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Ten years have passed since the events described in Pool of Radiance, and the heroes return to the city where it all started, Phlan. The city is thriving, and looks quite idyllic; but a sinister force is lurking deep in the shadows... After the heroes leave to escort the council member Sasha on a diplomatic assignment, the evil Lord Bane sends four of his most feared lieutenants to destroy the cities of Faerun and twist our dimension. The goal is clear: explore the land and rid it of the evil, by taking on Bane's minions one by one...

Pools of Darkness is the fourth of Gold Box series of classic-style AD&D-based role-playing games. The gameplay is quite similar to other games of this type. At the start of the game, the player creates a party of characters (up to 6). Classic AD&D races (dwarf, elf, half-elf, gnome, etc.), character classes (fighter, paladin, monk, wizard, etc.), alignments (Good/Evil and Lawful/Chaotic axis), and statistics (strength, intelligence, wisdom, etc.) are there for the player to choose and adjust. Once the party is created, the player begins the exploration of the city of Phlan. Upon exiting the city, the player explores a top-down map, visiting dungeons and other locations of interest, as well as engaging in combat.

The turn-based combat is done in similar style as other Gold Box games: the player navigates characters one by one on the top-down battle field, assigning various commands. Experience points are gained after successfully defeating enemies. Enemies appear randomly on the world map as well as in dungeons.


Pools of Darkness Macintosh AD&D title screen (GOG version)
Pools of Darkness Macintosh Install screen (GOG version)
Pools of Darkness Macintosh Evil scheming is afoot (GOG version)
Pools of Darkness PC-98 Intense battle against giant creatures in a dungeon

Promo Images

Pools of Darkness Magazine Advertisement

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

No doubt the BEST gold box game by SSI / AD&D and a worthy final to the Pool of Radiance storyline DOS Gothicgene (83)
Pool of Radiance Revisited DOS Apparatchik (18)

Critic Reviews

Dragon DOS Feb, 1992 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
Top Secret Amiga May, 1994 91 out of 100 91
Amiga Action Amiga Jun, 1992 87 out of 100 87
Power Play DOS Dec, 1991 85 out of 100 85
PC Review (Germany) DOS Nov, 1991 8 out of 10 80
All Game Guide Macintosh 1998 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
Joker Verlag präsentiert: Sonderheft DOS 1992 77 out of 100 77
Play Time Amiga May, 1992 68 out of 100 68
Amiga Power Amiga Jun, 1992 22 out of 100 22
Computer Gaming World (CGW) DOS Dec, 1991 Unscored Unscored


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Copy protection

This game used two forms of copy protection: Manual keyword lookup at start-up and a printed journal to read important text passages.

Cover art

The cover art for the game is adapted from a painting titled Queen of the Spiders by Keith Parkinson. The same artwork was used as cover art for the 1986 AD&D adventure module by the same name.


Like its predecessor Pool of Radiance, this game also has a book from TSR based on the same story.


  • Power Play
    • Issue 02/1993 – #3 Best RPG in 1992
Information also contributed by Yakumo
Contributed to by Rebound Boy (19698), Andy Voss (1875), Tony Van (2855) and Terok Nor (34290)