frontier

  10. Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday

  11. Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed

  12. Forgotten Realms: Unlimited Adventures (FRUA)

Multiple votes are allowed.
Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. Saxon1974 Cipher

    Saxon1974
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    I went back and started playing "Gateway to the Savange Frontier" by SSI over the weekend.

    Of all the gold box games, i think this one and its sequel are the ones I have not played.

    As I was playing I was thinking of what the games strengths and weaknesses are.

    Some weakness;

    I think one major weakness is lack of interaction with NPC's. It seems like its always that you just basically reads what they say. It's also very linear, you can go where you want, but there is really only one main quest line to follow.

    Almost no sound.

    Some strenghts;

    I think some good things are the tactical combat. I admit, the combat takes a bit too long and I use the quick combat options for alot of fights, but tactics do matter here depending on what type of opponents you are facing.

    It's the forgotten realms which I love.

    The game balance is pretty good.

    The character portraits are pretty good for the time (DOS version).


    Anyone have any thoughts on Gateway as opposed to the other Gold BOX games? I really "loved" the first Pool of Radiance and only "Liked the rest of them.


    ----------- Useful Links for Gold Box Games -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Very good quality scans for all the Gold Box Games: http://www.mocagh.org/loadpage.php?getcompany=ssi&npp=25&whatsnew=0&start=0&series=TSR Gold Box Series

    Thread for discussing and setting up, Forgotten Realms: Unlimited Adventures (FRUA) http://www.rpgcodex.net/forums/inde...ealms-unlimited-adventures-frua-thread.61909/
     
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  2. Sarvis Erudite

    Sarvis
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    Haven't played Gateway. I tried replaying PoR a few months ago though, and couldn't get past the crappy non-combat interface. :( (The big downer was having to reselect your spells every rest.)

    Too bad too, because otherwise the game is great...
     
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  3. Flux_Capacitor Augur

    Flux_Capacitor
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    Gateway wasn't too bad, except for the end. I won't spoil it, but I remember it being quite nasty, and not really in a good way.

    If you really like the old Gold Box games, you may want to look into getting the Forgotten Realms Unlimited Adventures (FRUA) 'game'. It allows you to create your own scenarios. There are also dozens of scenarios created by other people, and some are actually quite good. Numerous hacks have also been put together, allowing for some things that weren't originally intended for the engine.

    Someone recreated Pool of Radiance using the FRUA game. As I recall, they used a couple hacks, so you have to jump through some hoops. However, since FRUA was created at the tail end of the Gold Box series, the engine has most, if not all, of the niceties (like the 'Fix' command to heal the party, and not having to reselect spells every time you rest). The designer set a higher level limit (9, I believe), and you are allowed to use Paladins and Rangers. I've been replaying it off and on, and while it seems there are a few differences in a couple of events, its pretty faithful to the original. I can give you more details on getting it up and running, if you're interested.
     
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  4. made Arcane

    made
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    I think Gateway and Treasures are considered the worst out of the Goldbox series when it comes to story, gameplay and presentation. Personally, I loved them both but I was like 12 at that time and FR was new and amazing to me.

    Pools of Darkness and Dark Queen of Krynn are the only ones I can still play today due to the graphic and interface improvements; the rest didn't age well at all imo.
     
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  5. Saxon1974 Cipher

    Saxon1974
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    Interesting, I don't want to create my own, but playing some that fans created might be fun.

    I agree the reselecting spells was a pain, but Im a long time gamer and I have patience :)
     
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  6. Saxon1974 Cipher

    Saxon1974
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    I agree some of the older ones are pretty dated looking. For some reason I still loved replaying POR radiance though, it had a feel to it that I love that isn't quite there in the others. I might gives Pools of Darkness a go since I have that one too and haven't played in years.
     
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  7. Mithter Thibbs Novice

    Mithter Thibbs
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    Gateway is kind of a strange game: there are parts that I loathed, and parts that I really liked. The addition of weather was nice, but there's a mountain peak/dungeon in the forest that's more than a little weird, and the basilisks... never, ever have I encounter basilisks that yield so much treasure as the ones in this game. Also, even as overused as the old geezer is, I still prefer Elminster as the All Knowing Sage and Patron Saint of Adventurers to the one they dredged up for these two games.

    Vaalgamon's (is that the guy's name?)
    Show Spoiler
    at the end was also a surprise for me, not to mention an innovation for the engine as well (I think; never played the buck rogers game), but I really liked what happened at the end of that little section. By gum, instead of doing it the way the developers obviously intended, I managed to
    Show Spoiler
    and picked up some extremely
    Show Spoiler
    Show Spoiler
    as well... easily the best part of that game, that was. That's what happens when developers try to control the story line too much in a medium that, by its very nature, is interactive: people automatically start looking for ways to screw things up. In this case, it turned out to be a lot of fun, as well as profitable.

    'course, the item tables in Treasures of the Savage Frontier were altered a bit to include broken items as well, so it looked a little odd in the sequel with my imported characters -- eventually I edited the damned binaries myself to fix the problem -- but it was still good fun, having items that I clearly shouldn't have had because I managed to
    Show Spoiler
    the
    Show Spoiler
    when they never intended me to. :) On another note, though, IIRC, the item tables in Gateway most closely match up with those of Curse of the Azure Bonds, so that allowed a little more extracurricular item swapping on my part. IIRC. It might have been the Secret item tables. It's been a while.

    As far as villains go, I think the bad guy in this game is my favourite out of the whole gold box series of games. They guy's always lurking nearby, he's got a few surprises up his sleeve, and he's got a good sense of humour, if a little bit on the sadistic side. All in all, a good villain. Fun.

    I do agree that the Savage Frontier games are the weakest in the series, though. I never much liked the new interface, either; much preferred the old-style fancy-pants lettering, as opposed to the more blocky new-fangled lettering that came with the VGA graphics (yet another example of graphical improvements killing gaming, I might add! :x ( ;))). The sound in those games was really horrendous, too. Even when the games came with sound effects, the sound quality (both of the effects themselves and the recording/playback) was so bad that I just left it uninstalled.
     
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  8. MisterStone Arcane

    MisterStone
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    For the most part, my impression of Goldbox games is that there were basically a maze with occasional strategic turn-based combat included at regular intervals. I think that they evaluate better if you think of them as strategy games rather than RPGs, since there is next to no NPC interaction or the like. I guess there must have been some kind of choice or consequences, but its all rather foggy now.

    The best ones I remember playing (I don't think I played more than three or so) were Champions of Krynn and the Buck Rogers game, which had sweet ship-to-ship combat as well as napalm rocket launchers, zero-g and so on.
     
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  9. rpgcodexusername Arcane

    rpgcodexusername
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    i liked buck rogers on the genesis.
    I played the secret of the silver blades on the amiga, it was terrible, at one point I was just going down an insanely long tunnel in the mines fighting hundreds of monsters
     
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  10. Sarvis Erudite

    Sarvis
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    Such things hadn't been invented yet. Welcome to the origin of CRPGs. I don't just make all this shit up, you know.
     
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  11. Psycroptic Liturgist

    Psycroptic
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    Yeah that's true. There were quite a few games where the developers didn't have enough storage to include TEXT descriptions. We're talking a few hundred bytes of ASCII. "Eh... Let's just print it in the manual."
     
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  12. Saxon1974 Cipher

    Saxon1974
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    Good grief, I loaded up Pools of Darkness and I do agree the graphics are much nicer in this game.

    But my god the battles!

    Seems like every one is against 30 opponents and takes a very long time to complete. Is the whole game like that? I don't have that kind of time. In pool of radiance there was alot of combat but it wasn't usually against more then 3 to 7 or 8 opponents.
     
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  13. Jasede Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Jasede
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    Yes, the whole game like that. Welcome to the wonders of high level AD&D.

    You have encountered 30 beholders and 50 red dragons and 20 elder vampires!

    Bribe/Retreat/Surrender/Parley? [I haven't played PoD, but I read about it. I'll play it one day, when I am old and have too much time. Currently Might and Magic I is more fascinating, though it's basically the same, but with less dialogue and more puzzles and highly unfair encounters at times.]

    (Why am I playing Might and Magic? Because I never did, so I am playing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, in order. I already played 9, but let's just forget it exists.)

    Hey, I've always been saying you don't need those things to have a good RPG. I am having fun grinding XP by killing red dragons after sipping from magic wells, finding treasure, avoiding horrible encounters (liches = x.x) and scavenging for the occasional clue (the Og quest in MM is impossible without figuring out some esoteric clues scattered across the world, but solving it gives great XP and an important clue for the main quest). The gist of old RPGs is mapping them with graph paper and writing down all clues you come across. It's a true joy in Might and Magic, even without such fluff as skills, consequences or NPCs. Might take a bit of a nostalgic streak to appreciate those things though. I can't wait to get to those with a nicer interface, though the Mac version of MM 1, 2 and 3 I have are much nicer than the PC, Apple or NES version already.
     
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  14. Elwro Arcane Patron

    Elwro
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    I always thought it was a kind of copy protection. A pirate couldn't easily acquire a manual copy those days.
     
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  15. muds_animal_friend Arcane Patron

    muds_animal_friend
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    Not as far as I’m aware. The early Gold Box games were designed to run on systems like the Commodore 64 and used a decoder wheel was for copy protect. The text had to be hardcopy due to technical limitations. Circa 1985 the C64 floppy disk had a capacity of 165kb on one side. Over on replacement docs The Pool of Radiance Adventurers Journal weighs in at 6 MB on PDF.

    Amen. Originally both P’n’P and computer RPGs were fundamentally about squad-based tactics and exploration with puzzle elements. I'd far rather explore the landscape engaging in challenging tactical combat than clicking through endless dialogue trees (unless the writing approaches Planescape: Torment standards). The old M&M games are absolute classics in terms of blending exploration, combat and clue seeking.
     
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  16. made Arcane

    made
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    C&C galore!
     
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  17. Sarvis Erudite

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    Your memory or PoR may be skewed. I remember one battle in particular where you fought like 40 goblins on that island with the temple. Was really, really tough if you didn't have fireball yet...

    Podo plaza also had a huge battle somewhere, and there were a few others in the game that I remember...
     
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  18. Jasede Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Jasede
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    I can't remember, but, in PoR, did they implement the "1 attack / level" rule for fighters against low HD enemies so a level 8 fighter could kills 8 kobolds in a round?
     
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  19. Sarvis Erudite

    Sarvis
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    Yep. I've still got one laying around somewhere...
     
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  20. buccaroobonzai Scholar

    buccaroobonzai
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    This isn't too off topic hopefully...

    Are there any good roleplaying mods for Forgotten Realms Unlimited Adventures? Lets say with a good plot, or even branching plot with multiple solutions, some various gameplay choices-diplomacy over combat or stealth, and maybe even a choice and consequence or two?

    This site has like 500+ mods on it.

    http://frua.rosedragon.org/new.htm

    Any sites with mod reviews?
     
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  21. Drunken Irishman Novice

    Drunken Irishman
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    You lie. Pool of Radiance came out in 88, so did Ultima 5, Ultima 5 had npc interaction and npc schedules that would make Oblivion jealous.

    The rest of Gold Box game came out in 1990-1992, other games of that time were Eye of the Beholder series, Ultima 6 and Ultima 7, Ultima Underworld, Wing Commander - all featuring npc interaction (Wing Commander actually had cutscenes, but still), though Ultima's much more than EOTB II (I bring out the second part specifically because that's the one I played) for example.

    Other games that came out in 88 were Might and Magic II, Wasteland and Bard's Tale III... hmm, and also Final Fantasy II.

    Now this ain't anti-Gold Box post, I like those games, I'm just pointing out that they were not the superior games of their time.
     
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  22. Saxon1974 Cipher

    Saxon1974
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    Interesting, I went back to playing MM2 last night since I couldn't take the lengthy repeated battles in Pools of Darkness. Granted MM2 has plenty of combat but it's much quicker. I love the feel of this game, only complaint is that dungeons reset each time you leave which is kind of a pain. On the other end it does make the dungeons a fun challenge they they reset and you can only save at the Inn, this way getting to the end of a dungeon is a fun challenging experience instead of saving every five minutes until you slog to the end of it.

    I passed on replaying MM1 (Played it a ton as a kid and have fond memories), mostly because I hear there is no story and its just one big level grind. Plus, I hate not having automap, it was ok before I had a job to not have it :)

    So, do you think it's still playable then? Maybe I should go back and try it out again.
     
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  23. Jasede Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Honestly? MM1 is very inferior to MM2. MM2 has a great story, neat combat, cool graphics, lots of great ways the clues are tied in to the story.

    In MM1 you basically have to hound for the plot which I could express in one, short sentence. That said, it's still fun, in the same way Wizardry 1 is fun: mapping dungeons, figuring out obscure puzzles, fighting tough battles. Also, the final puzzle requires you to be level 13, which can only be reached by TONS of grinding. At the very least you'll have to fight a few 30 or so gold dragons, or 60 red dragons, or 100 times the fixed battle against liches in the swamp.

    If you want to play it, I HIGHLY suggest using a walkthrough if you do not have much free time. Mapping the game's 64 I think maps takes time and the puzzles can be very difficult if you miss a single clue.

    For a more smooth experience that you could do without maps and a walkthrough, the NES version of MM1 is interesting. It looks great, combat is WAY more forgiving, you can pick your fights and there is an automap.

    If you want the hardcore oldschool experience though, you'll need to play the Apple, Mac or PC version. I recommend the former for the authentic feel and the second for user-friendliness and great mouse support. Forget the PC version.

    tl;dr: MM2 is way better, MM3 is pure gold. At least so reviews make me believe. I can't wait to find out myself!
     
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  24. Flux_Capacitor Augur

    Flux_Capacitor
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    Well, first, were you able to find and download FRUA? Its available here

    http://www.the-underdogs.info/game.php?id=3092

    if you don't.

    This page

    http://frua.rosedragon.org/uanls.htm

    has a list of newsletters put together by the FRUA community. There's some reviews in several of them, particularly the later ones, along with a lot of other interesting stuff about FRUA and the Gold Box games. I've heard the ones by Harri Polsa and Ben Sanderfer are pretty good, but I don't recall having playing any of their mods yet.

    However, understand that many of the mods are 'hacked'. If you go to this page

    http://frua.rosedragon.org/modulelist/file.php

    you'll be able to see which ones are hacked, and which aren't. The 'Unhacked' ones can be played with FRUA right out of the box, although FRUA, despite its name, has some rather annoying limitations.

    If you want to play the hacked mods, then you'll need a program called UAShell, which you can get here:

    http://frua.rosedragon.org/pc/uashell/

    and is the file called 'uashellc.zip'. Once you have UAShell installed, start it up. After it runs some processes, go to the Design menu, select Apply, and then choose the mod you want to play. Finally, select the Design Menu again, and then Run. That should work for most hacked mods, but there are some that require much more work to get running (especially the 'World' hacks - the Superhero hack, the Sci-Fi hack, etc.).

    As a side note, I've noticed that a few of the files from UAShell are flagged as viruses by my virus scanner. I've never had a problem with them; I believe they just happen to have the same file name as some viruses.
     
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  25. buccaroobonzai Scholar

    buccaroobonzai
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    Good info Flux!

    And its great too see that other genres are represented in some of the user mods. There are game mods playable in some genres that are not represented in CRPGs anywhere else!
    The Mars file is a superhero game, theres also more superhero games based on the Xmen, and other MArvel characters

    There is one called Thundarr based on....what else, the Thundar the Barbarian cartoon post apoc world!

    There are at least two cyberpunk game mods.
    There is a Buck Rodgers mod.
    A Teenage mutant ninja turtles RPG mod.
    There are at least 6 or seven Ravenloft mods.
    There are at least two Oriental adventures mods, (Oriental gameworld hack needed)
    There is at leas two Dragonlance mods (Dragonlance hack needed)
    There is also a GAmma world hack, but I couldn't find mods for it yet.

    There a ton of calssic Pen and Paper mods converted to FRUA too. Way more then on NWN. Looks like a ton more mods to play in addition to the NWN1 mods am playing already.


    Wonder if there's a Shadowrun or RIFTS mod, if there isn't maybe will make one sometime.
     
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