Tera, the city of skulls

This was my first RPG experience, ever.

We –my cousin and I- played this French game on my mom’s IBM PC XT. She’d just bought 2 for her freshly new independent accounting business. We played in the evening and my cousin played up late.


I still have the box goddaaaamn memories.

I just understood how unique that game was and how much it influenced my tastes. First person view? You bet. Procedurally generated gameplay? Check. Mix of fantasy, PSY powers and sci-fi? Triple check. That was almost unheard of at that time. 1986. I remember how pumped I was when we would do the “mental attack” and the IBM speaker would barf some weird square tone arpeggio while the NPCs would lose some health lmao.

Here’s the backstory, thanks to crpgaddict:

The backstory–recapped in a series of opening screenshots–sets the game on neighboring planets called Amarande the Black and Alfol. Once prosperous and unified, the planets are now torn between three factions: scientists and their technology, the religion (transcendance) of priests and vestal virgins, and sorcerers based out of the City of Skulls.

The strife seems to be the work of a demon named Aricoh and his unnamed ally. Followers of technology have entrenched themselves on Alfol, an inhospitable desert planet. The Pirates of Shaam menace the space between the two worlds. There are rumors that the priests have allied with telepathic beings made out of crystal who inhabit a parallel world called Meduz.

BRUH SPACE PIRATES. Even when I wasn’t playing the game, the backstory was just dope enough to trigger my imagination. I loved the fact that we didn’t know much. That things were rumored. That you could use a  “seduce/charm” command to get NPCs to join your squad, fly spaceships and share items. So much freedom and possibilities.

As crpgaddict notes, mapping zones was hard. I think it was one of the first exercise that developed my spatial brain like fucking crazy. I remember struggling to understand positions and movements because the game wasn’t easy on that. Later, Wolf3D and Doom would be easy for 12 year old me to navigate after that hardcore CGA bullshit.

I don’t know how, but my cousin beat that game. He leveled up and one night he went to defeat Arioch, the big boss. My mom was kind of mad because he had left the computer on all night long to show the final page –yes, the end was a page of text explaining that you were the Lord of Whatever and no, we couldn’t save or “resume” at that time-. The easy days.

What I realized earlier this week is that:

– Loriciels the publisher only released that game on MS-DOS. There’s no other version. Loriciels would release games on all platforms but very rarely on that one. That makes the game even more special.

– The developer, Grafmodcolor is unknown: 2 nicknames and that’s about it. They only made that game, apparently. More mystery, more legendary.

Chapeau bas, les gars.

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