Here are the best CRPG games I played. This list does not mention every CRPGs but I think it gives you a representative example of which to choose if you want to try old RPGs.
Wizardry I-V / Sir Tech / 1981 – 1988 - good ! -
What should one say about those games. They are one of the FIRST graphic CRPGs ever. Black & white, 3d maze with hack and slash. Go and kill the evil one… But its’ combat system, turn-based AD&D like was often imited… by Bard’s Tale for example.
One special mention goes to Wizardry IV, which allowed you to play the evil one, summon your monster and go to kill the adventurers.
Wizardry VI : Bane of the Cosmic Forge / Sir Tech / 1991 - good ! -
Better graphics, still EGA, same turn based AD&D style combat system, but GREAT storyline. One of the best CRPGs ever. Very interesting to play.
Wizardry VII : Crusader of Dark Savant (Wizardry Gold) / Sir Tech / 1992
At last VGA graphics. same combat system, overall good storyline, but MUCH too long to play. I played about 100 hours, and was about 10-15 % of the game… A good deal for marathon rgp players.
Sword of Kadash / 1985
A very cool game on the apple II system. Overhead view. The game was a gathering of magical items and weapons to use to kill monsters. Nice ideas with the very first cursed items…
Questron I & II / SSI / 1986-1988 - good ! -
An Ultima like game on apple II, but much more d dper storyline, and nice features. Graphics were about at same level than Ultima III, like the game engine.
The Bard’s Tale trilogy / EA / 1985 – 1988 - good ! -
A very good trilogy, which overall engine was inspired by Wizardry I-V with much better graphics and a deep storyline. This one inspired many people for CRPGs creation.
Too bad EA abandonned the serie and killed BT 4.
Dragon Wars / EA / 1989
Same system as Bard’s Tale. It could have been BT4…
The Bard’s Tale construction kit / EA / 1992
A good editor for Bard’s Tale games…
SSI series 1985 -1990 : Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Buck Rogers
A very cool serie, with many games (must be about 15 of them). 3D exploration, turn based combats with 3D isometric view. Some were very cool, other were very repetitive. Good storyline.
Phantasie 1 – 2 – 3 / SSI 1986-87
Was classics on apple II & amiga. Old ultima style. Fights were great.
Shard of Spring / SSI 1987 - good ! -
Great old traditional Ultima style RPG.
AD&D : Eye of the Beholder trilogy / SSI 1990 -1994 - good ! -
Very nice games. Completely insipred by Dungeon Master interface & combat system (well… lightly tinted with AD&D). At last NICE story, But the third one was badly programmed.
AD&D : Dungeon hack / SSI 1995
Based on Eye of the Beholder engine. No story, but dungeon hacking…
AD&D : Al Quadim / SSI 1994 - good ! -
Interplay gave a nice try for Overhead view RPG-Action game. Nice VGA & sound. A good game. Oriental style.
Entomorph / SSI 1994 – 1995 ?
Same engine as Al Quadim, but really bad RPG. Forget it !
Thunderscape / SSI 1994
3D engine, exploration & monster bashing. Bad also… forget it !
AD&D : Darksun I & II / SSI 1994 ? - good ! -
Same Overhead view RPG-action than Al Quadim. Quite good but a bit repetitive.
AD&D: Ravenloft : Strahd Possession, Stone Prophet & Menzoberranzan/ SSI / 1994 -1995 - good ! -
Very good first person RPG, real time combat, nice graphics and good storyline (especially for the second one : Stone Prophet). Menzoberranzan is also ok.
The Ultima serie / Origin
Poor graphics, poor storyline, poor …. okay… this was a first try, and gave birth to the Ultima serie.
Ultima I & II / 1980-1982
Kill the evil sorcerer Mondain & his love Minax. Overhead graphihi, and for the first time a complete world to discover, turn based fights… And go to kill the evil one… Quite a small beginning for what will become the first CRPG serie ever.
Ultima III : Exodus / 1983
This one was better. The world became huge and the killing of Exodus took many hours.
Ultima IV : Quest of the Avatar / 1985 - good ! -
U4 marked the first apparition of virtues and the Avatar. The player had to follow the path of virtues, to give an example for Britannia’s people. A great, complex story, very rich, even with todays’ standards.
Ultima V : Warriors of Destiny / 1988
Good story, but graphics were a bit out of date when released. An overall good game in spite of this.
Ultima VI : The false Prophet / 1990
Not so good storyline with better graphics & sound. At last VGA…
Ultima VII : Black Gate & Serpents’ Isle / 1992-1993 - good ! -
The best of the serie. Definitely the best RPG ever. Incredibly good storyline. Nice VGA graphics. A very detailed world. Even the knives & spoons were takeable… Crazy good soundtrack ! ! ! ! !
Ultima VIII : Pagan / 1994
Well… Not really great. Good graphics, good ideas, but action based game… without really being a real action game… Seems the authors took the wrong turn here. Could have been good, but long load times (for an action game) & crazy mouse click combat made it bad.
Ultima Underworld I & II : The Stygian Abyss, Labyrinth of worlds / origin / 1992 - good ! -
Overall good games, Origin swapped the wilderness Overhead view of Ultima for 3d view in dark caves, with good graphics when released. Who said one can’t make a real storyline in underworld hack & slash ? Again a nice soundtrack for the first one.
World of Ultima : Martian Dreams & Savage empire / Origin / 1991 - good ! -
The same engine as Ultima 6, but other stories & other worlds. Savage empire was really good, but Martian dreams lacked of polishing.
Dungeon Master / FTL / 1986 - good ! -
This well known title was the first CRPG to make you feel you are inside the dungeon, and made you jump back on your seat when a monster turned the corridor before you. Nice graphics when released, real time combat & a nice magic system (words of power which composed the spells) were them main features. Too bad there was almost no storyline.
Wasteland / 1988
Nice mad max rpg game. A first one in the genre.
Dark Heart of Uukrul / Broderbund 1990 - good ! -
Nice CRPG, poor graphics, great combat system, good story, hard to finish.
Drakken / Infogrames 1990
First RPG to use first-person, 3D landscape. Vast world, cool weapons, and a decent plot.
The Immortal / Electronic Arts 1990
Action oriented isometric CRPG… many spells. Was a nice game.
Legend of Faerghail / reLine Software 1990
Bard’s Tale style, poor gameplay.
Alternate reality / Broderbund 1991
3D CRPG, medium quality but great lenght. integrate science & fantasy in the plot.
Bloodwych / Konami 1991
Dungeon Master style, but playable by 2 players. Except this, a overall medium game.
Realms of Arcania trilogy / Sir Tech 1992-1994
Based upon the german RPG Schwartze Auge, it has rich background, and good storyline. Personnally I think the gameplay is so-so.
Captive / Mindscape 1992
Dungeon Master style, one of the best sci-fi RPG.
Shadow of Yserbius / Sierra 1994
The very first CRPG online… Allowed US resident people to fight in dungeons together… The game was also sold in Europe but wasn’t playable because people had to call USA to play (!).
Betrayal at Krondor / Sierra / 1993
Average graphics, huge deep story. The weapon & armor repairs were a bit annoying. Very hard language to understand for non english people
Darklands / Microprose / 1992
Could have been a very good game. Historical German medieval world. Very cool idea, open wilderness exploration. A mix of travel on a map & turn based fights. The skills system was a cool idea, but the game was hardly playable…
Elder Scrolls Arena & Elder Scrolls Daggerfall / Bethesda / 1995-1998
Nice BIG RPGs, good ideas, 1st person 3D view, but both are unplayable because of bugs. Too bad…
Diablo / Blizzard / 1995 - good ! -
Well known hack & slash action-RPG game with very nice graphics in 3D isometric view. A must try for multiplayer dungeons over the internet.
Might & Magic serie (I-VI) / New World Computing / 1986-1998
3D view with turn based combat. From Might & Magic VI on, those games will be in true 3D. Fights, MANY fights maps exploration and character improvement. Not much else. The storyline consists in a bunch of subplots, which are only a way to make you fight more and more… Quite mindless fights. No world interaction. Some people love those games, I don’t.
Lands of Lore I / Westwood / 1993 - good ! -
A Dungeon keeper style game, nice graphics, story. Had a great success when released. An overall good game.
Lands of Lore II / Westwood / 1998
Well… the second one is in true 3D. The world is still very rich but there is almost now world interaction. The game was buggy and quite annoying. A mix of action, bad 3D, ill balanced fights, very nice or awful cutscenes…
Stonekeep / interplay / 1994 - good ! -
A very cool game. 3D first person view. Usually nice graphics. Real time combats. Strangely the game levels are theme based. 3 levels fights, 2 levels speechs & quests, 2 levels traps,…
This one could have been better if they had mixed up a bit those styles… Nice soundtrack.
Anvil of Dawn / New World Computing / 1995 - good ! -
The last of the dungeon keeper style. Nice story, many fights, but easy to learn & to play. Long play time. Didn’t have the success it should have received.
Final Fantasy VII / 1998
Nice fight anims. Except this… a VERY linear lousy story. I didn’t like it at all.
Icarus : Sanctuary of Gods / 1998
Well… the price was a cheap one. So was the game too. 3d isometric view, turn based fights, linear story. A bad game… except for the price.