In 80s, Electronic Arts had its publishing and development fingers in nearly every genre ranging from sports and strategy to adventure games and CRPGs. The Bard’s Tale, developed by Brian Fargo and his crew at Interplay, was one of those published by the giant.
Legacy of the Ancients was another. Developed by Quest Software, the game actually used the engine from SSI’s Questron series mixing first-person dungeons with top down, tile-based maps welded with plethora of options to help manage your hero.
The game also took a cue from Jon Van Caneghem’s Might & Magic series in burying a little sci-fi behind the scenes of a deeply fantasy-inspired world.
The story centers around a scroll stolen long ago from the Tarmalon Galactic Museum. Hidden from the natives, the Ancients who built it did so to understand the world but forbade those who maintained its exhibits to interfere with history. That was over 50,000 generations ago, but the Museum, and many like it spread throughout space, continue on.
You start out as a shepherd without a care in the world until you discover the corpse of one of the Museum’s caretakers on the road. Picking up the items that he had dropped, one of them proves to be a special key which sends your senses reeling and reveals the hidden Museum. Tasked with finding the scroll and destroying it for the sake of your world, the game then launches our shepherd from being a zero to a hero in so many levels.
There were plenty of monsters to kill, dungeons to loot, and questing to do across the land of Tarmalon. Special coins needed to be found in order to access the Museum’s exhibits to continue the journey. It even had mini-games such as blackjack and the guards would actually attack you for being too good. And if you were short on gold, you could always rob a merchant for a fast buck.
Copy protection was handled using a code wheel, something that other games such as the Bard’s Tale III would also use. Entering the Museum triggered a prompt that only the wheel could answer.
Legacy of the Ancients also came in one of those album-like packages featuring the same fantastic art seen in the ad below.