Times of Lore

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Times of Lore
Times of Lore cover.jpg
Cover art
Developer(s) Imagitec
Publisher(s) Origin Systems
Designer(s) Chris Roberts
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 an action role-playing game with a detailed world. It was released 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 featured 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 story tells of a kingdom where the monarch has died 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 and unravel the conspiracy and find three magic items.

It is possible to get to walking dead 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's the hidden city of Treela, in the middle of the map, behind a forest, if you look for it. It's hard to find as there is no road leading to or from, unlike the other cities. 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. A catacombs also exists but if you enter it, 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.

The musical score for the Commodore 64 version was created by Martin Galway. Different scores are present during the story book and character selection part of the game. There is no actual music in the main game itself, although there are many different sound effects such as birds (when in the woods) and the sound of the ocean. Music typically require 5%-10% of memory on the Commodore 64.

Times of Lore 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,[1] and Ultima VI: The False Prophet, based on the same interface.[2]

A mention of Times of Lore is made by an NPC in the game Ultima V. The NPC name is Christopher (obviously referring to Chris Roberts himself) and is located in West Brittany as a farmer. His description is 'a dashing young farmer'. If you talk to him he will mention that what he really likes is to write works of fantasy. He tells you he is currently working on an epic called 'Times of Lore!' and hopes to have it published soon through Origin. He even asks if you will buy it.


Computer Gaming World recommended Times of Lore as an introductory computer RPG, noting both dialogue and actions were menu-driven, simplifying the game.[3] Compute! agreed with the recommendation, noting that the game's scale was smaller than the Ultima games' and praising its graphics and sound.[4] The magazine named the game to its list of "nine great games for 1989" as "an excellent introductory-level fantasy role-playing game".[5]


  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ Chris Roberts, MobyGames
  3. ^ Scorpia (Jan 1989). "Times of Lore". Computer Gaming World. pp. 59–60 
  4. ^ Poggiali, Len (March 1989). "Times of Lore". Compute!. p. 70. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Gutman, Dan (July 1989). "Nine for '89". Compute!. p. 19. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 

Related games[edit]

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