A simple action-RPG following the adventures of a young warrior (strong barbarian, armored knight, or quick valkyrie) to assist a weakened kingdom from various threats, and to recover special Artifacts that once made the kingdom strong.
Gameplay consists of moving your character in real-time through various terrains, like forests, towns, and dungeons. The player gathers basic items, like health and magic potions, and increasingly powerful weapons as you progress through the story. Conversations are handled through keyphrases. Combat is real-time as well, against a few types of creatures (skeletons, orcs, rogues) of which there can be various flavors.
Origin is mostly known for their epic Ultima series. In 1988, Origin's programmer Chris Roberts decided to create an RPG which can be considered a 'light version' of Ultima... Times of Lore is a tile-based fantasy game, which has been published for many systems, including DOS, Atari ST, Amiga and C64. You control a hero on a quest to restore peace in a realm, which has fallen into disorder due to the menacing force of evil hordes.
As the only child of a woodsman and his wife, you see the kingdom of Albareth drowning in chaos, after the High King has disappeared. Barbarian armies make ferocious attempts to invade your home country, and dark priests begin to extend their presence throughout the kingdom and spread their dark rituals amongst the people. To overcome this darksome threat, that keeps on dwelling in the land, a call for a hero has been sent out. The quest is to seek after some powerful artifacts, which will strengthen the kingdom of Albareth again, so that the realm can withstand the evil, that tries to overrun it. You feel obliged to follow the call and volunteer to fight the evil hordes, reclaim the artifacts and thus bring back peace to Albareth.
When you start the game, you are to choose your input device and your soundcard, first. Then you can watch a sequence of introduction screens, which makes you familiar with the story. Finally, you're to choose the character you want to play with. Three types are available - an armoured knight, an agile valkery or a strong barbarian.
The interface is divided into several parts. There's the display area, which shows you the world you are travelling in. On the left, you can see a framed picture which indicates the time of the day, and on the right, there's a burning candle representing your health. At the bottom of the screen, there are a couple of icons, which let you perform certain actions, such as conversation, access your inventory, take, drop or use items, etc. Furthermore, there's an icon for the game options, where you can load/save the game, pause it and check you score.
You can control your hero either by using the mouse or the keyboard. Personally, I found the keyboard to be easier to handle. The cursor keys let you move around, hitting return toggles an attack and via space you access the icons.
The gameplay is rather simple. You visit certain locations, such as towns and their buildings wilderness, and so forth. There, you will meet people who you can talk to. Other than providing information about certain events, they occasionally will give you quests to perform or specific items you require to progress. In the wilderness you encounter monsters which you have to fight, and sometimes they will drop useful loot like potions, money, weapons, food and scrolls (which are the only - and very limited form of magic in this game). During the night it is more likely, that you run across monsters, so be careful and save often, as the fights can be quite annoying. By the way, you can only save in inns, and resting there lets you regain health.
In general, your tasks are easy to sum up. You wander around, talk to people, fight monsters and solve quests - but in very basic manner. The best term to characterize this game's value is 'enjoyable simplicity'. There are not too many different locations, items, monsters or puzzles. On one hand, your travels can get a little boring for it sometimes take you quite long to reach certain places, but on the other hand attacking monster will keep you busy and can become fairly annoying as they tend to kill you quickly due to their numbers, if you are not careful enough. The controls need to get used to, because they are cumbersome in a way, but once you've managed to practice the handling, it'll be ok. Still, Times of Lore can be quite appealing as soon as you got deeper into its plot.
The EGA graphics are nice to look at, and the music is fine. However, you will only be listening to music during the introduction screens, while the game itself only offers basic sound effects, which are not very spectacular.
All in all, Times of Lore can be a pretty entertaining game, depending on what you expect. It is comparable to Ultima, although it somehow lacks Ultima's depth and specialties. The overall elements on which this game is based on are nicely done, but probably won't manage to impress experienced RPG fans too much. Bearing in mind, that it is quite old, and thus a classic indeed, Times of Lore is a perfect opportunity for RPG newbies to get into the materia of this genre. From the view of a dedicated RPG player, I rate this a high 3. Anyhow, I'd strongly encourage people, who are searching for an enjoyable introduction to the world of fantasy games, to give this one a try - you won't be disappointed!
The same kind of roleplay game as the famous Ultima series. The graphics are very good and reminds a lot of especially Ultima 5 and 6. The game offers a great story and you play it through with a choice of three different kind of characters.
Other than that the game reminds a lot of Ultima and both the game interface and a few of the other features are the same. This game is quite good and really worth a download.
People who downloaded Times of Lore have also downloaded:
Tower of Souls, Spirit of Adventure, Time Bandit, Tangled Tales, Tunnels & Trolls: Crusaders of Khazan, Sundog: Frozen Legacy, Treasures of the Savage Frontier, Worlds of Legend (a.k.a. Sons of Empire)
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