Darklands is an early-1990s CRPG, set in 15th-century medieval Germany. Published by Microprose for the IBM, it featured a highly advanced (for its time) real-time combat system, as opposed to the turn-based systems used by the "gold box" AD&D games of SSI.

It was also notable for its portrayal of an alternate medieval world which asked the question "what if the superstitions and folklore of the Dark Ages were true?" Thus, players could fight various foes ranging from common street thugs, to angry villagers, evil raubritters (literally, "robber barons"), as well as more supernatural creatures like witches, werewolves, and even a dragon. The game world was richly provided with a "historically accurate" atmosphere, with player characters dealing with the merchant guilds such as the Hanseatic League, the Fuggers, and the de Medicis, as well as the all-powerful Catholic Church.

"Magic" in this world consisted of prayers offered up to specific Catholic saints (for example, praying to St. Francis of Assisi would lend you help in dealing with animals) or alchemical potions, but such prayers and potions take a back seat to good old-fashioned hack-and-slash. Of course, everything I know about Catholic saints comes from Darklands. :-)

The arms and armor system is a refreshing contrast to the overpowering "Monty Haul" magical arsenal featured in most other CRPGs - most equipment in the game is non-magical (and degrades with use), and while you could purchase varying qualities of armament, any alchemical bonuses you could place on them would only be temporary.

The gameplay itself is non-linear - you wandered all over the map looking for wrongs to right, pursuing the main storyline when you so chose.

Although quite buggy in its initial release (even for the standards of the time) it was extremely engrossing, especially for gamers looking for a bit more "realism" than the standard AD&D systems used by its contemporaries.

And I'll just mention that I almost didn't graduate from college due to this wonderfully buggy game.

The second album released by Scottish indie legends, The Jesus and Mary Chain. Released in 1987, it is has a noticeable change in style from their debut, Psychocandy. The white noise and feedback that characterised Psychocandy is absent, and the vocals are high enough up in the mix so you can hear the lyrics. Instead this is a classic guitar pop record, featuring tunes that would have made Brian Wilson proud. As usual with the Mary Chain, all the songs are written by brothers William Reid and Jim Reid. After Bobby Gillespie was making a name for himself with Primal Scream, the drumming duties where handed over to John Moore, who would later be part of Black Box Recorder and one of the UK's foremost importers of absinth.

Darklands has a far gloomier feel than Psychocandy, and casts an atmosphere of unsettling nihilistic despair in the rain. The imagery is dark and claustrophobic as demonstrated by lyrics such as "making love on the edge of a knife", which replace the joyous candy, sugar and honey motifs so prevalent on Psychocandy. If you are a fan of any post-punk new wave bands from Britain than this record should prove to be a valuable addition to your collection

Track listing follows

  1. Darklands
  2. Deep One Perfect Morning
  3. Happy When It Rains
  4. Down On Me
  5. Nine Million Rainy Days
  6. April Skies
  7. Fall
  8. Cherry Came Too
  9. On The Wall
  10. About You

As you can see from above Darklands is also the first track on the album of the same name.
The song was written by Jim Reid and William Reid, and is sung by William Reid.
Here are the lyrics;

I'm going to the darklands
To talk in rhyme
With my chaotic soul
As sure as life means nothing
And all things end in nothing
And heaven I think
Is too close to hell
I want to move I want to go
I want to go
Oh something won't let me
Go to the place
Where the darklands are
And I awake from dreams
To a scary world of screams
And heaven I think
Is too close to Hell
I want to move I want to go
I want to go
Take me to the dark
Oh god I get down on my knees
And I feel like I could die
By the river of disease
And I feel that I'm dying
And I'm dying
I'm down on my knees
Oh I'm down
I want to go I want to stay
I want to stay

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