OpenGlad is an open source version of one of my favourite DOS games, Gladiator, orginally a shareware action-RPG game by Forgotten Sages. I had great fun playing the unregistered shareware version of Gladiator 3.7D some ten(!) years back. Something about the charming little old school pixellated sprites and RPG-like team and character management keeps compelling me to play this game.
While this game supports multiplayer (up to 4) via hotseat, I’ve only been playing the singleplayer campaign recently, so the main focus will be on the singleplayer aspects today. There are supposedly 40+ missions in the campaign but I haven’t completed it yet since some of the missions are incredibly tough
In OpenGlad, you command and manage a team of characters in search of adventure and loot. There are 15 playable character classes to hire for your team, ranging to conventional soldiers, mages and clerics to rarely seen non-human classes like fire elementals or even gooey self-reproducing slimes.
Once you hired your team of adventurers, you can train them to increase their stats for them to better survive on the battlefields. The stats are broken down as follows (summarized from the README file):
- Strength: Strength affects melee (hand-to-hand) combat, as well as things like your weapon range.
- Constitution: Higher constitution increases hitpoints and rate of healing.
- Dexterity: Increasing dexterity improves ability to dodge, weapon’s accuracy and speed.
- Intelligence: Controls amount of ‘magic’ power, how fast this power regenerates, and the success of special abilities.
- Armor: Reduces the damage taken from enemy attacks.
- Level: Acts as a multipler for other stats and allows usage of special abilities. Every three levels of experience (1,4,7,10) provide certain character classes an additional special ability which can often turn the tide of a battle in your favour. Read more about the special abilities in this classes.txt included with the orginal DOS version.
After training your team, you’re ready for your first mission. Initially, you’re accompanied by powerful NPCs, but you’re better off controlling your own characters since NPCs do not belong to your team and thus are not trainable.
To control your character, use the * key on the numpad to access the Options menu (2,8 or 4 for the Options menu of the second, third and fourth player) and change your key preferences.
- Fire: Attack with ranged weapon or hand-to-hand combat if enemy is next to your character
- Yell: Calls for help. Press together with the Shifter key to summon other characters to fight with or defend you.
- Switching: Switch between characters. Pressing Shifter in conjunction with the Switch key will switch to the first characters of another character class.
- Special: Use special ability. Hold Shifter key to use associated special ability (e.g Teleport Marker is used when Shifter key is held down, otherwise Teleport is cast)
- Special Switch: Switch between special abilities for characters with more than one special ability.
Before … and After …
After killing every enemy on the map (basically any moving character on the map not wearing red), the FOES counter on the top right corner should then read 0 and move your character onto the Exit arrows (shown on radar as flashing blue dots) and press Y to advance to the next mission. The first ten missions are linearly arranged with the ones after the tenth grouped into mini-campaigns whereby you can decide the order to tackle them.
Exit in sight
If any friendly character on your team dies during battle, he/she leaves behind a heart gem which returns a portion of his/her training costs back to your treasury if collected by another member of your team. As an alternative, you can press Esc to abort the mission and replay again (perhaps at a lower difficulty level) or even retreat to a previously played map and play another mission. You can save between battles but not when in the battle itself.
Of course after each mission, you get a certain amount of gold based on your performance to train existing troops or hire new ones to bolster your little army.
Some tips to get you started:
- Remember to hire clerics, preferably more than one since clerics cannot heal themselves. When low on health, give the nearest Cleric a bump to heal your character.
- Remember to save game under Save Team in the Continue Game screen. I learnt this the hard way when I clicked Begin New Game instead of Continue Game while advancing to the next mission. Oops!
- I noticed in this game is that it’s cheaper to purchase a Level 4 character under Hire Troops than to upgrade a Level 1 character to level 4 under Train Team.
- Windows version unable to be run in full screen mode is a known issue.
- If you prefer to play at Skirmish (easy) difficulty, remember to set the difficulty (default : Battle (normal) when you start the game as the difficulty isn’t saved after you exit OpenGlad. The difficulty really ramps up after scenario 10 – Defending the Keep so that you might wish to keep the difficulty at Battle in the earlier missions as higher difficulty levels offer more XP for your characters.
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