Temple of Apshai is a computer role-playing game released by Epyx in 1979. The game was originally released for the TRS-80 and Commodore PET, but was later ported to the Apple ][, Atari 8-Bit Computers, IBM Personal Computer, VIC-20, and other systems.
The game itself is a straightforward dungeon crawl. First, visit the Innkeeper, roll up a character, then haggle your way through purchasing various weapons and armor. Then the Dunjonmaster takes over; enter one of four dungeons, braving various monsters and traps to retrieve the treasures within. Search for secret passages, keep your health and fatigue up, and try to make it out with your health and wealth intact.
Despite its threadbare Excuse Plot and no-frills presentation, Temple of Apshai became a best-selling title of the golden age of computer games, and was highly praised for translating the tabletop Dungeons & Dragons experience to a personal computer. It is considered one of the first graphical RPGs for home computers, and spawned several sequels and expansions. An Actionized Sequel, Gateway to Apshai, was released in 1983 for the Atari 8-Bit Computers, Commodore 64 and ColecoVision.
The Temple of Apshai games feature the following tropes:
- Actionized Sequel: Gateway to Apshai.
- Adjective Animal Alehouse: The instruction booklet has a prologue called "The Adventures of Brian Hammerhand". After Brian arrives in a village, he gets a drink in the Wallowing Whale tavern.
- All There in the Manual: Done literally — the game simply shows the room number where the player is currently at ("ROOM NO.: 23"), with a fully-featured description given in the instruction manual.
- Bee People: The Antmen, the primary enemies of the game.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: Many of the monsters include giant centipedes, giant leeches, giant ticks, giant wasps, giant fire bugs, and giant mosquitos. Possibly justified as Apshai is described as a giant Insect God.
- Death Is Cheap: Played with; dying may be permanent, or you might be found by a wanderer who dragged your corpse back to the Innkeeper and had you resurrected. Of course, they'll want some compensation for their trouble...
- Dem Bones: Wandering skeletons are one of the first monsters you encounter.
- Do You Want to Haggle?: There's a base price listed, and purchasing initial equipment requires negotiating to drive a hard bargain. Optimal haggling seems to be finding the minimum price, and increasing by 1 each time.
- Dug Too Deep: Part of the backstory was that greedy people tried to excavate the buried temple of the Apshaians, releasing the evils hidden inside.
- Dungeon Crawling: The whole point of the game.
- Excuse Plot: Enter the temple, grab the loot. What more do you need?
- Expansion Pack: Apshai was followed by two expansions, Upper Reaches of Apshai and Curse of Ra.
- Giant Spider
- Healing Potion: Salves can be purchased from the Innkeeper and restore a small portion of your health, while elixirs are more potent and can only be found in the dungeons.
- Limited Load Out: Your character can only carry one sword at a time. If you wanted to pick up a sword you found in the Temple, you had to drop (and lose) the one you were holding.
- Mega-Microbes: Giant amoebas.
- Real-Time with Pause: The games used a quasi-real time system; players press keys to perform actions, and monsters move and take turns on their own pace. If the player remains idle, the monsters keep advancing.
- Roguelike: While Temple of Apshai (and its expansion packs) had fixed dungeon layouts, Gateway to Apshai used randomly-generated dungeons.
- Signature Scent: Giant rats have a distinctive musty smell.
- Top-Down View
- Undead Monster: Vampire bats, zombies, wraiths...
- Violence Is the Only Option: Averted; it is possible to converse with some monsters and get safe passage if you leave them alone. However, subsequently attacking them or attempting to steal their treasure will get you in trouble.