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Video Game / An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire

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"After a disorienting trip through both time and space, you enter the Battlespire..."

"I recall the story of the recovery of the Battlespire as it was told to me by the son of Old Chimere, these many years ago. How the legions of daedra Lord Mehrunes Dagon overran the spire aided by betrayal. How a young hero from obscure origins entered the Battlespire, proving ground and testing facility for the shadow legion, the imperial guard, and finding his test was more than he bargained for. Thinking this was only a harmless test of his skills, he enters the spire through the pillar of light and finds a hell created by the betrayal of the legion and the perfidy of Jagar Tharn, arch-traitor to the empire. And so our story begins..."

An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire is a stand-alone Gaiden Game set in The Elder Scrolls universe. Developed by Bethesda, it was released for PC in 1997. Unlike the games in the numbered "core" series, Battlespire is an action-oriented Dungeon Crawler with comparatively little freedom.

Originally conceived as an Expansion Pack for Daggerfall, Battlespire takes place one year before the events of Arena. The Imperial Battlespire, located in the "Slipstream" between the mortal plane (Mundus) and the void of Oblivion, is the training grounds for the elite Imperial Battlemages. You play as a recruit who, on the final day of your training, finds that the Battlespire has been invaded by the Daedric forces of Mehrunes Dagon, the Daedric Prince of Destruction. Many are dead and your partner has been taken captive. You must fight through the various levels of the Battlespire (and a few realms of Oblivion) in order to rescue your partner and stop the invasion.

Battlespire includes Bethesda's first attempt at a multi-player mode. However, it proved such a spectacular failure that it wouldn't be attempted again until The Elder Scrolls Online nearly 20 years later.

Reviews were predominantly negative, with technical issues abound (such as the infamous multi-player mode) while fans of the main series were disappointed in Battlespire's lack of freedom and exploration compared to the main series.

However, Battlespire did much to expand the lore of the Elder Scrolls universe. In particular, a good portion of the information known about the Daedra originates in this game.

Tropes present in Battlespire

  • Ass Shove: Implied at one point when questioning a Scamp about where he hid a key:
    "Keys? Keys in dark, NASTY place. Near my tail. Want look? See?"
  • Big Bad: Mehrunes Dagon, the Daedric Prince of Destruction. He seeks to take over the Battlespire and use it to launch an invasion of Mundus.
  • Big Red Devil: Morphoid Daedra play the aesthetic straight (though they appear to be more orange than red).
  • Bittersweet Ending: Though you successfully defeat the Daedric hordes, rescue your partner, and banish Mehrunes Dagon, the Battlespire itself is shattered and its connection with Oblivion is severed.
  • Combat by Champion: Hircine, the Daedric Prince of the Hunt, appoints the Herne Egahirn as the leader of his hunt.
  • Darker and Edgier: Quite possible the darkest Elder Scrolls game to date. Unlike virtually every other game, it is a long and trippy Dungeon Crawl where you're utterly alone and trapped in a horrific Oblivion Realm filled with equally horrific monsters just waiting to tear you to pieces. Throughout the game, you are subjected to various nightmarish imagery, forced to fight against seemingly impossible odds as the Big Bad viciously taunts you the entire time.
  • Destroyer Deity: Mehrunes Dagon exists to destroy. In particular, he seeks to destroy Mundus, the mortal plane, and plans to use the Battlespire as the invasion point.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Defied in the battle against Mehrunes Dagon. Any attempt to attack him directly results in instant death. Although you do banish him by striking him (once) with a sword, that's only the last of a chain of actions resulting in him getting banished (not killed).
  • Dimensional Traveler: The Player Character is one. He/She travels through many realms of Oblivion in order to defeat the Daedric forces including the Soul Cairn, Shade Perilous, the Chimera of Desolation, and the Havok Wellhead. Even the Battlespire itself exists in the "Slipstream", a realm at the edge of Oblivion between it and Mundus.
  • Distressed Dude: Your partner who leaves you clues and supplies through the first part of the game eventually gets captured and has to be saved from Big Bad. Said trainee is the opposite gender than player character, so if the player character is a female, this trope manifests. Complete with dramatic carrying the rescuee with both hands towards an exit at the end.
  • Downer Beginning: When you enter the Battlespire, you find it having already been taken over Dagon's forces with most of your allies dead and your partner captured.
  • Dungeon Crawler: You are limited to exploring the levels of the Battlespire, as well as a few realms of Oblivion surrounding it. Throughout the game there are no merchants to buy items from, and consequently, there aren't any gold pieces to find. Enemies do not reset when the player leaves the area and they are also not randomized like much of the rest of the series.
  • Enemy Mine: Between the player character and the Ideal Masters of the Soul Cairn. The Ideal Masters are immortal beings who were once powerful mortal sorcerers during the Merethic Era. After finding their mortal forms to be too weak and limiting, they entered Oblivion as beings of pure energy and settled an area of "chaotic creatia", forming the Soul Cairn. The Ideal Masters are most infamous for their trafficking in souls, especially "Black" sapient souls. All souls trapped in soul gems end up in the Soul Cairn and are considered property of the Ideal Masters. However, during the events of Battlespire, Mehrunes Dagon, is using the Soul Cairn as a waystation for his forces. Dagon's forces destroyed the undead of the Ideal Masters and plundered their treasures. The Ideal Masters thus ally with the Hero of Battlespire to help him/her escape the Soul Cairn and defeat Dagon.
  • Expansion Pack: Originally conceived of as one for Daggerfall, but ultimately released as a stand-alone game.
  • I Fight for the Strongest Side!: The group of Dark Seducers fought betrayed their former master (a lieutenant of Nocturnal) to side with Mehrunes Dagon when he promised them greater power.
  • I Know Your True Name: It it stated that all Daedra have both a neonymic and a protonymic. The neonymic is their name that they can change. It holds a certain amount of power, but is hard to use against them because they can change it at any time. However, the protonymic is their true name that they cannot change. It is heavily implied that through use of the protonymic mortals can do horrible things to even the most powerful of Daedric Princes. The Player Character ultimately manages to banish Mehrunes Dagon through using them both.
  • It's All Upstairs From Here: The Battlespire itself is a multi-leveled tower
  • It's Personal: Not only is the Battlespire under attack, the Daedric forces have captured your training parnter who you seek to rescue.
  • I Want Them Alive!: Conversing with a Morphoid Daedra reveals that they were ordered by their Xivilai commander to take the Hero of Battlespire alive, presumably to extract information via Cold-Blooded Torture.
    Morphoid Daedra: ""I hear you are quite the little fireball. They say for us to capture you alive. I tend to get excited in a fight, so please remind me about the ALIVE part if I seem to get too excited."
  • Gaiden Game: Battlespire is an action-oriented Dungeon Crawler set during the events of Arena and, though fully canon, isn't considered part of the main series of games.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Battlespire confirms that Dagon is the greater scope villain of Arena. While his servant Jagar Tharn is the Big Bad of that game, Dagon is staging the invasion of the Battlespire here, all as part of his attempt to take over and destroy Mundus.
  • Legions of Hell: Nearly all of the enemies you face in the game are lesser Daedra who serve as this to Dagon.
  • Magic Knight: You are an apprentice seeking to become of the elite Imperial Battlemages. The Battlespire itself serves as their training ground.
  • Master Race: The Dremora consider themselves this, over both mortals and other Daedra alike.
  • Military Mage: The Imperial Battlemages are an elite corps within the Imperial Legion.
  • Misbegotten Multi Player Mode: Battlespire's multi-player mode was a complete flop bordering on fully unplayable. Bethesda wouldn't try it again for nearly two decades.
  • Non-Linear Sequel: Battlespire came out after Daggerfall, but takes place during the time period of Arena, and also isn't part of the main series anyway.
  • Oddball in the Series: Battlespire is an action-oriented dungeon crawler in an RPG series otherwise known for its Wide-Open Sandbox worlds.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Averted for one of the few times in the series. While referred to as "The Apprentice", the player character is given the canon name Josian Kaid (if male) or Vatasha Trenelle (if female).
  • Our Gods Are Different: Along with Our Demons Are Different. A good portion of the lore regarding the Daedra originates in this game.
  • The Place: Battlespire takes place in the Imperial Battlespire, an inter-dimensional training ground for the Imperial Battlemages.
  • Sexy Silhouette: Of a Daedra Seducer on the cover of the game.
  • Spider People: Spider Daedra, which, as their name might imply, are a Spider People form of lesser Daedra.
  • Spikes of Villainy: The Morphoid Daedra have them.
  • Static Role, Exchangeable Character: The story is the same whether you choose to play as male Apprentice (Josian) or the female apprentice (Vatasha). The only difference is that you are now rescuing the one you did not choose to play as.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: This is a trait of the Dark Seducers. Also known as Mazken, Dark Seducers are an intelligent race of lesser Daedra typically found in service to the Daedric Prince Sheogorath. They are more humble and sympathetic toward mortals, having less of a Puny Earthlings attitude toward them than most lesser Daedra. However, they are also known to Fight For The Strongest Side, quickly switching allegiances if it becomes beneficial to them. The group of Dark Seducers fought in Battlespire betrayed their former master (a lieutenant of Nocturnal) to side with Big Bad Mehrunes Dagon when he promised them greater power. They were rewarded by being remade in the image of Dagon's own greed and treachery - becoming not only physically stronger, but also gifted with powerful bat-winged forms.
  • Wizarding School: The Battlespire itself serves as one for the training of the Imperial Legion's elite Battlemages.