Legend of the Red Dragon II: New World
Legend of the Red Dragon is a BBS door game created by Seth Able Robinson that was released in 1989. It is a simple text-based role-playing game that has both a simple combat system as well as simple romance mechanics. It was, and in the BBS community, still is, one of the most popular door games ever created.
Three years later, in 1992, Seth Able released a sequel to LORD that was completely different from its predecessor. Legend of the Red Dragon II was an ANSI-based top down RPG with a full world map. Unlike the simplicity of the original LORD, LORD II was very complex, with a huge map full of secrets to discover.
In this sequel to LORD, there is definitely a bigger emphasis on combat and exploration, at the loss of the romance element. However, I feel that the greater world building in this game works well without it. As there isn't a singular setting to go off of, this cut feels appropriate. The combat system in LORD II is streamlined, as the different classes are removed. The weapon and armor progression is also less linear than before. With all of these changes, the game's scope is larger at the cost of a game that is easy to jump right into.
The world is surprisingly dense, with secrets and references abound. Even with hundreds of screens full of open fields, the world of LORD II feels relatively lived in, with various characters and side quests in each of the cities. Enemies have variety based on the area you are, with their difficulty tied to where you are. Some towns have places to gamble, fight, and even have a good time (at the risk of infection, of course.)
The most notable part of LORD II is its multiplayer. By connecting to a common BBS, dozens of people can play at the same time, with trading and fighting between players happening in real time. In this way, it preceeds most online RPGs that would become popular in later years.
The first door game I ever played was LORD II, as it was the only one out of the two that worked properly in my terminal. I feel that the more modern RPG style really helps this game feel like an adventure, as the first LORD felt very static with its battles and player interactions. Although the sheer simplicity of the original LORD has cemented itself as a BBS classic, LORD II is an amazing game for its time, and is one that should not be missed. I invite anyone who wishes to play to join me at Darkrealms. It's a cozy BBS with unlimited turns in LORD II. I hope to see some of you there.