back to article BioWare Baldur's Gate

I remember one summer when my dad decided it would be great to go on holiday for two weeks in a stone farm house in Scotland, it rained and we spent the whole time playing Dungeons and Dragons. BioWare Baldur's Gate PC game A few more options than a roll of the dice Yet it wasn’t until the release of Baldur’s Gate in 1998 …

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Baldurs Gate, Tales of the Sword Coast, Baldurs Gate 2 and Throne of Bhaal - install the whole lot, hunt for and download the BIG world project - run the whole thing from start of BG1 to end of BG2, with added content and all inside the BG2 engine....

I've lost months of my life to that combo....

(Although I definitely prefered Planescape Torment - there was something fantastic about Morte, and playing a character you knew nothing at all about....)

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"It’s the plot that makes this came a classic" - game, surely? Surely the plot wasn't *that* exciting?

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BG games (including the Icewind Dales) are still among the best because they had so much atmosphere.

I still love the fact that in the first game you actually had to travel between areas with all the associated risks of being ambushed en route.

Sure this took time and hassle but preserved the sense you were moving around a real geography rather than teleporting between "Adventure Hubs" or "Nodes".

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Ah...yes!

The best game ever (as far as I'm concerned)

Great characters, good scenes, ran well on a low powered machine....

Must dig it out again...

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I refuse to admit that Baldurs gate is now 'antique' code. It was not that long ago. And I am not that old.

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Lost many a uni day to this game....

Everynow and then I remember the tune on the flute in the bars and whistle it to myself.

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No..

Combat Mission yet? Boo.

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Angel

Good although it could be very boring

Battles could really drag on.

Have ever done Privateer 2:The Darkening on the Code Show? If not, why not? For the sheer awesomeness of having John Hurt, Brian Blessed, David Warner and Christopher Walken, it should be worshipped in a "we're not worthy" fashion.

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Sir

Was that the one with Clive Owen as the protagonist who had lost his memory?

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Happy

Best RPG ever?

It's bloody close if it's not the one.

This and the Tales of the Sword Coast expansion cost me a lot of hours of my life, I played it through so many times I am trained to rage at the sound of "Heya, it's me! Imoen!".

I still remember when I found out you could unparty 4 people surrounding Drizzt and then stand back and shoot him until he died and loot his corpse for frankly amazing items.

Silly Drow, your place is in the underdark!

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Happy

One of the few RPGs I played thru' to the finish, tho' the incessant battles did get a little tiring I loved the illusion of freedom the game gave you, exploring the countryside.

>Reg Hardware will be revisiting memorable titles from gaming's illustrious past every fortnight<

Midwinter by Mike Singleton - a groundbreaking game that pretty much birthed 3D extravaganza's (along with Ultima Underworld).

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2nd gen RPG imo

The one that got me hooked was Dungeon Master (+Chaos Strikes Back) for the ST. Genuinely weeks of playing time.

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I LOVE BG!

Ahh the good old days of BG. I loved it...

I cant remember what Minsc called his pet hamster?

There was so much to do in BG, one of the best RPG games ever created. The follow ups never really grabbed me as much as the original... Icewind Dale was good, but still not as good as BG.

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Happy

The giant minature space hamster was called Boo.....

Which gave us "Go for the eyes, Boo! Go for the eyes!" from Baldur's Gate - revisited by Tali in Mass Effect 2 as "Go for the optics! Go for the optics!"

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Happy

Back when Bioware was good.

And by good I mean hadn't decided you should need twitch reflexes for an RPG.

And it runs on my netbook. :)

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Pint

All I can say is - what a game. One of my all time favourites that I still keep on my shelf next the to the BG2 collectors edition and Throne of Bhaal. A superb story, brilliant atmosphere, top notch writing. What more can you ask for?

As an aside for those wishing to replay this: a community project called Baldur's Gate Tutu allows you to play BG1 using BG2's engine, PC classes, magic, graphics, etc. Worth a look.

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Go for the eyes, Boo!

I spent months playing Baldurs Gate back in 98 and play through it ever few years using the BgTutu Mod (which allows you to play BG1 in the BG2 engine). It is always immersive and compelling (unlike, say World of Warcraft).

The music was the icing on the cake for me. I did a couple of amateurish remixes and put them online. Got my first ever bandwidth bill for that.

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Got me back into D&D

Back in 1999 (OK I was a bit late to the party) I picked this up and threw myself back into the D&D world I had given up at age 14. The game was instantly wonderfully immersive, addictive, with a great story line and NPCs that properly interact with you (once I got over the bug that the game constantly paused/unpaused 5 times a second - fixed by pressing the pause button!)

The game introduced me to newsgroups, got me playing online, and being involved with an online community for the first time.

It also led to me pick pen and paper D&D back up, and I'm still playing this weekly online with folks I met in the alt.game.baldurs-gate newsgroup.

The game and its sequel BG2 had a thriving mod community, and lots of replay value. I sometimes wish I could blank my memory of the game so that I could discover it all over again.

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This is the game that set the bar for all other RPGs!!

Hail to the King baby... opps, wrong game.

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Good times....

This and Baldur's Gate 2 that meant that my degree wasn't quite what it could have been. Disertation ? After this bit....

Also had good fun playing cooperative mode with a flat mate :)

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Good ol BG!

I loved this and BGII. Fantastic gaming for the day (still holds up surprisingly well), great plots and subplots, good graphics, and good NPC characters. Speaking of which, how in the name of all that is holy could you have a Baldur's Gate review and not mention Minsc and Boo?!?!

"Butts will be kicked liberally! Right, Boo?"

*squeak*!

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This is the game

That put Bioware on the map, and started move RPG gamers away from Square-Enix.

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Awesome series

And now I've got a hankering. Off to gog.com I go...

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I remember this one fondly, 4 CD's and an option to do a full install, which, due to each area being stored as a massive bitmap, was (iirc) 2.2Gb. a HUGE amount for 1998! And let's not forget the 4xCD-ROM drives that we had back then, doing a full install on this baby took a few hours!

Great fun though, I always remember the map with the basilisks being the most frustrating :)

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Happy

gog.com

Try going to Good Old Games - gog.com. They have both BG 1 and 2 combined for about US$5.99, fully licenced, no DRM and already in an emulator so they will run on XP/Vista/Win7.

They also have all of the Icewind Dale games, and Planescape torment....

Say goodbye to a big chunk of your time after visiting this site!

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MGJ
Windows

Current?

It would be useful in these reviews to include whether it will still run on Windows 7/Vista 64 bit, or in a VM.

I loved this game, and played it for 7 months while living in a hotel in London during the week.

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Happy

I've had it running on Win 7(64 bit), with a bit of fiddling - needed BG2 and BiGWorld, and then it's fine...

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happy to report

Yes they will. So long as you follow the directions in a guide for the game on gamefaqs.com written by Dan Simpson.

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Yag
Trollface

Time for the ultimate troll targetted as anyone who played this game....

"HEYA! IT'S ME, IMOEN!" "HEYA! IT'S ME, IMOEN!" "HEYA! IT'S ME, IMOEN!" "HEYA! IT'S ME, IMOEN!" "HEYA! IT'S ME, IMOEN!" "HEYA! IT'S ME, IMOEN!" "HEYA! IT'S ME, IMOEN!" "HEYA! IT'S ME, IMOEN!"

Sorry... If it can cheer you up, i'll be stuck with this horrible memory playing in my head for the rest of the day too...

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Happy

You're all buffleheaded.

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Flame

YOU MUST GATHER YOUR PARTY BEFORE VENTURING FORTH.

YOU MUST GATHER YOUR PARTY BEFORE VENTURING FORTH.

YOU MUST GATHER YOUR PARTY BEFORE VENTURING FORTH.

YOU MUST GATHER YOUR PARTY BEFORE VENTURING FORTH.

YOU MUST GATHER YOUR PARTY BEFORE VENTURING FORTH.

YOU MUST GATHER YOUR PARTY BEFORE VENTURING FORTH.

Thankfully, there's a mod to disable this. Didn't know this when I went through BG2 though, to my loss.

Was quite amused by the nods to BG1/11 in Mass Effect 1/2 -the space hamster (with genuine Boo squeak) in the first one, and Tali's shouts in ME2: "Faster than Chiktika Fast-paws" and "Go for the Optics".

Also, el reg: may I humbly suggest that "Your email address is never published" be replaced with "Your email address is almost never published"?

;-)

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YOU HAVE BEEN WAYLAID BY ENEMIES AND MUST DEFEND YOURSELF

Every, fricken, time!

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Ahhh good ol' BG

I remember this game fondly. In fact I still have a copy here that I like to go play from time to time because the story and attention detail absolutely blow away pretty much any other game out today.

Im with the author on the blowing away a village for kicks. Except for when the Flaming Fist come after you....bastiches

Its a shame though that there havent been more BG games out since it was one of the best RPGs for its time.

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Happy

Jeez, was it really 1998??

Thanks for making me feel old!!

I mostly remember the loopy ranger or warrior guy you could recruit to join your party. He had a hamster or something in his pack that you couldnt remove (to make room for more loot!) without him getting violently agitated. I think the hamster was named Boo.

He also had an audio tagline that he would cry out when you gave him combat orders--"butt-kicking for goodness!"

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not just any hamster, he had a miniature giant space hamster!

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Boo is a miniature giant space hamster. Don't forget that. Minsc gets agitated when people treat Boo like a normal hamster.

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Sir

"Tents moments"

Very good :)

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Oh dear

If there ever was a game I was addicted to, it was this. I played it for about 20 hours nonstop, not even going to the loo. It might have been responsible for me almost failing the first year at the uni.

Ahh, memories.

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Holmes

Sir

It was Sim City going up in smoke that did it for me, if you know what I mean.

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drat...

Oh great. I have that installed on an old system (imaged to virtual machine, the hardware is long gone). Now I have to play it again. Evil Reg. Evil.

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You must gather your party before venturing forth!

See above.

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Pint

Amazing stuff...

The only thing that was missing for me was the ability to create a full 6 character party right from the start... luckily, that came soon after with Icewind Dale I and II. The BG engine and those RPGs where masterpieces. That and Fallout II. Ah, thank you Black Isle Studios!!!

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Pint

Party of 6

Just start a multiplayer game without other players, then you can create all 6 characters. Me and two friends played it that way. Luckily the internal phone system in our halls was installed at that time so we could have a phone conference for free. Played it many nights with regular strategy meetings fueled by Gluehwein.

Favourite quote (in German) is from the pubs: Hier ist das Bier billig!

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BG is antique code?

Geez, now I feel old.

Great game though. Playing a character from BG all the way through both games and their expansions was a good way to spend a few months worth of free time. I went to fire it up again a few months ago, but alas, the original 4 disc + Sword Coast version doesn't run on modern systems apparently. I'll have to go dig up a copy of the 3 disc version eventually.

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unfortunately

I picked this up in my first year of university, and it makes me feel old having it called antique. Old games are for the spectrum, (although... system shock 2 deserves a mention in here :) ) not windows based games.

I never really had time to get into it. I still have it kicking around and i should really give it another go as i enjoyed Planescape Torment

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I've never played it, but it looks like the kind of game that could well enjoy a new lease of life if it were ported to iPad / Android tablets.

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Do yourself a favour, play it!

An excellent, excellent game - I still have the original disks and BG is installed on my PC, because I have never managed to complete it (I'm horrendous with completing games - or not as the case may be).

In fact, I've started playing BG over the years and recently decided to play it, with the eventual aim of completing it. I've got to nearly the point where I was back in 2004, and haven't played it in a while because I got distracted by Fallout 3 and then work, professional qualifications and dating (I place an unhealthy premium on trying to sleep with Asian women above all else).

I'm taking some time off over Christmas - not to visit the family but to play SW:TOR and a few solid days of BG playing.

I love the actual detail in the game - incredibly meticulous; an excellent soundtrack with beautiful, immersive sound effects and excellent dialogue and characterisation. Plus, it's is a brutally tough game at times - especially when you're weak at the start and get ambushed by Orcs ("Spare no-one!") and/or bandits ("So I kicked in the head until he was dead"). Or run foul of the Flaming Fist ("I serve the Flaming Fist!").

Plus, tactical play in setting up your party, their positions, formation, spell-choice et al, really works.

Oh. It's bloody massive! Cue the Douglas Adam joke about the Universe.

Goddamn you, El Reg! I have 2 assignments to do - including a very overdue one that I have not even started the reading, let alone write the damn thing, and now you nudge me towards resuming my BG game!

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You've not played BG2, have you?

If you think BG is big, then BG2 is positively immense.. Icewind Dale 2 is pretty damn big too (that's one I still haven't got around to finishing).

Neither BG or BG2 do everything right, but their sheer size, flexibility and character banter make them decent games. Planescape:Torment remains the best Infinity Engine game, however.

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hrm
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still great

The game has really aged well, with all the handdrawn art. I recently started replaying it on my netbook, while travelling.

I can recommend the gog.com version. Installation is hassle-free, everything runs well on xp/win7.

Be sure to check the forums at gog.com to learn about the available mods and patches.

Especially nice is the mod that enables you to choose custom screen resolutions.

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Three words...

Big Metal Unit :D (If you have no idea what I'm on about, you need more pantaloons! )

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