Articles/Game Reviews/PC/Moraff's Dungeons of the Unforgiven (1993)

Moraff's Dungeons of the Unforgiven is a pretty old game, released in 1993 by Moraffware. This was the final RPG released by the company before they slipped into obscurity. This game was pretty popular and, like most Moraffware games, supported a wide range of systems, including everything from monochrome to SVGA graphics adapters.

As with many RPGs, there are many different stats that are considered during the game. At the beginning of the game, you are forced to choose an existing character or create your own. The character creation process is rather simple and allows you to either go with the roll of the dice or allocate a limited number of skill points to different traits.

You are also allowed to choose a race, such as humanoid, dwarf, and elfling, and class, such as fighter, mage, cleric, etc. The different races have different abilities, as do the classes. Therefore, your choices made here can either help or hurt you depending on your style of gameplay. If you want to be as strong as possible, go with a fighter. If you want to perform magic, however, you will have to sacrifice strength for intelligence. I was impressed by the selection here, but I was surprised that they didn't include the classic thief class.

After starting the game, you are greeted by a number of annoying pop up screens that only go away after a certain amount of time. I found this to be unnecessarily annoying since a seasoned player has no reason to read through these windows before playing the game. After getting through these screens you are dropped on the first level of the dungeons. Be aware that this level contains monsters, therefore it is a good idea to go to town and stock up on supplies before continuing.

Essentially, the dungeons are large floors stacked on top of each other. The further you go down, the harder the monsters get. The further you go up, the easier the monsters get. You can get from floor to floor by two methods. The first is ladders, which are scattered throughout levels. The second, and less convenient method, is trapdoors, which send you down one or two levels, possibly putting you in a dangerous situation.

The town, which is the uppermost level, has no monsters, but has numerous rooms with stores. The stores include a bank for storing gold, a weapon smith, an armorer, a healer, an inn to heal, and a mage shop for spells. You will be visiting here often in order to heal yourself and upgrade your equipment. To get money, you have to kill monsters, which often carry weapons or items.

This game is one of the many early RPGs that went for three dimensional graphics. The game, however, is not real time since most systems could not continuously redraw the screen at such a speed. Instead, other characters are only allowed to perform actions right after the player. For example, you might see a monster off in the distance, but it will not approach you if you just sit there without doing anything and wait. You have to perform some action such as moving in order to allow the monster to do anything.

There is no sound in this game, which is surprising given the wide range of support given to various graphics cards. They could have included some music at least, but this was completely overlooked by the Moraffware team. Perhaps the 3D graphics were already placing too much of a load on computers at the time and sound would have crippled performance. We may never know...

The game itself is, as the name suggests, unforgiving. If you die, then you die and your game cannot be restored. Therefore, you have to be VERY careful that you don't get in over your head by going too deep without appropriate equipment. You should especially watch out for diseased and poisoned monsters, which will infect you with their affliction and greatly increase your chances of death.

Overall, this is a pretty solid game that can be very entertaining. I have played it numerous times over the past decade and still find it enjoyable to trawl through the dungeons looking through monsters, but I have yet to beat it. It runs great on modern machines with blazing performance and the game is freely available for download, so there is no reason not to try it!