The Elder Scrolls: Chapter II - Daggerfall
DOS - 1996
Description of The Elder Scrolls: Chapter II - Daggerfall
Official release made by Bethesda, check out the PDF disclaimer and the official website for more infos.
The Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall is a fantasy role-playing universe. The game begins as you are summoned to your Emperor's audience chamber and given two missions. Both concern the kingdom of Daggerfall: Firstly, the recently dead king's ghost is haunting his former kingdom crying for revenge. The Emperor wants you to find out why and put the ghost to rest. Secondly, the Emperor wrote a personal letter to the dead king's widow but the letter never arrived. The Emperor wants you to find and destroy the letter.
You set off loyally to Daggerfall, a province on the Iliac Bay, to do your best...perhaps. You are shipwrecked on the way to Daggerfall and wake up in a dungeon.
You take control of your character as you wake in the dungeon. This is a practice dungeon where you get used to the 3-D user interface. Once you find your way out of the dungeon, you must decide what to do next. So you get out your map and take a look. Wow! So many places to choose from. Where to go first? And this is exactly what it is like to play Daggerfall. It is like real life with real life choices. This game does not lead you around by your nose...for better or worse. You can explore dungeons, talk to people in the cities and towns, try and find work, train at the guilds, etc. etc. You can follow up the emperor's mission or you can flit about the Iliac Bay as an independent do gooder or corrupt thief and murderer. Of course you need to earn money, so once you find work or a quest to follow up, there is some structure to completing the job and getting paid.
There really isn't a structured story. There is the mission as described in the Overview, but since you can ignore the mission you are free to make the adventure your own. Now if you prefer a structured goal oriented game you may find this frustrating. There is an incredible amount of freedom! However, if you have been waiting for a true role-playing universe where you can chose how to act and the story plays out according to your actions...then this is it.
There are plenty of puzzles in this game. How do you even start following up the Emperor's mission? Why do you keep getting arrested? Where is the monster you are on a quest to kill?
It even takes a while to figure out how to identify what building served what purpose in the towns and cities.
There are plenty of NPCs in the towns and cities to help, some more cooperative than others. But you are on your own in the dungeons and solving the dungeon problems can be very tricky.
If you play this game don't expect to really get going until you have false started a few times. It takes quite a while to get used to how much you must think about to progress as you would wish.
The Bethesda hint book " Chronicles of Daggerfall ", available separately, tells the player that patience is needed and how to go about carrying out the emperor's missions. The " Chronicles " is still not quite sufficient help. I still needed more which I found on the CompuServe Gamers forum. This is indicative of how extensive and complex the universe of Daggerfall really is.
When you start the game, you must generate a character. First you select a homeland. There are nine provinces in the empire of Tamriel. Each province has a race of citizens that have different characteristics: some more suited to being warriors while others are better thieves or sorcerers. You then select your character class. There are eighteen to choose from, ranging from thief to monk, knight to barbarian, sorcerer to healer. There are two ways to select your character class: directly, or by answering a series of questions on how you would behave in a particular situation. This second method is neat the first time, but it invariably left me with a character I didn't want. So I opted for the direct method, which is also faster.
You must also select the gender, face portrait and supply a name for your character. If you opt to customize your character you can also select their major, minor and primary skills. Even if you don't have a custom character you have bonus points you can allocate to your characters skills as you see fit. On top of all this, you also can edit some special advantages and your reputation! Your reputation even varies according to what type of NPCs you interact with later.
Periodically, as you rise in level, the game will prompt you to allocate more bonus points.
Combat is controlled by swinging the mouse around with the right (default) button held down. This took some getting used to. I also found myself running out of mouse-pad space and making the table swing with my wild movements! You will collect many different types of weapons as you explore dungeons or make purchases in town. Some are more effective than others against some monsters whole some weapons you may not be capable of using at all. You may even fight with your fist or by kicking.
You can also use spells in combat.
Combat is entirely real time 3-D. You can, at game start up, set a response time variable to give yourself more reaction time. but this just slows down your character's progress to new levels so I didn't think it was a worthwhile feature. Combat is tough at first, hence the practice dungeon...clearly a good idea. You can swing or thrust the sword depending on your mouse movements and perform all the usual user interface movements to get closer or further from your opponent.
Some CRPG players are getting tired of real-time combat. Real-time combat is a feature of action games requiring fast reaction time and good hand-eye coordination. Puzzle-solving-oriented people tend to prefer turn-based, or phased, combat which involves strategy in the set up.
The easiest way of acquiring or enhancing your magical abilities is to find and keep magical weapons and potions. If you can get membership at a Mages' Guild you can buy spells, receive training and even make spells. I found the most useful aspect of the Mages' Guild was in identifying magical weapons.
I know that some players have managed to advance to a high level in the Mages' Guild and have acquired some really neat powerful spells.
I have progressed in the game to level 10. I have seen many different monsters, but not so much variety among NPCs. All the general store proprietor all over the Iliac Bay are clones! Monsters usually appear one or two at a time at lower levels, occasionally three at a time on higher levels. The 3-D monsters and NPCs are quite well rendered graphically and animated realistically. As they get closer you see more detail and it feels like they are right on top of you!
My first reaction after installing this game was that the resolution was coarse and unrealistic. Those of us that have watched or played Doom, Heretic and/or Quake, have seen much superior 3-D graphics and animation. However, Daggerfall draws you in and I found myself accepting the coarser resolution and after a short time didn't notice it.
The graphics are very colourful as are the NPCs.
In summary I would say Daggerfall had to sacrifice high resolution for 3-D action.
Music & Sound
The music plays most of the time and seems quite in keeping. The sound effects are also good. I actually had trouble keeping the music and sound at the same volume each time I played the game due to crashes. So sometimes I played with the sound very low. If I changed it, next time I played it would blast out at me!
When I played under Windows 95, I could not get the music to play at all. As I'll explain later I still preferred playing under Windows 95.
I heard no spoken dialogue after the introduction.
All commands are accessible from icons displayed at the bottom of the screen and/or by keyboard entry. System options include configuration (customizing command key strokes) and load, save or quit.
There are six slots for save games. I found this sufficient. Each slot includes a small graphic of the scene when you saved.
I initially started playing Daggerfall under DOS on a 486-40. After upgrading my PC to a P-133, and having Windows 95 installed, I found some disadvantages to playing under the DOS emulation. It takes for ever to load and save games!!! Under Windows 95 loading and saving is snappy. Hence, I gave up the music for faster file i/o!
When you first take control of your character in the initial dungeon, the game gives you the option of an on-line tutorial for the first few minutes. This is an extremely good idea and much needed the first couple of times you start playing. It enables you to get used to the user interface, combat and decide on your custom configuration.
Clicking on the icons at the bottom of the screen bring up your spell book, magical items, travel method (walk, ride, or in a wagon), inventory, two kinds of map, camp (rest or loiter) and readies your weapon.
The compass icon which normally identifies your direction of travel when clicked will give you your location and the time and date.
When you are outside, you can right click on the map to bring up the Iliac Bay travel map. This is a very powerful useful feature, allowing you to search for specific locations and travel quickly to distant places.
You only have limited space in your inventory as you have a limited encumbrance factor. However, once you acquire the wagon you can off-load many items into the wagon. As in real life though the wagon isn't always accessible. After all you aren't going to drag it around a dangerous dungeon, are you?!
Movement through the 3-D world is achieved in two different modes. The more popular mode is the view based mode. Here you use the mouse to control where you are looking, up, down, to the left etc. Movement is controlled by the arrow keys on the keyboard so speed is constant.
The second movement mode is called the cursor based interface. This is the default interface and I preferred it. As you move your mouse cursor around the screen it either assumes the shape of a direction arrow or an X. X is the target area for selection. Holding down the left mouse button while the arrow if present will move you in that direction at a speed relative to how close the arrow is to the edge of the screen. You may also use the keyboard arrow keys.
The selection point marked by the X cursor is used to pick up treasure in dungeons, select NPCs to talk to and target spells at monsters.
Installation & Performance
I selected a medium installation option. There are four installation sizes possible: 37MB, 95 MB, 213 MB, 450 MB. Amazingly, the Daggerfall game comes on only one CD. This means the installation is reasonably quick and, of course, there is no disk swapping during game play as you travel around the Iliac Bay -- a great advantage.
I found the performance of the game adequate on my PC with the medium installation, except perhaps in cities, where it took a long time to walk or run and a while to load more data from the CD which it did every thirty seconds or so. Later on when I upgraded to a P-133, under DOS emulation movement was much faster and smoother. However, I am still suffering slowish loads from the CD when traversing the cities and that's with a 6 x CD-ROM drive!
The installation includes a child guard option. I have heard comments that this game is not suitable for children. It does include inherent violence, of course, but is no more offensive than any other CRPG or action adventure game. However, it does include graphics of buxom and even naked women (particularly if you go barging uninvited into other people's bedrooms!). In any case this game is not suitable for children for intellectual reasons!
Daggerfall is the sequel to Arena. I have not played Arena but I have read reviews of Arena. In one way Daggerfall is very similar: It has been released before many of the bugs were fixed! There are very minimal bugs in the functionality that I came across, but I know there were several problems as you progress in the initial release. I actually started out with the initial US release. This version crashed every few minutes! I then applied one patch after another but this game still crashes for no apparent reason far too frequently.
Bethesda have been very maligned on-line for releasing the second Elder Scrolls game too early. To be fair, the frequency of game crashes has diminished substantially with recent patches, but it is still far from solid!!! (At the time of writing, late December '96, I have applied the most recent patch V1.05.195, and my statements still hold.)
Both CompuServe and the Bethesda Web site supplied plenty of extra help technically and by way of strategy for playing the game. There is also a long distance telephone support line and long distance BBS. I did not need to contact Bethesda directly about any issues. This was thanks to the regular supply of new patches available on their web site keeping me quiet!
Information about Daggerfall is scattered between a hard copy manual which is not very comprehensive, an installation card and several on-line text files. The level of information supplied with the game is disappointing.
The user manual design and artwork is polished and in keeping with the fantasy setting of the game.
The " Chronicles of Daggerfall ", the Bethesda hint book available separately, includes most of the information I wished had been included in the user documentation.
Despite the crashes and difficulty of solving the quests this game has such a vast interesting and well designed universe one can't help but want to carry on exploring. You can even try playing with an unlimited number of different characters and try different approaches and behaviour patterns. Once completely stable this game will likely be played off and on for months and months, may be years.
My recommendation: This game will appeal to fantasy CRPG fans buying who are interested in an almost unrestricted universe and like a difficult level of play. If the player also purchases the " Chronicles " hint book and has access to an on-line hints forum or news group, Daggerfall should be enjoyed by all fantasy CRPG fans.
Review By GamesDomain
Comments and reviews
Naniyue 2020-09-05 0 point
Absolutely amazing DOS game! Flawed and a bit buggy, of course, but nevertheless wonderful to play. While bad for the wrists, the fact that you could swing your weapon more realistically was a nice touch.
Damien 2020-07-20 0 point
I'd recommend using the Unity remake instead, which can be found at dfworkshop.net.
AeroHydra 2020-01-20 2 points
Wow, the largest elder scrolls game of all time is a 10 megabyte download lol...
Peloi 2020-01-16 0 point
Get the fan patch vesion here, no set up, https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Daggerfall:Files
hidetora 2019-09-05 1 point
it syas no file location for download. I made a folder for the download but, it still says no disk space. what do i do?
The Pardoner 2018-07-26 -1 point
Hi, I've asked questions on a couple other games, (Space Hulk 1993 and Silent Service II), and was wondering how I could get this up and running on Boxer. (Not Boxer Standalone, or whatever the heck that is, just the normal Boxer). Anything else I should know would be much appreciated. Thanks!
mojoswagger1980 2018-05-23 1 point
great game but my god, how long is this thing ? its easily got the largest elder scrolls and the longest rpg ive ever played that is possible to complete. if you're looking to fill 100-120 hours of your time and your an elder scrolls fan then Jackpot!!! warning not for begginers !!! this game was/is harder than the other games (Skyrim is super easy comparitively)!
Antipickle 2018-05-01 2 points
Amazing when it came out. Play as a thief and climb up walls, create your own spells and magic items.... the spell maker was removed after Morrowind. Best dungeon map system, in 3D, you can zoom and rotate. Some of the dungeons are so big you'll need to teleport back to the exit. Definitely grab the daggerfall graphics upgrade and mods though.
GUY FAWKES 2017-04-27 3 points
I found a few additional tweaks that may be useful. If you want WASD style controls check out the following post: https://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/29065-the-elder-scrolls-chapter-ii-daggerfall/50478603
To avoid mounting a second drive as a CD, check out the following: http://en.uesp.net/wiki/Daggerfall:Running_Without_CD
Guy Fawkes 2017-04-25 1 point
For mods and unofficial patches, check out this reddit post: https://www.reddit.com/r/Daggerfall/comments/4v9buf/are_there_mods_out_there_for_the_game/
oplenti 2016-12-26 0 point
Aawwwww.... buggerfall... the best of the best... i love this b*tch and i also hate it. i'd gladly play with it again, but those quest bugs... make me mad. just stick to the main quest, no side quests... that's my best advice!
Skypup 2016-12-10 0 point
Got it to run 3 years ago no probs in Vista with Dosbox 0.74. Occasionally a loud buzzing sound pops up - usually in dungeons, but after moving around, it disappears. Now at level 13 with Wood Elf with high swim skill and the highest non-magical armour (orangy Daedric) except for gauntlets. For all who find monsters too difficult, get your best weapon & armour u can when starting off, and enter a starter dungeon. Picking off rats, and orcs are probably the easiest. Once you get enough gold, immediately get back to a blacksmith & improve your weapon and armour. Get back to the same starter dungeon, and enter again building up your gold. If health falls below 50% take a nap (make sure no enemies around). Exit & re-enter same dungeon to haul in more gold as monsters & treasure re-spawn after exiting dungeon.
Giant Squidy 2016-02-02 8 points
This is the hardest game to get working I've come across so far. *WHAT I WOULD SUGGEST* is downloading this game from the Elder Scrolls official site for free. Upon downloading, there will be a pdf labeled daggerfall_legal_and_installation.pdf. **Follow the instructions in the pft exactly**. Once you've done that (it should finally let you install the Huge installer) all should work properly. After the installation, close DOSBox. Then, follow the instructions within the pdf on how to start Daggerfall (which you will have to do each time). The game should now properly work now.
lollipopLOMAX278 2016-01-31 -4 points
i tried to play this game before, looked like so much fun but suffers from
one MAJOR f**king problem...ENEMIES ARE JUST TOO POWERFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
they should have made the first enemies you encounter really really weak and then
increase their stats as the game progresses, too bad they didn't do this..it ruined the game for me, can't get too far if enemies who SHOULD BE easy to defeat keep
kicking my ass and i keep dying.
another game that needs a mod to fix this problem of balance lacking.
Jaggy 2016-01-26 2 points
Okay, the game is telling me that I apparently inserted the wrong disk, despite setting the disk as the game folder itself. Can someone please help me?
Blazewing 2015-08-01 1 point DOS version
DAGGERFALL! Its just the best RPG out there. The first to use Skill Based Leveling,wich made it innovative. TES3-5 all base of this Skill based platform. Every TES game after this one, netted "The Best of E3" I've been playing his game since it came out and my Level 99 Argonian was my champion. The Same Argonian i used in all the rest of the TES series, trust me you will NEVER get bored of this one.
JAY DEE 2015-04-12 -1 point DOS version
found out how,thanks to unofficial elder scroll pages.
Install the game with the largest install size.make a bat file "install /u" this stops checking freespace
Copy all the files from the DAGGER/ARENA2 directory on the CD to the ARENA2 directory where you installed the game. There are some large files which are not installed by the largest install size.
Install the latest patch as desired.DAG213.exe
Edit the Z.CFG file in your Daggerfall directory. Change the PATHCD value to match that of the PATH value. To run the game don't use DAGGER.EXE as you would normally, but instead run the command FALL.EXE Z.CFG. create a batch file to prevent having to type it each time, but don't name it DAGGER.BAT.
Some say you need to add the line set firstname.lastname@example.org to your Autoexec or your custom batch file, though the game will run without it.
JAY DEE 2015-04-12 0 point DOS version
same problem, there are only two img files and neither work.i even downloaded the latest version from the elder scrolls.com,but same problem,asks for cd.im trying thru d-fend.i may have to actually burn a disk and try that as deamon tools and virtual clone drive dont seem to work,anyone got this running?
Lord Xarti 2015-04-10 2 points DOS version
How do I actually RUN the game? It says to type: CD c:\dagger & then "DAGGER" to run it so I make that the run path, but it gives an error saying that "You cannot run the game off of the CD and to install the game first EVEN AFTER the installation is completed! Please help as this is VERY aggravating.
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