Sacred (video game)

Last updated
Sacred game.jpg
Developer(s) Ascaron
Publisher(s) Encore
Koch Media
Red Ant Enterprises
Linux Game Publishing (Linux version)
Designer(s) Aarne Jungerberg
Michael Bhatty
Franz Stradal
Hans-Arno Wegner
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Linux
ReleaseMicrosoft Windows [1]
  • EU: March 19, 2004
  • NA: March 25, 2004
Linux [2]
  • NA: September 3, 2012
Genre(s) Action role-playing
Mode(s) Single-player, Multiplayer

Sacred is an action role-playing game for Microsoft Windows and Linux released in 2004. It takes place on the magical continent of Ancaria, with characters of various races (dark elf, vampiress, dwarf, etc.) each with their own missions. More than 1.8 million copies of the game were sold worldwide. [3] Two expansion packs were released for the game in 2004 and 2005. In 2008 Linux Game Publishing announced that they would port the game to the Linux operating system. [4]

Action role-playing video games are a subgenre of role-playing video games. The games emphasize real-time combat where the player has direct control over the characters as opposed to turn or menu-based combat. These games often use action game combat systems similar to hack and slash or shooter games. Action role-playing games may also incorporate action-adventure games, which include a mission system and RPG mechanics, or massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) with real-time combat systems.

Microsoft Windows is a group of several graphical operating system families, all of which are developed, marketed and sold by Microsoft. Each family caters to a certain sector of the computing industry. Active Microsoft Windows families include Windows NT and Windows IoT; these may encompass subfamilies, e.g. Windows Server or Windows Embedded Compact. Defunct Microsoft Windows families include Windows 9x, Windows Mobile and Windows Phone.

Linux Family of free and open-source software operating systems based on the Linux kernel

Linux is a family of open source Unix-like operating systems based on the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released on September 17, 1991 by Linus Torvalds. Linux is typically packaged in a Linux distribution.


Sacred was developed by Studio II Software and Ascaron Entertainment and published in 2004 by Encore in the USA release.

Ascaron Entertainment was a video game developer based in Germany. Founded as Ascon and later renamed in October 1996 due to the possible confusion with the Swiss company Ascom AG, the company produced titles primarily for the PC until it became insolvent in 2009.



Upon beginning the game, players are given a choice to start with one of six different character types:Gladiator, Dark Elf, Wood Elf, Vampiress, Battle-Mage and Seraphim. The Daemon and Dwarf were additional characters added in the expansion Sacred Underworld and included in Sacred Gold.

Player character fictional character in a role-playing or video game that can be played or controlled by a real-world person

A player character is a fictional character in a role-playing game or video game whose actions are directly controlled by a player of the game rather than the rules of the game. The characters that are not controlled by a player are called non-player characters (NPCs). The actions of non-player characters are typically handled by the game itself in video games, or according to rules followed by a gamemaster refereeing tabletop role-playing games. The player character functions as a fictional, alternate body for the player controlling the character.

Gladiator combatant who entertained audiences in the Roman Republic and Roman Empire

A gladiator was an armed combatant who entertained audiences in the Roman Republic and Roman Empire in violent confrontations with other gladiators, wild animals, and condemned criminals. Some gladiators were volunteers who risked their lives and their legal and social standing by appearing in the arena. Most were despised as slaves, schooled under harsh conditions, socially marginalized, and segregated even in death.

Elves, a word from Germanic mythology, are frequently featured in Fantasy fiction. In modern fiction, particularly because of the influence from J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, elves are modeled mostly after his original description: tall, human-like creatures of otherworldly beauty, with Kings and Queens. Along with this development, Dark elves are often modeled as a more sinister counterpart to the High elves, like the Drow or the Trow, which are the fairy-like dark creatures of Orcadian and Shetlandic folklore. The dark elves (Dökkálfar) or black elves (Svartálfar) are presented in Germanic mythology as dwarves and gray ones.

Each character begins in a different part of the area around a town in Ancaria (the continent that Sacred takes place within), and with a different starting quest. For example, the Gladiator starts in a colosseum, enslaved by his master, while the Seraphim starts in a church. The Dark Elf starts on a cliff with a Wood Elf companion. Throughout the game, the characters all receive different sub-quests.

Quest plot device in mythology and fiction

A quest is a journey toward a specific mission or a goal. The word serves as a plot device in mythology and fiction: a difficult journey towards a goal, often symbolic or allegorical. Tales of quests figure prominently in the folklore of every nation and ethnic culture. In literature, the object of a quest requires great exertion on the part of the hero, who must overcome many obstacles, typically including much travel. The aspect of travel allows the storyteller to showcase exotic locations and cultures. The object of a quest may also have supernatural properties, often leading the protagonist into other worlds and dimensions. The moral of a quest tale often centers on the changed character of the hero.

Colosseum Amphitheatre in Rome

The Colosseum or Coliseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy. Built of travertine, tuff, and brick-faced concrete, it is the largest amphitheatre ever built. The Colosseum is situated just east of the Roman Forum. Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in AD 72 and was completed in AD 80 under his successor and heir, Titus. Further modifications were made during the reign of Domitian (81–96). These three emperors are known as the Flavian dynasty, and the amphitheatre was named in Latin for its association with their family name (Flavius).

Slavery System under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work

Slavery is any system in which principles of property law are applied to people, allowing individuals to own, buy and sell other individuals, as a de jure form of property. A slave is unable to withdraw unilaterally from such an arrangement and works without remuneration. Many scholars now use the term chattel slavery to refer to this specific sense of legalised, de jure slavery. In a broader sense, however, the word slavery may also refer to any situation in which an individual is de facto forced to work against their own will. Scholars also use the more generic terms such as unfree labour or forced labour to refer to such situations. However, and especially under slavery in broader senses of the word, slaves may have some rights and protections according to laws or customs.

Each character class is also restricted to a certain set of items, and has a different set of skills. To increase these skill levels, characters must find runes that correspond to those skills, a rather novel system in contrast to the more mainstream model of skill points. Some character classes have identical skills, but the runes from one class cannot be used to advance skills in another class. Runes may be traded and used for crafting.

A skill is the ability to carry out a task with determined results often within a given amount of time, energy, or both. Skills can often be divided into domain-general and domain-specific skills. For example, in the domain of work, some general skills would include time management, teamwork and leadership, self-motivation and others, whereas domain-specific skills would be used only for a certain job. Skill usually requires certain environmental stimuli and situations to assess the level of skill being shown and used.


Sacred features a vast array of items that can be obtained from shops, various containers (chests, barrels, graves...), dead monsters or "magical hiding places" in many of the rocks and bushes throughout Ancaria, which are indicated by a yellow sparkle. Many of the items can be only equipped by one type of character, like wings, which can only be equipped by a Seraphim.

Magic in fiction magic depicted in fictional stories

Magic in fiction is the endowment of characters or objects in works of fiction with powers that do not naturally occur in the real world.

There are also several potion types, such as the typical health heal, but there are other types, like Potions of Undead death, which stops Undead from reviving once players kill them, and "Potions of Concentration", which regenerate players' combo attacks so they can be used faster. There are no mana-heal potions in Sacred, because mana is not a feature of the game. Also, monsters occasionally drop a rune that increases a certain skill for a certain character, if used.

If the player owns a horse several different types of saddles can be bought to be used on it. These saddles increase the speed, defense, and damage done by the horse. Only one horse may be owned at a time, and the horse can be damaged and killed.

The names of items are in five different colors, (white, blue, yellow, brown, green) which represent different quality classes of equipment:

Sometimes, a monster drops a set item. Much like in Diablo II these set items will become much more powerful when gathered together and are very useful and sought-after in multiplayer games. However, this is not to say that unique items are inferior to set items. Unique items are usually individually better than set items.

Some items also can be imbued with better stats. If players take an item with a number of "slots," indicated by small boxes in the inventory screen, they will be able to imbue it by taking it to a blacksmith and then using either jewellery, a rune, skeleton skull or one of the blacksmith's techniques on it up to as many times as there are slots in it. Once imbued players can remove one rune or piece of jewelry from it, but all other items in the slots are lost when they do this. Though players cannot use a rune or jewelry which is not of their class, they can socket it in an item to gain the benefit of its magical and possible stat-raising properties.


Every character in Sacred has a different set of skills that are available to them. The only way to obtain them is to find a rune of that particular skill and use it to make it available to use for players. Each character has between 11 and 22 different skills that can be unlocked and used. To increase their level in a skill, players must find another rune for that skill and use it. There are also several "combo masters" spread throughout Ancaria, which can combine up to four separate skills into a combo, which players can use in the game. The combo masters can also trade runes they cannot use or do not need for a rune of their choice. Wrong



A great Sakkara demon was conjured into existence by the necromancer Shaddar. The conjuring went wrong, and the Sakkara demon is now loose in the world of Ancaria. The heroes must find the five elements of Caesarian (wind, fire, earth, water, void), and use them to defeat the monster. They meet Prince Valor, and he thanks them for rescuing Wilbur and orders them to report to Baron DeMordre to bring reinforcements to stop the Orc invasion. The Baron betrays them and Wilbur is killed. With his dying breaths he warns the hero to report to the Prince that the Baron has betrayed them. The hero arrives at the orc invasion and finds most of Valor's troops have been slaughtered; only Sargent Treveille is left dying and tells the hero to find Baroness Vilyia - she knows where the prince is. They find Vilyia, and she leads them to Valor in the forest, where he and his surviving troops take refuge. Each hero has different objectives along the way, but eventually, they all lead up to this one final quest. After killing the traitor DeMordre and reclaiming the throne, the hero goes to the dungeon to summon the Sakkara demon and kills it. However after claiming the heart of Ancaria, Shaddar reveals himself and captures Vilyia, and the hero pursues him into his castle to rescue Vilyia and defeat Shaddar.


The whole of Sacred takes place on the continent of Ancaria, where there are several towns and villages to be visited. Even when players begin the game more than 70% of Ancaria is already available to be traveled on. To the south of Ancaria, there is a vast desert and lava-ridden plains. In the north, there is a wall of mountains and an icy backdrop. In both the east and the west there are large forests, blocking the way and stopping further travel. In the game there is an option to buy horses, which can be used for faster travel and to battle opponents, but will not affect players' ability to traverse difficult terrain in most situations.


The game was originally started by developer Ikarion as an adaptation of the role-playing game The Dark Eye . After Ikarion went defunct, Ascaron bought it out and continued the project with an original story, renaming it Sacred. [5]



Sacred was a commercial success. By August 2004, it had sold over 100,000 units in the United States and 400,000 units in Europe. [6] It sold 1.5 million units worldwide, including its expansion pack, by July 2006. GameStar highlighted it as a rare crossover hit for Germany, with significant sales volume outside German-speaking countries; as of 2006, it had sold 300,000 units in the United States. [7] It received a "Platinum" award from the Asociación Española de Distribuidores y Editores de Software de Entretenimiento (aDeSe), for more than 80,000 sales in Spain during its first 12 months. [8] Spain accounted for 250,000 units by 2006. [9] Worldwide sales rose above 1.8 million copies by 2007 [10] and 2 million by 2009. [11] In April 2004, it received a "Gold" certification from the Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland (VUD), for sales of at least 100,000 units across Germany, Switzerland and Austria. [12] It achieved "Platinum" status, for 250,000 sales, by early 2005. [13]

Critical reviews

Aggregate scores
GameRankings 76.38/100 [14]
Metacritic 73/100 [15]
Review scores
PublicationScore B- [16]
GameSpot 7.6 [17]
GameSpy Star full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [18]
IGN 7.8/10 [19]
X-Play Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [20]

Sacred garnered average to good reviews from the media. 1up called it "Diablo for masochists", [16] while IGN called it "A diamond in the rough". [19]

The editors of PC Gamer US presented Sacred with their "Best Roleplaying Game 2004" award. Greg Vederman of the magazine wrote that it "provides the loot addict with a deliciously strong dose of the good stuff." [21]

Expansion packs

Sacred Plus is a free expansion pack released in October 2004. It adds 2 regions, monsters, quests, items.

Sacred Underworld is an expansion pack developed by Studio II Software and Ascaron Entertainment, and released in August 2005. Two new characters were added next to the six existing ones: Daemon and Dwarf. The story picks up after the events in Sacred, taking your character to the Underworld of Ancaria to rescue baroness Vilya.

On the review aggregator GameRankings, Underworld had an average score of 74% based on 12 reviews. [22] On Metacritic, the game had an average score of 73 out of 100, based on 10 reviews — indicating mixed or average reviews. [23] Underworld was a finalist for PC Gamer US 's "Best Expansion Pack 2005" award, which ultimately went to RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Soaked! . [24]

Jason Ocampo of GameSpot gave Underworld a rating of 7.0 out of 10, saying the game is "an example of a Diablo -like action role-playing game taken to the extreme." Comparing the game to Sacred, Ocampo said it "offers more of the same, but at a ramped-up level." Ocampo said the game looks good but that "Hacking your way every 10 feet can be a chore." Ocampo also noted that it was nice that the game is set in a "predefined world, unlike the randomly generated levels of Diablo." [25]

Sacred Gold is a compilation released in August 2005. It contains the main game and the two expansions.

See also

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