DARKSPYRE (1990): General Guide
Created by Event Horizon, Darkspyre is an overhead, RPG with real-time
fighting. The Gods of War, Intelligence, and Magic created the
Darksypre, a labyrinth filled with monsters, puzzles, and traps
designed to find a worthy specimen; and, if not, destroy the world.
Many heroes have fallen trying to best the 39 levels, now it is your
ABOUT THIS GUIDE
This is my first guide; its main purpose is to provide all the
information an individual needs to make their way through the game.
Darkspyre was designed to be a “learn as you play” game, so the manual
leaves out a lot of information. I recently returned (from 17 years) to
this game, in the hopes of finally making my way to the end. While the
graphics and sounds are simplistic, I found that the mix of combat and
puzzles challenging (and still do). How can you not love a game that
calls it’s high score list “Hall of the Humble.”
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Character Creation: Starting the Game, Character Attributes
Controls: Keyboard, Mouse
Items: Weapons, Armor, Magic, Amulets, Runes, Special Items, Objects
Levels: General, Monsters.
(You can hold spacebar to skip the title screen)
At the start of the game, you are giving 4 options: Start game fast
with male character, start game fast with female character, generate a
character. Restore old character (from saved game). The start fast
options immediately take you to the first level with your character
attributes filled out. It is recommended that you do not do a fast
start because you cannot design your character to your own preferences.
Generating a Character:
This begins with your characters history (a gifted child in an unhappy
world). You choose sex, name, whether you are right or left handed
(weapons in your favored hand do more damage) and between
Healing/Sorcery (which ever you select, you will start the game with a
beginner level of magic in that skill). I would recommend healing as it
will be the main way in which your character regains health points
(HP). Now you are to choose your method for choosing your character’s
attributes - you are given 3 options: Quick, Assign, Base/Assign. Quick
automatically selects all your character’s attributes (I do no
recommend this option). Assign gives you a large pot of points that you
can spend on the 6 attributes while base/assign gives you points in all
6 attributes but also a small pot of points to customize your
character. I recommend using assign because it seems to give the most
total points to be used in attributes (throughout the game, your base
attributes never change)
Strength: Determines damage from non-projectile fighting
Agility: Determines the speed of the character
Endurance: Determines how tired your character becomes from fighting,
Accuracy: Determines damage from projectile/hurling fighting
Talent: Determines how quickly your character learns spells
Power: Determines the damage and longevity of spells (also speed of SP
Strength + Endurance + Random number = Starting Hit Points (HP)
Talent + Power + Random Number = Starting Spell Points (SP)
Character Attributes make or break your character. The pot of points
are based on a random number. It is worth restarting the character
creation process if your pot of points is low (83+ is recommended).
While most of the attributes are useful, Accuracy is probably the
weakest of the bunch. By simply avoiding using projectile weapons
(crossbow w/bolts) you can use the saved points to increase the stats
in the other attributes. One you have finished completing you
character, you are taken to the first level of Darkspyre.
You will notice that the game operates on a split screen. One screen is
an overhead map the other screen is your character sheet.
Arrow Keys (or keypad): control your characters movements
Number Keys 1-6: Control the items in your character’s hands
F1-F7: Cast spells that you have prepared.
F8: Displays Name, score, level, music and sound status
+: Scrolls character sheet down
-: Scrolls character sheet up
T: Takes an item laying on the ground
Enter: Toggles a lever
A: Displays attributes
W: Displays weapon proficiency
S: Displays magic proficiency
P: Pauses the game.
R: Take you to Restore Game Menu
Character Movements: Place you curser on the screen and push/hold down
the left mouse button.
Use Items in Hands: Click on the corresponding commands to the right of
Cast Prepared Spells: Click on the corresponding commands to the right
of your avatar.
Equip Items: Click and drag an item to the location it belongs on the
Avatar and release the button.
Scroll Character Sheet: Click and Drag the grey bar dividing the split
Pick up an item: Move your character to stand over the item and your
curser will turn into the item, place it in you inventory.
Toggle a Lever: Move your character to stand over the lever and click
your mouse button.
Display Attributes, Weapon Proficiency, Magic Proficiency: Under you
avatar there is small screen, beneath it are 3 icons. Click on the
armor icon for attributes, the axe and sword icon for weapon
proficiency, and the scroll icon for magic proficiency.
To pause the game: Click on the hour glass icon to pause and unpause
Information: Click on the question mark icon for name, score, level,
music and sound status
Restore Game: Click on the diskette icon.
The character sheet shows you your inventory (one item per slot), your
health points (HP), spell points (SP), and Encumbrance (ENC). ENC is
how much weight, in items, your character can wear/have in inventory
before your speed is affected.
There are several items found within the Darkspyre. Some are used to
attack monsters, others to defend. Some items are for magic, while
other objects may be vital or worthless.
You will gather, use, gain proficiency, and break weapons throughout
the game (Weapons are your primary source of dealing damage to
monsters). Each weapon has 1-3 attack option varying in speed and
damage. Some weapons even have a magic attack, which can be used a
limited number of times. All weapons are subject to breaking which
occurs randomly (some may last 1-2 fights while others will last a few
levels). Each weapon is part of a weapon types. Using weapons within a
type will increase your proficiency of all weapons of that class
(example, using a spear will increase your proficiency in all thrusting
1) Clubbing: Average speed, average damage, 1 handed
2) Hurled: Fast speed, low damage, 1 handed (can be thrown)
3) Large: Slowest speed, highest damage, 2 handed
4) Long Edge: Average speed, average damage, 1 handed
5) Projectile: Fast speed, average damage, 2 handed (need bolts to
6) Short Edge: Fastest speed, least damage, 1 handed
7) Thrusting - Slow speed, high damage, 2 handed (some can be thrown).
Some items serve duel purposes. Throwing a Thrust weapon increases
hurling proficiency . Attack with a shield increases clubbing
proficiency. However, hand-to-hand fighting with hurling items
increases hurling proficiency.
The higher your proficiency with a weapon type, the more damage weapons
of that type deal. Also, you will can more options with a weapon as you
As I stated in the attributes section, projectile is a weak weapon
type. You must have a bolt in hand and as you fire. Once you use up
your bolts, you’ll have to chase them down, or use another weapon type
(but you won’t have much room in inventory for weapons since each bolt
takes up an inventory slot). Hurling Weapons are, by far, the most
common weapons in the game so do not neglect training with them.
Because weapons can break at any time, you will want to train in
several weapon types (because monster become exponentially harder and
you do not want to be stuck with beginner weapons on higher levels).
Armor (body), helmets, and shields increase your protection levels. The
higher your protection levels, the less damage you take from monsters
2) Well Clad
3) Safe Guarded
4) Well Protected
5) Stoutly Clad
11) Iron Clad
12) Steel Plated
Armor (body) does not break (like weapons), but they do wear down
overtime decreasing their effectiveness. Jet Plate and Chain Mail are
the best, none gold, armors (Field Armor weighs 45 kg); both weigh 18
Shields get weaker as well (no conditions) and will break if you use
them as weapons, but helmets do not wear down, nor break. All helmets
(except gold) provide the same protection and have the same weight.
Throughout the game you will find magic scrolls; each scroll is a spell
that you can attach to your spell book (found on Level 1) for repeated
use at a cost of spell points (50% of a spell’s cost is from preparing
it, the other 50% if from casting it - so a 10 SP costing spell costs 5
to prepare and 5 to cast). Once you place a scroll into you spell book,
place the book in an open hand to get the option of “prepare spell.”
You will get a red menu of the spell types. Select the type of spell
you wish to cast to get a green menu of the spells of that type (if
there is only one spell of that type, it is automatically selected).You
can also put a scroll into you hand for to cast for free (but this is
only a 1 time use).
Spell Types and Spells
Healing: spells that heal you and create potions
Liquify (10 SP) - creates a potion. Must have empty flask/chalice to
cast spell. Can also have a gem in hand to create other potions
1)Nothing in hand - Jera Potion (heals HP) If you are below a beginner
level, you make water.
2) Emerald - Isa Potion (poison)
Drinking it poisons you, but when in a flask it can be thrown to create
a poison cloud to damage monsters
3) Ruby - Algit Potion (cure poison)
4) Amethyst - Teiwaz Potion (restores attributes)
5) Diamond - Ambrosia (Increases HP, SP, Encumbrance)
Sorcery: Spells that effect objects within the game
Knock (16 SP) - opens some gates
Zap Away (10 SP) - Teleports large blocks and large balls to another
part of the level.
Hold (30 SP)- prevents targeted monster from moving/attacking
Wizardry: Offensive spells
Fireball (20 SP) - High damage attack spell. Can bounce off some walls.
Magic Gas (20 SP) - a projectile that can explode into a gas cloud,
causing confusion (below skilled), or a poison cloud (skilled or
Conjury: Spells that create illusions
Abstraka (20 SP) - invisibility (cast again to become visible).
Disguise (30 SP) - temporarily look like a monster (attacking cancels
Magic Wall (30 SP) - A temporary, moveable wall
Diviny: Informative Spells
Compass (30 SP) - Creates a pulsing aura showing you the general
direction of the exit
Magic Map (30 SP) - Gives you a map of level
Sight (10 SP) - enlarges items on the ground
Enchantry - Defensive spells
Dispel (36 SP) - ???
Freeze (40 SP)- Temporarily stops all monsters from moving/attacking
Like weapons, there are also levels of magic proficiency. The higher
the proficiency the more effective the spells (more healing, more
damage, longer lasting effects, less likely to fail).
Making Jera Potions is your primary way of healing (keep an empty
chalice over a flask because chalices don’t break when accidentally
thrown). Enchantry spells seem to fail more than any other spell (and
are tougher to learn). Magic Wall (at sage level) is helpful in solving
Amulets are worn on the neck and provide boosts to areas that they are
named after (ex. Amulet of Strength increases your strength, Amulet of
protection increases protection, etc). While some of the boosts are
helpful (mainly strength and protection), Amulets break with ease (most
of them only last 4 attacks). So wear an amulet, but don’t waste
inventory slots stocking up on them.
Runes are similar to magic scrolls in that they only have 1 use (or
none). Most of them mimic a spell or potion but the most common run -
Raido - is used, or “invoked,” to save your game. Raido runes are the
only way to save your game and are typically found at the end of a
level. Runes go by a Norse name, an English translation is provided
(from the manual) as well as the effects of the runes. The other runes,
in general, are rare and you can complete the game without seeing some
Norse - English - Invoke (effect)
Algit - Protection - Cures Posion
Ansuz - Omens - ???
Berkana - Enhancement - ???
Dagaz - Discovery - Destroys a monsters
Ehwaz - Agility - N/A
Eihwaz - Accuracy - N/A
Fehu - Wealth - Becomes a knock scroll
Gebo - Alliance - Magic Map
Hagalaz - Progress - ???
Inguz - Talent - N/A
Isa - Stagnant - Poisons you
Jera - Sustenance - Restores HP
Keno - Opening - Knock spell
Laquz - Progress - ???
Mannaz - Illusions - ???
Nauthiz - Force - ???
Odin - Hidden - ???
Ophelia - Severance - ???
Perth - Initiation - ???
Raido - Quest - Saves Game
Sowelu - Unity - Cures Poison and Confusion
Teiwaz - Endurance - N/A
Thurisaz - Gateway - Takes you to next level.
Uraz - Stength - N/A
Wunjo - Charm - ???
Agility, Accuracy, Talent, Endurance, and Strength runes are each found
on a specific level. You need to hold onto these runes until level 36
in which they will be exchanged for items from the gods.
There are 2 functional items with the game: Chime of Opening which can
open up almost any gate (including ones that knock spell cannot). Chime
of Opening can be used 3 times (but does not effect gates on the last 3
levels). Horn of Fear: Makes monsters run away from you.
Levels are littered with objects that seemingly have little use. While
keys obviously serve the function of opening a gate, ferns, onions, and
nails are also used for this purpose (though it is possible to find an
item that has no use. WARNING - even armor, potions, scrolls and
amulets can be used to open gates/portal. It’s a good rule of thumb to
not use anything that you find on a level until you are sure that it’s
not needed. WARNING - Driftwood (level 5) is needed on the final level,
so hold onto it until that time.
You need to make your way through a total of 39 levels to complete the
game. However, there are a total of 50 possible levels; some levels you
will not see (obviously) but some levels do occur in fixed positions -
Level 1, the 5 levels for the strength, agility, accuracy, endurance,
and talent runes, level 36 (where you exchange the 5 runes for items
from the gods) and the final 3 levels: War, Intelligence, and Magic.
General levels are a maze with a few monsters, but some levels are
basically one giant puzzle. Each level is basically made up of several
1x1 squares, there is a wall surrounding the level, and all level are 2
dimensional (there is length and width but no height).
General Parts of Levels
Balls: Giant black spheres sometimes found moving and other times
stationary. A moving ball will cause damage to monsters or characters
in its path. You can move a stationary ball; though not at an angle so
if they are against a wall, you cannot move them away from that wall.
Balls, like blocks, can be used on weight plates and occasionally
plates and levers can trigger a ball to move or stop. If a ball is
stuck in a closing gate, it is destroyed.
Blocks: Block are a 1x1 section of wall that is moveable. They are
moved to gain access to an area, to find items hidden under them, to
put on a weight plate, or used to block monsters, traps, or balls.
Moving a block for a long period of time reduces your endurance. If a
block is stuck in a closing gate, it is destroyed.
Gates: Unsurprisingly, gates are barriers that normally prevent you or
monsters from getting to an area (some times they are used as part of a
puzzle). Gates can be opened many ways; a weight plate, lever, knock
spell, chime of opening, or by sacrificing a specific item (normally
keys, but almost all objects/items may be required to open a gate).
Some gates can be open and closed repeatedly (normally those operated
by lever or plates) and they can be used to destroy balls or blocks,
but also deal damage to monsters or characters.
Levers: Levers are yellow, with the handles facing west They are mainly
used to open a gate(s) or portal(s), but they can also turn off traps
to make another lever/weight plate functional. Some levers won’t budge,
meaning some other lever or weight plate is needs to be activated to
get the lever to function.
Portals: A pulsing ring that allows characters, monsters, hurled and
projectile weapons (as well as some spells) to travel from one area to
another. Most of the time, the locations are fixed, but some portal
teleportation go to a randomized location and there is not always a
portal to take you back (never save after walking through a portal).
Some portals need to be activated via toggling a switch or stepping on
a weight plate. If you teleport onto a block/magic wall/ball or monster
(or a monster teleports onto you) they are instantly destroyed.
Skulls: Skulls are floor icons that provide information about a gate,
level, trap or game play. Simply standing over a skull activates it.
Most of the time the information is important in completing the level
successfully, so make sure to pay attention to every skull you find.
Weight Plate: A gray square that is a pressure pad. Stepping on or off
a plate can open/close a gate(s) can activate/deactivate a portal(s),
lever(s), and/or a trap. Sometimes a plate will do nothing (normally
when among several other plates as part of a trap) or you will need to
hold down a plate to keep a gate/portal open. Plates take varying
amounts of weights to trigger: 1kg, 2kg, 5kg, 10 kg,
Like any RPG, fighting monsters is a part of the game. As your progress
through the game, the monsters deal more damage, take more damage, and
work in larger groups. Monsters have a wide area of movement and will
track you for a great distance. When a monster is near death, they will
run away (again, for a great distance).
Ground, Melee: Wraths, Crustaceans, Samurai, Gargoyles, Crystal Ninjas
These monsters walk on the ground (can trigger weight plates), and can
only attack via hand-to-hand (h2h) combat. They will use a weapon or
fist, and much like you, will pause between attacks. It’s advantageous
to use hurling/projectile weapons and fireballs to kill them at a
distances. This is the most common type of monster found.
Ground, projectiles: Jesters
This monster is the only one that walks and uses projectiles. They also
are the only monsters that use multiple projectiles: Fireballs, and
both gas attacks (smoke, poison). They are less likely to use
projectiles when in range for h2h and have a weak melee attack. Their
fireballs can hit in the 40s, and they will use smoke clouds which make
you frequently miss attacks. Use hold/freeze or fireball spam them
quickly to limit damage.
Slither, poison: Slimes and Creepers
They don’t activate weight plates, but they can slither under gates and
blocks. They are slow moving, but poison on contact while being immune
to all projectile attacks (they simple pass over them). Avoiding slimes
is best (though if you have to kill them for a drop you are out of
luck), as are creepers, but you can melee creepers safely. You can get
in 1 attack and run away before they poison you - simply repeat until
they are dead.
Flying, Melee (only): Vultures, Manta Rays
These creatures fly (they don’t trigger weight plates) and can only
fight h2h. Like their grounded counter parts, hurling/projectile
weapons and fireballs are the best way to fight them.
Flying, Projectiles: Beholders, Electric Storms, Banshees, Djinns
Again, these monsters do not activate weight plates, and like to attack
from a distance. Beholders use fireballs, Electric Storms use magic gas
(smoke), Djinns use magic gas (poison), and Banshees use bolts. They
are less likely to use their projectile attack when in h2h range and
their melee attacks are very weak. So either cast hold/freeze to get in
your damage (particularly for beholders and djinns) or trying and run
around their projectiles and get into h2h range.