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Subtitled Spellbound in the World of Nhagardia, this Microprose title came out the same year as their more popular work, Darklands. It is a top-down 256-color VGA role-playing game with a few unique twists.

As Prince of Alonia, the player controls a party of up to 10 (!) characters, battling the evil lord Grimnoth in a standard fantasy setting. The game features "Ultima-style" character generation, in which the player's answers to situational questions help determine the protagonist's character type (diplomat, warrior, thief, or wizard) and attributes. An immense number of skills and attributes, akin to that of Daggerfall, add variety to the gameplay, allowing puzzles to be solved in different ways. Dawdling endlessly in side quests to build up your party is not a good idea, as the player has 100 days to stop the encroaching Plague of Darkness, whose spread is shown graphically in the interface.

Under the "PAL system", characters not only have their own personalities (aggressive, cowardly), but will speak up and volunteer for tasks they are best-suited to perform (e.g., lockpicking, bribery).


Challenge of the Five Realms DOS Title screen
Challenge of the Five Realms DOS Draw your own face?  A nice option to have... now if only I had a modicum of artistic talent 8)
Challenge of the Five Realms DOS Here's the gist.
Challenge of the Five Realms DOS Intro: boning up on some ancient history.

Promo Images

Challenge of the Five Realms Screenshot
Challenge of the Five Realms Screenshot
Challenge of the Five Realms Screenshot
Challenge of the Five Realms Magazine Advertisement


Alternate Titles

  • "Spellbound" -- Working title
  • "Challenge of the Five Realms: Spellbound in the World of Nhagardia" -- Tag-lined title

User Reviews

A sleeper hit. DOS Longwalker (768)
Nothing to write home about. DOS Tiamat (18)

Critic Reviews

PC Player (Germany) DOS May, 1993 60 out of 100 60
PC Joker DOS Apr, 1993 58 out of 100 58
Computer Gaming World (CGW) DOS Sep, 1993 Unscored Unscored


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  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) –#14 Worst Back Story of All Time

Contributed to by S. Fleischauer (66) and lights out party (61573)
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