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Box artwork for Realms of Darkness.
Realms of Darkness
Developer(s)Gary Scott Smith,
Alex Duong Nghiem
Publisher(s)Strategic Simulations
System(s)Apple II, Commodore 64

Flag of Japan.svg MSX2, NEC PC-8801, NEC PC-9801, Sharp X1, Sharp X68000
Followed byTangled Tales
Release date(s)1987
Genre(s)Adventure, Role-playing
ModesSingle player
LinksRealms of Darkness ChannelSearchSearch

Realms of Darkness was developed by American programmers Gary Scott Smith and Alex Duong Nghiem (the same authors of Tangled Tales). It was released by Strategic Simulations in 1987 in North America for the Apple II and the Commodore 64. Two years later, in 1989, it was localized to Japan with the title Rogue Alliance (ローグアライアンス is a reading help on the Japanese box cover) for several systems.

Realms of Darkness is a hybrid between a role-playing game and a text adventure game.

Game title (C64 graphics)
Game credits (C64 graphics)


Portrait of author Gary Scott Smith, used in the sequel to represent his own character Gnu Gnu.
It can be assumed that either Jenkins or Sidney is the portrait of author Alex Duong Nghiem, of Vietnamese origins.

Realms of Darkness is a hybrid between a role-playing game and a text adventure game. Both genres are text-rich and allow free exploration. From the role-playing side, the player controls a party of adventurers whose attributes improve permanently during the adventure (mostly through combat). From the adventure side, it includes a text parser to interact deeply with the fictional game world and its inhabitants.

Apparently, the game had a heavy copy-protection system that bordered the bug. It was difficult to have it running even on the original hardware.[1]

More than 30 years after its original release, the only way Realms of Darkness can be played today is through emulation.

  • When emulating the Apple II version, the game crashes whenever a combat starts.
  • The emulation of the Commodore 64 version works better, but it crashes whenever the player attempts to resume a previously started game. Still, the problem can be bypassed in a specific old version.[2]

Use WinVICE 1.13a , press PageUp when the error message appears.


From the game text transcript

The guard says: "Greetings, travelers. Would you be interested in an adventure?"

"The royal sword, Zabin, was used by our first king, but was lost during an ancient battle. Recently, we found a scroll which leads us to believe that it is currently residing in the ruins to the northeast of the city. If you brave adventurers can return Zabin to us, you will be well rewarded."

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