In this 1989 MS-DOS game, you are a simple shepherd on the planet of Tarmalon. In your time, you have never ventured further than the town of Holy Point, two days march to the north.
Yet, one day, while tending your flock, you see a dead man by the side of the road. Though you have never considered yourself a thief, something compels you to reach down and take the leather scroll clutched in his stiffening fingers. Unclasping his arm-band is trickier, but you manage to unclasp it and fasten it to your own wrist. Scooping up two coins of carved jade and a disk of obsidian, you resume your travels.
Suddenly, in the distance, you see a building of the finest white marble. You have traveled this route may times before - why did you never see it before? Forgetting your flock, you head toward it. A shimmering archway beckons...
Congratulations, you've found an an ancient museum, put together for the amusement of spacefaring travelers. Unfortunately, that scroll you're carrying is the Wizard's Compendium, a book of world-destroying spells. That dead guy was the museum's best agent, killed before he could report the danger. Now, it's on you to level up and save the world.
This game provides example of:
- Ancient Tradition: The Healer's Guild doubles as an organization dedicated to neutralizing the compendium.
- Artifact of Doom: The Wizard's Compendium
- Betting Mini-Game: Flip-Flop and Blackjack are the best way for a beginning player to earn gold. Be careful, as you can win only about 800 gold per session. Any more than that, and the guards Zerg Rush you. By the time you're strong enough to kill guards, you won't need the funds. Intelligence (your ability to use magic) involves paying an amethyst (mid-level) coin and 50 gold a shot to play "Stones of Wisdom" (Liar's Dice).
- Boss Battle: Only one in the whole game - the overlord at the end.
- Featureless Protagonist : You aren't even given a way to distribute your stats.
- Fetch Quest: The flower, the Crown, and the Scepter. All of which are found in the castle.
- Fission Mailed: Early on, bandits mug you for the Compendium. You can't prevent it, you just carry on.
- Functional Magic: Flames, Firebolts, Kill Flashes, strength enchancers, and teleportation spells are bought in shops. Intelligence merely determines how likely they are not to blow up in your face when casting them.
- Gotta Catch Them All: You must visit all the museum exhibits in order to level up or gain access to higher-grade coins.
- Healing Potion: Healing Herbs, and handled interestingly. They aren't available to you until you visit the Herbs exhibit and sample the Juton fruit.
- Mineral MacGuffin: The museum coins, each made of a different jewel. You're going to be spending a lot of time hoping to find ones to open the exhibits.
- Mini-Game: In addition to gambling, you increase your dexterity and endurance stats through "training ground" minigames. "Dexterity" involves shooting fireballs with a crossbow. "Endurance" is blocking fireballs with a shield.
- Museum of the Strange and Unusual: The Tarmalon Museum has history exhibits, functional weaponry, portals to one of the towns, a cache of gold, passages to nasty dungeons...among other things.
- Omnicidal Maniac: The Warlord, who wants to use the Compendium to destroy everyone aside from himself and his followers.
- One-Man Army: Once you've passed the Knight's Test, nothing much poses a threat.
- Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: The museum thought Tarmalon magic was just a silly superstition. Unfortunately, the compendium actually works and was stolen from the museum without the museum knowing how to control it.
- Pirate Booty: Your first dungeon crawl is through a cache left by sea raiders on a far-flung island.
- Respawn Point: If you do get killed, you will be stripped of all gear and money and dumped in the far north part of the main landmass. Hope you kept a portion of your earnings in the bank!
- Saving the World: Yeah. That Compendium again.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: At the end of the game, the compendium is returned to the museum, and kept neutralized by the four Guard Jewels.
- Shoplift and Die: Again, by the time you're strong enough to mow through the guards, the take you get from the town merchants is not worth it.
- Schmuck Bait: The Lost Displays. At least two of them lead directly to nasty dungeons. The game even lampshades your low chances of survival.
- Take Your Time: A huge offender. It doesn't matter if the place is set to self-destruct, you can wander around and kill off the mooks as your leisure.
- Theme Naming: Many of the towns had a different theme with their shops named accordingly. Isle City had everything named for water. Holy Point around clerics and saints. Eagle Hollow had a nautical theme.
- Top-Down View: When traveling over land. It switches to Faux First-Person 3D in the museum and dungeon crawls.
- The Wandering You: You're going to spend most of this game wandering the landscape, fighting critters, and wandering from town to town. Museum coins aren't very common.
- Wide Open Sandbox: Yes, there are parts you have to hit in order to progress with the quest. That doesn't mean you have to necessarily do them in order or have a time limit to do them. However, taking a long time to finish means that the healers are killed off.
- A Winner Is You: Played straight or averted in a very cool fashion, YMMV. The Museum creates a new exhibit in your honor. Too bad no one on Tarmalon can access said museum, but galactic travelers can.
- Wizard Needs Food Badly: Running out of food is an instant death. There's not much of an excuse for doing so, though. You can carry up to 1000 days at a time, and food is ridiculously cheap.