Thursday, 13 September 2012

The Quest for Doriath, I. (†)

After few days of researches, I have probably collected few more informations even if I'm still not clear about the two main questions I have raised before.

  • Why this game is so hard to find?
  • Was a disk version ever produced for Commodore 64?

Let's see some progress I have made and the research path followed.

Official Magazines (Literature)
I found just one review on ZZAP! UK Version which refers only to a cassette version published in the 1985. No advertising or other references found elsewhere.

Videogaming Guides (Literature)
I have managed to find only one reference on Vintropedia 2009 which mentions only the existence of the budget tape version of it.

Webarchives (Archives)
All the main online video game archives do not mention at about a disk version of the game but only a budget cassette version published by Rabbit/Virgin in 1985. Only one collector on Lemon64 actually claims to have Disk version of the game. I tried to contact him with no luck. 

Retro Shops (Traders)
None of the retrogaming shops I know have a copy of the game and it seems to be missing from eBay from at least two years.

Collectors (Human & Historical)
I have contacted some people that could possibily have an original copy of the game. On four people (all collectors and game fans) claimed not to have an original copy but just dumped versions found on internet.

Clues acquired
Scanning the interesting Doriath Dungeon website I realized that actually one disk version of the game existed. An edition of Doriath was published under the name "Merlino" on the disk compilation Loving Disk issue 10. I have to say that in Italy, there was a terrible habit to illegally publish official game just changing their names with something different (e.g. Doriath to Merlin). These games were mainly sold as compilation in the newsagents market channel. This one could be the case, as far as I haven't found any other official reference to an Italian conversion of the game.

Compilation Cover, Italian edition
Article contained in the Compilation manual

Here's a translation of the article above:
The Army Of The Dragon.
Immediately after loading you hear background music.  You press the fire button to begin (joystick in port 2).  In the cloths of an ancient magician you must kill a dragon that lives in the ice.  Guilty of having bloodied the region of Doriath and of causing the death of hundreds of poor peasants, it has taken refuge in a deep cave.
But the magician Merlin is not far away, and goes to the cave with his magic, finding many treasure chests along the way.  His power against the army of the dragon is strong, with the spell by the name of Plebata that allows him to defeat any enemy.  The wisdom of the magician is tested to its limit, as different magic is required in different occasions.
Pressing space selects the spell, and when the spell name turns white, then you can use the spell.  By keeping the fire button pressed you can direct the spell onto the enemy; release the fire button to use the spell.  In the following line you can see the number of stamina potions and keys you've found.  To use items, press F1 to move the selection arrow, and F7 to use.  The magician Merlin should have no problem defeating the evil Dragon made from ice.
Source: Doriath Dungeon.

Next Steps
The only missing thing at this stage, it would be to go straight to the original source. Since Rabbit Software and Virgin wouldn't be a good choice, I will attempt to contact Ian Gray & Lee Braine, the two original game coders instead.


  1. Great article.
    Keep researching more info ;D

    1. I'm kind of struggling to get in contact with the original programmers but let's see if something new will come up.