Gothic

aka: Gothic Classic, Gotika, Orpheus
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Description official descriptions

With the orc hordes invading, the king needs a lot of magical ore to create enough weapons for his army. All the criminals are now sentenced to work in the ore mines till the end of their days. To prevent them from escaping, the king has a group of powerful wizards create a magical, impassable barrier. But the barrier grows out of control, capturing a large chunk of terrain within itself, and the wizards become imprisoned inside. In the confusion that follows, the prisoners kill the guards and take over the whole area within the barrier.

Many years later, the prisoner community has been divided into three camps: the Old Camp, where miners dig up ore and sell it to the king in exchange for goods from the outer world; the New Camp, where anarchy rules, and where the miners dig up ore in hope of blowing up the barrier with its magical power; and the Brotherhood, whose members worship a mysterious god called the Sleeper, hoping that he will release them. A new convict has been recently dropped into the prison, trying to find his place within the community, and knowing nothing about the pivotal role he will soon play in earth-shaking events.

Gothic is a third-person perspective 3D action role-playing game. The game is set within the Colony, the large area of land within the barrier. The player is free to explore most of the Colony from the beginning, though it may prove difficult, as the protagonist is initially very weak and most wildlife can kill him with one attack. Combat with melee weapons requires the player to input combinations of keys to execute various types of attack.

The player character must train to increase his attributes - Strength, Dexterity and Mana. As he vanquishes creatures and completes quests, he receives experience; with enough experience, he will gain a level, which not only increases his number of hit points (and thus lengthens his lifespan), but also gives him skill points. If the hero meets someone who is eager to teach him, the player will be able to spend skill points to increase attributes or learn completely new skills.

Skills include: the increasing ability to fight with various types of weapons; the ability to pick pockets and locks; and the ability to jump further and sneak. The protagonist can also learn to harvest furs, claws and other things from the animals he kills, and then sell them for money. Collecting plants and getting meat from defeated creatures can be very useful, since eating food heals the main character, or restores mana lost when casting spells. The game features a day and night cycle, character schedules, and interactivity with the game world: for example, the player can find a pan or a stove and roast raw meet to raise its healing qualities.

The player can choose to join any of the three camps, which influences most of the quests in the first part of the game. By focusing on particular skill sets, the player can turn the main character into a specialized melee fighter, archer, or mage. However, it is also possible to learn skills belonging to other classes at any time. Even if the player doesn't want the protagonist to learn mage skills, he can still find or buy scrolls and runes which allow the hero to cast various magic spells, e.g. toss fireballs at the enemies, teleport, turn himself into other creatures, and many more.

Spellings

  • Готика - Russian spelling
  • 哥特帝国 - Chinese spelling (simplified)
  • 救世英豪 - Chinese spelling (traditional)

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Credits (Windows version)

115 People (113 developers, 2 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 82% (based on 33 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 148 ratings with 8 reviews)

A good RPG, worth the twenty dollar purchase.

The Good
Well, while I don't share some people's enthusiasm for the game, I enjoyed it. The game itself was fun. I think the plot and storyline was well thought out, and I enjoyed how your reputation proceeded you whenever you met someone new. The NPCs' reactions to your character, while sometimes utterly redundant, were a fairly good spice to throw into the mixture. I like the freedom aspect, and how your character can own and defend his own property.

The Bad
While I'm sure that this will be remedied in Gothic 2, I didn't like how you couldn't create your own character. A couple of cheats to change your character's voice pitch, and a fairly vast selection of weapons and armor were the only ways to customize him. I wasn't too impressed with the graphics, because they were a bit choppy. I have a 1.6 GHz Pentium 4, 256 MB of SDRAM, and an NVIDIA GeForce 2 Card, so I know that it wasn't my computer. In any case, the controls were a little tough to learn, but once you get used to them, they're not bad. Besides all that, the game itself is pretty good, though it's tough to level up and become more powerful, not to mention the time I had scoring money to buy new equipment.

The Bottom Line
I like this game. I realize I had more bad than good to say about it, but I really don't think it's a bad game. I would say it is definitely worth the twenty dollar purchase, and I don't think anyone will be disappointed when they play it. It does almost exactly what you would expect from a game of its genre.

Windows · by Aaron Jones (14) · 2003

My best RPG experience so far

The Good
I am a natural strategy games lover and to me RPG games come in a second term as well as other genres.

Anyway, you cannot play strategy for ages, sometimes comes the need for a change so I discovered this title and decided to try it… Man I get lucky, what a great game, the best RPG I played since “Legends of Valor” (a today unknown oldie RPG). Let’s see…

1) The storyline: Designed with great dedication by the creators and as a player, I appreciate that. As you discover the way the story develops, you want to keep playing more and more and start being afraid that the time when you finish the game will come.

2) The world: You play it, as you wish, no limits, while you play the different quests you can stop whenever you want to explore or even start more non-related quests.

3) The creatures: Well, I can’t describe them since it will take to much space but I can say that the variety and characteristics of each of them are well developed and since you can use spells to turn into a creature and use their faculties you will need to learn about them, not just kill them.

4) The Guilds: The player can join one of three camps (The Old Camp, The New Camp or The Swamp Camp) and in order to succeed he must pass a series of quests that eventually will help to reach better ranks on each Guild. Be aware that once you get the admission to a camp, you can’t join the other ones.

5) The Interface: Perfect, intuitive, marvelous. Once you get used to it you will miss it when playing other RPG games.

6) The Fight and Movement System: Outstanding, another big point, very intuitive and very realistic, it take some time to get used as well.

7) The NPCs: Each one with his own personality and behavior, you will learn about them and feel identification with them. Even the tutors and merchants are well developed.

8) The Inventory: Maybe unreal but there is not limit on weight, in my opinion that’s good. The inventory is divided into 7 categories (Weapons, Armor, Potions, Spells, Writings, Food, Miscellaneous) helping a lot on the items management and usage.

9) At last, The Quests: There are not stupid quests on this game and as consequence each one have a smart solution, sometimes you feel that it is impossible to get a quest solved but by smart think you always can take the correct steps. Sometimes you will need to talk to an specific NPC character or use a specific spell to beat a creature but the point is that isn’t just as other games where you guess and get lucky or unlucky, in this game if you think, you always find the solution.

The Bad
1) There is not autosave or quicksave, therefore you have to remember to save every 10 mins if you don’t want to replay the game or if u get killed or made a mistake.

2) Minor bugs, most related to 3D Graphics System that eventually will lead to some crashing, but not a great deal.

3) Bad programming on the NPCs fighting movement, sometimes a player can exploit this to kill stronger enemies. Anyway, this fact doesn’t affect the overall game experience.

4) It took to me 50 hours to reach the end, I am not used to many rpgs as I said before but I think that it was short.

The Bottom Line
Is hard to me to express how much I like this game, I will not recommend it, I will just ask for… Please, play it and have fun. In the while, I am starting to look ahead for Gothic 2.

Windows · by Cabeza2000 (689) · 2004

To take or to be lunch, that is the question

The Good
"Gothic" came as quite a surprise, when it was released. No one had ever heard about that small German developer called Piranha Bytes, who actually build an own engine for their first product, delivering quite spectacular 3D environments, that still look impressive even today.

The game takes place in some sort of magical prison, a colony, where the bad boys of medieval fantasy kingdom get arrested. A vast area is separated from the rest of the land by a gleaming magical barrier, preventing all life forms from leaving. The people inside the colony are mining ore for the outside world, which is therefor sending food and other important goods.

For reasons, that remain unclear, our predetermined male hero is thrown into the colony at the beginning of the game. He soon finds out, that there are three different factions. First the old camp, where people more or less came to terms with the situation inside the colony. Second the new camp, where people long for freedom, seeking ways to destroy the barrier and preferring to live from plain farming, instead of doing any business with the outside world. Last the swamp camp, consisting mainly of spiritual fools, who smoke too much weed and believe in the return of a god-like being, they call "the sleeper". All of these factions are eying each other suspiciously and you eventually have to choose, which one to join. In typical RPG style, they all have strict hierarchies, inviting you to work your way up by doing missions for them.

"Gothic" features magic and many strange creatures, but it isn't your typical fantasy setting with elves and dwarfs and such. People are living spartan lives in provisional shacks, there's no luxury, no opulence to be found. Folks are ruthless and brutal, their speech not polite and eloquent, but harsh and often filled with insults. All in all, the medieval setting of the game is quite convincingly portrayed, without the usual fairy tale glamour. Many details make the world feel quite real, for example some of your interactions with the environment. It's quite cool, to be able to hunt down some animals, join a campfire, roast the fresh meat over the flames, eat your meal and see your energy refill. Things like day/night-cycles, dynamic weather changes and lots of other stuff, that makes virtual worlds feel more authentic, are included as a matter of course.

You will spend most of your time not in the camps, but out in the wilderness. Rarely you meet a human soul there: people seek shelter in the camps, which are like bastions against the untamed nature – fortifications and heavily armed guards are protecting the residents. All kinds of hungry beasts, monsters and other foes populate different areas of the world, often even attacking and killing each other. Theoretically the vast game world is completely open and you can go where you want, but practically you will be killed immediately, once you make a single wrong step. Since "Gothic" is a role-playing-game, you have to become stronger, before you can explore the world as you like. Many enemies are simply too tough for you and in the beginnings you will often find yourself trying to sneak past them or, if that fails, running for your life.

The role-playing system, that works in "Gothic", is kept very simple, making the game very intuitive to play, but still quite hard to master. You can basically become a sword fighter or an archer, invest points into magic or thievery skills and learn some other things as well. The number of skills and attributes is certainly not overwhelming, but proves to be enough. What makes "Gothic" great, is the way it lets you feel the impact, every time you invest experience points. Concentrating just on the most essential skills, the RPG system is incredibly effective and precisely balanced. You're slowly evolving from a poor loser, struggling for survival at the wrong end of the food chain, to an almost ridiculously mighty super-warrior.

Especially in the early stages, the game is really hard, however. During my first trips into the wilderness, I didn't feel very heroic. In fact, I had no choice but to behave like a coward, trying not to attract any attention, making a safe file for every successful step. Sometimes I could kill enemies with a bow from a safe position, sometimes I was running down hills with several dinosaur-like creatures behind my back, eager for a piece of human flesh. I died very often and it got quite frustrating at times. Seeing certain enemies, I thought, I'd never be able to beat them, but I was wrong. It doesn't happen fast, but through constant, arduous self-improvement you eventually become powerful enough to defeat those beasts, which killed you with a single bite before. It's a very rewarding feeling, that actually makes up for all the troubles, you had to experience before.

As cruel and unforgiving the world of "Gothic" may be, it also is beautiful. The wonderful landscapes will surely not leave you unimpressed, the vastness of the world and its huge majestic mountain ranges make you almost feel small and insignificant. Every mountain can be climbed, every house can be entered, every lake can be swum. It never even bothered me, that the vastness of the world also implicated a lot of walking around. Wandering through the country on foot is part of the experience, which is dangerous and uncomfortable, yet great. The exploration of the world is pure joy and you feel amazed, when you're finally strong enough, to venture into new areas. I especially liked conquering mountain tops. I never found any precious extra items there, but it was great fun, an hazardous challenge, rewarding me with incredible views. This is what this game is basically about: overcoming nature.

Other than for example in the "Elder Scrolls" series, you won't discover new dungeons with every step in "Gothic", but those to be there are huge and often brilliant. Especially the old mine, one of the most well-designed dungeons I've ever seen, is full of atmosphere. Over wooden footbridges, not appearing very secure, you descend into the mountain. Your mission is to kill minecrawlers, scary monsters, coming out of their dens every now and then to scarf down some of the poor workers, which are digging for ore everywhere. To eradicate those minecrawlers, you have to kill their queen, which gives birth to the species. "Gothic" has strong elements of horror and this is a sequence, that serves as a good example. From dim light to shocking sound effects the designers use every trick to create an intense atmosphere.

The Bad
The game starts to lose its appeal somewhere near the last third, when it is unable to bring anything new to the table. I don't know it for sure, but there must be some kind of unwritten law, which says, that every RPG has to take at least 30 hours of the player's lifetime. I wonder, when people will finally stop counting the hours and seeing more playing time as more "value" for their money. This annoying trend has already harmed quite a couple of games, maybe even ruined some.

No one is so stupid to take the number of pages into account, when judging a book. Maybe this is a reason, why most good authors knows, when to stop, while game designers often don't have this competence. "Gothic" is a typical case: at some point you have seen everything, heard everything and done everything interesting, but still the game refuses to come to an end. Of course, you have no idea, that the interesting parts are over and continue playing, only to get the feeling of having wasted your time in the end.

You'll come to a point in the game, where it all gets tiresome and the motivation sinks. You won't discover anything new, as the world is ultimately explored and the final dungeons just repeat what has been done before, only with less style. You won't discover any new enemies and the old ones won't intimidate you anymore, as you've already slayed hundreds of them. It's as well a problem of the balance, which is close to perfect in the earlier stages, but gets lost in the end. Being the almighty super-warrior, the game suddenly becomes uninteresting.

The game's appeal lies almost entirely in the tough struggle for survival, it presents. That appeal is lost towards the end, while the flaws become more apparent. Many things in "Gothic" could have been better fleshed out. There's the storyline, which starts quite promising, but gradually moves into the boredom of generic fantasy trash (and finally dissolves into one of those endings, which rather care for advertising the sequel than a proper conclusion). When the characters then turn out to be flat and uninteresting and the world is devoid of any history, intrigues or other cool things, you can't immerse yourself as deeply in the game as you can in other roleplaying titles. Many classical RPG virtues are completely missing out here, even the non-linearity is only a cheap fake. You can join one of the three factions in the beginning, but these strands are reunited pretty soon. The rest of the game is linear and leaves you no choices, neither are there any interesting side quests to fulfill. Don't get me wrong: the qualities of the game do make up for these shortcomings, but I imagine, it could have been even better, if these parts were more polished.

The Bottom Line
Let the final third aside and you've got a more than impressive first game from a then totally unknown developer, that spawned against all odds a quite popular series. In its essence, "Gothic" is about the human struggle against nature, which is temptingly beautiful, but also cruel and unforgiving. The world is fantastic, yet believable, the rules are simple, yet survival is tough. To describe "Gothic" in a single sentence: a very atmospheric and intense experience.

Windows · by micnictic (387) · 2008

[ View all 8 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
German title? SharkD (424) Jan 9th, 2009

Trivia

Comic book

A comic book based on the game's lore was published in 2000, prior to the game's release. Titled simply Gothic, it depicts events in the prison colony shortly before the game protagonist's arrival. The comic is written by Thorsten Felden.

Development

Gothic was developed without an option for mouse control -- everything was keyboard-only. When editors of gaming mags were shown an early build, they complained about the cumbersome handling and sluggish controls. So the developer, Piranha Bytes, put in mouse control -- in the last month before going gold

Multiplayer

A multiplayer mode was in the works, but was cancelled in June 2000. The net code was already finished, but other problems (for example balanced quest rewards) were too big.

Music

In the beginning of chapter 2, the band In Extremo (a German band that mixes medieval music with elements of rock) gives a virtual performance in the old camp. Due to licensing issues, the performance is cut in some non-German versions and re-releases.

References

In the swamp camp the player can meet an insane NPC named "Baal Netbek". He is named and modelled after Joachim Nettelbeck who was a reviewer for the German magazine PC Player at the time. He even lent his voice to the character.

Version differences

The German and the US-American versions of Gothic are both censored but they are censored in different ways: In the German version there's less blood and in the US-American version there's no nudity.

Awards

  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 02/2002 - Best RPG in 2001
    • Issue 02/2002 - Best Game World in 2001

Information also contributed by Kaliban, Monkeyhead, Mobygamesisreanimated, JudgeDeadd, and Patrick Bregger

Related Games

Gothic 3
Released 2006 on Windows
Gothic II
Released 2002 on Windows
Gothic 3: Forsaken Gods
Released 2008 on Windows
ArcaniA: Gothic 4
Released 2010 on Windows, Xbox 360
Gothic II: Gold Edition
Released 2004 on Windows
Gothic II: Night of the Raven
Released 2003 on Windows
Gothic Universe
Released 2007 on Windows
Gothic: Collector's Edition
Released 2005 on Windows
Arcania + Gothic Pack
Released 2011 on Windows

Related Sites +

  • Gothic I - Español
    This Language Pack is based on the Spanish Gothic I release by Egmont Interactive (1.08j). It contains the menu scripts, game scripts, subtitles, fonts, and three videos in Spanish.
  • Gothic@RPGDot
    Comprehensive Gothic Site for Gothic 1 and 2 including news, commentaries, designer diaries, screenshots and forums

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Alexander Schaefer.

Nintendo Switch added by Plok.

Additional contributors: Kaliban, Unicorn Lynx, Jeanne, Havoc Crow (formerly JudgeDeadd), Nico Bendlin, Paulus18950, Patrick Bregger, Plok, Evolyzer.

Game added April 13th, 2001. Last modified September 28th, 2023.