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An Elder Scrolls Retrospective: Battlespire

Battlespire Box.jpg

You're probably a little confused right now. "But wait, Dryden! I know what should come next. The third Elder Scrolls game is Morrowind. What's Battlespire?" Yes, you're right. The third main game is Morrowind, but I'm taking a moment to nod towards the lesser known spinoff games of the Elder Scrolls Universe, starting with Battlespire. They may not have been popular, may not have been successful, and aren't even very good, but damn it, I'm going for completeness here. Make the jump.

Released in 1997, An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire was the first game in the failed Legends spinoff series. Originally planned as an expansion for Daggerfall, Battlespire puts a young hero inside a destroyed tower, filled with demons and an evil god, floating through the planes of Oblivion. No massive world to explore, no guilds, no quests to complete, just a straight shot through a huge dungeon. Battlespire plays like no other game in Elder Scrolls history, and probably for that reason, it was...um, underwhelming.

Battlespire Clanfear.jpg

Character creation lets you toy with literally every aspect of your hero, all the way down to what potions and equipment you have at the start. And it matters a lot, too. Without shops and a limited ability to repair equipment, players were completely dependent on random drops, which could be a problem when there's a set number of monsters in the game. Yeah, you can't grind to your heart's content and get fat loot because each of the seven levels has a specific layout and monster arrangement. Not surprisingly, that can lead to some unfortunate late game situations and needlessly desperate struggles.

On the bright side, Battlespire actually let players go through the adventure with their friends. A multiplayer option was available for the main game as well as a team based versus mode through the network now known as the Gamespy Arcade (multiplayer still works, but now through the Kali network).

The game was far from ordinary, but for anyone that calls themselves a die hard fan of the series, it's essential. Battlespire represents the last entry in Bethesda's original style, and for that reason, the nostalgia factor for anyone that played the first two games is through the roof here. Of course, one other game still happened before Bethesda got around to devouring lives again with Morrowind, but that's a story for tomorrow.

Battlespire Loading.png

Bonus fun fact: Battlespire features a sword known as a Daedric Crescent, a wicked blade that paralyzes those it cuts and destroys their armor. However, players didn't get a chance to actually wield the infernal weapon that graced the cover of Battlespire until Morrowind. (image curtesy of Moby Games)

2 Comments

Nikademus said:

Hmmm...given the time of it's release, maybe they were at one point considering porting it to the PlayStation and/or Saturn? That might explain why it's so limited compared to the other ES games.

Dryden said:

Possibly, but I think it's more likely that there was some sort of issue with the coding of Daggerfall that prevented it from operating as an add-on. Daggerfall and Battlespire are especially buggy and put a massive strain on DOS to the point that even excellent computers now running DOS emulation software can chug through some parts of these games. Thus, they scrapped the idea, but not wanting to waste the effort, stitched on the necessary parts to make it a stand alone title.

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Dryden on An Elder Scrolls Retrospective: Battlespire: Possibly, but I think it's more likely that there was some sort of issue with the coding of Daggerfall that...

Nikademus on An Elder Scrolls Retrospective: Battlespire: Hmmm...given the time of it's release, maybe they were at one point considering porting it to the PlayStation and/or Saturn?...

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