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 (99 reviews)
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

Buy Spiderweb Software Complete Pack

Includes 12 items: Avadon: The Black Fortress, Geneforge 1, Geneforge 2, Geneforge 3, Geneforge 4: Rebellion, Geneforge 5: Overthrow, Avernum 4, Avernum 5, Avernum 6, Avernum: Escape From the Pit, Nethergate: Resurrection, Avadon 2: The Corruption

 

Recommended By Curators

"With Geneforge, Jeff Vogel created a refreshingly original sci-fi/fantasy setting with complex moral dilemmas and plenty of role-playing choices to make"
Read the full review here.

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
14 of 14 people (100%) found this review helpful
70.3 hrs on record
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.
Posted: July 6
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12 of 12 people (100%) found this review helpful
49.4 hrs on record
Probably one of the best RPG's I have played in some time. It's incredibly simple in mechanics, an has the most basic of graphics. It's quite long, quite cheap, has some interesting concepts, plenty of areas to explore, creatures to discover and shape. A great isometric RPG.
Posted: May 21
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9 of 10 people (90%) found this review helpful
15.6 hrs on record
I played for 15 minutes, looking around and picking up items, before I got in my first fight. I hit a cow with a fireball and it killed me in one hit. 10/10
Posted: June 28
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.9 hrs on record
Basically Geneforge 1 is a seemingly run-of-the-mill fantasy RPG where, admittedly, the art and music isn't even all that great. But you'll be hooked after 30 minutes of exploring Sucia Island, which has been barred from Shaper travel for two centuries. There are the typical ruins and monsters, treasures and trash you get with every game like this, but the game's storytelling will suprise you and keep you playing. Combat and map-extensiveness will keep you on your toes and provide a lengthy experience. This is a great game and I highly recommend it if you're looking for something easy to get into and fun to play.

You can see an extended review I've written here: http://chillfacedanger.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/year-of-gaming-3-geneforge-1/
Posted: July 12
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
41.4 hrs on record
This entire series is amazing if you enjoy rpgs. Provides countless hours of exploring and creating characters however you want them to be. You can make a mage who harnesses the power of the geneforge and can kill everyone or the warrior that denounces his own race. It is a super fun game that is not known enough. I would recommend it to all of my friends.
Posted: July 23
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67 of 70 people (96%) found this review helpful
16.0 hrs on record
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.
Posted: February 12
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