Dragon Wars is a classic fantasy role-playing game with a rich backstory, unique places to visit and plenty of nasty enemies to fight. It features a non-linear world that the player can explore on their own, where the player can pursue multiple storylines and puzzles, many of which have multiple solutions. In addition, there is a large variety of skills and abilities, making character development fulfilling.
You start with no possessions or money, in the prison city of Purgatory. You begin with 4 characters, and can recruit more heroes as you wander through the land (at most, you can have 7 to your party). You must find weapons, learn spells and find a way to escape. You then must search the islands of Dilmun for better weapons, earn experience and eventually seek out Namtar, the beast from the pit.
The game mechanics resemble many standard RPG games. Each player character has a set of attributes and abilities. These stats determine your battle prowess, magic ability and aid in your world interaction (i.e. lockpick to open a chest). As you level up, you recieve points, which you can distribute amongst these stats. These points are very valueable, as you only recieve 2 points per level, and it's often difficult to know which stats you should raise. Choose to increase your core attributes (Strength, Dexterity, Spirit, Health), magic skills (initial costs are high), or a variety of other abilities and knowledge (Swimming, Climbing, Lockpicking, Arcane Lore, etc.). It is recommended that you create a diverse party, each specializing in a select group of skills.
Each character has a Health bar and a Stun bar. Some enemies only (or mostly) cause Stun damage, providing a cushion against easy death. However, death can occur. You can resurrect a dead character, but resurrection isn't available until very late in the game. If a hero actually dies, then it is recommended that you restore an old game.
Combat is turn-based, where you choose from a list of actions. You can attack, cast spells, use items and more. Some enemies require different strategies, and combat typically starts with an enemies several feet away (allowing you time to used ranged weapons and buff characters). Enemies appear in groups, and each character can select a group to attack (some spells can even attack all enemies).
The game's automapping feature was unique at the time. Some of the levels can be very large, and others wrap around on each other, so maps are invalueable. However, as you can't take notes or mark these maps, it's often better to draw your own maps (or use the maps on this site).
The game allows you a single save file, that you overwrite each time you save. This is limiting, and can cause problems. Since you can save anywhere you want, you can actually trap yourself in an area that you can't escape. So, be careful.
The game is a little out-dated by today's standards, but the game is still a classic with a great storyline. I recommend playing the game when you can.