Times of Lore

aka: Ultra Realm
Moby ID: 762
Atari ST Specs
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Description official descriptions

The Kingdom of Albereth was under attack of barbarian forces. King Valwyn drove the barbarians away, but was wounded in battles. Searching for a place where he could rest and restore his strength, he left the city - but never returned. Now, a new hero must rise and defend his homeland.

Times of Lore is an action game with light role-playing elements, which follows the adventures of a young warrior (strong barbarian, armored knight, or quick valkyrie) to assist a weakened kingdom from various threats, and to recover special Artifacts that once made the kingdom strong.

Gameplay consists of moving the protagonist in real-time (day and night) through various terrains, like forests, towns, and dungeons. The player character gathers basic items, like health and magic potions, and increasingly powerful weapons as he completes tasks and advances the plot. Conversations are handled through key phrases. Battles involve a few types of creatures (skeletons, orcs, rogues) of which there can be various flavors.

Groups +



Credits (Commodore 64 version)

26 People (25 developers, 1 thanks) · View all



Average score: 71% (based on 20 ratings)


Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 46 ratings with 5 reviews)

An okay game, but kind of annoying mechanics.

The Good
Overall layout. If you're a fan of the Ultima series (like I am), you'll find this game to be right up there. Intro music is very well done (I wish it would have continued into the game).

The Bad
Control was done with either keyboard (one step per click) or the mouse (which takes a while to get used to). I tend to prefer keyboard control to the mouse, but in this game, I ended up using a bizarre mix of the two. Also, some of the forest path mazes got to be needlessly long and drawn out.

The Bottom Line
Not an "A-list" game, but still fun.

DOS · by Mirrorshades2k (274) · 2000

An Ultima-inspired RPG that performs adequately.

The Good
I liked this game mostly for bizarre technical reasons. It's programmed very well, for one thing; the tile-based game world moves quickly, and the graphical fades/transitions are visually appealing (if a bit slow on a 4.77MHz machine).

The music by the always-talented C64 legend Martin Galway was of approximately the same quality on all sound devices supported, from the Adlib to the 3-voice Tandy chip, which was a neat trick to pull off for the lesser-quality sound devices. And support for the Adlib in 1988 was rare; Times of Lore is one of the first twenty games to support the Adlib.

The Bad
The music sections are mostly at the beginning of the game in the intro, and while very good, are too short (they repeat too quickly).

Times of Lore was also a bit too difficult for my tastes; many times I had to restart at the beginning of a section, only to get smitten once again.

The Bottom Line
Times of Lore is a great game to play if you enjoy Chris Roberts' work and are looking for an Ultima-style game from Origin that isn't Ultima itself.

DOS · by Trixter (8952) · 2000

Plays more like Gauntlet than an RPG

The Good
This was Chris Roberts first game for Origin. He would later go on to create Wing Commander but he was obviously a talented programmer at this stage judging by the game engine here. Graphically, this isn't really comparable to the Ultima games that had gone before it. The world looks far, far more detailed and also uses an isometric tile-set to give some height to the buildings. When you walk through a door, the roof pops off a building and you see the interior. Everything also scrolls smoothly instead of the jumping a tile at a time approach we had seen before. The entire game takes place on the one world map except for a couple of underground dungeons late into the game. The conversation system remembers which keywords you have heard and you can then select them off a list. The later Ultima's clearly got ideas from this game.

The interface has been simplified hugely from every other Origin RPG to date. Whereas all the previous games seemed to want to have a separate function for every key on the keyboard this uses an icon driven interface, with just to 8 icons to control everything.

This was the first Origin game to support sound-cards on the PC, although the MT-32 is missed out in favour of adlib, CMS and tandy.

The Bad
The plot of the game is really poor and unoriginal. The game is little more than a series of 10-15 quests most of which don't really have a lot to offer towards advancing the story. The quests are the usual find/kill something/someone and are all very straightforward apart from the last couple which involve navigating through dungeons. They lead up to a completely obvious ending after you slay the bad guy who hasn't actually done anything to you at any point in the game. There are not that many NPC's who really have much to say and there is very very little conversation in the game. What there is is nearly all quest related and the people dishing out quests seem to delight in sending you to the opposite side of the map and back again every time.

There are no stats visible in the game and there is no way of increasing them if they exist anyway. As far as I'm concerned no stats mean this isn't an RPG, but more of an action adventure.

The amount of combat in the game is ludicrous. Its thankfully very quick with most monsters only needing a couple of hits to take them out, but by the time you get any distance into the game there is pretty much a monster just out of sight on the edge of the screen in every direction. The world seems to have about 100 people living in it and 20000+ monsters at any time. Avoiding combat is usually the best policy.

The monsters drop potions and scrolls. You can only carry one of each, however, and if you already have one they won't drop another. This makes little sense. You can only save by resting at inns - the hardest parts of the game (the 2 dungeons and the final temple) are lengthy walks from an inn and there is no way anyone could complete them without numerous attempts to learn the layout. Having to walk for 5 mins to get there every time is not my idea of fun and because of the item limit you can't even stockpile on potions before you start.

The music is only present in the introduction and end sequence. The intro music must be 5-10 minutes long, for a screen where you only have to select start new or return to game. Why this isn't looped during gameplay instead I have no idea.

The Bottom Line
This game is in no way an RPG. With the silly numbers of monsters it plays more like Gauntlet than anything else most of the time. It is fairly short so I didn't have time to get too bored with it but had it been longer, the long walks back from save points would have been infuriating. When the game came out, I think the fancy engine would have been enough for it to be worth a look but while its still fun there isn't all that much to recommend it now.

DOS · by Pix (1172) · 2008

[ View all 5 player reviews ]


Game Art Beyond

In 2018, Times of Lore was selected as one of the biggest classics on the Commodore 64 by the creators of the C64 graphics collection Game Art Beyond. Times of Lore was honoured with a high resolution title picture (based on the Amiga title screen artwork) in a special C64 graphics format called NUFLI, along with a new C64 SID interpretation of the iconic C64 original title score.

References to the game

Although not in Times of Lore itself, the game is mentioned in Ultima V by a 'Christopher' in one of the Brittannys surrounding Lord British's castle. 'Christopher' says it will be quite a masterpiece and hopes you purchase it when he sends it off to the printing presses.


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  • DOSBox, an x86 emulator with DOS
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  • ZX-Art - online archive of pixel art and 8-bit music
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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 762
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Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by George Shannon.

Commodore 64 added by Quapil. NES added by JRK. ZX Spectrum added by Kabushi. Amstrad CPC added by Martin Smith. Apple II, Amiga, Atari ST added by Terok Nor.

Additional contributors: Terok Nor, Alaka, Malte Mundt, ZeTomes.

Game added January 20, 2000. Last modified April 4, 2024.