Help find me an RPG from the mid 80s

I’m very much clutching at the only straws I have there! :-)

I still love Feud’s concept and, at least at the time, the atmosphere, even on the Speccy.

That sounds a lot like Realm of Impossibility
Your wizard had three spells (represented by crosses you would drop on screen) that included Freeze, Protect and Confuse. You could not kill the zombies and other creatures, only freeze or confuse them. You had to escape increasingly difficult levels the deeper you went, and the C-64 and Atari versions of the game had some pretty great music for the time period, including a track that I believe incorporated some bits from Hall of the Mountain King.

alas, where is the Peer Gynt music?

The only game I know of offhand that used In the Halls of the Mountain King was this one, which is not an RPG, and was called (appropriately enough) Mountain King:


But I’m sure other games used it too.

There was also Mountain King, which used the Peer Gynt classic as it’s tune for when you were escaping after collecting the crown. But no wizards, spells or anything like that, only an explorer, flashlight, bats, spider, diamonds, crown and Hall of the Mountain King on full blast when it was time to run back to the surface with crown in hand. (Watch out for those bats though!)

LOL! Sniped by @Gordon_Cameron

Great minds…

but… how did you both post the same screenshot? :O

Lands of Lore by Westwood Studios?
Heroes of Might and Magic I?

it’s a mystery to me how hard it is to find a screenshot of the game. I must have been looking at screenshots of hundreds of games of that era.

I’m not sure Dave didn’t nail it earlier and it wasn’t one of the Temple of Asphai (how many of those kind of dungeon crawlers actually had a tune, let alone a catchy one!), excepting it looked much more colourful on a blurry TV.
The C64 is one of the worst to look up online because of that gap between what the hardware was outputing, and what was actually shown on screen thanks to various trickeries. Screenshots look bland and purple-blueish, while I’ve been shown what the games looked like recently on the real thing, and it was nothing that drab.

Gemstone Warrior is the closest one. Maybe that’s the one, it has no music, except the intro music.

I recently followed ‘CRT Pixels’ on Twitter because they do these really fascinating posts comparing raw pixel screenshots with photos of CRT images. The results are sometimes unbelievable.

Here are a few good examples:

Yeah. I have both options available to me at home and I gravitate toward the composite output of a Sega Genesis over how things look on Mega Sg on the 4K TV. There are some nice features they have now that can do some dithering and blending that almost get there, but when you have the real thing to compare to, it’s easy to see just how awesome games looked on a CRT with the OG output.

That’s cool. When I first started to see VGA displays without scan lines, or with noticeably less prominent ones (circa 1990), I thought they looked amazing. But that softness of the CRT-style images certainly captures how it looked Back in the Day and puts important context on pixel artists’ creative choices.

Yeah, I remember not ‘seeing’ pixels back in the CRT days but I never realised just how the very particular presentation or image quality of CRTs, with their scanlines, that soft phosphor glow, higher contrast, different handling of colour, non-square pixels etc. was harnessed by artists for very particular results that are ultimately lost with the raw pixel output. That’s amazing. The sea looks so much more sparkly in that Sonic pic, and the stalks in the foreground lose that green and orange colour for a much more natural, softer tone. The two portraits are night and day better too.

Welcome To Times of Lore
It is morning.
Disk Read Write Error!

– modern poetry, approx 1988, Amiga.

About the C64 specifically, I had troubles finding points of reference online.

Extracted from this page, here is what emulator renderings and a capture of the same screen on the real thing look like (of course, dependent on monitor settings, but it gives an idea of the gap in vibrancy which I suspected but didn’t see until recently).

and the real thing

Ohhh, wow, look at the difference!

That is fascinating! I’ve played old games with emulators and thought to myself “man, 14-year-old me thought this game looked so amazing, what was he thinking?!” and seeing all these comparisons I realize I owe 14-year-old me an apology. He’s not getting one though, because he was a jerk.

Seriously though, I never realized how much difference the technology of the CRT made in softening the edges and brightening the palette of 8-bit and 16-bit art in games. We have such amazing art in games these days, with talented artists who create beautiful work using incredible tools, but to think what the programmers and artists of that era were doing with such a limited scope and how they incorporated those limitations into the artwork to actually make it better…much respect.

gah, now I want to know it even more which game I played.