RoA1 is complex RPG based on Germany's best selling pen and paper RPG "The Dark Eye". The game is very rough around the edges with stiff controls, repetitive graphics and micro management and instant kill dreath-traps; and yet the world of Aventuria is fun to explore and RoA is one of the few game series that tried to get the pen and paper rules as closely as possible onto the screen.
With the classic RPG party of up to six heroes (plus an occasional NPC) you have to travel through and explore the viking-inspired country of Thorwal to find pieces of an old map showing the location of a legendary sword. Find the sword to thwart the impending orc invasion and save Thorwal. The story is as simple as that - but it's not an easy task.
Travelling Thorwal is not a cakewalk. Find food and drink or your heroes will die of starvation or thirst. Gather herbs, brew potions and poisons or use them to cure death threatening diseases. Protect your camp or you risk enemy surprise attacks at night. Try to climb a mountain without a rope? Your party better have proper climbing skills or you can wave your heroes goodbye as the game cruelly hurls them down chasms to their deaths. Bottomless pits, rocky old boats that sink without warning - the game loves to kill you without giving you a chance. You better save often. Not enough? One wrong word may upset an NPC carrying one of the precious map pieces you're looking for and you will never get it. No second chances. Miss too many and you cannot complete the game (without the game telling you).
Towns and dungeons are explored in old fashioned 3D view à la classic Bard's Tale and Ultima Underworld. Combat takes place turn based on an isometric grid. Traveling across the lands happens on the large map of Thorwal itself.
Over twenty years later there are many things that will turn gamers away instantly. The game gives you no quarter. But if you give it an honest chance you may find that exploring Thorwal and its dozens of villages and towns and numerous dungeons will be an adventure to remember for a long time to come.