Icon: Quest for the Ring (DOS)

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Beautiful maidens live in the river Rhine, protecting the gold that lies there. It is said that the owner of this gold will learn secrets of immense power. But in order to possess the gold, the person has to renounce love completely. Years have passed, and nobody dared make such a sacrifice. But finally, a dwarf named Alberich decided that power was worth more to him than love. He took control of the gold, and became a dark ruler of evil creatures. Will a hero ever rise, brave enough to stop the madness?..

Based on the popular Ring of the Nibelungen story (itself based on tales from the Norse mythology), ICON: Quest for the Ring is a "dungeon crawler" along the lines of Temple of Apshai, but with fully action-based combat, making it to one of the earliest action RPGs. The player navigates the hero through top-down environments heavily populated by hostile creatures. Standing near the enemy and pressing the attack button will make the protagonist swing the equipped melee weapon; ranged attacks require an additional directional key to execute. As the player progresses, defeating enemies on the way, the protagonist gains levels and becomes stronger. Various weapons and other items are scattered around the dungeons; the hero equips a weapon automatically when he finds it.


Icon: Quest for the Ring DOS A Kobold!
Icon: Quest for the Ring DOS Help Screen
Icon: Quest for the Ring DOS Our Story
Icon: Quest for the Ring DOS Avoiding alligators

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Alternate Titles

  • "Icon: The Quest for the Ring" -- In-game title

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User Reviews

Breaking down limitations Great Hierophant (320) 2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars
A true interactive story, not just a colourful game Andrew Fisher (562) 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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Appears to have been written in Pascal ("Pascal MT+").


ICON: Quest for the Ring was one of the very few PC games to use a tweaked 40-column text mode to paint "graphics" with a surprising amount of detail, no doubt inspired by the Commodore 64's "character graphics". It was achieved by changing the character cell height from the normal 8 lines down to only two; the result was an effective resolution of "320x200x16" with the obvious color limitations per character cell.

Check out the screenshots for examples of the advantages (and slight drawbacks) of this unique video mode.

Hidden messages

Interesting messages found in the game executables and overlays:
Game save file is corrupt - please do not try to edit game files. The file has been deleted for your protection; please start over.

This is an illegal copy of ICON. You should be ashamed of yourself!


Taken from MobyGames' featured article on Macrocom:
MobyGames: Was ICON a financial success?

Neal White III: No, but it provided enough income to finance the development of 7 Spirits. :-)

Rand E. Bohrer: But the game was a tremendous success in JAPAN, just not a financial success. Some engineer over there broke our copy protecion. Because the game used special modes, it became popular as a "test" to see if their clone graphics boards were truly compatble. So engineers were our "marketing force" in Japan. Apparently they gave copies out all over the place. Imagine our surprise when we went to Comdex and saw about 2/3 the of the Japanese and Taiwanese graphic board manufacturers using ICON as a demo to show how "superior" the color and animation capabilities of their boards were. We asked some floor rep, a Matsushita engineer I think, if he knew anything about the program, "Ohh, Icon Quest, most popular PC game in Japan, everyone copy it!" Then when he found out we made it, he ran around to other booths, bringing all these Japanese engineers and salesmen to meet us. So that was our 15 minutes of fame.
Information also contributed by Brolin Empey

Related Web Sites

  • Life Before Demos (Mostly about other old PC stuff, but has a short section that mentions ICON, and includes the ICON demo that you can run on your own classic PC.)
Trixter (9125) added Icon: Quest for the Ring (DOS) on Jul 31, 1999