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Dragon Wars

aka: The Bard's Tale IV

Description official descriptions

Dragon Wars takes place in the magical land of Dilmun, an island of salvation perverted into a world of horror by Namtar (as you might expect - the bad guy).

The player starts with a party of four in the city of Purgatory, equipped with nothing more than.. well - nothing. Worst of all your magic users won't help you out, either, because magic has been banned (to correct this unpleasing situation is one of your main objectives). Other main targets are surviving, getting out of Purgatory and toppling Namtar (maybe getting some decent clothing, one or two shiny swords and the like on your way out).

Gameplay instantly reminds of the Bard's Tale series. Step-by-step first person 3D, opponents materialize out of the air. The combat system is turn based.

Unlike its (spiritual?) predecessors the game features a full-blown skill system, auto-mapping and many places to actually use all these abilities.
Reasonable distribution of your skill points is rather critical.


  • ドラゴンウォーズ - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Commodore 64 version)

11 People (10 developers, 1 thanks)

Designed by
Artwork by
Produced by
Assistant Producer
Music by
Cover Art
Design Consultant
Manual by
Commodore 64 art conversion by
Special Thanks to



Bard's Tale

Dragon Wars was developed as The Bard's Tale IV, but three months before release the name had to be dropped. Interplay replaced Electronic Arts with Mediagenic as their publisher and Electronic Arts owned the Bard's Tale name. It was decided to rename the game to Dragon Wars. The developers had to rewrite the story so it would fit the new title.

Default Party Characters

The party in the beginning of the game consists of four default party members (which may optionally be deleted and replaced with new characters). The original party members are: Muskels, Theb, Elendil, and Cheetah. Three additional characters may also optionally be recruited in-game, these characters are: Louie, Ulric, and Valar.

The Elendil party character in this game bears the same name with a fictional character created by author J. R. R. Tolkien, the first high king of Arnor and Gondor. One notable scene from Fellowship of the Ring, where Elendil dies fighting Sauron, his broken sword is then used to cut the One Ring from Sauron's hand.

Importable Characters

The player may transfer (import) previously made character(s) from Tales of the Unknown: Volume I - The Bard's Tale, The Bard's Tale II: The Destiny Knight or The Bard's Tale III: Thief of Fate into Dragon Wars. Transferring characters will unfortunately delete the previously saved game. The DOS version only allows importing from the first two games (the third one had not yet been ported to DOS when Dragon Wars was released) via the external command line tool DWTRAN.COM. Other versions allow importing from all three games and have an in-game utility for that purpose.


Purgatory, the starting city in the game, comes from a legend or a myth referring to a place between earth and hell.

Reversed Spelling/Semordnilaps

Some of the names used in the game have a meaning if spelled backwards. Though it may be coincidental, there are numerous names that are used in this manner, among others: * Namtar, the bad guy's name read backwards is Ratman. * Another name used in the game, Lanac'toor, read backwards is Root Canal.

Information here was also contributed by Late and Zzap.

Related Games

Tales of the Unknown: Volume I - The Bard's Tale
Released 1986 on Amiga, DOS, 1990 on NES...
The Bard's Tale II: The Destiny Knight
Released 1988 on DOS, Amiga, 1992 on NES...
The Bard's Tale Trilogy
Released 1989 on Commodore 64, DOS
The Bard's Tale
Released 2004 on PlayStation 2, 2005 on Windows, 2013 on Linux...
Devil Whiskey
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Double Dragon IV
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Fairy Tale Mysteries 2: The Beanstalk
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Zzap.

NES added by JRK. Commodore 64 added by Rebound Boy. Windows, Linux, Macintosh added by ZeTomes. Antstream added by lights out party. Amiga, Apple II, Sharp X68000 added by Terok Nor. Apple IIgs added by Scaryfun. PC-98 added by Unicorn Lynx.

Additional contributors: Terok Nor, Indra was here, Alaka, Cantillon, Patrick Bregger, Rik Hideto.

Game added July 21st, 2000. Last modified June 3rd, 2023.