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but its light brought no warmth to the ashen faces and icy spirits of Anuire's battle-weary army.

While the king of Anuire clash over control of their fractured empire, the Gorgon builds his power through bloodtheft - killing the kings of Anuire and consuming their divinely-granted bloodlines.

Now, no longer satisfied with the blood of an occasional hero or king, his evil madness has driven him to a diabolical scheme to consume all of the bloodlines of ancient Anuire.
With the blood abilities of a born king, you command heroes, wizards and mighty armies.

Delve deep into political intrigue, hostile negotiations and precarious allegiances as you strive to overcome Anuire's greatest foe - and claim your birthright.

Based on TSR's BIRTHRIGHT game, Winner of the 1996 Origins Award for the Best Fantasy Game.
  • A unique, multi-dimensional adventure of battle strategy and in-depth role-playing.
  • Become one of 34 interactive characters encountering treasures, resources, allies and foes.
  • Collect spells, weapons, blood abilities and the power to conquer evil.
  • Seek fortune, power and glory in the faithfully rendered realms of Anuire.
~ from the back of the box

Intrepid adventurers are at the core for any Dungeons & Dragons player group. They usually start out as low-level archetypes slowly gaining renown as they defeat beasts hiding out in remote places. But what if you wanted to be something different? What if you were a ruler of your own country? How would that play out in a game? First published in 1995, Birthright aimed to answer that in a campaign setting within the 2nd Edition ruleset. A year later, Sierra On-Line gave us the same in video game form.

Now, I've not played any other version of D&D beyond 5th Edition so I can't really tell you much about the 2nd. From what I gather, it was much more focussed on dungeoneering and combat over world exploration and character improv. Having played this adaptation of Birthright, I can imagine that goes double for this campaign setting, with the added intricacies of political intrigue and warfare.

Your advisors will provide stats and information about your domain (left).
This includes detailed tables such as the loyalty of each realm (right).

The Gorgon's Alliance is a game of three thirds. You start off with a map screen depicting the many realms of Cerilia, a continent located in a world called Aebrynis. Inspired more by Medieval feudal societies than Tolkien-esque epic fantasy, it has a more realistic vibe to campaigns set on the better known Toril where pretty much all other games are set. This bodes well for the first section of the game where fostering alliances, mustering troops and generally managing your domain is the focus. Taking turns, you will have to use persuasive techniques such as money bartering to increase the success rate of dice rolls to gain an alliance with a neighbouring realm. The less they like you, the more you will have to barter for that elusive 100% success rate. If they really hate you, you might as well go to war with them which will take you to the game's second third.

Battles play a big role in the game, though funnily enough they are the easiest to understand mechanically. You place troops on a grid on the bottom right and from here move them into position. They can't do too much within a given time so a cool-down period needs to be waited on before their next move. Infantry will need to be placed in the same square as the enemy hoard to attack, while archers are required to be the square orthogonally adjacent to it. It's a little like chess but each piece has a health bar. While you'll likely focus on this small grid on the lower right of the screen, the action is played out in real time in the main window. It uses an impressive-for-the-time 3D engine with pre-rendered sprites to depict these skirmishes which portray the scope quite nicely. It's surely aged now, but I can't think of many attempting such a thing prior to its release in 1996.

Selecting a troop of infantry men to battle (or fall back from) the opposing regent (left).
Click on the buttons at the bottom to call for reserves, view a unit's status or if you're in a real pickle, retreat (right).

Once the battle is won and the spoils are gathered, it's back to the map screen. At the end of the year, your four advisors will pop up to give you information about the current situation. The Chamberlain with provide information about your realm and its relationship with the rest of Cerilia. The General will report on your last battle and troop situations. The Spy Master has all of the gossip pertaining to your alliances while the Mage will gather up news about local strongholds and the treasures held within. This last report leads us directly to the game's final third; adventuring.

By far my favourite aspect of the game, the adventure segments play more like a traditional first-person role-playing game. If you have news of a quest, you and up to three other Lieutenants (which can be hired on the map screen) can enter a village, dungeon or castle grounds to complete the quest. Quests range from a hunt for a magic item, the slaying of a ferocious a beast or gain control of the premises by stealing the flag hidden within. Apparently, property deeds are flags in this realm. Don't expect this to be a first-person-shooter, though. When you engage an enemy, the camera shifts to a third-person viewpoint where you must select actions for each member of your party. Depending on what you have set as in the game's options, it can be played in real-time sorta like Diablo or turn-based a la Final Fantasy. Either way, your hit rate is determined by the role of an invisible dice. And I'm notoriously unlucky at such a thing.

Selecting your questing party. Make sure to prepare spells for magic users (left).
Use the mouse to pick up items in the game world, such it this heal potion sitting on the bed (right).

If you have a wizard or other magic user in your party and have prepared them beforehand, you can access spells. For anyone familiar with D&D these are all very recognisable. Magic Missile, Fly, Find Traps, Detect Magic - there's loads of them here and each do something specific within the game world. Magic Missile and other offensive spells allow you to take out enemies outside of combat, though make sure they hit otherwise it's wasted magic. Fly will let you rise in the air for a limited time (by holding A) to reach higher ground. Find Traps and Detect Magic will add their respective locations on the map (brought up by pressing M). All of them are a little cumbersome to activate, but the slower pace of the game means that this is rarely a disadvantage. Unlike actual D&D, spells can only be used once per quest which includes low-level Cantrips. Some spells, such as Magic Missile, have a stock of projectiles to use up but generally you have to be thoughtful of what you use and when. Overall, I found the variety of spells and their uses to be pretty decent. It's unusual for this amount to be implemented in a game and have them have such a direct impact in how you play through each stage.

As hinted at earlier, the game features some robust gameplay options. The campaigns have multiple difficulty settings which limit the more complex mechanics particularly on the domain map screen allowing you to ease into an already dauntingly complex-looking game. Agitating foes, building roads or holdings, devising trade routes and casting spells over your realm among others are all hidden on the easiest setting. In fact, only 6 of the 18 actions are activated. This is increased to 10 for the medium difficulty but each of the three does have its own comprehensive yet overly wordy tutorial to get you acquainted. If you only enjoyed the battle or adventure sections, you can just play those if you want to dive straight into the action. I know I got through my fair share of bite-sized quests this way.

Birthright: The Gorgon's Alliance must have been a massive undertaking. It is essentially three games in one, and each of them are designed and coded pretty decently. On their own, the battle or adventure sections can be a little slight when compared to something like Daggerfall which came out the same year, but with the inclusion of the deep and complex strategy over your own domain, it becomes a D&D licenced game one can really get lost in.

To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses the DOSBox Daum build of DOSBox 0.74 to bring the game to modern systems. Manual, Map and Reference Card included. Read the ChamberNotes.txt for more detailed information. Tested on Windows 10.

File Size: 547 Mb.  Install Size: 716 Mb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ


Birthright: The Gorgon's Alliance is © Sierra On-Line
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me

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  1. Hi Biff,
    thanks a lot for this, I like these medieval themed strategy games. Speaking of, could you maybe take a look at "Destiny"? It was one of the first 3D games of its kind. Shouldn't be hard to get it to work with your Win95 build :) Here is the link to the iso and game description: https://www.abandonware-france.org/ltf_abandon/ltf_jeu.php?id=1722&fic=liens
    Thank you for considering my request!

    1. I've not heard of Destiny. Not *that* one anyway. Looks interesting from what I've seen ony Mobygames. No promises though, strategy games aren't my strong suit.

    2. put la blaster fmv game from cryo on ur page

    3. LA Blaster is already on this site. Check out the sports/racing section.

  2. Hi again,
    I have another question please. I actually play around with DosBox etc myself and I actually got a few games to work (for example "Riverworld") by just replacing the CD in your Win95/DosBox config. However, with some games that autostart the CD that crashes the DosBox at startup.
    Therefore, my question would be: Could you maybe upload a copy of your Win95/DosBox package without a specific game/CD mounted? I hope you understand what I mean, I'm not sure how well I explained it lol.

    1. I do! I've been trying to get my recent Windows '95 and '98 to act like single-use games and automatically shut down when you click quit in the game's menu. It does mean that what you're wanting to do is a little trickier as you'll need to dive into the virtual HD drive to reset everything.

      In Windows, you can change the file in the HDD directory to a .vhd files (it will either be a .img file or have no extension originally). Double click on it to look through and go to Windows/Start Menu/Programs/Start Up and delete the shortcut in there. This will remove the autolaunch and thus the auto shut down if present (others may work a little differently, but most are like this).

      Once you're done, eject the hard drive by right clicking from This PC and rename it back to how it was. You might want to back up the HDD file first. This should be the same process for packages that use PCEm or the DOSBox variants.

    2. Which HDD do you mean? There seem to be two? The config I used to get "Riverworld" and "V-Corp" to work (both Windows 95 only games) is yours from "Ed Hunter". I can open the normal 250-HDD after renaming it with a .vhd. But I can't open the 250-Win95 one even after changing the extension.

      And the weird thing is this: Like I mentioned with some games it works if I just change the cd_rom path in the .cfg file, it works. I then see the mounted CD image and can install the game in your virtual Windows 95 environment. However, with some other games, such as "Destiny" (that I mentioned above) the Win95 box just crashes to desktop after starting if I mount that particular CD. This seems to be the case with games that use autorun (I don't mean that your game autoruns, but that the CD tries to autorun at startup). I really don't know if I am explaining this right. I basically just discovered all this by accident (just got the idea looking at the .cfg file), but I don't really know much about it....

    3. You're right! That's a PCEm package. I must've been mistaken in thinking it works the same as DOSBox image files.

      I don't think it's autorun that's crashing the insert of the CD as that's been turned off. Ed Hunter also uses an older version of PCEm (v1.4 - the newest is v1.7) so that could be something to do with it. You can copy and overwrite the program and it should still work as before (see the FAQ).

      I'm checking out Destiny on my current template now to see if I can see what's going on.

    4. It looks like it's an issue with the ISO itself, which uses the UDF file system instead of your basic ISO. Try using this BIN+CUE istead


    5. Cool, that actually worked and I got Destiny installed and running. Another question please if I may: I have one or two other games that are in a folder (meaning not a CD) that I would like to try. Is there any way to copy a folder into the Virtual Drive. Here's what I tried: I renamed 250-HDD.iso to 250-HDD.vhd and then mounted the .vhd with Demon Tools- which worked and shows me the drive and its content. However, I am able to delete files from the virtual drive, but I can't copy anything onto it. Am I missing something here or is my approach just too simple lol?

    6. That is a bit too simple considering how PCEm processes its virtual HDDs. You might find the DOSBox ones work this way though. It is worth noting that the 250 MB hard drives only have about 70-100 MB free space if you uninstall the original game in there - no need for too much room when it's for a single program.

      I recommend creating a new HDD inside PCEm (click on the + symbol), format it within W95 and mount homemade ISOs with your files on to copy things over. This way is perhaps the easiest to understand if you're not used to the programs involved, or maybe use another package that has more space (like Discworld Noir for example).

  3. Wow, that actually worked perfectly!! Thank you very much! You, my friend, are a true hero :)

    1. Sorry to bother you again, but I was happy too fast :( Some games would run, but don't have enough disc space to install. I had no luck trying to make a new virtual drive, I guess I suck at this. Is there any package I could download with a virtual drive that has an install size of at least 500MB?

  4. Sounds like a really intriguing game, and perhaps an early precursor of games like Pathfinder: Kingmaker and Tyranny. Three different genres and during the age of very early 3D engines? A huge undertaking, as you say.

    Sadly for Sierra, this one doesn't seem to have been remembered at all. Thanks for rescuing it from obscurity.