Times of Lore

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Times of Lore
Times of Lore cover.jpg
NES cover art
Developer(s) Origin Systems
Publisher(s) Origin Systems
Director(s) Chris Roberts
Producer(s) Dallas Snell
Jeff Hillhouse
Designer(s) Chris Roberts
Programmer(s) Paul C. Isaac
Ken Arnold
Chris Yates
Artist(s) Denis Loubet
Douglas Wike
Writer(s) Paul C. Isaac
Brian Roberts
Chris Roberts
Composer(s) Herman Miller
Martin Galway
Platform(s) PC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Apple II, Amiga, NES
Release date(s) 1988
Genre(s) Action-adventure game, action role-playing game
Mode(s) Single-player

Times of Lore is a 1988 action role-playing game that was developed and published by Origin Systems for several platforms, including PC, Commodore 64/128, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad, Atari ST, Apple II, NES, and Amiga.


The game takes place in a very complex world, featuring 13,000 screens of map according to the promotional material. There is no loading during the game, which was quite a feat at the time for such a massive environment.

The Commodore 64 version features high-res overlays for the sprites, a technique that employs two sprites on top of each other one being a low resolution multi-colour sprite the other a high resolution monochrome sprite. Animated water is also used and the game world slowly changes colour between night and day.

The game's story tells of the kingdom of Albareth who's monarch High King Valwyn has disappeared and the dukes and barons are wrestling for power. Barbarians are threatening to invade, and monsters are pillaging the land. The player must assume the role of one of three heroes (choosing between a barbarian, a knight, and a valkyrie) and unravel the conspiracy and find three magic items.

It is possible to get to un-winnable situations which require restarting the game, such as killing important characters who would otherwise have given you certain quests or objects. Killing random peasants is not as dangerous, as staying the night at the inn will make them forget your trespasses.

There are many objects to be found in the game, among others a teleportation scroll, a returning axe à la Mjolnir and healing potions. There is the hidden city of Treela, in the middle of the map, behind a forest. Serfs will speak of a dragon in the north, which can be found sleeping in his cave on the eastern edge of the northern mountains. Catacombs also exists but if entered, the ghouls inside are unleashed upon the world making the game much more difficult. There is also a giant lurking in the north west portion of the map.


Times of Lore, originally titled Ultra Realm,[1] was inspired by role-playing video games and action-adventures, particularly The Legend of Zelda. In turn, Times of Lore inspired several later titles by Origin Systems, such as the 1990 games Bad Blood, another action RPG based on the same engine,[2] and Ultima VI: The False Prophet, based on the same interface.[3]


Computer Gaming World recommended Times of Lore as an introductory computer RPG, noting both dialogue and actions were menu-driven, simplifying the game.[4] Compute! agreed with the recommendation, noting that the game's scale was smaller than the Ultima games' and praising its graphics and sound.[5] The magazine named the game to its list of "nine great games for 1989" as "an excellent introductory-level fantasy role-playing game".[6]


  1. ^ http://www.usgamer.net/articles/chris-roberts-star-citizen-profile
  2. ^ Barton, Matt (2008). Dungeons & Desktops: The History of Computer Role-Playing Games. A K Peters, Ltd. pp. 181–182, 212. ISBN 1-56881-411-9. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  3. ^ Chris Roberts, MobyGames
  4. ^ Scorpia (Jan 1989). "Times of Lore". Computer Gaming World. pp. 59–60 
  5. ^ Poggiali, Len (March 1989). "Times of Lore". Compute!. p. 70. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  6. ^ Gutman, Dan (July 1989). "Nine for '89". Compute!. p. 19. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 

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