Challenge of the Five Realms DOS front cover
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Challenge of the Five Realms

A top-down role-playing game developed by MicroProse Software and set in a standard fantasy world.

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Subtitled Spellbound in the World of Nhagardia, this Microprose title came out the same year as their more popular work, Darklands. It is a top-down 256-color VGA role-playing game with a few unique twists. Play Challenge of the Five Realms online!

As Prince of Alonia, the player controls a party of up to 10 (!) characters, battling the evil lord Grimnoth in a standard fantasy setting. The game features “Ultima-style” character generation, in which the player’s answers to situational questions help determine the protagonist’s character type (diplomat, warrior, thief, or wizard) and attributes.

An immense number of skills and attributes, akin to that of Daggerfall, add variety to the gameplay, allowing puzzles to be solved in different ways. Dawdling endlessly in side quests to build up your party is not a good idea, as the player has 100 days to stop the encroaching Plague of Darkness, whose spread is shown graphically in the interface.

Under the “PAL system”, characters not only have their own personalities (aggressive, cowardly), but will speak up and volunteer for tasks they are best-suited to perform (e.g., lockpicking, bribery).

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