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Disciples of Steel

Although definitely one of the worst RPGs ever made, Disciples of Steel nevertheless deserves recognition for its designers' efforts to combine traditional RPG elements with tactical options commonly associated with strategy and wargames. Unfortunately, confusing interface and repetitive dungeon-crawl gameplay make for an unmemorable experience.

Disciples of Steel is, in most respects, a "classical" RPG. You create a party of six characters from the usual D&D classes, and you lead the party on their quest for adventure. The initial character development is fairly comprehensive, but the user interface for the game itself is a 2D top-down perspective, with symbolic representations of everything. The game map is a simple grid with icons in various squares to denote the location of your characters, monsters, trees, etc. Combat takes place on a "zoomed-in" map of the same variety, and is turn-based.

Despite an excellent character creation system and the novel combat module that strategy fans will find interesting, the game simply promises a lot more than it delivers. The user interface, filled with rows of icons that are hard to recognize, is so confusing (with quirky mouse support) that it's almost unplayable. Even if you can tolerate the interface, you don't have much to look forward to except the typical "kill the monster and take the treasure" scenario, over and over and over again. Banal plot and mundane monsters add insult to the injury. Disciples of Steel will appeal only to those with infinite patience—and that's very few of us. Stay away if you can.

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