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The Elder Scrolls: Chapter II - Daggerfall

aka: Daggerfall: Die Schriften der Weisen, Daggerfall: The Elder Scrolls - Chapter 2
Moby ID: 778
DOS Specs

Description official descriptions

Daggerfall is a sequel to The Elder Scrolls: Arena; it is set in the same medieval fantasy world Tamriel - more specifically, in the homeland of the Breton race, known as High Rock, and the province Hammerfell, home of the Redguards. The game's title is derived from the name of High Rock's capital city.

The main protagonist travels to Daggerfall at the request of the emperor Uriel Septim. His mission involves freeing the ghost of the late King Lysandus. Apparently, a letter concerning the king and sent by the emperor to the court in Daggerfall contains information about a dangerous ancient power. It is now up to the hero to retrieve the letter, reveal the dark secret that has been preserved in the king's family, and eventually discover the key to the resurrection of an iron golem who wields immense power.

Like its predecessor, Daggerfall is an open-ended role-playing game, in which the main quest is but a small fraction of the various missions and assignments the player is able to undertake. The game is notable for breaking records concerning the size of its world (though much of it has been generated randomly). Interaction with hundreds of thousands of non-playable characters is possible. The player is free to join one of the many political and social organizations of Tamriel, as well as pursue a personal quest for power. The player is able to buy houses, ships, and horses, as well as become a werewolf, a vampire, or a wereboar.

Combat in Daggerfall is action-based: the player uses the mouse to determine the direction and the power of sword swings and shots from a ranged weapon. Character growth is handled somewhat similarly to that of Quest for Glory games: the more the player performs an action, the better the protagonist becomes at it. For example, swinging the sword will eventually increase the player character's attack power and skill with that weapon, etc. This extends to non-combat activities such as jumping, bartering, speaking foreign languages, etc. Leveling up occurs when several main and secondary skills have been raised sufficiently. During character generation the player is given the option to create and name his or her custom classes by combining attributes and skills.

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Credits (DOS version)

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Average score: 81% (based on 26 ratings)


Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 108 ratings with 8 reviews)

If open ended gameplay is your thing, look no further

The Good
Daggerfall is without question the biggest game I have ever played (Yes, I have played Elite) in a lot of aspects. It contains a world, too big to describe, a main story that's long, intricate and very hard to complete (for many reasons). It also contains mounts, ships, houses, guilds, royalties, assassins, monsters, dungeons, crypts, magic, love, well, you name it. It's all in here. You can spend a year real time immersed in Daggerfall without ever even touching the main storyline. There's so much to do and to see it's almost overwhelming. Even though it came out in 1996 I am still playing it. I even got it to work on WIndows XP!

The Bad
The bugs. Unfortunately, Bethesda discontinued the support for this game in 1998, leaving it in a sad state. When in dungeons you'll want to save often because sooner or later you know you're gonna fall through the floor and die. The main story is so easily breakable it's almost funny. And whatever you do, don't take advantage of all the weaknesses found in the advancement system since it makes the game really boring, really fast.

The Bottom Line
Daggerfall is gigantic. It is also one of the best free form RPG's of all time. If it weren't for the horrendous bugs and the somewhat oversized dungeons this would have been my all time classic. (Which is Wasteland)

DOS · by Mattias Kreku (413) · 2003

A classic that brings together the first person with RPG elements!

The Good
For some time now, big softwarehouses are offering old titles for free, just for the fans. This is the case of Elder Scrolls 2, an epic game that mixes elements of first person with the essence of RPG in a masterly way. The game's release date of August 31, 1996, so the essential elements, such as graphics, sound and gameplay are relevant to their time.

The game has all the elements of style taken very seriously, combining all the first person in an environment very similar to the classics of the era, such as Doom. Initially, you can choose the origin of your character, your class, attributes, physical characteristics and appearance, and many other data. Finally, you can start the tutorial with some tips for you to do well during the game.

Within the in-game tutorial, you learn your basic commands that can be modified or accessed at any time through its main menu, accessed by the button click Esc Interestingly, even the commands for changing the current standard of games in the first person with the keys W, a, S and D moving the character. The movements are performed with weapons with the mouse, which should be moved in different directions while the right button is pressed. So you can strike blows at their opponents, eliminating them more easily.

As in any good RPG, it is important to always focus on the scenario and all he can offer to help you. Scour every detail within the phases seeking new items and possibilities. In addition, larger opponents generally have many interesting objects for you to collect and better equipped for battle.

Freedom is a feature that is always present when one hears about Elder Scrolls. In Daggerfall is no different, and your character can travel across the continent in the game, facing challenges in various locations.

There are even cities full of people, the (in)famous NPCs, willing to help you or not, depending on their conduct within the game. Talk to everyone and find new challenges within the game, which makes it even more fun. There are six different endings, depending on your actions within the game.

The Bad
The game has graphics, sound and gameplay for its time (1996), so do not expect the same technical level of today's games. If you want to play this fantastic game today, unfortunately it is necessary to install DOSBox, a free software that emulates the archaic MS-DOS.

The Bottom Line
The Elder Scrolls series is one of the most renowned of the genre, mixing with mastery, elements in the first person RPGs with the famous classic, full of possibilities for development and evolution.

In Daggerfall, you will experience one of the classics of his time, a very well designed game, you must create your character, taking him to the most unusual challenges and feared by a vast continent.

DOS · by Perfil Falso (777) · 2012

Is that a pixel in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?

The Good
The good reviews I've read of it. Glowing reviews, even. Now for the bad.

The Bad
Error 117. I wondered: is it because it is WinME-hostile? I wouldn't be surprised. I logged onto the Net, searched for "daggerfall error 117" and was rewarded with this hint: "Just keep reinstalling it until it works".

You shake your head in disbelief. This must be a sick joke. Oh, well, in for a penny, in for a pound. You reinstall. Error 117. Reinstall again. Wow, it works! Go figure.

A huge, open game, say the glowing reviews. Uh? You find yourself in a dark dungeon of little twisty passages (or are they twisty little passages, or ...?). Confronted with your first enemy, a giant rat, you frantically right-click your mouse while waving it about. That is supposed to get your sword cutting, thrusting or slashing. Yeah, like, once in a blue moon. So the rat gets ten bites at you while you barely manage one swing or thrust. RIP. Reload. Start again. Same story. Is that sword stone-deaf? It appears to be. The thing is known to be literally crawling in bugs, so you download the latest patch, and start afresh. Same sorry story. Sick of it, you look for a cheat, a trainer, whatnot. Got it! Just add "cheatmode 1" to the z.cfg file and Ctrl-F4 gets you into god mode. Nice. So you start again. Giant rat. Try to wield sword. Sword still deaf to your frantic mouse clicking and waving. But never mind, you're invulnerable now and after minutes of waving that mouse about like a fool, you eventually kill that rat, and off you are, on your quest to finding the exit to that miserable claustrophobic hell hole. More boring encounters, more stupid mouse waving at your stone-deaf weapons. Oh... a pox on it all, and you keep hitting "+" until, thanks to cheat mode, all your skills are maxed out to 100%. Is it my imagination? I thought my weapon, then, became more responsive to my mouse-waving.

I spent hours looking for an exit. Sick of it, I downloaded a walkthrough. Equipped with this new knowledge, I knew that, next to that throne (big name for a squarish joke of an armchair), there was a lever I just had to pull, and the platform of the throne (sic) goes up and there you are, almost. So you pull the lever and the platform goes up... leaving you down. Oh... you've got to climb onto it. Pull the lever again, bring the platform back down. Now... how do you get onto the wretched platform? Walking onto it won't work. So you try running and jumping. Missed. Looks like "jump" is only good for an Olympic five-inch jump. Back up, try again. Fail. Back up to try once more. Uh? Can't move? How about turning left? Stuck. Right? Stuck. Try as you may, you are stuck. Was that a feature, or another bug? Thank God for the "escape" key! Hit escape, exit, start again. Eventually, you make it out of this dismal dungeon, to find yourself in a deserted countryside with snow falling. Where to go? I picked west and soon met... what seemed to be someone in the distance, in heavy winter clothes. Makes sense, doesn't it? So I walked up to him (her? it? it did look like a giant mushroom...) only to see a pixellated mess, quite as bad as in the very earliest version of Ultima Underworld. Nothing recognizable. And nothing new there: the "lever" near the "throne" was also completely unrecognizable. You had to look for it, knowing it was there, knowing it was a lever. But back to our mysterious person, or mushroom, who knows? When I walked around it to take a look from different angles it was the same pixellated mess. So I walked up real close, and... I walked through it! Never mind, keep on trudging west, o, intrepid adventurer! Mayhap thou shalt chance upon something of interest. Oh, I just heard a flappity-flap-flap... ah, that's a giant bat all right. They were such pests in the dungeon, but here, you almost feel relieved at having found something recognizable. Dispatch it in two blows of your sword (without god mode and all my skills maxed out to 100% I dread to think how long this THRILLING encounter would have taken, and how many hit points it would have cost me). What now? Continue west, why not? I must have trekked west for two days of game time (judging from the light). It was no skin off my nose, really, since I just ran on and on and on, not even bothering to dodge trees, bushes, rocks: no need, you just whiz through them! Eventually I found a hostile centaur. How thrilling. Slay him! Keep on west... on and on and on... vast expanses of snow now with only mountains in the distance, covered in forests. Wow! A grizzly bear! Slash, thrust, dead. Keep on going.... I must have trudged on for days, and those mountains in the distance did not get one inch closer. If your idea of gaming is to hold your left forefinger on "P" (for "run") and your right forefinger on the up arrow (for "forward")... it's not mine, so I reloaded, and this time waited for dawn. Oh no, you can't rest "there are enemies nearby". Uh? Where? So you have to go around in circles, looking for enemies. Oh, there he is, looks like an archer. Slish, slash, all gone, enemy. Ah, it was a bard. Now for a bit of shut-eye... CRASH! By then I had wasted so much time on this game that an hour more, or two, was nothing. Reload... (sigh). This time I went around in ever widening circles. Still nothing, nowhere. Time to have a peek at the walkthrough:

"In one to three weeks after you surface from Privateer's Hold, you receive a letter--provided you are in town."

Provided I am in town? Where is town? I have been combing that wilderness for days, east, west, north, south, and no town has ever appeared. When in such dire straights, do what every computer user does, when hopelessly cornered: read the manual. And there, there you find the Magic Key (tm): "W". Just press "W" (for world map, presumably). Wow! I wish the makers of Fallout had thought of that. In Fallout, when you leave a town you find yourself automatically in world-map mode. How dumb. Having to leaf through the manual for some Magic Key (tm) would have added sooooo much to the gameplay of Fallout, wouldn't it?

Seriously now. Navigating the world map, I soon spotted Daggerfall town and I had myself whizzed there. And there and then, I discovered the true purpose of my adventure. The citizens of Daggerfall are seriously missing in the pixel department, all the more of a pity because about half of them are buxom wenches, many with a libido-boggling cleavage. But, each being allowed just five or six pixels per ... er... eye, the scenery leaves quite a lot to be desired, as it were. So the purpose of the game is clear: an Evil Wizard (tm) has stolen most of the pixels of the Realm. Your mission, should you accept it, is to slay him and return the missing pixels to Emperor Uriel Octopus (Octopus? perhaps I am one ahead--er... afoot). This brilliant flash of intuition exhausted me. I needed a nap. Clicked on the campfire icon. Was informed that sleeping inside or near a town was illegal. Oh, yes, fair enough, the rule dates back from good old SSI Pool of Radiance. Fair enough. But what's this? Three knights setting upon me, swords drawn? Come on, gentlemen, I'll go quietly. But no way, they won't listen to reason or humble pleading. Oh well, being in god mode, what do I care? Slish slash, slish slash, there they go. A fourth one turns up? Slish slash, poor fellow. Still... reload and be a good boy, find an inn to rest. Knowing, from the walkthrough, that I would have to sit around twiddling my thumbs for quite a while, I booked in for 10 days, at a cost of 30 gold pieces. Still, I felt that, given that eyesore of a pixel-challenged innkeeper, HE should have paid me 300 gold to stay in his flea-pit. Then I lost interest.

Now what sort of a game is that? The graphics are so hideously pixellated that you hardly ever know what you are looking at. And Daggerfall came out four years, four years, yes, after Ultima Underworld. I thought I was back in the days of Leisure Suit Larry and Zack MacKraken. This is ridiculous. Fighting is a preposterous, frenzied waving about of your mouse, right-clicking away like a madman in the faint hope that that will move your weapon an inch, two with a bit of luck. Moving backwards is like wading through a pool of treacle. Jumping is like having balls on chains weighing you down. What gameplay is salvageable from this sorry mess? The "open" play? Play what? At being a highwayman robbing heavily pixellated travellers? A ladies' darling wooing hideously pixellated tavern wenches? An errand boy roaming yuckily pixellated dungeons in search of unrecognizably pixellated artifacts for some pot-bellied pixellated merchants? How thrilling.

Oh, solving the quest? Well, then, spare me those stupid encounters with stupid beasties, fought with stupid weapons that refuse to move when you mouse them about, spare me those hideously pixellated graphics, and let's have an old text adventure instead. How about "Colossal Cave", uh?

The Bottom Line
I have seen Arcatera described as an "insult to gamers' intelligence". Daggerfall qualifies, too.

DOS · by Jacques Guy (52) · 2004

[ View all 8 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
Do these (DOSBox-ed) as a free bonus count as a Windows release? Cavalary (11411) Dec 25th, 2015
Daggerfall Soundtrack Remake Pieces of 8-bit Dec 3rd, 2015
It's FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE Foxhack (31938) Jul 18th, 2009


Freeware release

The game was offered as freeware on July 9, 2009 in celebration of fifteen years of Elder Scrolls.


Daggerfall's creature art is an interesting mix of hand-drawn work and rendered material. All of the creatures, in fact, originally had 6 frames to every animation, but this had to be chopped down considerably to compress the size of the game which was already monstrously large for the time it was released.

The only remaining trace of these original detailed animations is in a "bestiary" video describing several of the creatures of Daggerfall.


  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #8 Top Vaporware Title in Computer Game History
    • May 1997 (Issue #154) – Role-Playing Game of the Year

Information also contributed by PolloDiablo.

Related Games

The Elder Scrolls: Arena
Released 1994 on DOS, 2022 on Windows, Windows Apps
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Released 2006 on J2ME
The Elder Scrolls: Legends - Heroes of Skyrim
Released 2017 on Windows, iPad, Android...
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Special Edition
Released 2016 on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One...
The Elder Scrolls III: Tribunal
Released 2002 on Windows
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind - Game of the Year Edition
Released 2003 on Windows, Xbox, 2018 on Xbox One
BioShock & The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Bundle
Released 2009 on Windows, Xbox 360
The Elder Scrolls III: Bloodmoon
Released 2003 on Windows

Related Sites +

  • Daggerfall at Wikipedia
    Information about The Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall at Wikipedia
  • Doug's Daggerfall Page
    A Fansite dedicated to Daggerfall.
  • TES: The Essential Site
    A site for Daggerfall, featuring one of the largest surviving conclaves of fans.
  • The Tamriel Compendium
    The Tamriel Compendium has lots of info about Daggerfall (and a few files), including a bestiary with creature sounds.
  • The UESP
    The Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages is one of the oldest sites about the Elder Scrolls series. It has huge amounts of information about Daggerfall.

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Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history!

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Omniscia.

Windows Apps added by Plok. Windows added by Rik Hideto.

Additional contributors: Brian Hirt, ShadowShrike, formercontrib, Yearman, Patrick Bregger.

Game added January 23rd, 2000. Last modified August 25th, 2023.