SanctuaryRPG: Black Edition breaks the mold of contemporary games by launching you into an unforgettably harsh and humorous text-based world filled with all kinds of loot and monsters.
It’s odd to think that just a few decades ago people used to play — and thoroughly enjoy the heck out of — games that were purely text-based in nature. The idea that a game of that caliber could be so enjoyable and satisfying is baffling, but SanctuaryRPG: Black Edition manages to do it and more. It manages to strike a chord with the most devout gamers, while catering towards a goofy crowd that likes to laugh wildly. There’s nothing quite like it on the market because of its raw charm, and there is no reason why people shouldn’t be giving the game a go.
While many would take a look at SanctuaryRPG: Black Edition and pass it off as an ancient game, there’s something oddly contemporary about it. While the game has you just gather loot, slay monsters, then rinse and repeat, there is a sense of accomplishment and professionalism about it. For every single action you want to perform, you have to select your option then press ‘enter’. If you want to attack, press ‘1’ and then ‘enter’. To enter a tavern you’ll have to press ‘d’ followed by ‘enter’. It’s boring on paper, but in the actual game you will feel like a wizard on your keyboard. Battles will have you pressing buttons on your keyboard lightning fast as you calculate if you should attack or heal for the turn. It’s fast, it’s engaging, and it’s the main reason to come back even after completion.
Outside of the combat, there isn’t much more to say about what you actually do in the game. You’ll set up your character that has a goal to save the world, but it’s a story that’s riddled with quick, wet humor. The game has a serious visage about it, but never once does it play as an actual one. You’ll find potatoes along the way, quests that have you greet strangers only to be stabbed by them, and you’ll enter caves where you have to “rub lanterns until the sun sets.” SanctuaryRPG: Black Edition is one that you’ll also come back to for the humor, trying to see if you can find all possible dialogue options to laugh at.
Classic mode: the way the game was meant to be played. You venture out in the world with just your one soul and your arsenal of weapons. You come across a giant that looms over you, then he bashes you over the head. You’re dead, but you don’t respawn. Instead, now you have to start the game all over again with a new character. It’s not a frustrating ordeal either. If you are dying often, you’re doing something wrong. You’re on an adventure, not some walk in the park. It’s refreshing that a game would make the difficulty ceiling this high, but it’s more rewarding this way. It’s a complete, goofy adventure.
For those that don’t like the prospect of having to complete the game without dying ever, there are other options that will give you gold penalties upon death instead of an absolute termination. It’s a good substitute for people wanting to enjoy the game as just a game, but I recommend the Classic mode to experience the game it was meant to be played.
For those who aren’t aware of it, there is the original, free version of the game titled simply SanctuaryRPG Classic. Black Edition costs $7.99 on Steam, but offers nearly a complete different experience than the original. There is a complete overhaul of the art assets, newly composed music, double the amount of events to complete, and so many more additions it would take forever to write them down. I recommend that people play Classic before purchasing the full game to see what it is like, but if you do…go ahead and buy Black Edition.
In a game where the graphics are nothing but ASCII, there has to be something more riveting to keep players playing. Each fight, be it a boss or just a normal baddie, has a tune to it that feels perfect for the moment. Even the small events that you come across, or finding better loot, or even just the sound effects of hitting an enemy are perfect. There is never a moment in the game that seems like the music doesn’t fit, especially since the music pays homage to the old classic ASCII games like Privateer and Art Ship. It’s also reminds me of the 16bit music that still holds up to this day, and I would put money down on SanctuaryRPG: Black Edition standing the test of time for its music alone.
SanctuaryRPG: Black Edition isn’t for everyone, but it’s got enough of a charm to it that I believe everyone should at least try it once. It’s not as abstract as Undertale, but it’s not as challenging or infuriating to get into as Dwarf Fortress. It strikes a balance of humor and tactics, something that is very rarely seen in the gaming industry. For people wanting a nice role-playing game to enjoy and breeze through, this is not for them. But, for people wanting to play something with its own flavor to it that is pleasant and addictive, look no further than SanctuaryRPG: Black Edition.