Betrayal at Krondor

Moby ID: 285
DOS Specs
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Description official descriptions

Based on Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar saga (and co-written by Feist himself), Betrayal at Krondor is a medieval fantasy-themed role-playing game set in the Riftwar universe.

The story begins as Gorath, a moredhel (dark elf) renegade, who intended to warn the people of Krondor of the upcoming moredhel invasion, is attacked by an assassin. Locklear, a nobleman who serves the crown of Krondor, and a young magician named Owyn decide to accompany Gorath to Krondor, where they'll have to think of a plan to stop the moredhel leader Delekhan.

The game's story is divided into nine chapters. Each chapter has a goal to achieve before moving on to the next one, but the player is given considerable freedom to explore the vast world of the game and undertake side quests. Gorath, Locklear, and Owyn are the first party of characters the player controls; however, characters may leave and others may join the party later, as dictated by the events of the story.

Exploration in Betrayal at Krondor takes place in a 3D world viewed from first-person perspective. Towns, however, are presented as a series of still screens representing locations (temple, tavern, inn, etc.). Combat takes place on separate grid-based screens. The player moves the characters on these screens in a turn-based fashion, attacking physically, defending, and casting spells.

Only two character classes are present in the game: fighters and magicians. Fighters use swords or crossbows (for long-ranged attacks); magicians can fight with staves, or cast spells. Characters have four attributes: health, strength, speed, and stamina. The latter is depleted when a character uses weapons or casts magic. The role-playing system of the game relies on skills. Each character has a set of skills, ranging from weapon proficiencies to abilities such as bartering or stealth. Skills improve after continuous usage. The player can "emphasize" a skill in order to make it improve faster.

Spellings

  • קרונדור - Hebrew spelling
  • 叛變克朗多 - Chinese spelling (traditional)

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Credits (DOS version)

153 People (109 developers, 44 thanks) · View all

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Reviews

Critics

Average score: 84% (based on 16 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 102 ratings with 12 reviews)

For players who are not graphics-oriented. Try this out.

The Good
The spell system was out of its time, most other games of that time did not have these kind of features.

The game has a great number of spells, from the passive Despair Thy Eyes to the monstrous Mad God's Rage.

The Bad
A rather buggy game,I know of a number of bugs, but some of these bugs actually made the game more fun! =)

Graphical issue again...

The Bottom Line
It has some chills in this game (6 years ago i was playing this game and i got a little scared of the ghostly parts, now l'm still rather afraid of walking at night...)

This game has a free, full download, it is released by the kind folks from Sierra, go download it and have fun! (by search engine)

DOS · by Kevlarkid (2) · 2001

Best RPG I've played

The Good
I love how easily you are immersed into the world of Midkemia and the lives of the characters. Gorath and Owyn are still my favourite characters from Feist's novels, years after I first played the game.

The Bad
The ending. Something bad happens to one of the characters I was very fond of.

There is a major bug - if you cast Final Rest on a dead Nighthawk/Black Slayer while another character or enemy is standing upon the same tile the dead enemy is on, the unlucky soul is sucked away with the dead Nighthawk and the game becomes frozen.

The Bottom Line
I loved the game. The storybook elements, puzzles and riddles, and the characters themselves make the game well worthwhile.

DOS · by Jaymie Rogers (1) · 2013

"Blood soaked rags collected at the boy's feet..."

The Good
Reviewing this game is a challenge for me, as it is one of those games that completely took me by storm while at a young age. For that reason, I thought it might be difficult to give it a fair review, and thus decided to do yet another play-through with a critical glance.

I remember my first experience with this game, sitting with friends on a rainy autumn afternoon in '93 or '94, I can still remember our screams of joy and awe as we walked into a shop in Questor's View and first beheld the Keshian Tapir. I brought the game home with me, and played it for hours and hours and days and (especially) nights.

The thing that most made this such a unique experience for me was the amazing freedom you had to run around and explore. It felt like a proper dice-and-paper-and-gamemaster-RPG. This freedom I had never experienced before in a game, and coupled with an enthralling main story, it created a hold over me very few games before or since has been able to do.

There are an incredible number of sub-quests, lots of areas of the beaten track to explore; lots of weapons to try out and aspire to get your hands on (like the aforementioned Tapir).

The view of the game, the combat system and the character development are all adequate. The graphics are good enough, but doesn't matter that much to me anyway. The music is absolutely fantastic, and creates a good atmosphere.

The world is based on the books of Raymond E. Feist (in my case, the game brought me to the books, rather than the other way around), and is a rich fantasy setting that feels as much as a second home as does Hyrule and Middle Earth.

A special mention must be made of the word-chests. These are chests that require you to solve a riddle in order to get at the treasure inside. In the dark pre-www-days of the nineties, I remember sitting into the early mornings of many a school night, my dictionary in my lap, trying to solve that riddle because you HAD to know what was in the chest.

The Bad
There are of course a few drawbacks:

-A quest log or similar would be very nice. Often, people will not repeat information they have already given you, so if you forget some piece of information, tough. This is mainly concerning the sub quests. When it comes to the main quest though, the game is a bit more helpful.

-Sometimes the perspective makes it very difficult or impossible to access certain objects when two or more objects overlap. After combat, it is sometimes necessary to run around the fallen enemy in circles in order to get the correct perspective that allows you to search all bodies. Other times, if an enemy is dead within a corn-field, attempts to search the body will be interpreted as attempts to harvest the corn, with a resulting "the corn is not ripe and cannot be eaten".

-Sometimes the outcome of a combat is determined by the choices made by the AI. If, for example, you encounter several spellcasters in an ambush, they may have the opportunity to incapacitate your entire party before you are able to act. When this happens, you have no other option than to load the game and try over until the enemy for some reason decides to cast different types of spells. This feels a bit unsatisfactory: you know that the enemy can destroy you if he wants, it feels sort of as if he "let's you win" when you finally succeed.

-The "rest" button in combat has a somewhat strange function when compared to the "camp" button on the map. Resting for a round in combat will restore a couple of hit points, while recovering on the map takes hours of camping and the consumption of rations.

-There is some friction in the flavour between the two great aspects of the game: freedom and story. In the first chapter for example, you are told by the leader of your company to rush to Krondor. But the freedom of the game allows you to run around and doing all sorts of things, like for example spending a fortnight learning to play the lute. The time you spend on sub-quests has no bearing on the main quest, so a bit of "double-think" is required on the part of the player.

-While there is a great array of spells available, in reality there are not that many that are useful, and only a handful will actually be used in most situations. A more even power-level between spells would have made combat more interesting as it would not be so obvious what spell to use.

-The player could have better control of movement in combat. You can only choose the enemy you wish to attack for example, not the square you wish to attack him from. This means that you cannot position yourself tactically between two enemies in order to prevent them from using spells or missile weapons for example.

-Patrus. This magician, joining your party in chapter 5(?), is so incredibly weak you'd actually be better off without him. He is so slow that he will never be able to move until an enemy has closed him down, making it impossible for him to cast spells. His combat stats are also so poor that he often gets himself injured or killed, forcing you to spend time and money healing him. His stealth is also so poor that it is important to ambush enemies and get the initiative. It sort of fits with him being an old man, but it is very annoying. It also feels strange from a story-perspective: Why on earth would the other members of the party go into combat with this old man? Just leave him safe behind a tree or something and call upon him when you need him to translate runes.

The Bottom Line
Despite the few drawbacks (and remember that this time I played actively looking for drawbacks, and that the game is an early example of its kind), this is an absolutely amazing game.

The world is great both in terms of size and quality, the story is good, the freedom to explore fantastic.

It will be on the top 10 list of games, all-time all-formats. I return to the game time and time again, and have done for twenty(!) years. If you enjoy adventuring and exploring in a rich world with a captivating story, this is for you. And be strong: try and solve the puzzle chests without cheating!

DOS · by Dr_Bab (7) · 2013

[ View all 12 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
A flood of nostalgia St. Martyne (3648) Mar 1, 2010
CD and Floppy Unicorn Lynx (181769) Aug 10, 2009
GameTap SharkD (425) Sep 10, 2008
Translating BaK? Ajan (262) Jul 6, 2007

Trivia

Actors

The actors for the pseudo-video and motion capture don't look remotely like they're described by Raymond E. Feist, and some (such as Pug) are downright contradictory.

CD-ROM version

The CD-ROM enhanced version of the game includes additional goodies: * 5-minute interview with Feist * Windows-based hint system * Redbook audio soundtrack

Freeware release

Sierra has released the game for free as promotion for its two sequels. This offer only lasted for a limited time, though. The version which was obtainable through on the Sierra website was buggy and needed a patch to get it working correctly.

Novel

Raymond E. Feist, the author whose Riftwar books Betrayal at Krondor is based on, has actually written a book based on the game entitled Krondor: The Betrayal, the first part of a new series called The Riftwar Legacy. The book has the same basic plot as the game, but of course has been altered somewhat to fit the format as well as to be more consistent with Feist's Midkemia series as a whole.

Feist does display an interesting knowledge of the game, however. For example, the method by which the villain is ultimately defeated in the book is actually a valid tactic for winning the final battle.

Sales

When the Betrayal at Krondor first came out it did so miserably at sales that Sierra canceled all plans for a sequel. Later, Sierra rereleased the game on CD-Rom and the game suddenly became a huge hit. By that time, however, Raymond E. Feist already had a contract with a different publisher.

Awards

  • Computer Gaming World
    • June 1994 (Issue #119) – Role-Playing Game of the Year
    • February 1996 (Issue #139) – Introduced into the Hall of Fame
    • November 1996 (155h anniversary issue) - #43 in the “150 Best Games of All Time” list
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 12/1999 - #76 in the "100 Most Important PC Games of the Nineties" ranking
  • PC Gamer
    • November 1999 - #44 Best Game of All Time

Information also contributed by Alan Chan, Adam Baratz Kalirion, PCGamer77, William Shawn McDonie and WizardX

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Trixter.

Windows added by Picard.

Additional contributors: Jeanne, Tony Austin, formercontrib, Crawly, Paulus18950, Patrick Bregger.

Game added September 21, 1999. Last modified January 20, 2024.