Moraff’s World was an obscure, yet classic PC role-playing game developed by Steve Moraff and first released in 1991 for DOS. It was a follow-up to a very basic dungeon crawler called Moraff’s Revenge in 1988. The version of Moraff’s World that was widely disseminated was a shareware version that was a bit limited in its features. There would be another more advanced version, which you could purchase from Moraff himself, released in 1993. This is the version with which I’m most familiar.
The game was a top-down dungeon crawler with 3D renderings of north, south, east, and west, combined elements of role-playing games and puzzle-solving. It was available on IBM-compatible PCs running MS-DOS, meaning that it’s still playable on modern systems with the use of an emulator such as DosBox.
The game was set in a fantasy world filled with monsters and treasures. Players controlled a single character, which they could customize with a range of weapons, armor, and spells. The game was notable for its depth and complexity, thanks to its specialized classes, races, and various types of boss monsters. The dungeons are extremely deep, offering players a vast and challenging world to explore. You can visit the wilderness above, but it simply leads to other dungeons that are pretty much identical.
One of the most striking features of Moraff’s World was its graphics. Although the game was released in the early 1990s, it boasted colorful visuals that were impressive for the time. The game world can be rendered in 256 colors, a significant improvement over the 16-color graphics of many other PC games at the time. You could even play the game in high resolution, although that’s difficult with today’s emulation programs.
Another interesting feature is that the dungeons in Moraff’s World are actually randomly generated. However, once you’ve started the game for the first time, these dungeons remain the same permanently; that is, of course, unless you start over with a fresh copy of the game. This means there’s not really any “walkthrough” as every player will encounter the dungeons a bit differently.
The gameplay of Moraff’s World is both challenging and rewarding. The game world was vast and full of secrets, and players had to explore every corner to find the best weapons, spells, and items. The dungeons are filled with traps and puzzles that required careful planning and strategic thinking to overcome. Plenty of things like poison and disease can kill you over time, and there are “puffballs” that will drain or boost your stats depending on their color.
Combat in Moraff’s World is turn-based. Players must use a combination of spells and tactics to defeat the game’s many different varieties of monsters. There are also many different types of boss monsters which have its own strengths and weaknesses. Players must adapt their strategies to match the situation, as some of the bosses can debilitate you in permanent ways, but have incredible rewards for defeating them.
Overall, Moraff’s World is a classic PC game combining deep gameplay with simple, but colorful graphics. For a game contained on a single old floppy disk, with data totaling less than one megabyte, it’s an immersive and challenging experience that always kept me coming back for more.
Although the game is now over 30 years old, it still holds up as a classic of the RPG genre and a testament to the creativity of its programmer-auteur, Steve Moraff. He also authored a similar RPG game called Dungeons of the Unforgiven, which serves as a sequel to this game.
Screenshot from DosGames.com