An RPG with a funny name, based on the AD&D Forgotten Realms campaign setting, Menzoberranzan is a 1994, first-person, party-based adventure game developed by DreamForge Intertainment for Strategic Simulations Inc.
Released in 1994, Ravenloft: Strahd’s Possession was developed by DreamForge Intertainment for Strategic Simulations Inc. and was distributed by US Gold in the UK.
I remember it well because I reviewed it for PC Player magazine back in the day.
This pioneering Japanese RPG was first released in 2007 and paved the way for one of the greatest series in the history of level-grinders… The Etrian Odyssey series.
Number three is my favourite, but one and two are excellent too (see also the Nintendo 3DS fourth instalment), and all follow the same credo. Which is: to base a game around exploration, mapping, and turn-based combat. And to make the party system flexible, so that adventurers can take out different parties and experiment with character skills.
This 2008 Nintendo DS release from Atlus is up there with the best in terms of top quality level-grinders – it really is superb.
The Etrian Odyssey series is all about mapping and exploration, item drops, boss battles, levelling, and lots of excellent turn-based combat, and this second instalment is a clear evolution of the first game, although arguably not quite as expansive and refined as its remarkable sequel.
I’m not sure if it’s the game or the emulator – or something else – but controlling the spinning top-like device, GERALD, in the Apple II version of Spindizzy is like trying to navigate Cape Horn in a rowing boat in the depths of winter. It’s suicidal…
In my mind: one of the best 8-bit games ever made. Spindizzy is part Marble Madness tribute; part completely original game, with you controlling a spinning top-like device, called GERALD, exploring a large, isometric game world that is suspended in space.
A brilliant sequel to the tile-based RPG of 2012, Legend of Grimrock II is more of the same atmospheric adventuring from developer Almost Human, but with 2014‘s new content and ideas.
Grimrock 2 begins after a shipwreck; on a beach, with rocky, exterior locations, which is a surprising and refreshing way to start a game like this. You can even walk in the shallow water, which is nice, and on the very first level the shallow water holds an important secret. Don’t miss it.
Tower of Doom is a Roguelike RPG with mazes that must be explored and monsters that must be defeated in order to escape the dungeon.
There are seven different quests, of increasing difficulty, and the player can choose to play as any one of ten different classes (Novice, Warrior, Archer, Knight, Trader, Barbarian, Waif, Friar, Warlock, and Warlord). The ultimate aim is to reach the stairs on each level, and to keep going down until you reach the exit.
SSI‘s Dungeon Hack is an RPG that generates random dungeons, or custom dungeons, and is one big realtime battle through a Forgotten Realms world, in the style of Dungeon Master or Eye of the Beholder. It’s a never-ending dungeon crawl that gets progressively harder, and even has its own high score table!
Paul Shirley‘s classic isometric puzzle/adventure game, Spindizzy, originated on the Commodore 64, but is also quite excellent on the Atari 800.