Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Elder Scrolls Chapter One: Arena

 The first of the Elder Scrolls series, developed in 1994 by everybody's favorite, Bethesda Softworks, Arena is an open-world first-person RPG similar to it's early predecessor, Ultima Underworld, only much more immense. This game still strikes me as one of the most difficult of all time, mainly due to it's overwhelming capacity and lack of navigation. It's still not bad, and it is very similar to a more recent game, Skyrim.

Getting the game to work/Understanding it: 4/10
Simply put, this game runs like crap under the default settings in DOSBox. The user is going to need to press CTRL+F12 a bunch until they reach about 20000 cycles. Once you've found your speed niche, it becomes much more playable. You're going to start off in a moist dungeon filled with rats and goblins. Move around with the arrow keys, or by clicking the direction with your mouse. You can find your inventory by clicking your face and hitting next. Later, this becomes a giant pain in the ass, but for right now you should just equip your weapon. Press the swords button to draw your weapon, then hold right-click and move your mouse around to attack. One more thing, you're going to be asked some questions from the manual in true oldgame anti-piracy fashion, so here's the list to those. Now, we can begin.

Gameplay: 7½/10
The first dungeon might prove to be too hard for many beginning players, especially with the awkward scheme they've implemented. Moving around is pretty tough, and you are prone to being attacked from behind quite often. You'll have to rest and save frequently, because dying is taken quite literally. Once you get the hang of things, the game becomes a lot of fun as you move around the world, gathering information and doing jobs and the like. Still, you have to listen very carefully some times, as the journal doesn't provide you with much of anything, and the map you have to tag all by yourself. Sometimes you'll get attacked at random in a town, so always be prepared. At this point, you can see that it is definitely the first Elder Scrolls game, but where in the hell does the title "Arena" come in? I'll get back to that, for now, -2½ points for not telling me what to do very well.

Graphics: 6/10
Understandably, this game is very large, and it's only 1994, so it's not going to exactly "excel" in the graphics department. While it's perfectly playable as a game, it's almost impossible to tell where you're going sometimes, as there's a thick fog covering anything within 20 feet of you. There's a multitude of 2D sprites like trees, fountains and people, never changing their plane of existence, always stuck in their limited dimension. However, the cutscenes are pretty good, the textures are pretty nice, and there's a lot of other things that strike my interest like how it changes from day to night. Pretty cool stuff. -4 points overall, though.

Sound: 7/10
Very atmospheric, the game really helps get you along with nice music and lots of sound effects. I wish that sometimes there was some talking though, -3 points for me being dissatisfied.

Overall: 7¼/10 
 Why is this game called Arena, anyway, I haven't come across any sort of gladiator-fighting or coliseums or nothing. Oh, it's because they rebuilt this game from an old project, adding in RPG elements and the like, only to scrap the original Arena gameplay, and still to leave the title. That doesn't make any sense. Either way, if you're a Skyrim fan, you should be checking this out, Bethesda graciously gives it out for free from their website. You'll probably spend a good moment on it, and experience gaming history as it once was.

Links: - Download Elder Scrolls Chapter One: Arena - Arena Player's Guide


  1. Lol nice that looks better than the modern one!

  2. Elder Scrolls has certainly come a long way. @_@ I'd try this if I got the chance, even without the fun of FUS RO DA.

    Following. :)

  3. It was going to be flop good thing they saved it. They began focusing more on side quests then tournaments and thus did away with them eventually. I'm very thankful they decided to go the route they did. Fantastic start to an amazing series. I agree this is probably one of the rougher rpgs out during this time. The learning curve is crazy. Figuring out what to do makes me want to die lol but once you get down to it it's beautiful. Great Post man!!!

  4. Forget skyrim i'm playing this

  5. you have a nice review for this article nice work dude

  6. Really? the anti-Piracy was to ask you questions that are answered in the manual? thats not very secure... haha. how silly. But To be able to download the whole game, for free! thats crazy! thanks for the tip!

    1. Yeah, there's a multitude of games like that, super annoying. It's like, you bought the game in the box, so you're good, but if you loaned it to a friend... nope.

  7. May need a massive gpu upgrade to play this game.