Geneforge is an Indie fantasy role-playing game, the first game in the five-part Geneforge Saga. It features an enormous world, the ability to create your own army of lethal, totally obedient creatures, and a cunning enemy AI with foes who can go on patrols, stalk you, and run for help. Geneforge has a huge and open storyline.
User reviews:
Very Positive (181 reviews) - 95% of the 181 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Dec 1, 2001

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Packages that include this game

Buy Geneforge Saga

Includes 5 items: Geneforge 1, Geneforge 2, Geneforge 3, Geneforge 4: Rebellion, Geneforge 5: Overthrow

WEEK LONG DEAL! Offer ends May 2

Buy Spiderweb Software Complete Pack

Includes 13 items: Avadon 2: The Corruption, Avadon: The Black Fortress, Avernum 2: Crystal Souls, Avernum 4, Avernum 5, Avernum 6, Avernum: Escape From the Pit, Geneforge 1, Geneforge 2, Geneforge 3, Geneforge 4: Rebellion, Geneforge 5: Overthrow, Nethergate: Resurrection


About This Game

Geneforge is an Indie fantasy role-playing game, the first game in the five-part Geneforge Saga. It features an enormous world, the ability to create your own army of lethal, totally obedient creatures, and a cunning enemy AI with foes who can go on patrols, stalk you, and run for help.

Geneforge has a huge and open storyline. You have the freedom to choose your own path and decide how the story will turn out. You can fight the evil overlord or you can join him. You can help the peasants or you can torment them. You can be the bold hero or you can just try to get away. No matter what you choose, Geneforge offers an enormous adventure with plenty of replay value.

System Requirements

    • Operating system:Windows® XP / Vista™ / Windows® 7
    • Processor:1.6 GHz CPU
    • Memory:512 MB
    • Hard disk space:300MB
    • Video: OpenGL compliant graphics card
    • Sound:Sound card
Helpful customer reviews
7 of 7 people (100%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
53.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 9, 2015
Geneforge 1

Graphics: Simple and functional, no showstopper here.
Control: Nice and clear tutorial, fixed key binding.
Replayability: High

Geneforge 1 setting is a typical one for fantasy games, you are alone in a strange land and you are not supposed to be there. The narrative is good, drives the character smoothly and, most importantly, coherently with the decisions the player had made. Want to be in Team Servile? You can. Want to slaughter traitorous Serviles? You can. You don't care at all about Serviles? Yes, you can ignore all of them.
The Shaper is a clean slate. She can be an Avatar of Justice. A Scion of Destruction. A factionless hobo.
Or the three of them.
Through the game the Shaper will stumble over shinny canisters (that should have bio hazard labels all over them), these canisters are the almost only way to learn skills (if you join a faction, the Shaper can
get a couple of extra skills).
The fights are turn based, some are tough as nails some barely cut it. (Or maybe is just me going north when expresely warned to not go there in the early stages of the game, who knows?)
I personally loved the way the story lefts you with more questions than answers, and there are plenty of
answers mind you.

Things I learned:
-The world is a better place thanks to the Shapers.
-Serviles should never be left behind for whatever reason. Is better for all to destroy them first then leave in panic.
-Never trade with the Sholai.

Best advice I'll give you: Speak with everybody before wasting Living Tools.

continued in Geneforge 2 review
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91 of 95 people (96%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
16.0 hrs on record
Posted: February 12, 2014
Geneforge presents an original setting, masterfully blending sci-fi with fantasy. Here “Shapers” are humans able to create and shape life through magic, raise armies of creatures to work and fight for them, and even genetically alter plants to serve as tools and weapons. Everything about the world seems exotic and well-thought, and it’s very interesting to learn about its lore and workings.

The story starts with your character being washed in the shores of a mysterious island, where rogue creations run wild over abandoned Shaper ruins. As you explore the massive island in search for a way back home, you’ll find the truth behind the abandoned ruins, and will decide the fate of the various factions that inhabit it. The writing is solid, and the game asks you to make some seriously complex decisions, without any banal morality judging you. I’ll add that Geneforge is the only game I ever played where the NPCs managed to change my mind with solid arguments (instead of bribes) after I had decided on a set course of action.

Combat is turn-based with action points, and although it has some annoying limitations (like only one attack per turn), it’s solid. There are three classes to choose from, and they give you freedom to fight any way you want, being able to create hordes of weak monster to fight for you, focus on a large and powerful creatures, cast spells like firebolt and fear, or simply hack and slash your enemies. Non-combat skills like Leadership and Mechanics are also important, as they provide unique ways to avoid conflicts and solve quests. And although it may not seem obvious at first, there’s a great deal of reactivity here as well.

When this was release, back in 2001, cRPGs fans had their mouths full, being spoiled with the release of classic such as Arcanum, BG2: Throne of Bhaal, Morrowind, Wizardry 8 and Gothic. So it is understandable that Geneforge, with its unattractive graphics and puke-green UI, went by undetected by most. But it’s a damn shame, and you should fix that now.
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43 of 48 people (90%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
55.2 hrs on record
Posted: March 19, 2014
“… she stares up at you with awe, as if her god has stepped down to earth to face her. Maybe it has.”

Geneforge is a great turn-based role-playing game experience with a deep and meaningful story in combination with a unique take on magic. What it lacks in graphics it gains twofold in detailed descriptions of events throughout the game.

Your decisions have major impact on the game’s conclusion and gameplay is vastly different depending on which of the three classes you choose.

The almost total lack of music and no voice acting should be mentioned as the disadvantages of this classic RPG.

Fun fact: The attempt of futuristic weapons with devastating effects that simultaneously felt sensible and maintained balance were one of the most difficult gameplay issues the developers had to resolve.

My rating system consists of six categories in descending order of importance:

- Atmosphere
- Characters
- Details
- Tactical gameplay
- Story
- Combat & Controls

Based on the performance each category will receive one of the following grading:

- S-Rank: excellent
- A-Rank: very good
- B-Rank: solid
- C-Rank: satisfactory
- D-Rank: inferior

If the S-Rank is awarded, a quote from the game or personal comment will be added as a token of my respect (in brackets).

Atmosphere: A-Rank

Characters: B-Rank

Details: S-Rank

(This is the lair of a large group of battle alphas. The creatures are bred to function in groups. However, seeing how they try to live on their own is, in a bleak way, quite comical. Battle alphas were not made to live unsupervised, and it shows.)

Tactical gameplay: B-Rank

Story: S-Rank

(One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.)

Combat & Controls: B-Rank

There are no achievements to conquer.

Achievement difficulty: none

Geneforge 5: Overthrow (PC) – Classic turn-based role-playing game
(Fantasy / Science Fiction) – 2009
Geneforge 4: Rebellion (PC) – Classic turn-based role-playing game
(Fantasy / Science Fiction) – 2007
Geneforge 3 (PC) – Classic turn-based role-playing game
(Fantasy / Science Fiction) – 2005
Geneforge 2 (PC) – Classic turn-based role-playing game
(Fantasy / Science Fiction) – 2003
Geneforge (PC) – Classic turn-based role-playing game
(Fantasy / Science Fiction) – 2002
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33 of 35 people (94%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
9.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 1, 2014
An amazing addition to the RPG genre it takes a turn away from party character development focusing on the world, your actions in it and the repercussions of said actions. This gem from Spiderweb allows for a multitude of choices in your actions and playstyle in and out of combat. Do you think that creatures made for the sole purpose of manual labor should stick to manual labor? Do you think that prefrabricated beings can change and evolve acquiring ideas and motivations of their own? Do you like planning out each combat turn by turn or maybe you like to fly by the seat of your pants trusting in the intelligence of your handmade monsters? All of these and many more are choices you can and will make if you choose to step into this colorful world, and I certainly hope you do. As ever the first game is the roughest but as the series continues the story and gameplay improves adding in new monsters, classes and spells which you will use alter the path of the world.

A fantastic story with moral questions relating to the inhabitants of the world as well as to yourself
A solid number of monsters to summon allowing you to customize your party for the situation at hand
(For fans of turn based) Solid turn based gameplay factoring in speed attributes and action points causing a more cautious approach to your actions

Graphics are a bit dated which for some can be a stickler
The game's difficulty does not scale per se so if you push on too fast you will feel the pain but if you take your time you can breeze through areas unless you alter the difficulty
The Shaper/Rebel faction dynamic can be a pain at times barring you from acquiring the last rank of a spell or summon key to your personal strategy

Overall it is an extremely enjoyable series that I've spent many hours on before it came to Steam and I would suggest you pick it up if you are a fan of Turn Based RPGs in general.

*And worries for some gamers
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29 of 29 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
70.3 hrs on record
Posted: July 6, 2014
This is an interesting one, although not really a great one.

The world and lore it establishes are well-done and interesting. You get to encounter different sects, and you can ally yourself with them, betray them later, and then change your mind and do what they probably would have wanted if you hadn't already massacred their town. All of these actions have consequences within the world and how that world reacts to you. Those consequences follow through all the way to the ending of the game, which has a pretty impressive variety of outcomes. This is probably the strongest part of the game and what makes it worth playing through.

The growth and progression of your character is also well done. You can choose to play Geneforge as three quite different "classes". Every level up you get a set of skill points that you can apportion as you wish. The class you choose doesn't dictate what you can do, but it does make it easier/harder to level up certain skills. Skills range from physical combat, magic spells, the ability to "shape" creatures to fight for you. General skills, such as Leadership and Mechanics, are also available. Pleasantly, these are actually very useful to find non-combat methods to progress through the game.

Again all of these things are well done, and are what make the game worth playing. Where it falls apart a bit, is in the interface and to a certain degree, the combat.

Combat is turn-based, and on the surface, can be quite tactical. Timing, and awareness of the positions of both your allies and your enemies are all quite important. Particularly, when you do have allies (such as the creatures you can "shape"), you do have to take into account whether or not you or your creatures are blocking a path forward. You can use this both to your benefit and your detriment, by funneling enemies down a corridor into one of your stronger creatures.

In theory anyway.

The problem is that, at least in my experience, the game is rather easy. So, tactics more or less go out the window, when you can just click-click-click your way to victory. Positioning at that point becomes more of an annoyance, as you try to coax the pathing algorithms to make sure that you don't waste a turn because you clicked slightly to the left of something, so it paths all the way around and your turn is wasted. And it's even worse that the punishment for this is not death, but a test of your patience, more often than not.

Towards the end of the game, the challenge is upped, but by presenting annoyances, like poisoned areas that do damage to you and your creatures for just being in them. There is an optional area towards the end that serves as a pretty robust challenge, but again, the tactics aren't really that interesting at the end of it. It's more a battle of attrition that you just need to push through.

Overall, the combat side of this game seems like it would be great on paper, but it ends up being boring most of the time, and annoying some of the time. Very rarely is it actually much fun.

I should mention that the presentation of the game is quite old-school, and to top it off, there is no music aside from the title screen of the game. You just get some ambient noise in towns, and sound effects for all the actions. That's it. Honestly, some music would have made some of the more annoying slog parts of the game much more palatable. I mean, it helped a lot when I was just listening to a podcast or some music when I was doing it.

That being said, despite all the gripes, I would still totally recommend the game. Normally, I'm a gameplay over story/presentation guy, but in this case I can overlook it. What it does right, it does very well.

From what I've heard, the series just continues to build on itself as it goes on. Based on what I played, I'm very much looking forward to eventually going through the following games in the series.
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