Retro games, abandonware, freeware and classic games for PC and Mac


Dragon Wars

Available Platform: Amiga

Dragon Wars is a role-playing game created by Interplay for the Apple II and Commodore 64 in 1989.

GenreRole Playing

84/100 based on 8 Editorial reviews. Add your vote

OS supportedWin7 64 bit, Win8 64bit, Windows 10
Updated27 November 2020

Game Review

Dragon Wars is a role-playing game created by Interplay for the Apple II and Commodore 64 in 1989. It was later released for MS-DOS, Amiga, and several other platforms starting in 1990.

The game puts you in charge of a party of heroes whose primary focus is to find a paradise named Dilmun. According to legend, Dilmun had streets paved with gold, and it was one of those places everyone would love to be a part of. However, trouble in paradise arrived very soon.

The king declared magic illegal, and magic users were exiled. Because of that, the enemy islands focused on protecting themselves with guardian dragons. The story's main hero is arrested because he is suspected of being a spellcaster.

Dragon Wars was created by Rebecca Heineman and Interplay Productions while being distributed by Activision. Interplay is widely known for creating a plethora of amazing RPG and arcade game series. Some of the most popular titles include Baldur's Gate, Battle Chess, MDK, Planescape Torment, Stonekeep, and many others.

An interesting thing to note is that upon creating Bard's Tale III: Thief of Fate, the team created a list of improvements for the game, but Interplay chose to postpone some of those features such as automapping for their next game. When they started work on Dragon Wars, the game was developed as Bard's Tale IV, but since Electronic Arts held the rights for this title, they had to add bring in a new title. That’s how the Dragon Wars came into play, after a long debate.

The Dragon Wars gameplay is quite interesting and certainly different than many other titles in this niche. As you play, you can use a predefined party or create your own. If you want to create a new character, you have to kill one of the current characters, which is a unique take on the genre. This can’t be undone. You can play with the default party for a bit to see how they are and their strengths, then you can create your own game.

Within the main screen, you have three windows. One is the game view, and the other is a window with information about the party. Here, you can see stamina information, character health, magic, and so on. In the last window, messages appear when you attack enemies, find items, and so on. Here, you can also receive instructions on how to play.

Unlike other titles that appeared during its time, Dragon Wars is innovative because it steps away from the D&D formula. It makes a more complex system that can sometimes be somewhat convoluted. They cater more to the hardcore RPG audience. After all, there’s only one save slot for the game. That means you need to pay attention to how you play because you must backtrack quite a bit unless you save often. While Dragon Wars borrows from other Interplay games like Bard’s Tale, the overall scale, unique visuals, and engaging gameplay make it unique and powerful.

Although over 30 years old, Dragon Wars is still a very immersive and fun game. The fact that it’s difficult does cater to a specific audience, those people who always like testing new ideas and strategies. If you want to play Dragon Wars, it’s a good idea to check the manual, as some things are poorly explained inside the game. Even if Dragon Wars might not be the most popular Interplay game, it’s still very well done, and it offers a great insight into the RPG and fantasy game worlds of the late 80s and early 90s.

Review by: Adam
Published: 16 December 2020 5:21 pm

You can purchase the game on GOG or Steam following the link below:

Get the full game on GOG

Back to Game Review