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Where to start with old school RPGs

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by dacencora, Mar 18, 2020.

  1. Grampy_Bone Arcane

    Grampy_Bone
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    • Eye of the Beholder trilogy - 1 and 2 are good, fine dungeon crawlers. 3 is poor. You can play the same party between them all which is cool

    • The Pools series - The best series in the Goldbox collection. Pools of Radiance itself is a bit lacking in features but the Gold Box Companion fixes all those issues. If you only play one GB series it should be this, the Curse of the Azure bonds, Secret of the Silver Blades, then Pools of Darkness in that order for epic high level gameplay.

    • The Savage Frontier series - Skip it unless you really get into Gold box games

    • Secret of the Silver Blades - see above

    • Hillsfar - Trash. Avoid.

    • Ravenloft series - Never played them.

    • Krynn series - Skip

    • Wizardry series - Play Wizardry 1-2-3 on the SNES cart. Best presentation for the series by far. Or play on an original emulator for the true experience. Either way, map by hand, and worth playing for the pure dungeon crawling experience. Then go for Wizardry 6-7-8 for the Bradley Trilogy. Import your characters for the full experience. 4 is only for challenge enthusiasts and while 5 is good it's the most skippable entry, being unrelated to any others.

    • Utlima series - Standouts are Ultima 4 for the legendary Virtue system, Ultima 5 for some pretty good combat, Ultima 6 for the best combo of open world, combat, and story IMO, and Ultima 7 is a pretty good point and click adventure with some combat bolted onto it. Ultimas 1-2-3 are too primitive to recommend, and Ultima 8 and 9 are just awful but for different reasons.

    • Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday - Crap. Skip.
     
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  2. Zed Duke of Banville Zo Kath Ra Patron

    Zed Duke of Banville
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    Pool of Radiance is the single best Gold Box game but Champions of Krynn is second-best, and the Krynn trilogy overall is better than the Pools quartet (of which Secret of the Silver Blades is a part, although you listed it separately). If you're intending to play a series to completion before moving on to anything else I suggest the Krynn trilogy, but if you just want to try one game then play Pool of Radiance. Hillsfar is an action 'silver box' spin-off, not an actual RPG, and just a collection of mediocre mini-games. The two Savage Frontier games are worse than either the Pools quartet or the Krynn trilogy, and the two Buck Rogers games use a modified Gold Box engine and similarly should be played later than Pool of Radiance and Champions of Krynn (if not after the entire Pools and Krynn series).

    Eye of the Beholder is a D&D-based imitation of Dungeon Master, which is the greatest CRPG of all time and can easily be played (for free!) by downloading Return to Chaos (along with its sequel, Chaos Strikes Back). Dungeon Master established its own subgenre, commonly referred to on the Codex as 'real-time blobbers', and the recent Legend of Grimrock is a lovingly-crafted homage with a few concessions such as an automap that make it more user-friendly to those not used to older games (the Grimrock sequel is arguably even better than its predecessor, with new features that trod new ground).

    The original Wizardry was similarly successful enough to establish its own subgenre, often referred to on the Codex as 'turn-based blobbers', but the departure of creators Andy Greenberg and Robert Woodhead lead to a substantial shift in later games developed under the leadership of David Bradley. Although Richard Garriot remained the primary designer of the Ultima games even as the staff involved in their creation eventually expanded, there was a substantial shift in gameplay from the earlier games to the 'Avatar' trilogy (IV, V, and VI), and again for each of the later games.

    Avoid any recreations of older games in "Neverwinter Nights"; the gameplay isn't (and can't be) remotely the same.
     
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  3. lukaszek the determinator

    lukaszek
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    Gorasul is codex classic
     
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  4. Ysaye Learned

    Ysaye
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    (1) On the real time blobbers, I would suggest playing Eye of the Beholder 2 then I would play Lands of Lore which for me was the height of the Real time blobber genre period. Maybe consider doing Dungeon master (I really liked both 1 and 2, haven't played Return to Chaos). Complementary modern thing to compare: Legend of Grimrock 2
    (2) On Ultima, at least play Ultima 7, preferrably also Ultima 7 the Serpent Isle, Ultima 5 and 6, maybe 4. Ultima 5 and 6 will give you the greatest appreciation for the games of that period. Complementary modern thing to compare: Divinity: Original Sin
    (3) As above, if you can get Wizardry 1 on a SNES emulator it is worth doing, but Wiz 1 is not on GOG. If you are only going GOG then Wizardry 6,7 and 8 will complete the games which have the most Bradley influence (note you can import parties for these three with different starting locations for 7 and 8!). Complementary modern thing to compare: Elminage Gothic
    (4) Both Ravenlofts are okay games and are still fairly playable; I think most people say Ravenloft 2 is better. Complementary modern thing to compare: N/A
    (5) Might and Magic 4 / Xeen is where this is at. Complementary modern thing to compare: Might and Magic X
    (6) Gold Box - go with the Krynn series because as Zed says, better overall series and no one remembers Dragonlance any more so we need more people asking for this setting. Complementary modern thing to compare: Knights of the Chalice
    (7) You should also do Realms of Arkania 2 (not on your list but definitely an old game you should play Complementary modern thing to compare: Realms of Arkania 2 HD Version Nah just play the original!

    In terms of what to play first...well I still have Ultima 7 and Realms of Arkania 2 on my work laptop, and Wizardry 1 on my phone, so I think that says something.
     
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  5. Darth Canoli Cipher

    Darth Canoli
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    Everyone already gave you some advices on where to start.
    I'll add my voice for a great introduction through Might & Magic III to V.

    Most importantly, save the first modern cRPG masterpieces for the end of your gaming spree, otherwise, it'll be harder to get into anything else afterward.

    Show Spoiler
    Fallout 1 & 2
    Arcanum
    Wizardry 8
    Knights of the Chalice
    Temple of Elemental Evil (with the Temple+ fix/tweaks/additional classes)


    Everything else is fair game.
     
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  6. Lord_Potato Prophet

    Lord_Potato
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    Let us not forget a timeless classic: Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor!
     
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  7. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    Or just use Gold Box Companion

    https://gbc.zorbus.net/
     
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  8. smaug Self-Ejected Patron Shitposter

    smaug
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    I did, but the resting system in GBC is technically cheating and it still doesn’t resolve all the UI issues
     
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  9. Lilura RPG Codex Dragon Lady

    Lilura
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    Maybe if RPGs stopped being made in 1987.

    But alas for thee, Fallout, Arcanum and Jagged Alliance 2 came out 20 years ago.
     
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  10. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    I would even go so far as to say Dungeon Master is the greatest puzzle game of all time, but not CRPG :M
     
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  11. Lilura RPG Codex Dragon Lady

    Lilura
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    Great RPGs started with Fallout (1997), I think is what you meant. And I could get onboard with that.

    Baldur's Gate came out in 1998 and Jagged Alliance 2 came out in 1999. Ergo, only an idiot would stop at 1998.

    You could stop at 1999 but then you would be missing out on ToEE (2003).

    If you've played Jagged Alliance 2, you've seen the apex of the genre.
     
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  12. *-*/\--/\~ Arbiter

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    Don't forget to include the two Underworld games in the 'Ultima series'.
     
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  13. Terenty Savant

    Terenty
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    the Gothic series is a must play. Including Gothic 3
     
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  14. Strange Fellow Arcane Patron

    Strange Fellow
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    This is the proper answer. The other proper answer is start with Fallout.
     
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  15. Desiderius Found your egg, Robinett, you sneaky bastard Patron

    Desiderius
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    Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Atari Adventure -> Venture Coin-op
     
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  16. Nifft Batuff Savant

    Nifft Batuff
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  17. Erebus Arcane

    Erebus
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    Don't try Hillsfar. It's little more than a bunch of mini-games put together, and they all suck.
     
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  18. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    Hillsfart
     
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  19. Werdna's Revenge Cipher Patron

    Werdna's Revenge
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    For easing into this I'd start with Pool of Radiance, Ultima 4, & The Xeen games for M&M. I get that these are the ones everyone tells you to start with, but they are legitimately the high points for their series and hugely influential games. Wizardry I find to be a bit love/hate among modern gamers, but I really love the early wizardry for how tightly designed they are. If you love crawlers (or think you might) I would suggest starting there.
     
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