Computer role-playing games are my favorite, from my earliest days of Ultima and Wizardry on an Apple IIe to Rogue and Telenguard on a TRS-80 Color Computer to Neverwinter Nights and Oblivion on a PC. Given that I love RPGs I really tried to give DarkSprye time to grow on me.
DarkSprye, unfortunately, never did. I spent well over an hour wandering around a pointless maze all in an effort to ensure that you, dear reader, received a fair report on this game. I am sure that DarkSpyre was a welcome addition at a time when computer games were not as abundantly available as they are now.
DarkSpyre offers you a quick start ability: your choice af a "fast start" male or female character, or the ability to generate your own character by reading a ton of story line and making selection as you see fit. You can assign all your skill points or let the program assign the base values and adjust them from there.
There is a full inventory system and you can drag and drop weapons, armor, amulets, spell books, potions, etc. onto your likeness. Standard fair for RPG games of yesterday and today. The game has the ability to cast spells, make potions (pretty cool for a 1990's game), keys, throwing knives and spikes and more.
The game is "real time" in that the enemy will move and attack even if you don't. Make sure you pause if you need to walk away. The graphics are certainly playable, although nothing special, the sounds work, and the music (plays during combat) is acceptable.
Once you learn the proper spell and add it to your spell book, you must ready it before it can be cast. To make potions you must have an empty flask in one hand and something to make the potion from in the other, such as a ruby (healing) or emerald (poison). You can drink or throw potions - you can probably guess which action to choose with which potion. Beware of becoming poisoned as it doesn't wear off with time: cure yourself or die!
That all sounds good, and it is, leading me to the bad part. Notice there is no "save game" key! You can only save at certain parts of the game when you find a magic rune. This is a major pain given how easy it is to die (depending on some luck) in a fight (until you find a hit point enhancing amulet).
The amount of the dungeon maze that you can see at any given time is fairly limited making it difficult to find the way to the next level. Based on the scroll that lets you make hidden things invisible it is possible I missed something important, but I was not powerful enough to cast it.
DarkSpyre is worth a look, and if you can get past the lack of a save feature and the limited view, then this is a cool game. Chose your weapon and go kick some butt...
The game is played using the following keys:
Arrow keys (even diagonals using the keypad) to move
Enter key to activate levers
"T" to take (pick up) items off the ground
"P" to pause the game
"R" to restore a saved game
"-" for more inventory screen and less play area
"+" for more play area and less inventory screen