Deep in the twilight of the Black Forest, you and your companions crouch before the robber-knight's tower. Hans, the alchemist, places his mysterious potion by the door. Ebhard the friar implores Saint Dunstan to bless your weapons and armor. And you and Gretchen grip naked long swords, praying your plate mail won't squeak.
User reviews:
Overall:
Very Positive (73 reviews) - 93% of the 73 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Jan 1, 1992

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About This Game

Heroic Adventures in Medieval Germany
Deep in the twilight of the Black Forest, you and your companions crouch before the robber-knight's tower. Hans, the alchemist, places his mysterious potion by the door. Ebhard the friar implores Saint Dunstan to bless your weapons and armor. And you and Gretchen grip naked long swords, praying your plate mail won't squeak.

With a thundery crash, the door explodes into fragments! You charge inside, swords and maces swinging. One guard falls beneath the power of your blade... then two more! You storm upstairs to the second floor, but there to greet you is Erhard the Red Wolf, the infamous robber-knight, surrounded by his henchmen. Hans tosses a choking potion into their faces and you quickly charge into the fray. The room echoes with the clash of steel on steel... it's a battle to the death in the Black Forest!

Prepare yourself to enter Darklands... the first realistic fantasy role-playing adventure for computers!

Leading a band of four adventurers across the sinister landscape of 15th Century Germany, you'll face the Middle Ages as people believed it to be! A land seething with mythical beasts, religious power-mongers and blood-thirsty sinister robber-knights!

Watch savage battles unfold before your eyes! Travel hundreds of miles by land and sea... from the Frisian Coast to Bohemia... from the Alps to Prussia... visiting over ninety cities along the way!

Your quest for fame and fortune can take you through raucous city streets and dank mine shafts, or from a robber-knight's tower to the terrifying Sabbaths of witches!

So prepare yourself for the astonishing wonders of a realistic fantasy adventure... in the mysterious Darklands!

  • Improve each character's attributes and skills as the game progresses. No artificial character classes or levels!
  • Learn alchemical formulas to make your own potions!
  • Brilliant watercolor-style graphics bring to life and myths and mysteries of the Middle Ages!
  • Easy-to-use and innovative menu presents you with unprecedented role-playing options.
  • Character fight in real-time animation! Freeze the actions and give new orders to characters any time you wish!
  • Bonus content included! Soundtrack in both MP3 and original MIDI formats included! Cluebook, Map and original reference card.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7
    • Processor: 1.0 GHz Processor
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 100% DirectX compatible graphics
    • Storage: 500 MB available space
    • Sound Card: 100% DirectX compatible card or onboard sound
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: 1.5 GHz Processor
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 100% DirectX compatible graphics
    • Storage: 500 MB available space
    • Sound Card: 100% DirectX compatible card or onboard sound
    Minimum:
    • OS: OS X Leopard 10.7
    • Processor: 1.0 GHz Processor
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 3D graphics card or onboard graphics compatible with OpenGL
    • Storage: 500 MB available space
    • Sound Card: 100% CoreAudio compatible card or onboard sound
    Recommended:
    • OS: OS X Leopard 10.7 or newer
    • Processor: 1.5 GHz Processor
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 3D graphics card or onboard graphics compatible with OpenGL
    • Storage: 500 MB available space
    • Sound Card: 100% CoreAudio compatible card or onboard sound
    Minimum:
    • OS: Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
    • Processor: 1.0 GHz Processor
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 100% OpenGL accelerated card or onboard graphics
    • Storage: 500 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Any ALSA supported card on onboard audio
    Recommended:
    • OS: Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
    • Processor: 1.5 GHz Processor
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 100% OpenGL accelerated card or onboard graphics
    • Storage: 500 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Any ALSA supported card on onboard audio
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Overall:
Very Positive (73 reviews)
Recently Posted
Flopsidoodle
( 2.1 hrs on record )
Posted: June 18
One of the best RPGs I've ever played, Darklands puts you in the shoes of four medieval adventurers questing their way across the Holy Roman Empire. What makes this game different from all the other sword-and-armour dragonslayer-type games is the sheer depth of the game, with a huge variety of places to visit and things to do. Moreover the character creation system is the most intricate I've ever come across, with traits ranging from weapon and alchemy skills right down to the character's ability to speak Latin. The combat system is fun, though it can be a little glitchy at times. The game can be grindy at times and the graphics are pretty poor, though that's down to the game being released in 1992.

Fun game and I highly recommend it.
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[MOB]efnita
( 0.7 hrs on record )
Posted: May 2
Just to get this out of the way, in terms of graphics the game hasnt aged well. If poor graphics bother you you might not be able to see the gem that hinds below the 'ugly' facade.

The game is one of my all time favourites. It is from a time when you still had to go out and buy the game in a box, and the number of disks the game came on was a bit of a bragging point. Games also came with proper manuals, and the manual for this game is amazing. It's dozens of pages of background on the multitude of weapons, saints etc that were commonplace during the German dark ages. If you buy the game you get the manual in PDF format and it is worth buying just for that. The game itself is challenging, and has a lot of depth. I wish they would do a remake - updating just the graphics and the sound - as that would give a new generation access to a fantastic game.
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Cydonian Monk
( 20.5 hrs on record )
Posted: April 29
Stop reading this review and go buy Darklands. Build a party, train them from the cradle through their chosen trades. Go out adventuring. Study in the great universities, practice your alchemical ways. Learn the knowledge of the saints, find holy relics. Cleanse the possessed villages, protect the peasantry from robber barons. Pick fights, especially those you can't win. Lose. Lie bleeding, nigh unconscious on the ground. Watch helplessly as your party members, your friends, are cut down before you. Limp back to town and reconsider your life. Recruit a new party. Retire. Only then, once you've had your taste of the world that is Darklands, should you return to this review.

Of course you won't need to, because you'll be playing Darklands for the next several decades. Enjoy.
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RayFinkle
( 19.2 hrs on record )
Posted: April 16
Gotta love this game.
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brian.a.johnson1980
( 30.3 hrs on record )
Posted: March 4
Three words Classic,challenging,fun nuf said
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Beefalonius Rex
( 0.5 hrs on record )
Posted: February 14
This game will hate you and you will learn to hate it. Classic.

10/10
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Dr. Sunshine
( 26.5 hrs on record )
Posted: February 11
Probably the best game ever made.
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j8198kd7
( 0.7 hrs on record )
Posted: January 26
Classic and good.
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tragicironing
( 3.1 hrs on record )
Posted: January 14
Spent about a half hour customizing my party, only to die about 5 minutes into the game. 10/10
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gongo
( 0.1 hrs on record )
Posted: December 29, 2015
I received this game as a Christmas gift when I was a child. It came on something like a dozen floppy discs and took forever to install. I had to edit my AUTOEXEC.BAT and compress my HDD with Stacker for DOS, but it was worth it. Years later, and the game has stood the test of time. Games today can only dream of rivaling the rich lore and story behind Darklands and I remember poring over the included book and artwork as a child. The combat hasn't aged super well and the text can be a little difficult to read at times but you won't find better character creation anywhere. Get this game!
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
307 of 327 people (94%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
3.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 17, 2014
I never expected to see this on Steam. Originally released back in 1992, I played this to death for over 2 years virtually every day for hours at a time. IMO it's still one of the best and very underrated RPG's ever released, with a depth that most RPG's never attain. With three levels of game play, a traditional text based adventure, a map based movement system and a Gauntlet/Baldurs like battle system. With the whole of 15th century Germany which included Poland and other outlying present day coutries you've got a massive area to explore (over the period I played it, I still hadn't visited every city and at least 50% of the missions were left unexplored.

I never thought Darklands would end up in Steams library considering the games age. It was one of the first RPG's I ever played that I throughly enjoyed and is one of those games that's almost impossible to complete if you like exploring every point on the main map, so this is more of a discussion rather than a review of a completed game. It may appear that I've only played this game for a few hours, but that's just my Steam version.

The game was originally released back in 1992. With three levels of game play, including a text based system for making basic choices for example going to the cathedral to learn about a new saint or going to the alchemist to learn about a new potion or to buy rare chemicals, or to find new quests from the local branch of the Hansiatic Leage or the Templars, There was also a map for movement around Europe. you could choose to go to some cities directly from the ports if the city was located on a large river or coastal region, otherwise you'd have to brave the routes on the map. you could of course stray from the known routes, but you were more likely to be attacked by unsavory outlaws, robber knights, withces etc. The third and most interesting part of the game was the Gauntlet/Baldurs like battle system. When this was released it was a breath of fresh air compared to the games I was playing at the time. I spent hundreds (if not thousands) of hours creating characters and exploring the large map that covered most of medieval Europe. It had one of the most complex character customisation schemes I've ever found in a game that to my knowledge has never been surpassed by any game. All the weapons, armour, magic and saints were heavily researched by the developers and most of the content was based on true accounts of life back in Medieval Europe. The magic system was largly alchemical in nature and used the chemicals of the time such as Oil of Vitriol (Sulphuric Acid) Aqua Regia (nitric and hydrochloric acids), plumbago (graphite) and saltpeter (Potassium Nitrate) as well as many more. These were mixed in various combinations to create potions that could heal yourself and/or your team whereas others could hinder or harm your enemies. The effectivness of these potions also depended on your alchemical abilities, which could be improved by either practicing alchemy or paying for knowledge from a local alchemists. I f your Alchemy was low (all attributes had a range of 1 to 100 apart from the main ones such as Strength, Agility, Stamina, Intelligence), you stood a good chance of failing to make the potions you were trying to create and you could even lose health if the concotion exploded. The game also leaned heavily on the lore and superstitions of the time the game was set in, with witches, werewolves, the Hansiatic League, Templars, robber knights and other denizens of the dark ages. It's a brilliant game that I never expected to see on Steam (It's also available as a drm free copy via GOG).

With the whole of 15th century Germany which encompassed Poland and other outlying present day coutries you've got a massive area to explore (over the period I played it, I still hadn't visited every city and at least 50% of the missions were left unexplored).

There's the usual character customisation, though there are a lot more attributes to consider as well as character improvement and the actual battles against witches, robber barons, magical beasts, werewolves, and encounters with less violent, but still demanding characters such as bishops who demand tolls to pass their path. You'll pick up loot from your fallen victims as well as gold, which is then used to buy items from the various outlets. Upgrading your armour or buying more effective weapons from the armouries, or buying much needed ingredients to craft more healing potions, or other useful alchemical concotions, or getting blessed by various saints in the monstries and cathedrals, or being trained in various crafts of the time. All of which cost money; using the monetary system of the period i.e. pfenniges, groschen and florins. You can pick up missions via text based meetings in the local hostelry, or from meetings with various guilds and religious places. Each having different mission types.

This game despite its age can still enthrall a dedicated RPG player especially if you love real history as this game is heavily steeped in the lore and beliefs of the time. The selection of weapons is immense, the ability to craft different potions whether for healing or for battle are massive, but they aren't easy to attain right away. You'll need to spend many hours playing the game and improving your characters abilities to be able to create some of the alchemical formula that are required to progress through some of the many missions available in this game. Each town you visit you can purchase the ingredient to craft your potions, or visit an alchemist to gain more skill so as to create better and more effective potions or to visit the local churches, monasteries or cathedrals to train in the religious beliefs of the time and thereby gain more saintly help (these include healing prayers, and temporary skill improvements during battle). There's a list of saints as long as your arm that you can choose from, each one having their own distinct characteristics. You won't find all of the saints in each town either. You'll need to visit virtually every holy place in Germany to be able to usitilise them all.

There's so much more to this game. Don't let the very dated graphics put you off this game; once you've got several missions under your belt and have improved your groups skills to the point where you can be effective, the game starts to become a lot deeper.

Also the Steam version includes a copy of the original 107 page manual, which is one of the most in depth manuals from that era that you could possibly wish for; with descriptions of all of the weapons, armor, ingredients, potion recipes and prayers that are available in game as well as historical background and tips on how to get the most out of this game. Every aspect of the game is detailed in those pages. They have scanned the original and added it to a pdf document, which is accessible from the right hand menu under links on the games library page,

You can see some Darklands game play HERE, HERE and HERE
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182 of 207 people (88%) found this review helpful
180 people found this review funny
Recommended
4.0 hrs on record
Posted: February 26, 2015
Started Game
Walk around city
Go to mass
Go to slums
Live in slums
Go to Mass again
Walk out of city in broad daylight
Roam outside of city with no purpose
Try to sneak into city
Guards catch me and ask me where my toll is
Try to befriend the guards to get me in without having to pay
The guards tell me I'm wanted for a crime
I go without a struggle
I'm now in a cell
I pray for hours
I ask for priest
I confess sins to priest
Priest leaves
I pray some more
I decide to start digging my way out with a spoon
Tunnel 15% done
Tunnel 30% done
Guard hears me digging
Guard gets friends to beat me up
I'm thrown into a new cell
I pray for hours
I ask for a priest
I ask priest to put in a good word for me
Priest agrees
I pray some more
I decide to try and dig again
Tunnel 14% done
Tunnel 30% done
Tunnel 60% done
Guards come and take me to my trial
I'm accused of breaking the laws of God and man
I am sentenced to death
I spit on the executioner
I am beheaded

10/10 I was never told what I did.
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81 of 83 people (98%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
Recommended
37.5 hrs on record
Posted: July 28, 2015
Darklands is one of the most unique, deep and innovative RPGs of all time. One of the first games to feature an open world, it is also notable for its setting - a mostly accurate depiction of the 15th c. Holy Roman Empire. I say mostly, because within this game, creatures of medieval myth and Germanic folklore are depicted as being real, so the woods are full of monsters, witches pose a grave threat, and dragons (who are, of course, servants of Satan) ravage the land from time to time, requiring that a band of brave heroes lock them back up to await the Second Coming, or, more likely, die in the attempt. For the most part, though, gameplay involves travelling across the world, fighting monsters, bandits and robber barons while doing the odd job for a village schulz or Medici banker.

Gameplay consists of three distinct components - travelling across the world on the overworld map, choose-your-own-adventure style events within towns and dungeons, and combat encounters/dungeons that take place on a smaller scale tactical map. The dungeons can be a pain to navigate at first, as the characters move painfully slowly and the pathfinding is about as good as you'd expect for a game from 1992.

The game mechanics are quite complex and involved, and though they might seem a bit impenetrable at first glance, everything feels quite good once you understand how it works. As suits the setting, the player characters (as decent servants of Christ) have no access to traditional RPG magic - instead, your supernatural abilities involve dabbling in alchemy to produce potions with spectacular effects and praying to Catholic Saints for intervention. Improving these abilities involves tracking down new formulae and getting lessons in hagiography at the local cloister, respectively. These are quite easily the game's most obtuse mechanics, and I'd say that there's no shame in looking up a guide for information on which of the game's seemingly endless number of saints do what exactly, and what the stat requirements are to call upon their aid, or how alchemy even works in the first place.

Like any good RPG, as well, this game offers plenty of opportunities for roleplaying, as well as the ability to make choices, moral and otherwise. However, the right answer most often isn't what's the most sensible to you, the player, but what would be most sensible to a medieval German Catholic. As a consequence, you can really get into the Deus Vult mindset in this game, slaughtering whole villages for disrespecting the mass and playing toady to the Church hierarchy. There is a storyline to complete as well, involving Satan, the Knights Templar, the Wild Hunt and the witches' black Sabbath, though that's something that's likely to emerge only after you've proceeded rather far along in the sandbox.

If you're the sort of person that can enjoy hardcore, old-school RPGs, I would recommend this game with every fibre of my being.
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74 of 79 people (94%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
Recommended
17.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 4, 2015
Huge and initially complex, it's a nice game if you can stomach the graphics that floated in with the Ark. But BE WARNED...keep the player manual open when you play this because it has ancient manual-based copy protection where it will randomly ask you to give some symbol from the manual...if you pick the wrong answer you will be kicked from the game and lose everything you have done.

NOTE TO DEVS AND PUBLISHERS: NEVER RE-RELEASE A GAME WITHOUT REMOVING THIS TERRIBLE EXCUSE FOR COPY PROTECTION
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68 of 75 people (91%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 19, 2014
This is the best RPG ever made. It is the game that my child hood fixated on. When my dad beat this game I thought he was the coolest man alive.

It costs about five bucks. Please now go and buy this game. No one has made a finer simulation of rpg combat in an only slightly fantastical fourteenth century Holy Roman Empire.

Never since have you been able to take a loan from the Medici to buy some plate armour in Nurnburg to go and cap a Kobold mine...
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47 of 51 people (92%) found this review helpful
Recommended
18.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 19, 2014
This game was brilliant for its time. The graphics are dated, and the interface is clunky, but this is one of my favorite old RPGS. I'd love to see someone develop a modern version of this game.

Some strengths:
-character creation
-great (for its time) combat system
-open map
-interesting plot
-local and regional reputation based on actions
-Saints providing different abilities
-alchemic formula's

Some weaknesses:
-Some Robber Baron, thug, and wilderness encounters get pretty mundane
-Its a very old game

Really, this game is a classic. With some updated graphics it could be a fun game to play. Really, you should probably only buy it if you want a taste of a fantastic old game. I occasionally have searched for this game on Steam, and was excited when a friend showed me that it had appeared.

Cheers.
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79 of 103 people (77%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
Recommended
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 17, 2014
This game is the Dark Souls of the early 90's.

The music, the 108 page manual, the agony, all brings back fond memories.

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36 of 37 people (97%) found this review helpful
Recommended
47.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 4, 2014
This is one of my favorite games of all time. I like it so much, I bought it the second I saw it on Steam, even though I still have a working original copy. This is not your usual fantasy RPG. It takes place in a painstakingly detailed medieval Germany (which, in terms of RPGs, actually comes off as far more exotic than the dozens of Tolkien/D&D inspired worlds we've seen over the years.) Younger players will probably be a bit lost at first, as the game lacks the kind of comprehensive interface you see in more modern titles. It's the kind of game you played with the map taped to the wall & a notebook at your desk. It would benefit hugely from a remake, in my opinion, like the one they did with Sid Meier's Pirates several years ago. At any rate, I'd say it's worth picking up if you have some patience & want to experience a classic.
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41 of 47 people (87%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 18, 2014
Probably the best computer RPG ever made.

Between it's incredible breadth of activities, it's focus on exploration, and it's tactical depth (the combat engine is particuarly well done, even by today's standards), it's a true stand-out.

There's a giant world to explore and you can put your faith into saints, alchemy, or your own right arm while you explore it, making the world a hopefully better place.

Absolutely a classic that i can't recommend strongly enough.
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30 of 30 people (100%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
171.3 hrs on record
Posted: September 8, 2015
An RPG from Microprose that, to my knowledge, was the only RPG Micropose ever released. And you know what? It may not have aged well, as in at all, but oh, how it puts some games to shame! Basically, one of the earliest examples, if not *the* earliest example, of an open-ended Role-Playing Game, you have everything you could want just about in this one package!

Character creation: Whoo, boy! This game has a very complex, but very fun and interesting, character creation system. While you only have so much to choose from for your character's sprite, the real fun comes from choosing which skills you want each party member to have. For example, want to have a well-balanced party like the game manual suggests? Go right ahead. Want a party full of big strong warriors who are dumb as a bucket of rocks but can wear all armor and wield heavy weapons without breaking a sweat? You can do that. Maybe you want to have just one character to be an alchemist and have the rest be what would be considered in many modern RPGs as a "paladin," nothing is going to stop you. Now, having said that, there is no "traditional class" system, it all depends on your characters attributes and skills, and you can alter them (within reason) to your liking. There is no "true" right-or-wrong party here.

Open-ended Sandbox: When this game, and anyone else who's played it says "Wide open-ended sandbox gameplay", they aren't kidding. To give you some small idea, your whole party always meets at the inn of some random city in the game, and their main goal in life is to bring honor and glory to their names, and to avoid evil and do good. After you've spent some time in your party's starting city killing bandits and building up their reputation and skills, you're ready to head out into the wide-open world... of Midieval Germany (which isn't really a world, it's just a country) and pick any random direction and begin travelling, fighting bandits, raubritters (robber knights) and witches and devils left, right, and center, with hardly any story, and you have this game pretty much. Trust me on this, though; it's much more fun than it sounds.

Music: For music, there's not that much, but for what there IS, you can almost immediately tell by how the music sounds in a particular situation what is about to happen. For example, if you're near a dragon's lair, the music becomes creepy, ominous. In towns, the music gives off a sense of peace. If you get attacked by bandits, the music sounds like something's about to jump out and attack you which, more often than not, will.

I don't know if there's too much else to say about the game, other than it mixes RPG elements with Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books, and with the beautiful hand-drawn artwork, could you blame them? Now, yes, the game DOES have it's shortcomings, like being slow, and the game sometimes being rigged against the player, and the copy-protection kicking you out of the game if you should choose the wrong answer, but other than that, it's a game that if you really needed something to do, then I honestly can't recommend it enough. But if you're coming to this game looking for character-development and a good story, as much as I'm ashamed to say, you won't find it here.

I'll leave with this: Darklands was, basically, the Midieval German Elder Scrolls version of Ultima III: Exodus. If you like either of those games, then I feel certain that you'll like this one, as well

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