The First 100% QuickBasic Game Review Magazine
Updated November 20, 2004

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Dark Ages I: The Continents
(Dark Knight Software)

"The most famous QuickBasic RPG, from its greatest storyteller."

You and your family used to own a farmhouse near the Town of Meadow. But one day, while you were tending the crops with your father, a group of marauding orcs attack your only mother and sister. As your father turns around to save his beloved, he was stabbed fatally by one of the orcs. You hide in the bushes, crying helplessly as you watch your family get butchered.

As soon as you regain strength, you walk to Meadow. There, you learn that your world had been split apart by the Archmage Greyor using the Mystic Medallion, and that it is Greyor's minions who killed your family. Between Greyor and your only chance to avenge your family lie two new and breathtaking continents...

Game Review
Graphics (n.)
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
Dark Age's graphics, whether in battle or while walking,  are reminiscent of the NES classic Dragon Warrior. By the looks of it, there were three tilesets, one for castles, one for caves, and one for the field. The enemies appear on the upper left in a frame, and as you beat them senseless with your weapons they decay.
Sound/Music (n.)
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
Kudos to Mike Hoopmann for putting together an original musical soundtrack, making Dark Ages one of the first QBRPGs to handle MIDI music. That being said, it's probably the most popular QB tunes out there. Once you've played the game for six hours or so, you'll either learn to love or hate the "dum dum dum dee dum" tune (as Dark Ages players have notoriously labeled it.
Gameplay (n.)
The precision of control and involvement of character within its universe
The game is pretty simple. All you have to do is travel from town to town, searching for the magic and weapons that will make you strong enough to defeat Greyor. But the gameplay is there because the world is so HUGE! The game has fifteen main locations, and you have to do a lot of town hopping to advance the game's plot. That means you'll have to battle a lot of monsters along the way with the weapons you get as you travel from place to place. The combat interface isn't too advanced though, as the offensive spells are impractical and your real power lies in the use of the game's Healing spells.
Story (n.)
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
The story is so involving, as you must solve puzzles to unlock new parts to your journey, that you may forget how to get past certain parts... yet the plot itself is unforgettable! There are so many people to talk to in this game... I'm still wondering how Mike got all the people to fit in this game.
Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated again and again
Dark Ages I: The Continents is a great experience. In fact, it's better than a lot of QBRPGs that were made after it. But this classic is overwhelming. After you take the twelve hours to solve this game, you really have to sit this title down for a while. I'll say this, though. You don't know how vast QB games can be until you try this one.
Challenge (v.)
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and reflexes
(Very Good)
The challenge in this game is found in two very strange places. First off, paying attention to the game's story is important because you will have to search through the world to find the people you need to help you in your quest, often requiring the right order.

Another unique challenge in Dark Ages I is the need to gather magic spells. Each magic spell you have to learn has its own level. You have to find the spells in each of the towns so you can learn them in the right order. This too, requires a lot of knowledge about the world. You could say this is one QBRPG that deserves a strategy guide.

Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
Some of the game's puzzles will drive you crazy. The enemies will elevate your stress and make your hairs white. But there's something about this game that is so addictive. Sometimes you get so addicted that you're too tired to have fun... :) 
Players 1 player Genre: Role Playing Game
Rating To solve: 8-12 hours Final Rating: 20/35

To download Dark Ages I (379KB), click here.
wIf you're unzipping this program in DOS, use the -d option.
wIf you have any sound card (other than Ensoniq), run "DASTART.BAT".
wFor Ensoniq users, modify the line in "DASTART.BAT" that reads "sbmidi" and change it to "sbmidi -3", then run "DASTART.BAT".
wIf you have no sound card, run "NOSOUND.EXE".

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Game Summary
Coding Group
Dark Knight Software
Homepage URL
Final Rating
20 out of 35 points

The Highs: Simply put, the longest, most complete QBRPG ever made.
The Lows: Archaic menu system may deter modern gamers from this excellent RPG experience.

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