The Elder Scrolls: Arena is an action role-playing video game developed and published by Bethesda Softworks. The first game in the Elder Scrolls series, it was released for MS-DOS on March 25, 1994. Like its sequels, Arena takes place on the continent of Tamriel, complete with wilderness, dungeons, and a spell creation system that allows players to mix various spell effects. In 2004, a downloadable version of the game was made available free of charge as part of the tenth anniversary of the series.
The game is played from a first-person perspective. Melee combat is performed by right-clicking the mouse and dragging the cursor across the screen to attack as if swinging a weapon. Magic is used by cycling through a menu found by clicking the appropriate button on the main game screen, then clicking the spell to be used, and its target.
The game world is very large. This is achieved by combining procedurally generated content and specifically designed world spaces to create a realistic and massive wilderness, where one may find inns, farms, small towns, dungeons, and other places of interest. The towns contain developer-designed buildings and shops, but the order in which these appear and their names are procedurally generated. There are several hundred dungeons and 17 specially designed dungeons for the main quest.
Arena is notable for being one of the first games to feature a realistic day/night cycle, where at sunset shops close and people clear the streets before the monsters arrive and roam around until morning. This soon became a staple feature of most open-world games.
In addition to the main quest which is completed by beating all seventeen dungeons and finding pieces of the staff, small side quests also appear. These are often found by asking around town for rumours. These quests are usually very simple, such as delivering a parcel or defeating a randomly chosen dungeon.
Arena has been noted for its tendency to be unforgiving towards new players. It is easy to die in the starting dungeon, as powerful enemies can be encountered if the player lingers too long. This effect gradually disappears as the player becomes more powerful and more aware of the threats that loom everywhere. Ken Rolston, lead designer of Morrowind, says he started the game at least 20 times, and only got out of the beginning dungeon once.
The game's setting begins in Tamriel on the 389th year of the Third Era, when Emperor Uriel Septim VII summons his advisor and Imperial Battlemage Jagar Tharn over concerns of betrayal from within the court. It transpires that his concerns were justified when Tharn is revealed to be the traitor, magically trapping the Emperor and his general, Talin Warhaft, in another dimension.
When Tharn proceeds to magically disguise himself as Emperor in order to usurp the throne, his conspiracy is witnessed by mage apprentice Ria Silmane, whom he murders before she can warn the Elder Council. Tharn then summons demon minions to replace the Emperor's Guard and in his disguise he sends the player character, a court official and subordinate of General Warhaft, to die in the Imperial dungeons.
Following her death, Ria uses her magic to take an incorporeal form, holding herself together long enough to inform the imprisoned player of Tharn's betrayal and instructs them throughout their escape from the infamous dungeons. Past that point, she lacks the power to manifest physically and appears to the player during dreams. She creates a key to allow the player to escape the dungeons and teleports them to a different province through a mystical Shift Gate.
The player is informed that the only way to stop Tharn is to get hold of the Staff of Chaos which holds his lifeforce. This staff has been split by Tharn into many fragments throughout the continent of Tamriel. Each time one is found, Ria appears to the player the next time they rest, in order to provide the general location of the next fragment. At the end of the quest in 3E 399 (a decade after the start of the game), the player finds the final piece and reassembles the staff. This does not, however, destroy Tharn, as there is another piece of the staff that Ria was unaware of: the jewel, located in the Imperial palace.
The player arrives at the palace and battles through corrupted palace forces before confronting Tharn in the lowest level. Whilst fighting against Tharn's abilities, the player manages to bring the staff in contact with the jewel, which causes Jagar Tharn to melt. A portal into the other dimension is subsequently opened, freeing the Emperor and General Warhaft. As token of respect and gratitude, Uriel Septim grants the player the title of Eternal Champion, and Ria Silmane finally enters the afterlife.
This version of Elder Scrolls, The: Arena was designed for personal computers with operating system MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System),
which was operating system developed by Microsoft in 1981. It was the most widely-used operating system in the first half of the 1990s. MS-DOS was supplied
with most of the IBM computers that purchased a license from Microsoft. After 1995, it was pushed out by a graphically more advanced system - Windows and
its development was ceased in 2000. At the
time of its greatest fame, several thousand games designed specifically for computers with this system were created. Today, its development is no longer continue
and for emulation the free DOSBox emulator is most often used. More information about MS-DOS operating system can be found
Available online emulators:
5 different online emulators are available for Elder Scrolls, The: Arena. These emulators differ not only in the technology they use to emulate old games, but also in support of various game controllers, multiplayer mode, mobile phone touchscreen, emulation speed, absence or presence of embedded ads and in many other parameters. For
maximum gaming enjoyment, it's important to choose the right emulator, because on each PC and in different Internet browsers, the individual emulators behave differently. The basic
features of each emulator available for this game Elder Scrolls, The: Arena are summarized in the following table:
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