Sword of Fargoal [C64]

sword_of_fargoal_coverSword of Fargoal is a great example that you don’t need fancy graphics to enjoy a game. And I always had a weakness for dungeon crawler with randomly generated floors.


Developed by Jeff McCord and published in 1983 by Epyx, Sword of Fargoal is still as good as three decades ago. Your goal is to descent into a dungeon and search for the Sword of Fargoal, which is located somewhere  between the 15th and 20th floor. Once retrieved, you have to ascent all the way back to the surface. But beware, monsters might steal the sword and you have to look for it again.

While not a roguelike per se 1, it does feature some of that genre’s key elements, like randomly generated dungeons, health regeneration and perma death. The game has a decent variety of enemies, and the deeper you venture, the tougher they get. The whole game plays in real time, and to fight a monster you simply bump into it, while carefully observing your hit points. If your health get’s dangerously low you always have the option to pull back or press the fire button, which acts as some sort of panic button.

Screenshots (click to enlarge)


Should you get surprised by an enemy, your adversary will gain an advantage, so it’s wise to always attack first or, if you’re low on health points, avoid enemies altogether. Scattered throughout the dungeon levels are marked squares and gold. Marked squares often contain useful items, such as healing potions, teleportation scrolls or shields, but also various traps, which will drain your health. Gold on the other hand can be delivered to a temple to gain experience points. Another advantage of those temples is the fact that enemies won’t attack you while standing on it.

Unlike most dungeon crawler/RPG’s you won’t have a chance to create your own character and always start with the same stats. In the event of leveling up, the game will automatically increase your stats for you, i. e. you have no say in what skills you want to bump up.

The video below was recorded without increasing the speed, so it might look a bit boring when my character slowly walks through the dungeon. But boring it is not. I actually spent most of the week playing this game, it just got that certain ‘something‘ and is highly addictive.



Like I mentioned, the video above was recorded at original speed. But then I thought it would be a good idea to show how it looks like when you speed things up a bit. So I restored my save game, a game I spent two days on to level up my character and descent to the 13th floor. Then this happened:



The game got re-released for iPhone and iPad which you can check out here. Additionally, there is a free PC remake from the early 2000’s which you can get here.

picture2Whot Bob sez
Dem freaking War Lords always get me, damn bastards. And dat enemy who drains your XP, grrr. But one day I will get dat stoopid sword, I tell ya.

  1. No Tim Hurley, it’s not :P 

8 thoughts on “Sword of Fargoal [C64]

  1. Another of my favorites from back in the day, and I still play from time to time on the iPad.

    McCord ran a successful Kickstarter campaign a couple of years ago to create Sword of Fargoal 2 (which I backed) but he’s run into a variety of logistical issues and the game is stuck in perma-delay. Fitting, actually.

    • Yeah, heard about the Kickstarter campaign when I did some research. I did play the PC remake for a bit, and even though it sticks closely to the original, there was something missing. To come to the point, I prefer it on the C64. 😎

    • Um…. um…. Touché.

      But last time I checked, Permadeath doesn’t care what hand is the dominant hand. And this new evidence— which my office was NOT made aware of prior to now— seems to be distractionary at best. Your client is clearly in the business of killing adventurers off and resetting their process. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the immutable sign of a roguelike! 🙂 To borrow a phrase, ‘If the glove does not fit, you must acquit.’ This glove, however, most certainly fits!

      Thank you, Your Honor, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. I trust that you will return a verdict in my favor.

      • ”But Mr Soosh, you do realise that Mr Hurley is not a witness?!”
        Erm, yeaah, of course I know that, your honour, ha… oh, look, a flying monkey!” [throws smoke bomb on the floor and disappears] ❗

      • Your Honor, I submit that Soosh be removed from these proceedings, and a mistrial immediately declared! He makes ridiculous statements about right and left-handed people, and even goes so far as to smuggle a smokebomb into this fine courtroom! These are not the actions of a qualified— let alone sane— individual. 😀

        • But I can explain my behaviour, your Honour. No, really! See, I was playing Chase HQ on the C64 three days ago and… and… oh, c’mon, do I really need to say more? CHASE HQC64… helloooo?! If that’s not enough of an excuse, then I don’t know what is. 😕

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